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All About The Male Vs Female Cocker Spaniel Debate

All About The Male Vs Female Cocker Spaniel Debate

Cocker Spaniels are some of the most beloved family dogs out there. However, when choosing to get a new pet, especially if this is your first dog, you might ask yourself, male vs female Cocker Spaniel, which one should I get?

No, this isn’t just a matter of preferences. Some genders of dogs might be more suitable for certain types of owners or purposes, so making the right choice and staying open minded can truly change your dog ownership experience. 

Now, this isn’t to say that one is necessarily better than the other. All Cocker Spaniels make the best companions out there, and all are good boys (and girls!). However, some might be better suited for your own needs and possibilities. 

Without further ado, here are all the differences between male and female Cocker Spaniels:

Male Vs Female Cocker Spaniel Quick Overview 

Height13 -15 inches12 – 14 inches
Weight25 – 28 lbs22 – 25 lbs
TemperamentFriendly, playfulNurturing, affectionate
Good with kidsYesYes
Good with other petsMostlyYes
Lifespan10 – 14 years11 – 14 years

Physical Differences

Cocker spaniel

Most of us have probably watched Disney’s The Lady and the Tramp and know how Lady looks. Yes, Lady is the American Cocker Spaniel.

While there is the English Cocker Spaniel variety of the breed, I’ll focus on the US native one, as most of the things I’ll talk about are true for both dogs. 

Cocker Spaniels are medium-sized dogs with long, silky coats that come in several coat colors, ranging from black, red, orange, and cream to combinations of these shades. 

While no dog is hypoallergenic, Cocker Spaniels come close to that, as they are low-shedding and produce very little dander. 

This is something that is the case with both male and female Cockers. However, there are a few things that will help you differentiate the two. 

First and foremost, male Cocker Spaniels are a bit larger than females, both in height and weight. Still, this size difference isn’t too obvious. 

Also, males have a slightly more muscular build, which might be noticeable even through the long coat.

While we’re at the coat, males often have thicker and coarser coats, but a common person might not notice this at first glance.

A somewhat more prominent physical difference can be noticed if you look at the shape and size of a dog’s head. Males tend to have broader heads with more prominent features, while female Cocker Spaniels might have features that are gentler. 

With all that in mind, it can be really hard to differentiate male vs female Cocker Spaniels just by the dog’s appearance.


Cocker spaniel happy

 No matter the gender, the Cocker Spaniel is a friendly, affectionate, and gentle dog that can form strong bonds with its owners. 

These are friendly and outgoing dogs that don’t have a hard time making new friends, both human and canine. They are good companion dogs for families with children, and they are eager to please, making them very trainable. 

However, both my and other dog lovers’ personal experiences speak about a few differences between males and females. 

Male dogs, especially intact ones, can be slightly more dominant than females. While they aren’t likely to be territorial or aggressive, they’ll try to be alpha dogs of the pack, and this can create a problem, especially during training or if there are other male dogs in the home. 

Also, they can be a bit more assertive and independent, which can make them appear less affectionate and loveable. 

Female dogs, on the other hand, are typically more nurturing and caring, and they can have more patience for both other animals and human family members. 

However, if you don’t spay them, they can express little moodiness, especially when in heat. 

Not only will this make them more unpredictable, but it can also make training extremely challenging. It can be hard to train a dog that experiences temper changes all too often.

Also, while both dogs need moderate amounts of activity, males might be a bit more active and playful. Make sure to provide them with enough exercise to keep them from developing any bad habits or behavioral issues. 

Of course, every dog has its own personality and might have different characters than the stereotypes I’ve mentioned here. 

Which One Is A Better Family Pet?

Since they don’t have too different personalities, it’s hard to say whether a male or a female is a better pet for large families. You certainly won’t make a mistake with any gender!

All Cocker Spaniels are happy dogs that can be amazing family friends to everyone. While they can be little divas from time to time, especially if something doesn’t go their way, they are still loveable lap dogs that will want to cuddle with everyone all day long!

Still, females might be a bit more patient around little kids and toddlers, especially if socialized from an early age. 

Males, on the other side, might be an excellent choice for somewhat older kids, as they’re so much fun to be around! Not to mention that male puppies will befriend everyone by showing them love in their own way – which can sometimes be a bit clumsy.

Either way, your Cocker and every family member you have will become best friends in no time! 

Which One Is Better With Other Pets?

While this entirely depends on the dog’s own personality, there are a few characteristics both genders have that can make them better or worse for other pets, especially canines.

Cocker Spaniels don’t have a high prey drive. This means that most of them will do just fine with smaller pets, such as cats, parrots, or hamsters. 

However, when it comes to other canines, this is where their different personality traits might be crucial. 

Male dogs tend to be more confident and more social than females. Sure, they are somewhat dominant, but as they’re not aggressive, this trait isn’t likely to cause any issues – unless the other dog is also a dominant male.

As a result, they typically do just fine with other dogs, especially if you’ve socialized them on time.

Females, on the other hand, can be a bit more shy and reserved. They will appreciate their own time and space and might not be happy having someone interrupt them.

Also, their mood swings can affect their social levels, and a sweet and loveable female puppy might one day decide to be the grumpiest dog out there – although these temper tantrums rarely last for long.

Of course, no matter how friendly a breed is, early socialization is crucial. In fact, this is probably the only thing that can make a real difference in a dog’s behavior around other pets, at least in a breed as friendly as a Cocker Spaniel. 


Cocker spaniel training

 One of the most important traits in dogs is trainability. All dogs need daily walks, so teaching them a good recall is essential.

In general, training a male Cocker Spaniel pup is an easier procedure than training a female puppy. This is because Cocker boys are more eager to please, and they’ll do anything you want of them for no particular reason. 

On another note – Good luck training a female Cocker Spaniel during one of her mood swings!  Even experienced breeders and dog owners might have trouble teaching a female dog how to behave when she doesn’t want to

This doesn’t mean that they’re less intelligent – on the contrary. Most females are extremely smart, and they mature earlier than males. They simply choose not to listen to you when they’re not feeling like it. 

Luckily, mood swings typically go away with spaying, so this problem can be fixed. However, if you want a dog that is almost effortless to train, I would go with a male Cocker Spaniel.


 When it comes to health problems, there aren’t really that many differences. All Cocker Spaniels are genetically prone to a few health issues, such as:

A shaky Cocker Spaniel is one of the ways in which you can guess your dog has some joint problems, so make sure to take your pup to the vet if you notice this symptom.

Unfortunately, cancer is the most common cause of death in Cocker Spaniel’s elder years. The most common types of cancer Cocker Spaniels can have are lymphoma and melanoma, but some forms of cancer are gender specific – and it’s easy to guess which.

Male and female anatomy are different, which means they each have certain organs that the other gender does not. 

An intact female Cocker Spaniel can get ovarian cancer and uterine cancer, while a male pup has a high chance of developing testicular cancer

These aren’t the only gender-specific health problems these dogs can get. Females might also suffer from pyometra, a life-threatening uterine infection, and false pregnancies. Similarly, males can struggle with phimosis, testicular infections, and prostate-related illnesses

Most of these health conditions can be prevented if you spay and neuter your dogs in time. However, here, too, are some differences. 

 Neutering is typically an easier procedure that will cost less than spaying. Opposite of that, spaying is still a surgery that can have its complications – but the risk is minimal.


Did you know that, despite the myths, purebred dogs might have a slightly longer lifespan than crossbreeds? In other words, a purebred Cocker Spaniel will likely live longer than a Cocker Spaniel mix!

Age, however, isn’t the only thing that can affect a pup’s lifespan. The same research has shown that female dogs  live somewhat longer than males!

Still, don’t let the statistics be the determining factor when deciding to buy a pup.

Many factors determine how long a dog might live, such as the breeders you’re buying them from, genetics they’ve inherited from their parents, whether they’ve been spayed or neutered, and the care you’re providing them with.

In general, your Cocker Spaniel is likely to be with you for a long time, as the average lifespan for this breed is between 10 and 14 years.  

Which One Should You Choose?

You probably came to this article expecting me to tell you which dog is better in this male vs female Cocker Spaniel debate. The truth is that it mostly comes down to your personal preferences. 

The differences between male and female Cocker are so minor that there aren’t any clashing temperamental or physical traits I can point towards. 

Not only that but as these pups have very mild temperaments, both genders make great beginner dogs and family pets!

In other words, feel free to choose a dog according to your liking, and make sure to purchase from a great breeder who will make sure you end up with the best puppy possible. 

And if you happen to be from the UK and consider getting a Cocker Spaniel for yourself, check out our list of the best Cocker Spaniel breeders in your area!

Good luck!