Male vs. Female Cavalier King Charles Spaniel: Which Is Better?

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are really good as family pets, mainly because they are great lap dogs and love spending time with their family. However, one thing to keep in mind when buying one is the subtle differences between male and female Cavalier King Charles Spaniels.

Each has its own advantages and disadvantages, and you only need to find the best one that suits you and your lifestyle. Remember that no gender or breed is perfect, so you only have to choose which gender is the best fit for you.

So, which one is better for you, a male and a female Cavalier King Charles Spaniel? If you want a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel that will always wait for you to give attention and is generally clingier, then get a male. If you want a more independent Cavalier King Charles Spaniel that loves its alone time and will come to you willingly for attention, then get a female.

This is only a summary of what you will find in this article, and if you read on, you will find that there are many things that differentiate them. Go ahead and see which gender is the best for you!

Male Cavalier King Charles Spaniels


Overview


Height: 12 – 13 inches (30 – 33 cm)

Weight: 12 – 18 lbs (5.9 – 8.2 kg)

Puppy Price: $1,000 – $3,500

Lifespan: 9 – 14 Years

Build: Slightly bigger built with more muscle mass.


Temperament


  • Affectionate, gentle, and graceful.
  • Easily get distracted and harder to train.
  • More attention seeking.
  • Easier to socialize with people.
  • Harder to train him to walk off leash and stay close to you.
  • More playful and energetic.
  • Less suspicious of strangers.
  • More stubborn.
  • More aggressive.
  • Tends to protect a territory or whole family.
  • Clumsy around kids.
  • More likely to bond with all family members.
  • A bit messier.
  • Matures slower.
  • Less likely to get along with other dogs or animals.
  • Loves to please his owner.

Female Cavalier King Charles Spaniels


Overview


Height: 12 – 13 inches (30 – 33 cm)

Weight: 12 – 18 lbs (5.9 – 8.2 kg)

Puppy Price: $1,000 – $3,500

Lifespan: 9 – 14 Years

Build: Slightly slimmer built with less muscle mass.


Temperament


  • Affectionate, gentle, and graceful.
  • More focused and easier to train.
  • Less attention seeking.
  • A bit harder to socialize with people.
  • Easier to train her to walk off leash and stay close to you.
  • Can be slightly less playful.
  • More suspicious of strangers.
  • Less stubborn.
  • Less aggressive.
  • Tends to protect an individual (her owner).
  • More cautious around kids.
  • Tends to bond with one person in the family.
  • Cleaner.
  • Matures quicker.
  • More likely to get along with other dogs or animals.
  • Slightly less desire to please her owner.

Physical Differences

Males

Males are usually taller and bigger than females, but in the case of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, their average height and weight are usually the same.

It’s hard to distinguish whether your Cavalier is a male or a female without looking at their sexual organs because they practically look the same. A distinguishing attitude of males is that they tend to eat significantly more than non-pregnant females. This makes them bigger and heavier than the females.

Another observation is that male Cavaliers develop sexually quicker than their female counterparts, and they will display sexual tendencies younger than females.

Females

Aside from being slightly smaller than male dogs and the difference in sexual organs, there isn’t much physical difference between male and female Cavaliers. Females go into heat twice a year for around 3 to 4 weeks, and during this time they will have a fluid discharge that attracts males.

Temperamental Differences

Males

Aggressiveness in male Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is particularly distinctive. While generally males are more aggressive than females, a Cavalier’s aggressiveness is directed only at other males when there are nearby females in heat.

They also have the habit of roaming especially when they smell a female in heat. I suggest keeping an eye out for your unneutered male as he might suddenly disappear for days searching for the female in heat.

Males also form a closer bond with only one person who they will cling to all the time. Owners tend to agree with the saying that “female Cavaliers love you, but male Cavaliers are in love with you.”

They will follow you everywhere you go and will be the textbook definition of a lap dog. They love being around or on the laps of their owners, and they will do anything to please you as well, with or without treats!

Because of their tendency to be more aggressive than female dogs, male Cavaliers should be taught how to socialize at a very young age, otherwise it will be difficult to have them play with others.

Females

Female Cavalier King Charles Spaniels tend to be less aggressive than males, and they’re much less likely to hump people or engage in fights to show their dominance. Although, like any other breed, they don’t bode well with the same sex unless they were socialized at a very young age.

If you have an existing female pet at home, it’s best to socialize them well at an early age and keep at least a 2-year difference in age to avoid them competing.

Moving on to the former part of the “female Cavaliers love you, but male Cavaliers are in love with you,” females are more likely to bond with the whole family rather than one person. They don’t fixate their energy and attach themselves to just one member.

Owners always notice that while males tend to have a “follow you into the bathroom” kind of clingy to one person, females are content with just being in the same room as one member of the family.

There will be times when their independent streak will show, and they’ll appear distant. Don’t worry, they still love you, but they value their alone time as much as they value cuddle time.

Because they mature faster than males, they also tend to be more intelligent. While it is good in terms of training and obedience, they have the tendency to become more stubborn, and they will manipulate their way into not doing a task.

Females often choose when to obey and when not to, so make sure you train them early on so that you wouldn’t have difficulties in the future.

Trainability

Males

As a breed, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are relatively easy to train. However, when it comes to training, owners usually experience more difficulty with males. This is because they tend to be more free-spirited in nature and are easily distracted.

They like roaming around and playing with their owners rather than learning commands. Another factor that affects their trainability is their rate of maturity. Since they mature slower than females, male puppies undergoing training will have a harder time than female puppies of the same age.

One thing owners have noticed is that male puppies are much more eager to please than females, and they will do anything you want. With enough patience, you’ll have yourself a fully trained puppy.

Male Cavalier King Charles Spaniel puppies are also full of high energy and don’t expect them to calm down anytime soon because even as adults, they are as energetic as puppies. Since they’re extremely energetic, be sure to give these guys a lot of exercises aside from training them.

Females

As opposed to the males of their breed, the females are a bit more obedient and less energetic, making them easier to train.  They also mature faster, making them smarter than their male counterparts.

However, this intelligence comes with a bit of a stubborn streak, as females like to choose who they want to obey and when they want to. They are more focused on training than males, but this might be because they’re eager to return to their comfy spot for some alone time.

Females are also less likely to assert dominance on you during training, but they are resourceful and often headstrong. You may find yourself struggling to get her to do a task if she doesn’t want to.

Although females are cunning and resourceful, be careful when training them as their mood tends to be easily soured. Any harshness or rough handling with these dogs makes them shy and unenthusiastic to train.

Make sure to be as gentle as possible while still keeping firm with your commands. Avoid loud voices and strong reprimanding as this will just make them avoid wanting to train.

Health Differences

Both male and female Cavaliers are prone to Syringomyelia (SM), a condition that affects the brain and spine. It’s caused by a malformation of the brain that reduces the space allotted for the skull.

Common symptoms include pain that can range from mild discomfort to severe pain and possible partial paralysis, sensitivity in the head and shoulders, and air scratching. This is an illness that can debilitate them and cause them great pain so once you notice symptoms, take them to the vet for a check-up immediately.

Another common Cavalier health issue is Episodic Falling. Often confused with epilepsy, Episodic Falling is when the dog remains conscious during the fall and seizure episode. Their episodes can range from occasional mild falling to seizure episodes that can last for a few hours.

Lastly, Patellar Luxation is the dislocation of the knee. This happens when their knee joint slides out of place, causing them to suddenly lift their leg in pain. This is usually self-remedied by kicking out sideways, but in major cases, surgery is required.

Males

One common condition in Cavalier King Charles Spaniels is the Mitral Valve Disease (MVD). This condition typically starts with a heart murmur that worsens until they eventually have heart failure. A heart murmur is when its heart has an extra vibration that results in a disturbance in blood flow.

Although this condition is typical in older dogs, Cavaliers are actually prone to developing the condition at an early age (as young as one year old). Although Mitral Valve Disease can happen to both genders, a study suggests that male dogs are almost 1.5 times more prone to getting the condition than female dogs.

Females

Obesity is a nutrition-related disorder that usually decreases the life span of the Cavalier. Females, in general, are more prone to obesity, representing around 60% of obese in dogs.

Surprisingly, neutering seems to increase the chances of female dogs’ being obese. They are twice as likely to be obese as intact females. Overall, the frequency of obesity in neutered dogs is 32%, compared to 15% of intact dogs in both genders.

Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca or Dry Eye is usually caused by an autoimmune reaction to the dog’s tear glands, reducing their ability to produce tears. This condition can be easily treated with eye drops as long as it’s diagnosed. If Dry Eye is left untreated, it can result in blindness. There is a suspicion that female dogs are more prone to getting Dry Eye than male dogs.

With Children

Males

Male Cavaliers are often very possessive of the females (dog or human) they bonded with. This is especially a concern if you have small children with the dogs loose around the house.

If you have children and you want them to have an active dog as they grow up, a male is better suited for your family as males tend to remain as active as they were as pups even after they reach their first year.

Females

Female Cavaliers bond with children mainly because of their maternal instinct. They are often more protective of them and are more careful. A female Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is the best choice for younger children as they are more fragile and require a calmer dog.

However, if you want a dog that is still as energetic after the one-year period, get a male, as females tend to become calmer after their first year.

With Other Dogs

Males

The male Cavalier King Charles Spaniels tend to be aggressive against other dogs, especially male dogs when a nearby female is in heat. This makes it rather difficult for them to socialize with other dogs and people.

There is also a tendency that a male dog may turn aggressive if a female dog doesn’t respond to his advances. With these things in mind, it is best to train the males while they are young to lessen the chances of being aggressive with other dogs.

Females

The female Cavalier King Charles Spaniels tend to be more open when it comes to people. This means that it’s easier to bring them out, meet other dogs or people, and make it easy for them to socialize.

In general, female dog fights are rare, but they are often more severe than male dog fights since they don’t stop until they draw blood, or worse. Although a Cavalier female dog fight is rare, it’s still possible so it’s best to socialize your puppy as soon as possible.

Which Is Better for a Family?

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are the perfect addition to your family. They are smart and easy to train, and they are always very eager to please their human. Gender typically doesn’t matter much as opposed to the actual breed, but there are a few advantages of a male and a female Cavalier.

Advantages of Male Cavalier King Charles Spaniels in a Family Environment:

  • Energetic even after the first-year mark.
  • Eager to please their owners.
  • Very protective and territorial.
  • Gets along with females.
  • More affectionate.

Advantages of Female Cavalier King Charles Spaniels in a Family Environment:

  • Calmer after the first-year mark.
  • More intelligent.
  • Easier to train.
  • Doesn’t roam.
  • Gets along with males.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are an excellent choice for families since they have slight differences between males and females that make them perfect for different types of households. If you train them early on, there’s a much better chance that they will get along with other dogs regardless of gender.

A male Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is better for you if you want a hyper and energetic dog. They’re also good if you have children, and you want a puppy that grows with them while keeping the same puppy energy they had.

Male Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are very affectionate, and they would do practically anything to please you. They are also less moody, so you’ll find yourself always getting cuddled and followed by these little creatures. They’re also a good choice if you already have a dog of the opposite sex.

If you love a calmer dog that’s just content with being in the same room as you, then a female Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is the better choice for you. They are more intelligent and are easier to train.

They’re also more careful around children because of their maternal instincts, so getting a female Cavalier is a right choice if you have younger children. While they are as energetic as males when they’re puppies, they’ll grow into a calmer, quieter dog as they grow older.

If you like a more silent companion that still asks for cuddles and scratches now and then, then a female Cavalier is the perfect one for you, they’ll also get along with male dogs if you already have one.

Which Is a Better Guard Dog?

Although Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are a bit on the smaller side, they are fiercely loyal to their owners, and they’ll do anything for their owners. This is especially good if you’re looking for a guard dog.

There are numerous advantages of having Cavaliers as a guard dog, but there are also some specific advantages that each gender has. Read on below to see which one suits your idea of a guard dog more.

Advantages of Male Cavalier King Charles Spaniels as Guard Dogs:

  • More territorial.
  • Stronger bite.
  • Best as a personal guard dog, attaches himself to one person.
  • A tendency to roam around.
  • More determined to please his owners.

Advantages of Female Cavalier King Charles Spaniels as Guard Dogs:

  • Best as a family guard dog, tends to be close to all members of the family.
  • Faster, usually leaner.
  • Calmer and more intelligent.
  • More mature.
  • Easier to train.

They might be slightly unassuming because of their size and nature, but when the time comes, they’ll protect you as much as they can.

Males are naturally more territorial, and their tendency to roam in search of females in heat is actually kind of a good thing in this case since they’ll cover more ground in your property but just make sure not to let them roam too far! Since they’re attached and “in love” with one person in the family, they’re better suited to be personal guards.

Females are the better choice if you’re looking for a family guard dog since they don’t just attach themselves to one person. Since they’re more intelligent, they also react faster to danger.

Females are also easier to train even as puppies, so if you don’t have a lot of time but still want a trained pup, then a female Cavalier is better for you.

Final Thoughts

Active yet graceful, sweet yet feisty, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are the perfect mix of beauty and brains. They’re sure to steal your hearts with just one look, and they’ll always provide you with all the love and affection they can muster.

There are, of course, some differences in male and female Cavaliers but regardless of gender, you’ll always be sure that you’re getting a loyal companion for the years to come.

John Carter

My name is John Carter and I absolutely love pets, especially dogs. I've got a Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Behaviour and Welfare and have several years’ experience working in animal shelters and rescues. My passion for animals started at a very young age as I grow up on a farm with several horses, cows, cats, chickens, and dogs on our property.

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