Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Other names: Cavalier King Charles
Cheerful, exuberant and full of life, the Cavalier King Charles is a high-spirited character, always moving and looking for a ball or some kind of plaything from their owner. They make a great pet, loved by the young and the old for their cheerfulness and eagerness to do well.
Key facts about the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
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Origins and history
This dog’s origins can be traced to the King Charles breed who was once much more appreciated than the Cavalier. Today, we are witnessing a reversal of this trend because the Cavalier has fewer health problems, for example with their breathing. The Cavalier comes from crossing the King Charles, the Pekingese and the Pug. They take their name from Charles II who, according to his critics, preferred to play with his dogs rather than deal with state affairs. The breed standard was only fixed in 1928 and it was not until 1945 that the breed was recognised by the Kennel Club. As for the FCI, they definitively recognised the Cavalier King Charles in 1955.
FCI breed nomenclature
Group 9 - Companion and Toy Dogs
Section 7 : English Toy Spaniels
Physical characteristics of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Female : Between 10 and 13 in
Male : Between 10 and 13 in
Female : Between 11 and 18 lb
Male : Between 11 and 18 lb
Their coat can be black and tan, ruby (bright solid red), Blenheim (white with bright chestnut) or tricolour (black, white and tan).
Type of coat
Their coat is long.
Cavalier King Charles have a silky coat with fringes. Their fur may have a slight wave to it but is never curly.
They have dark eyes.
The Cavalier King Charles is a lively and graceful dog, they are well proportioned, sporty and cheerful. Their head is almost flat between the ears and has a deep stop and they have a pointy muzzle. Their eyes are large but not prominent. Their ears are long, set high and covered in fringe. Their body is short and well proportioned. Their tail is long and fringed. Their limbs are straight and in line with each other.
Good to know
The Cavalier King Charles appears to be the happiest dog in the world and is the ideal breed for those that need joy (children and the elderly). However, sometimes when they lie down to relax it can look as though they are sad. Legend has it that this is because they are thinking of their ancestors who were beheaded at the same time as King Charles I of England, a great fan of this breed and their namesake.
This toy spaniel is happy, friendly and affectionate towards those in their social group.
They love to play and are always looking for attention from their owners. Although they know how to sit quietly and relax when they need to, the Cavalier King Charles is always full of beans and ready to have fun.
The Cavalier King Charles’ greatest quality is to be able to calm down immediately if they know their owner has something else to do. Even if they struggle to relax they still know how to keep to themselves.
On the other hand, although they know how to be calm and relaxed at home, they are aware of every slight movement and gesture of their owners. The Cavalier King Charles is always keeping an eye out for an opportunity to jump up on the sofa to be loved and petted.
The Cavalier King Charles is a very intelligent pet. They have an incredible ability to adapt, whether that be where they live or their energy.
They are therefore suitable for either an active and sporty owner or for someone older; just like they can change from a state of euphoria to one of immediate calm.
Their ancestors had a prominent hunting instinct for birds. The Cavalier King Charles has inherited this trait, however, for several centuries their breeding has been focused on developing them to be a suitable pet.
Fearful / wary of strangers
Neither fearful nor aggressive, this toy spaniel generally greets guests with great kindness. On the other hand, they can be quite distant if they don’t trust the person, in this case they will simply ignore them.
Although they know how to keep their distance when they need to, the Cavalier eagerly awaits the slightest movement from their owner. They find it hard to be ignored or excluded from their group, this is a dog that will always be by your side.
Behaviour of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Although they know how to hide it, this dog really does suffer with loneliness. Even as a pet, they will struggle to be alone in the house for a whole day.
Easy to train / obedience
The Cavalier King Charles is not hard to train, it is however sometimes hard to keep their attention.
This little dog will try to wriggle out of being trained at every given opportunity. They know how to use their charm and take advantage of a weak trainer.
On the other hand, if training is started early and a motivating reward, like food, is used they tend to cooperate easily.
When alone, they rarely bark. It is one of their best characteristics, especially for a life in an apartment.
Nevertheless, if they live with other dogs they can be a bit louder as they copy those around them.
Tendency to run away
This dog doesn’t run away, they value their comfort and would be too scared to lose it and end up alone.
As they can’t stand being alone, this usually well-tempered little dog has been known to be destructive when its owners are away for too long and they are left without anything to do.
Greedy / Gluttony
Greediness is often a bad thing, but for this easily distracted dog it can be used positively to help with their training.
Strictly speaking, the Cavalier King Charles is more of an ‘alert’ dog than a guard dog. It is not in their nature to be distrustful and would clearly not deter an intruder.
This intelligent and affectionate little dog is both lively and calm and he is a very good choice for first-time adopters. However, don’t be too lax, bear in mind that their good temperament is dependent on training.
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Cavalier King Charles Spaniel in a flat
This dog is perfectly adapted to city life in an apartment. They are well suited to a more rural life in a house with a garden.
Whatever the lifestyle may be, this little dog will need to go outside daily and have regular exercise to avoid being overweight.
Need for exercise / Sporty
Despite being calm, the Cavalier King Charles can be particularly lively and needs daily walks to burn off their energy. This dog can also excel in certain activities if they practise regularly.
Travelling / easy to transport
It is fairly easy to travel with a Cavalier King Charles, but in general they exceed the weight limit for ‘handbag dogs’ on most public transport.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and cats
Always keep an eye out to see how the cat reacts, if they don’t like how extravagant the Cavalier is they may get their claws out. Generally, the two get on well, especially if they were introduced at an early age.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and dogs
Fairly comfortable in all environments (especially if they were well socialised from an early age), the Cavalier usually gets on with all fellow dogs as long as the dog codes of conduct are respected.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and children
Being lively and sporty, this little spaniel is an excellent playmate for children. Because of their kindness, good mood and their inexhaustible energy, they always have a positive effect on children because they each share the same total joy of life.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and the elderly
This toy dog is perfect for the elderly. They adapt well to that lifestyle and really appreciate a constant presence in the house, unlike owners who may be at work during the day for example.
The price of a Cavalier King Charles varies according to its origins, age and sex. On average, a Cavalier King Charles registered with the KC is about £940.
The average budget needed to meet the needs of a dog of this size would be between £18 and £26 / month.
Although you shouldn’t clip this dog, their coat does require regular brushing and detangling, at least two or three times a week.
In addition, their eyes and drooping ears should be checked and cleaned as often as possible to prevent infection.
The Cavalier King Charles sheds an adequate amount. When moulting it is advised to brush them every day to get rid of the dead hair.
Nutrition of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
The most important thing is to find a good balance to stop them from putting on weight. The amount they are fed should be suitable for their size, age, and especially how much physical activity they do daily.
Having regular check-ups at the vets is essential to monitor the growth of a the Cavalier King Charles puppy and to make sure they are developing well.
Health of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Life expectancy is about 12 years.
Strong / robust
Different to their cousin the King Charles, who is slightly more delicate, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a dog that lives for a long time and seems robust…Unfortunately, the breed is predisposed to some medical complications, notably those concerning heart.
Because of their flat face, the Cavalier King Charles can struggle to breathe and regulate their body temperature. When it is very hot it is important to be careful and prioritise walks early in the morning or late at night.
This dog dislikes the cold and the damp. They are often seen dressed in a coat in the winter.
Tendency to put on weight
Predisposed to obesity, these dogs must not fall into a sedentary lifestyle, if so they will struggle physically.
- Mitral endocardiosis (degenerative disease of heart valves)
- Malassezia dermatitis (skin disease)
- Follicular dysplasia of black hairs
- Syringomyelia or Chiari syndrome (neurological disease)
- Dislocation of the patella
- Brachycephalic upper airway syndrome