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Male vs. Female Cavalier King Charles Spaniels: What’s the Difference?

Oliver Jones

Depending on their sex, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels have several different traits. While they are all great family pets and affectionate lapdogs, male and female Spaniels can have a bit of variance in personality.

For the obvious differences, you only need to look at the dogs themselves. Males are larger and clingier, while females have slighter builds and tend to be more independent. There are other ways that they differ, however, and choosing the sex best for you depends on your lifestyle and what you’re seeking in a pet.

If you’re interested in Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, here are a few facts about each sex to help you decide between male or female.

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Visual Differences

male vs female Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Image Credit: (Left) Male Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, ErikaWittlieb, Pixabay | (Right) Female Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Pixabay

At a Glance

Male Cavalier King Charles Spaniels
  • Average height (adult): 12–13 inches
  • Average weight (adult): 13–18 pounds
  • Lifespan: 12–15 years
  • Exercise: Moderate
  • Family-friendly: Yes
  • Dog-friendly: Yes
  • Trainability: Eager to please and intelligent
Female Cavalier King Charles Spaniels
  • Average height (adult): 12–13 inches
  • Average weight (adult): 13–18 pounds
  • Lifespan: 12–15 years
  • Exercise: Low to moderate
  • Family-friendly: Yes
  • Dog-friendly: Yes
  • Trainability: Eager to please and intelligent, sometimes stubborn

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Cavalier King Charles Spaniels 101

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a mixture of a toy breed and the Sporting Spaniel. Originally bred as companion dogs and small game hunters, the Cavalier Spaniel mixes both traits into an energetic and adorable breed that is perfect for all types of families.

cavalier charles king spaniel
Image Credit: Krissi Lundgren, Shutterstock

During the reign of King Charles II of England, the breed was a firm favorite among royals and nobles, not to mention a beloved companion of His Majesty himself. After his reign, however, the breed saw a decrease in popularity and by the late 17th century, was almost forgotten.

It wasn’t until an American dog-lover ventured out to search for the breed in the 1920s that the Cavalier Spaniel saw a return to popularity.

These days, the Cavalier Spaniel isn’t reserved for aristocrats alone. However, Finding their home among lower-class families hasn’t let them lose their blue blood, and the breed’s appearance leaves no doubt as to their heritage. Their grace and even temper, along with the way that they adore their people, give them an air of regality that nobody can deny.

Many owners agree that the difference between male and female can be summed up in a phrase: “Females love you but males are in love with you.”

Male Cavalier King Charles Spaniels Overview

cavalier king charles spaniel_PicsbyFran, Pixabay
Image Credit: PicsbyFran, Pixabay

Personality / Character

Generally clingier than the females of the breed, the males tend to latch onto one member of the family and follow them everywhere. But they’re also more likely to roam, particularly when an unneutered male smells a female in heat. In this case, keep an eye on your Cavalier. When faced with competition for a female dog’s affection, the males can get aggressive.

While the females can be stubborn, males are more than happy to learn a few tricks, regardless of whether you’re using treats as a reward.

Males are also more energetic and don’t lose this trait as they age. A senior dog will be just as willing to play games as a puppy, so remember to walk them often to keep their energy levels in check.

Training

The difficulties in training your male Cavalier Spaniel come down to their energy levels. Males are more energetic and slower to mature than females, so it may be difficult to capture and hold their attention. They are eager to please, but they also love to sniff out new things to explore and play with their favorite people.

With a little persistence and a great deal of positive reinforcement, though, your male Cavalier will be exceptionally well behaved in no time at all.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Dog
Image Credit: Alexas_Fotos, Pixabay

Health and Care

Most of the health risks facing the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel are the same for both sexes. Both males and females can suffer from syringomyelia, episodic falling, and patellar luxation. Beyond that, the differences depend on the sex’s susceptibility to the disease itself.

Males tend to be more prone to mitral valve disease, but they’re less likely to suffer from obesity and dry eye.

Minor Conditions
  • Obesity
  • Patellar luxation
Serious Conditions
  • Syringomyelia
  • Episodic falling
  • Keratoconjunctivitis sicca (dry eye)
  • Mitral valve disease

Breeding

Depending on whether your male Cavalier Spaniel is part of an at-home breeding program or you offer your dog as a “stud” to other breeders, your involvement in breeding these dogs will vary.

If your dog lives with intact females, you’ll have to pay close attention to their interactions. Male Cavaliers aren’t usually aggressive, but they can be toward other male dogs or the females themselves if they’re around one in heat.

Offering your dog as a “stud” is the easier task of the two. You’ll be given a fee or pick of the litter, but otherwise, your involvement in the breeding is limited.

Make sure to screen your male Cavalier for common health issues before breeding. All respectable breeders have up-to-date medical records.

Pros
  • Eager to please
  • Energetic
  • Loyal to one person
  • Affectionate
Cons
  • Unneutered males can be aggressive around females in heat
  • Tends to roam
  • Hyperactive

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Female Cavalier King Charles Spaniels Overview

female cavalier charles king spaniel
Image Credit: BJkenel, Shutterstock

Personality / Character

The clinginess exuded by the male Cavalier Spaniel is subdued in the female. While she loves affection as much as her male counterparts do, she prefers to decide when she will receive it.

There will be moments when she will ignore you completely, only to cuddle up in your lap a few hours later as if nothing happened. Females also offer their attention to every member of the family instead of fixating on one person.

Stubbornness is also a trait among female Cavaliers. While males are eager to please, if a female decides that she doesn’t want to do something, you’ll be hard-pressed to convince her otherwise.

Despite being less aggressive than males, females tend to have more issues with members of the same sex.

Training

Due to their lower levels of hyperactivity and their quicker maturity, females are generally considered easier to train. Their intelligence and docile natures give them the edge over their male counterparts and help them focus on their assigned tasks.

Their stubbornness can make training a bit difficult, though. But don’t get angry when your female Cavalier starts refusing to pay attention; you’ll only scare her away from training sessions for good. Make sure to keep sessions fun, lighthearted, and packed with positive reinforcement.

cavalier king charles spaniel_ErikaWittlieb_Pixabay
Image Credit: ErikaWittlieb, Pixabay

Health and Care

Like males, female Cavalier Spaniels suffer from many of the same health issues. Syringomyelia, episodic falling, and patellar luxation are conditions that both sexes can suffer from.

While they don’t suffer from mitral valve disease as often as their male counterparts, females are more susceptible to obesity and dry eye.

Minor Conditions
  • Obesity
  • Patellar luxation
Serious Conditions
  • Syringomyelia
  • Episodic falling
  • Keratoconjunctivitis sicca (dry eye)
  • Mitral valve disease

Breeding

If you’re planning on breeding Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, bear in mind that female dogs will take more time and effort. You have to pay particular attention to your dog throughout her pregnancy and as she tends to the puppies.

The task of socializing and keeping the puppies healthy before they go to their new homes falls on you as the breeder.

Whether you have a male or female, however, always make sure you screen your dog for common health issues. This will ensure that the puppies remain healthy and don’t inherit any illnesses.

Pros
  • Independent
  • Matures faster than males
  • Friend of everyone
  • Calm
Cons
  • Can be stubborn
  • Aloof
  • More prone to obesity

Related Read: Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Names

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Which Sex Is Right for You?

When it comes to the choice between male and female Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, your lifestyle plays a big part in deciding which sex to go for.

Males will suit an active lifestyle far better than a sedate one. They are more energetic, to the point of hyperactivity. Clingy and affectionate, they’ll follow their favorite family member into the bathroom and coax them into playing extensive games of fetch as they roam around outside.

Females, in comparison, are sedate and often aloof. Unlike males, they’ll happily sit with any member of the family or spend time on their own. Although less energetic, they’re also more intelligent and easier to train. While their stubborn streak can be a mile wide, they will adore every member of the family equally.

Originally bred as a mix of hunting and companion dogs, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels make great family pets regardless of their sex. They’re refined and adorable and love curling up on your lap at the end of a long day.


Featured Image Credit: BIGANDT.COM, Shutterstock (top); Alessandra Sawick, Shutterstock (bottom)

Oliver Jones

Oliver (Ollie) Jones - A zoologist and freelance writer living in South Australia with his partner Alex, their dog Pepper, and their cat Steve (who declined to be pictured). Ollie, originally from the USA, holds his master's degree in wildlife biology and moved to Australia to pursue his career and passion but has found a new love for working online and writing about animals of all types.