Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

A Quick Look at the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel…

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are on the larger end of the toy dog spectrum, with a loving heart that is tremendously large It has a gorgeous medium length wavy coat and long ears on which long wavy fur helps them to frame the face. They are highly affectionate, tolerant, and playful dogs that seem to be forever happy. Though they were once most popular among English nobles, there is nothing arrogant or conceited about them. They’re wonderful around everyone, including children and other dogs and animals.

Here are some fast facts about the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel:

Dog Group:
Toy (AKC)
Recognized By:
Dogs – 11-18 lbs. (5-8 kg)
Bitches – 11-18lbs. (5-8 kg)
Dogs – 12- 13 in. (30-33 cm)
Bitches – 12-13 in. (30-33 cm)
Average litter size:
Life expectancy:
9 to 15 years (a healthy dog can live 13-15 years)
Health problems:
Coat care:
Exercise needs:
Suitable for children:
Pet compatibility:
Barking frequency:

Brief History

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel finds its origins several hundred years ago and proof of their existence has been found in the artwork of famous artists from the Sixteenth through to the Eighteenth Centuries, including Gainsborough and Van Dyck, for example. At first, the breed started off as a smaller dog with higher ears on a flatter head, as well as a pointy nose and eyes the shape of an almond.

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniels were preferred by ladies as pets and were handy lapdogs to help stay warm in cold drafty castles and manors as well as in carriage rides during the winter months. This dog was given the name “King Charles” after King Charles II who had favored this breed since his youth.

The breed fell out of the attention of breeders and dog owners for a while until it was practically extinct – the only varieties currently available had a shorter nose. Finally, Roswell Eldridge, an American, offered a Crufts Show prize in the 1920s to any breeder who could come up with a dog that was “of the old fashioned type” with a longer muzzle. The contest was a success, but today’s Cavalier King Charles Spaniel still sports the shorter nose that had developed over the years.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Breed Appearance and Characteristics

General Appearance – the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is small with large, round, sweet dark eyes. The preference for the skull is for it to be flat, though a very slight rounding is permitted. The muzzle should taper. The nose and the nostrils of the dog should both be prominent for heightened scenting skills as the dog was bred as a hunting companion. Long soft wavy fur grows over the drop ears giving the impression that they are longer than they are. The entire body is covered in a coat that is medium in length, soft, and wavy. The tail is left its natural length and is held high with full feathering.

Coat colors for the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel include tri-color, ruby, black and tan, or the chestnut-on-white coloring called “Blenheim”. The ideal marking pattern for dogs with Blenheim coloring is to achieve a reddish chestnut spot between the ears on the top of the head.

Typical Temperament – Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are happy creatures that seek nothing more than the praise and love of their family for every waking moment of their day. They are exceptionally social and can be lively and sometimes vocal, though typically they bark only to alert the family of the arrival of someone new, such as a guest, a family member who has returned home, or someone at the door. This breed is unhappy when left alone for a long period of time and finds it ideal when someone can be with him or her all of the time. Though not afraid of strangers (human or canine), they don’t enjoy being teased or played with roughly by kids.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Care Requirements

Grooming – Because the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel has soft wavy hair that is long enough to knot, it is important to groom this dog on a daily basis. This helps to prevent tangles and snarls, keeps the skin and hair clean with evenly distributed oils, and makes the coat softer. Though hair grows inside the ear of this breed, it should be removed not only to prevent painful tangling, but also to stop infections from occurring.

Exercise – The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel doesn’t need a tremendous amount of exercise. A daily walk at a good pace and some playtime inside or outside will be all this dog usually needs to burn off extra energy and avoid mischief. This dog loves to run around in a back yard, even if it’s not too big, as long as it is fenced in.

Approximate Food Cost – It should cost around $10 per month to feed a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, assuming that he or she eats an average quality dry dog food at around 1 ¼ to 1 2/3 cups per day.

General Health Information

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is prone to some health problems and heart abnormalities, but if they will be an issue, they will typically develop early in life. Taking the dog to the vet for regular examinations is very helpful in identifying and treating these issues.

Common Illnesses include: hip dysplasia, dislocated patella (knee caps), genetic eye diseases, back problems, syringomyelia (a spinal cyst formation that can cause the dog to scratch frequently), ear infections, haring loss and deafness, obesity, and heart disease.

Are You the Right Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Owner?

Living conditions – The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel thrives in a home that has a medium- to large-sized fenced yard where he or she can romp freely. Proper secure fencing is required since this breed is very curious and will chase just about anything that moves, from a squirrel to a butterfly, leaf, or even a bird’s shadow on the ground. This being said, this dog can live happily in an apartment or in a home with a small yard, as long as adequate exercise is provided through walks outside. Air conditioning is important in very hot climates as this dog is sensitive to very high heats.

Training – The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is not only easy to train because it is an intelligent breed, but it also truly enjoys the training experience, desiring only to please his or her family. They excel in obedience training but are also skilled in hunting and agility. Gentle positive reinforcement training with lots of praise is key to the highest training successes. This breed is also valued as such as skilled therapy dog to that there was once an English medical prescription for time with the breed.

Common Problems – This breed has a high instance of heart problems that develop early in life. By taking the dog to the vet on a regular basis, owners can find out early on whether or not their dog suffers from such an abnormality. Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are very sensitive to hot weather so air conditioning is recommended in such climates. Since the dog is so keen to be around his or her family, separation anxiety is a risk. It is not a good breed choice for a home that is empty for most of the day.

The bottom line…

When a companion dog of lap dog size is desired, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel truly fits the bill. Gentle and yet bubbly, this dog has a tremendous heart and loves to please, making this a great dog to train for everything from obedience to agility and from hunting to therapy dog training. This dog is also a very capable swimmer and loves retrieving games.

Though this dog gets along with family members of all ages, human or animal, it requires gentle treatment without teasing or roughhousing.

Filed Under: Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Training


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