English cocker spaniels are a beautiful breed of dog, and a popular choice for show competitors. Grooming a dog for a competition is best left to professionals or owners who have a great deal of practice and experience in grooming. That doesn't mean that you can't give your pet spaniel an attractive cut using some scissors and a pair of dog hair clippers. With a little practice, you can save yourself expensive grooming costs while maintaining an attractive "skirt" look on your spaniel.
Affix a short clipper guide to the clippers for cutting the neck and face, as well as for the back of the dog.
Begin cutting about two fingers above the breastbone of the dog, shaving against the fur up toward the head.
Follow the arcing patch of the dog's collar bone with the clippers, creating a shaved area with a U-shape that extends up to the dog's muzzle.
Blend the fur that borders on the shaved area either by using the clippers with a larger guide or by holding the clippers slightly off of the dog and running it through the fur.
Shave the fur on the underside of the dog's muzzle with the short clipper settings.
Shave the back of the spaniel from the top of the dog down to the middle of the dog's sides. This shorter hair will be easier to maintain, and is also great for keeping the dog cool and comfortable in the summer months.
Cut the fur extending down from the sides of the dog using scissors. Trim in a line that runs straight across when the dog is standing upright. This will create the look of a "skirt" on the dog, allowing you to maintain the spaniel look while keeping the cleaner short-on-top look.