Shiba Inu vs Cocker Spaniel: A Detailed Comparison

Shiba Inu vs Cocker Spaniel

Cocker Spaniels and Shiba Inus both have very distinct physical appearances. Their personalities are almost as different as their appearances are. Regardless of these numerous differences they do share some qualities as well. One of those qualities being that they can make a great family member. 


Differences and Similarities 

In order to decide which one of these two unique breeds is the best fit for you and your lifestyle, we need to dive into what makes these dogs so unique. They share some qualities, such as their size, but their personalities are quite different.


Neither one of these breeds are heavy droolers, but between the two it is more common in the Cocker Spaniel. 

Cocker Spaniels are well known for their luscious locks. They have very long fur with feathers on the underside, tail, ears. These sweeping feathers can extend down to the ground and give them a very recognizable appearance. To maintain this beautiful, silky coat adequate time needs to be devoted to grooming. Cocker Spaniels should be brushed daily and groomed regularly as well. It is very easy for their coats to get matted and once this happens getting their coats back on track isn’t an easy process.

See also: Shiba Inu vs Shih Tzu

The unique, fox looking Shiba Inu is a little labor intensive when it comes to grooming. They do need to be brushed, especially when they blow their coat. They are less likely to become matted but expect to see far more fur tumbleweeds.

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These two breeds don’t share much in regards to personality, but what they do share is affection for their people. For the Shiba Inu this affection usually doesn’t go far beyond their family. The Cocker Spaniel however will gladly befriend anyone. They are very sociable and interact well with people, including young children, and other dogs. The Shiba Inu is much less outgoing when it comes to making friends, particularly with fellow canines. 

The social grace that the Cocker Spaniel has helps make them very adaptable dogs. With training and socialization they can enter a new environment with all different faces and rarely become skittish. Many Cocker Spaniels have been used in agility and as show dogs which makes this adaptability especially important for them. 

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If your Cocker Spaniel isn’t one for shows or the agility ring it is still important that they get plenty of exercise. Both this breed and the Shiba Inu have fairly high energy and mental engagement demands. With the high intelligence of these dog types this isn’t surprising. If these needs aren’t met it can wreak havoc on your furniture or shoes as they try to keep themselves occupied. 

A word of warning with the Cocker Spaniel; at one time they were overbred due to their popularity. Unfortunately this careless overbreeding led to a portion of these dogs being very high strung and anxious instead of their usual loving nature. 


Shiba Inus and Cocker Spaniels are quite similar in size. They actually both stand at roughly the same height of 14.5 to 16.5 inches at the shoulder. They may be at almost the exact same height, but their weight does vary slightly. Shiba Inus tend to be a little leaner with the males weighing up to 23 pounds. This is very similar to what the smaller, female Cocker Spaniels weigh. The larger males, however, can get up to 30 pounds. 

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With a known stubborn streak, Shiba Inus are notoriously difficult to train. They would rather do things on their terms instead of  yours. They are intelligent dogs, and with good training structure from puppyhood this can be overcome. 

Cocker Spaniels are known for being wonderful agility dogs. They are very people pleasing, intelligent pups which makes them for the most part easy to train. Some individual Cocker Spaniels may be more difficult to potty train than others. However, for the most part they are very good for new dog owners. The fact that they are very food and praise motivated doesn’t hurt either.


For both the Cocker Spaniel and the Shiba Inu, a similar lifespan is expected. The slightly smaller Shiba Inu is more likely to live a little longer at 13 to 16 years. The slightly stockier Cocker Spaniel has a minimally shorter life expectancy of 10 to 14 years. As with any breed and any individual dog, there is the possibility of health issues that can shorten these general lifespans. Thankfully, neither of these two breeds are predisposed to any health issues that are severe. 

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Which One is the Best for You

Since both the Shiba Inu and the Cocker Spaniel have similarly high needs in regard to energy, make sure you are ready for plenty of play time. Cocker Spaniels also have the extra time that needs to be devoted for brushing and grooming. If you are looking for a dog to rough and tumble with in the woods, this may not be the breed for you. Conversely, if an agility dog is what you are looking for with a glamorous look to boot, then the Cocker Spaniel may very well be your dream dog.

If you want an independent dog that acts almost like a cat, look no further than the Shiba Inu. While these dogs are affectionate they also like their alone time as well. They are also a good fit if a small guard dog with a very unique look is what you want. 

If you are new to owning and training dogs the Cocker Spaniel is the safer bet until you are more comfortable and experienced. While the Shiba Inu is a fun breed, with their stubborn streak they are usually not a great choice for first time dog owners.

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Is Two Better Than One?

Both of these breeds are unique and wonderful additions to a household. So if you can’t pick just one, can you safely get both? The short answer is yes, but be careful. With Shiba Inus oftentimes not getting along with other dogs, the two pups should be raised and trained together from a young age. Thankfully the Cocker Spaniels are adaptable enough that they will usually give the Shiba Inu the space that they need but also be a great playmate.

If both dogs are in your future make sure you are getting well bred dogs on each side. If you get a poorly bred Cocker Spaniel that is high strung, it could spell disaster with the equally nervous Shiba Inu.