King Charles Spaniel vs Cocker Spaniel: Which is Better

King Charles Spaniel and Cocker Spaniel together on the couch

Suppose you love spaniels and enjoy learning about them. In that case, you are probably familiar with the Cavalier King Charles and the Cocker Spaniel. When I set out to get a dog, I had to decide between a Cocker spaniel or a King Charles spaniel, and I settled with King Charles spaniel. Here is what I learned when I had to make my choice.

King Charles Spaniel vs Cocker Spaniel: Which Is Better

The King Charles Spaniel requires lots of attention and more training than a Cocker Spaniel. If you can give him what he needs, the King Charles spaniel would be better. If you are off to work five days a week, you would be better off with a Cocker Spaniel.

Even though both the dogs come from the same family, their breeds are entirely different. This results in some distinctive differences and also a bunch of similarities.

Whether you prefer the Cocker or the Cavalier depends entirely on your lifestyle. So, if you are contemplating keeping these pups as pets, here’s everything you need to know about them, their traits, and their differences. Read on to know more about King Charles Spaniels versus Cocker Spaniels.

What Is The Difference Between a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel And a Cocker Spaniel?

If you plan to keep these pups as pets, perhaps the biggest question would be how they are different. In the following section, we will discuss them more.

What is the difference in size?

If you spot a Cocker and a Cavalier King for the first time, the most noticeable difference would be in their sizes. Unlike the Cocker, which is slightly tall, standing at a height between 14 and 15 and a half inches, King Charles is much shorter. These dogs have an average shoulder height of 12 to 13 inches. They are thus reasonably smaller when compared to their Cocker cousins

What is the difference in weight?

Another distinctive difference between the two dog breeds is their weight. While the Cocker Spaniel has an average weight of around 20 and 30 pounds, the Cavalier King Charles is reasonably lightweight with an average weight of 13 to 18 pounds. With that said, both dogs feature thick and moderately bushy tails.

What are the differences in character between the Cocker Spaniel and a King Charles Spaniel

Now that you know the average size of both the spaniels, you probably wonder how their characteristics are. Are Cockers timid because of their weight? Are the Cavaliers aggressive because of their size? How is their general appearance? Do they have any other noticeably different physical characteristics other than size and weight? Let’s find out.

Both the Cocker and the Cavalier are extremely pleasant to be around. So, if you are staying with them for the first time, be prepared to enjoy a wholesome time with plenty of cuddling. None of the dogs are aggressive or timid, and both are always looking to amuse their respective owners.

Their coats have a marked difference when it comes to appearance, primarily when you compare their coats. The coat of Cockers is reasonably short when compared to Charles spaniels. Again, while the Charles spaniels only feature a couple of tiny hair around their skull, the remaining body has medium-length hair, and this covers their entire coat.

As with the coat of other spaniels, Cockers have varying coats ranging from silky to wavy. In some instances, these coats are also flat. 

You will not observe any of these features in a Cocker Spaniel because not only are the coats short; they are also comparatively thin.

The final and the most significant difference between these spaniels lie in their usual prey drive. While the Cocker Spaniel is friendly and not timid, they have a strong sense of hunting and grabbing prey. Quite uniquely, the Cavalier, despite being bigger among the two, does not exhibit such a prey drive. This is also why you will find them happy in the presence of other individuals and animals.

What is the temperament of both breeds and what are there differences?

As per the research conducted by the American Kennel Club, both dogs make excellent pets. That is because both are highly non-aggressive and mostly display an even temper. This is also the reason why you would enjoy spending the majority of your time around these pups.

King Charles pups are known to be generally happy. They are also extremely friendly and won’t exhibit aggression unless provoked. Because they are friendly, King Charles Spaniels are also quite assertive. They won’t nervously run away when you attempt to pet them. Instead, they will take that opportunity and enjoy it to the fullest.

Even though the Cocker Spaniel is equally friendly, they are significantly calmer when compared to their King Charles counterparts. These dogs and display a moderate and highly manageable temper, and they are straightforward to handle. What’s more, they are also non-aggressive and will take the first opportunity to be your friend.

Note that although these are the general temperaments of these spaniels, your spaniel may not exhibit all the mentioned traits. Remember that is entirely fine because, like people, dogs have entirely different personalities and attitudes.

If you are looking to raise your pup correctly, take the first step by socializing them early. You can also back this up with other training that focuses on positive reinforcement. This will further ensure that your pet is happy and in the best of their behavior and health.  

Some Facts: King Charles Spaniels vs Cocker Spaniels

  Cocker Spaniel King Charles Spaniel
Height: 14 to 15 and ½ inches 12 to 13 inches
Weight: 25 to 30 pounds 13 to 18 pounds
Prey drive: High prey drive Low prey drive
Coat: Short coat flat or wavy Long coat with flat or wavy hair

How Can You Tell The Difference Between a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel And a Cocker Spaniel?

If you spot a King Charles Spaniel and a Cocker Spaniel for the first time, you will probably notice the most defining difference in their size. As you already know, the Cockers are slightly shorter and lightweight when compared to King Charles Spaniel.

Because they are small, the Cockers also have a smaller coat that doesn’t feature too many hairs. Alternatively, the King Charles Spaniels have a longer coat with soft fur.

Although dogs may not exhibit their prey drive when domesticated, the Cocker Spaniel may seem moderately aggressive around potential prey. A King Charles Spaniel is surprisingly not as vigilant, and they are therefore friendlier and easier to be around.  

What Do King Charles Spaniels And Cocker Spaniels Have In Common?

Now that we’ve learned some essential details about the significant differences between King Charles and Cocker Spaniels, you might be wondering whether they have similarities as well. Interestingly, despite their many differences, these dogs have a similar and overlapping domain: their temperament.

Despite the differences in size and weight, both dogs are delightful, and you would enjoy their affection and friendliness. Both spaniels are also confident about their demeanor but non-assertive in general. What’s more, they aren’t timid either. So, if you are looking to be friends with these pups, it will be a cakewalk!

Note that although the Cocker Spaniel has a high prey drive, they tend to be extremely calm around owners and parents. The prey drive may also be affected following their first round of domestication. King Charles is universally friendly and will require minimal training.

Finally, both the dogs are known to be people pleasers. So, if you manage them or have them at home, expect some friendly and affectionate surprises from your furry friend.

Is King Charles Spaniel Easier To Train Than a Cocker Spaniel?

Because both King Charles Spaniel and the Cocker Spaniel have a relatively similar temperament, you might be wondering how they fare when it comes to training.

The Cavalier King Charles is extremely friendly. This breed of pups is always looking to please their owners, and you will find it reasonably easy to train them. Even though you might need to spend more time in-house-training them, they will respond quickly and politely when you use positive reinforcements.

These dogs aren’t known to be barkers, though certain pups from the species may bark occasionally. In case your puppy is frequently barking, it is perhaps because they are seeking attention. Cavalier King Charles enjoys companionship to the utmost.

They may start barking if you keep them in a solitary space for a couple of hours. This is also a sign of separation anxiety.

While they won’t bark if you leave them alone for a while, after a point, they will hunt your presence and start barking if they can’t find you. Because of their high dependence, people with hectic schedules and who frequently travel may not want to consider this dog in the first instance.

If at all you are planning to keep this pup despite your busy schedule, make sure you make up for the time and leave some other human in your absence to keep your furry friend entertained.

Now, how do these spaniels fare when compared to the Cocker Spaniel? As you already know, the Cocker Spaniel is yet another breed that is easy to train because of its people-pleasing temperament. That is also the reason why you can conveniently house-train these dogs in a couple of weeks.

Unlike King Charles that only barks occasionally when left alone, Cocker Spaniels have a general temperament of barking at strangers. Their barks have high strung, and because these pups are extremely vocal, you will get to hear the barks more than you would expect.

With that said, you can train and manage them to ‘not bark’ quite easily. The dog will also be raised better if he grows up in a family with kids and a bunch of other animals. That is also the reason why many families consider raising them.

Most Cocker Spaniels are also extremely trustworthy and make great house dogs. They will be excellent around the elderly, kids, other animals, and members of the house. Unfortunately, prolonged good behavior often leads to temperamental problems. If you notice problems in your dog’s temperament, make sure you address them immediately without further delay.

Also, note that while Cocker Spaniels are generally friendly dogs, some specific breeds like the English Cocker are fairly hostile. The aggression is only inherited, suggesting that a dog’s gene has a significant role in determining its eventual behavior.

If you plan to raise a Cocker at home, treat them with respect, affection, and care. Follow the same pattern even if you suddenly find your pup hyperactive where they are not responding to your commands. If this doesn’t help, move your pup to their crate and allow them to calm at their own pace.

This is an excellent practice that will help you raise the dog more suitably.

Which Is Easier To Take Care Of? A Cocker Spaniel Or a King Charles Spaniel?

When it comes to trainability, the Cocker fairs better than King Charles.
While it would take only two weeks to potty-train the Cocker, you may have to wait longer and use more positive reinforcements for King Charles pup. While both are simple to train, here are some basic characteristics.

Which is easier to groom?

Grooming the Cocker Spaniel is easier than King Charles. The Cocker’s hair does not get tangled so fast as the King Charles spaniels coat.

The Cocker spaniel needs grooming about three times a week. To keep is long-wave hair look beautiful. However is you often walk outside in the countryside, his fur might need more grooming. His long hair can hide many kinds of debris. You might consider grooming him every day.

The Cavalier King Charles spaniel needs daily grooming. Their coat has a natural wave that can easily tangle. Especially around his ears, and his feet are the first places that get matted.

You can read more about the Cavaliers shedding and grooming in our full article about the topic here.


Both dogs are non-fussy about food, and you wouldn’t have much trouble feeding them.


King Charles thrives on attention and can be left alone only for a short time. The Cocker Spaniel doesn’t have any similar characteristics. Although they enjoy the attention, they can also learn to live without it for a while.  


Both the Cocker and King Charles prefer frequent outside walks.


The Cocker Spaniel is easier to train than King Charles. That is because they do not exhibit separation anxiety and are easier around families.

Which One Is The Better Family Dog? Cocker Spaniel or King Charles Spaniel

If you are looking for a perfect family dog, both the Cocker Spaniel and King Charles Spaniel can be great options. Both dogs respond well to training and can be trained in a couple of weeks. They are also known to be pleasant around people and display a high response to positive reinforcement.

However, you should only choose King Charles Spaniel if you are willing to spend 24X7 with them. These dogs don’t react well to separation anxiety and might need someone all the time. Cocker Spaniels do exhibit similar behavior and can be raised by everyone, regardless of their lifestyle.

I have an article on the topic can a King Charles Spaniel be left home alone. You can read my full article here.

Why Do People Mistake a Cocker Spaniel For a King Charles Spaniel?

Both the Cocker Spaniel and King Charles Spaniel are great dogs with an almost similar appearance. Both are almost the same size, and same colors. The long hanging ears with wavy hair make them look the same.

That is why many mistake them for the other. However, if you observe closely, you will notice that King Charles Spaniel is bigger and with a denser coat when compared to the Cocker Spaniel.


Now that you know all about these dogs, what are you waiting for? Choose the Cocker Spaniel if you are looking for a family dog that can stand separation anxiety to some extent. Alternatively, if you are looking for an all-around friendly dog that will be affectionate and happy all the time, try the Cavalier King.

Because the Cavalier King doesn’t deal with separation anxiety quite well, it only makes sense to choose them when you can arrange a suitable companion in your absence.

Erwin Borgers

Hi, I’m Erwin. I grew up with two cats, but I always wanted to have a dog. Since my wife and I lived together, we have Mayla. She is a very sweet King Charles Spaniel. Together we spend countless of hours in the forest near our home. We love to walk together and now I want to share what I learned about walking dogs and what I learned about dog gear with you.

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