Male vs. Female Cocker Spaniel: Which Is Better?

Male and female Cocker Spaniel sitting on a tree trunk

If you’re in the market for a Cocker Spaniel, you’ll probably stumble upon the topic of the comparison between male and female Cocker Spaniels. Are you thinking of getting a male or a female Cocker Spaniel? Stick around to learn which suits you better!

In general, male Cocker Spaniels are bigger, clingier, and more energetic than their female counterparts. Moreover, males are more curious and more eager to please their family members. Female Cocker Spaniels, on the other hand, mature faster and are less playful. However, they are known to be more protective.

This article will tell you everything you need to know about the male Cocker Spaniel and female Cocker Spaniel, including appearance, temperament, caring, and frequently asked questions. Read on!

Physical Differences

Male and female Cocker Spaniel resting on the grass

Male Cocker Spaniels

Male Cocker Spaniels are larger and heavier than females. Their average height is 14 to 16 inches, and their average weight is 20 to 30 pounds. They have a bigger body build and more muscle mass.

Their larger body build can be attributed to the amount of food they eat. Any pet owner would agree that males eat more compared to females unless you are feeding a pregnant female dog.

Just like the female Cocker Spaniels, they have big and dark eyes. Their ears are long, and they have moderate to long coats. They have long muzzles, and the color of their nose ranges from light brown to black.

Female Cocker Spaniels

Female Cocker Spaniels are one to two inches smaller than their male counterparts. On average, female Cocker Spaniels grow from 13 to 15 inches, and their average weight is 20 to 25 pounds.

Both male and female Cocker Spaniels shed moderately because of their thick and wavy coats.

Aside from their coat’s usual brown and buff colors, they can also exhibit a stunning black coat.

As an owner of a five-year-old female buff Cocker Spaniel, this is my favorite breed when it comes to its coat. I love how silky its coat is, especially how it feathers along its sides and towards the back of its legs. When outdoors, you can see how natural lighting beautifully reflects on its shiny coat, too!

Female Cocker Spaniels share the same qualities as male Cocker Spaniels, such as their long ears and sweet puppy eyes. They also have long tails covered with lush fur.

You may also find male and female Cocker Spaniels that have undergone tail docking. This is a procedure wherein the dog’s tail is cut to prevent injury during hunting.

Temperamental Differences

Male Cocker Spaniels

Male Cocker Spaniels are sweeter and more energetic than their female counterparts. They are also dominant and may engage in fights with other male dogs in the household.

A male Cocker Spaniel may also roam if a female is in heat in your area. Neutering is an option if you want to address this issue. Males are also eager to please their owners, making them known for being loyal. 

Male Cocker Spaniels are playful and may sometimes be a handful inside the house. When scolded, their cute grumpiness and whining can make it up for their annoying antics.

Even though the male Cocker Spaniel may seem problematic, this dog can easily detect stress from its human and will always come to the rescue and give lots of love and comfort.

Female Cocker Spaniels

A female Cocker Spaniel is just as playful as a male Cocker Spaniel during the puppy stage. However, this slowly changes as they mature. Females become more independent but stay loyal to their handlers. 

Female Cocker Spaniels mature faster than their male counterparts. This makes them easier to train. This also makes them more likely to get along well with other pets in the house. 

It is not their nature to be aggressive and dominant. But unlike males, female dog fights are more dangerous. Females don’t back down and won’t stop until they have proven their dominance!

Female Cocker Spaniels may also exhibit mood swings and may not socialize well with other members of the family. They are usually attached to only one member of the family, usually their owners.

A female Cocker Spaniel will also be less messy and has little need for attention. Although she may seem self-serving, a female Cocker Spaniel has its own unique way of expressing love and affection.

Behavior and Training

Male Cocker Spaniel during training

Male Cocker Spaniels

Male Cocker Spaniels are harder to train because of their stubbornness. They are also very curious but have shorter attention spans. Training them with patience is important.

Male Cocker Spaniels are eager to please. For this reason, they are not impossible to train. All it takes is a skilled and patient trainer who can handle this pooch with both assertiveness and kindness.

Male Cocker Spaniels may also mark their territories by urinating on objects at home or in other places. This behavior is usually done to assert dominance and ease stress when they smell an unfamiliar odor.

Neutering your male Cocker Spaniel may reduce this behavior. You may also keep your dog busy with a toy or give belly rubs and cuddles to prevent territory marking

If you bought new furniture or a new plant, this could be a target for marking. Your dog will only let out a small volume of urine during marking; however, it may cause an unwanted odor in the house.

Female Cocker Spaniels

Female Cocker Spaniels are easier to train because they mature earlier and are naturally smarter. This is also the reason they are expert hunters. Given the right training, you will surely raise a skilled dog.

Female Cocker Spaniels are not eager to please. So they can be stubborn sometimes. They can also focus for longer periods. They do not need to check on everything around them unless it really gets their attention.

Intact female Cocker Spaniels may also mark territories, especially when they are in heat. Aside from having them fixed and keeping them busy, checking them for anxiety is also important.

A female Cocker Spaniel may show alpha behavior. That’s why early socialization and a skilled trainer are needed. This pooch may have mood swings, but you can expect it to learn commands easily. 

Health Differences

Male Cocker Spaniels

Male Cocker Spaniels are more prone to entropion. This is a condition where the eyelids become inverted. This causes the hair in the eyelids to touch the cornea of the eyes.

It may lead to infections and excessive tearing of the eyes. Trauma, skin problems, and other eye conditions usually cause this condition. These are usually observed in young adult male Cocker Spaniels. 

Another health problem commonly seen in male Cocker Spaniels is glycogenosis type VII or phosphofructokinase deficiency

This is a condition where their bodies cannot use carbohydrates properly. This condition commonly affects male Cocker Spaniels and English Springer Spaniels. 

Cardiomyopathy is another life-threatening condition more commonly seen among male Cocker Spaniels than females. This is a condition where the heart muscle becomes thin.

We can also expect fixed male Cocker Spaniels to be healthier than intact males. This is because neutering reduces the risk of prostate disease and testicular cancer. 

Neutered males are also less likely to roam, therefore reducing the chances of them getting into fights with other dogs, being lost, and getting into vehicular accidents. 

Female Cocker Spaniels

Experts find female Cocker Spaniels to be more at risk of canine liver disease, unlike males. Fatty food, heatstroke, bruises, and a diaphragm hernia usually cause this. 

Yellowish gums, skin, and eyes are common signs of this disease. It may also cause bright yellow to orange urine and feces. Some signs you should also look out for are loss of appetite and bloody vomiting.

If you notice these signs in your female Cocker Spaniel, you should immediately go to the vet and have your dog checked. This disease may also cause lethargy and depression in your dog.

Mammary tumors can grow in female Cocker Spaniels. A mutated cell in the breast causes this. This cell can be cancerous or non-cancerous. 

Experts find female Cocker Spaniels with lean bodies aged between 9 and 12 months have a lower risk of mammary tumors. 

Female Cocker Spaniels may also live a longer and healthier life if they are spayed before their first heat cycle. This reduces the risk of breast tumors and other disorders in the reproductive system.

One thing to consider, though, is that regardless of your Cocker Spaniel’s gender, always ensure to deal only with reputable breeders so that you end up with a healthy puppy that is bred using ethical practices.

With Other Dogs and Pets

Male Cocker Spaniel sitting beside a Golden Retriever and a Border Collie

Male Cocker Spaniels

Male Cocker Spaniels are more sociable than their female counterparts. They can get along well with other pets, especially with female dogs and neutered males. 

However, male Cocker Spaniels are naturally dominant, and they may get into fights because of this trait. It is also natural for them to roam around, especially if they can smell a female that is in heat around the area.

For this reason, it is recommended that they are kept in a yard with fences. Early socialization is also important in order to teach them how to get along with the whole family.

To learn more, watch how this male Cocker Spaniel warms up to a cat:

Introducing our Cocker Spaniel Puppy to our Cat

Female Cocker Spaniels

Unlike males, female Cocker Spaniels are more reserved and mature. They enjoy being alone and don’t need to show dominance. They are also more aloof to strangers and to recent additions to the family.

It is important to teach a female Cocker Spaniel to socialize at an early age. This is to avoid aggression towards unfamiliar persons and other pets in the household. 

A well-trained and socialized female Cocker Spaniel may also act as a mother to other pets and even young kids in the family. This is because of their maternal instincts.

With Children

Male Cocker Spaniels

Male Cocker Spaniels are energetic. That’s why they can be good playmates for children. However, you need to take note they may play roughly and may unintentionally hurt your kid.

If you have smaller kids at home, it is best that you supervise them when playing with your dog. It is also important to teach children to play gently with them so that they won’t develop aggressive behaviors. 

If you are expecting a baby, you should gradually introduce them to your male Cocker Spaniel to prevent potential jealousy issues later on.

According to veterinarians, a puppy may start socialization training as early as 7 to 8 weeks, as long as they already have the first round of vaccines and dewormers.

Female Cocker Spaniels

Female Cocker Spaniels are more gentle and cautious, especially around kids. This makes them perfect companions and playmates, especially younger children.

However, females also love their alone time. It is best to teach children never to bother a dog when they are sleeping or are enjoying their “me-time.” Forcing a dog to play can trigger them to be aggressive.

Just like with the male Cocker Spaniels, female Cocker Spaniel puppies may start their socialization classes as early as 7 to 8 weeks old. Make sure they already have their first vaccines to protect them from canine viruses.

Pros and Cons of Male and Female Cocker Spaniels

Male and female Cocker Spaniel sitting on the snow

Male Cocker Spaniels

Some advantages of male Cocker Spaniels are that they are the best playmates with older children who can handle rough play. They are also more sociable with other people and other pets at home. 

You can also expect them to be playful and active even after reaching a year old. They are more sweet and affectionate to family members and other pets.

Meanwhile, a disadvantage of male Cocker Spaniels is they are harder to train because of their curiosity. Their focus may also be hard to maintain. That’s why one must be patient if they plan to get a male. 

Since they love to play hard, they may also unintentionally hurt their playmate. If you have very young children at home, it is best to monitor them.

Dominance may also be an issue with male Cocker Spaniels, especially if other male dogs are in the household. This may cause unnecessary dog fights and stress for the family. 

Good playmate for older kidsRough play
Showy in their affectionCan be defiant 
Highly energeticCan be hard to train
Eager to pleaseCan be dominant
Very curiousShort attention span

Female Cocker Spaniels

One of the advantages of having a female Cocker Spaniel is they can give you and your family motherly love. They are just as playful as the male Cocker Spaniel. However, they will be less active after reaching the first-year mark. 

Another is they are protective. They can be excellent guard dogs. Female Cocker Spaniels are also the best playmates for younger kids because they are gentler and calmer. 

Given the proper training and care, they can be your assistant in looking after your baby. Thanks to their motherly instincts, they will protect your child at all costs, just like their own puppy.

Female Cocker Spaniels are also more alert and focused compared to male Cocker Spaniels. This makes them easier to teach because they also mature earlier. 

However, there are also some disadvantages. Since female Cocker Spaniels mature early, they become less playful and enjoy more alone time. 

Female Cocker Spaniels may also sometimes exhibit alpha behaviors. This may lead to dominance fights with other dogs and can be fatal because female dogs don’t easily give up during fights.

Although female Cocker Spaniels may seem distant, they have their own way of showing affection to their families. 

Gentler and calmerNot showy in their affection
Loyal and protectiveClingy only to its owner
Matures faster and easier to trainCan have mood swings
Can get along with other petsCan be very dangerous when engaging in dog fights
More laid-backMay become self-serving

Should You Get a Male or Female Cocker Spaniel?

Choosing between a male and a female Cocker Spaniel can be a tricky task. This is particularly true if you don’t understand the differences between the two sexes, from physical appearance, personalities, and caring demands. 

If you live an active lifestyle, you should get a male Cocker Spaniel. You may take in this energetic ball of fur if you can match the same energy they give. However, you must think twice if you have small children at home. 

Having a yard with a fence will allow it to run around and release its energy. You must also consider if you have other male dogs at home because this may cause dog fights.

A female Cocker Spaniel can be a delightful companion if you have a more laid-back lifestyle. Female Cocker Spaniels may also bark a lot because of their alertness. If you live in an apartment, it is best to rethink your decision. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Male and female Cocker Spaniel sitting on fallen leaves

Are Male or Female Cocker Spaniels Calmer?

Female Cocker Spaniels are calmer compared to male Cocker Spaniels. Although both genders are playful, this trait may not be observed in female Cocker Spaniels after turning one year old. 

Female Cocker Spaniels often love to spend their time alone. Their motherly instincts would also kick in, making them gentle to everyone in the household.

Are Male or Female Cocker Spaniels More Affectionate?

Both male and female Cocker Spaniels are very affectionate but have different ways of expressing affection for their humans. This is true, especially in female Cocker Spaniels.

Male Cocker Spaniels may express their love by playing, asking for belly rubs, and showing their cute antics to everyone. This is quite the opposite with the female Cocker Spaniels.

Female Cocker Spaniels may often want to be alone but will be clingy to their owner. It may not always be showy in expressing its love, but its way of taking care of and guarding everyone will speak so much about its affection. 

Are Male or Female Cocker Spaniels Easier to Train? 

Female Cocker Spaniels are easier to train because they reach maturity faster and can focus for longer periods. There shouldn’t be so many issues with obedience training. 

Male Cocker Spaniels are so playful that you may have an issue getting their attention during lessons. It may also show its dominant side so that it may become aggressive during training.

The good thing about male Cocker Spaniels, in general, is they are keen to please their owner. This trait will make the training much easier. 

Final Thoughts

Aside from equipping yourself with the things you need when getting a dog, understanding the differences between male and female Cocker Spaniels is very important. 

It is crucial to take home the gender that best suits your personality and lifestyle. This is to avoid frustration on your part and unnecessary abandonment of your sweet pooch.

Male Cocker Spaniels are best for active families, while female Cocker Spaniels are suited for those with young children and a laid-back lifestyle. Whatever gender you choose, both can fill your life with so much love and happiness.

Have you decided on which one to get? Let us know your thoughts about male and female Cocker Spaniels in the comment section below!

Leave a Comment

You may also like