The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel dog breed still exhibits the athletic traits of their spaniel ancestors despite being bred to be a companion. Nothing makes them happier than to flush a bird and then make an attempt to retrieve it if they aren’t sitting on a lap or getting a belly rub. We have everything you need if you want to adopt one of these adorable toy dogs.
This page contains all the information you need to get ready for a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. Despite being purebred, you might still be able to find these dogs in shelters and rescues. Don’t forget to adopt! If you want to bring a dog home, avoid shopping. The largest of the toy breeds, Cavaliers enjoy running on the beach, hiking, and dog sports like agility, flyball, and rally.
They are frequently as athletic as true sporting breeds. Some have even demonstrated their skill as hunting canines. The more relaxed breed members are successful as therapy dogs and family companions. For a detailed list of Cavalier King Charles Spaniel traits, see below!
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Mixed Dog Breed Picture
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel – Mixed Dog Breed Characteristics
|Adapts Well To Apartment Living
|Good For Novice Owners
|Tolerates Being Alone
|Tolerates Cold Weather
|Tolerates Hot Weather
|All Around Friendliness
|Affectionate With Family
|Friendly Toward Strangers
|Health And Grooming Needs
|Amount Of Shedding
|Easy To Groom
|Potential For Weight Gain
|Easy To Train
|Potential For Mouthiness
|Tendency To Bark Or Howl
|Potential For Playfulness
|Dog Breed Group:
|12 to 13 inches
|13 to 18 pounds
|9 to 15 years
One of the qualities that Cavalier breeders strive to achieve is a tail in constant motion when this breed is moving. The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a beautiful small dog that undoubtedly is a contender for the title of “top tail-wagger.” If his big, dark, round eyes don’t melt your heart, the distinctive wagging of the Cavalier’s plumy tail will.
They have the ability to force endless amounts of food and constant petting from those under their control. They are warm and lustrous with a sweet expression. Given that this breed is prone to gaining weight, which can ruin its elegant lines, resist the urge to give in and give your Cavalier what he or she is angling for—a walk or some playtime.
Following in the footsteps of their people at all times, cavaliers pad through the house on slippered paws. You’ll never be alone when a Cavalier lives there, not even in the bathroom. They function best when someone is home during the day to keep them company because they are so attached to their people. They are housedogs and can’t survive in a setting where they’re ignored or relegated to the backyard.
Cavaliers are typically intelligent and open to trying anything you ask of them during training. Positive reinforcement and food incentives make sure that training goes smoothly. Because of the soft nature of cavaliers, yelling at them is ineffective and might make them withdraw or go into hiding.
Rather, whenever you notice them acting in a way you like, whether it’s chewing on a toy rather than your Prada pumps or not barking in response to the dog next door, give them a reward. They’ll go out of their way to find more items you like.
Like many toy breeds, Cavaliers can struggle with housebreaking, but if you keep them on a regular schedule and give them plenty of chances to relieve themselves outside, they can learn to be dependable inside the house.
- Cavaliers tend to be dependent people. Since they enjoy social interaction, they shouldn’t be left alone for extended periods of time.
- Especially in the spring and fall, your Cavalier will shed. It is necessary to brush and comb frequently.
- Because he is a spaniel at heart, if he is not kept on a leash or in a fenced yard, he might try to chase birds, rabbits, and other small prey.
- Although cavaliers may bark when someone knocks on your door, they make poor guard dogs due to their outgoing personalities.
- Cavaliers should not live outside as they are housedogs.
- Never purchase a puppy from an irresponsible breeder, a puppy mill, or a pet shop if you want a healthy dog. Find a reputable breeder who tests her breeding dogs to ensure that they are healthy and free of genetic diseases that they could pass on to the puppies.
The toy spaniel, which has existed for centuries as a companion to royalty and nobility, is the breed’s prototype even though the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a relatively new breed that was only revived less than a century ago. The toy spaniels portrayed in numerous paintings from the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries by well-known artists like Van Dyck and Gainsborough are the ancestors of cavaliers.
The spaniels depicted in those paintings had long, slender noses, high-set ears, and flat heads. The royal and noble families of England loved these little spaniels dearly. Mary, Queen of Scots had a toy spaniel that walked with her as she made her way to beheaded, and her great-grandson Charles I and grandson Charles II, who are credited with naming the breed, also adored the tiny canines.
King Charles II, who ruled from 1660 to 1685, is rumored to have always traveled with at least two or three of these tiny spaniels. Even the Houses of Parliament were to be open to the spaniels, according to his directive. Although it hasn’t been verified recently, it is said that the decree is still in force in England today. Following Charles II’s passing, Pugs and other short-faced breeds replaced King Charles Spaniels as the new royal favorites.
These dogs were crossed with the King Charles Spaniels, who subsequently inherited many of their characteristics, including the shorter nose and the domed head. King Charles Spaniels, the breed that the monarch himself had cherished, had one stronghold, and that was at Blenheim Palace, the Dukes of Marlborough’s country estate.
Because of the continued breeding of red and white Toy Spaniels in this area, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels with this coloring are now referred to as Blenheim. The Dukes of Marlborough bred a variety of toy spaniels, varying in type and size because there was no breed standard and no dog shows at the time. However, English breeders began holding dog shows and working to improve various dog breeds in the middle of the 19th century.
By then, it was common knowledge that toy spaniels had a flat face, an undershot jaw, a domed skull, and big, round, forward-looking eyes. In paintings from earlier eras, King Charles Spaniels were almost extinct. An American named Roswell Eldridge began looking for toy spaniels that looked like the ones in the old paintings in England in the 1920s.
Over the course of more than five years, he looked everywhere, even at the Crufts Dog Show, where he convinced the Kennel Club (England’s equivalent of the American Kennel Club) to let him offer 25 pounds sterling (a sizable sum at the time) for the best dog and best bitch of the kind that was popular during King Charles II’s reign. For five years, he offered this reward.
When Miss Mostyn Walker submitted Ann’s Son for evaluation in 1928, she was given the 25-pound prize. Roswell Eldridge passed away just one month prior to Crufts, so he did not live to see the award being accepted. A breed club was established as interest in the breed increased. The flat-faced King Charles Spaniel, also known as the English Toy Spaniel in the United States, is not the same breed as the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.
On the second day of Crufts in 1928, the club held its first meeting and created a breed standard—a detailed description of the ideal appearance of the breed. The club members gathered all of the copies of the old paintings that featured miniature dogs of this type and presented Ann’s Son as an example of the breed.
The Cavalier King Charles Spaniels would be kept as natural as possible, and trimming and shaping the dog for the show ring would be discouraged, was one thing that all club members agreed upon from the beginning. After years of effort by the breeders, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel was finally recognized as a distinct breed in 1945, despite the Kennel Club’s initial reluctance to accept the new breed. T
wo male Cavaliers from England were brought to the United States in the 1940s: Robrull of Veren and Bertie of Rookerynook. But Cavaliers didn’t really get started in the United States until 1952. In that year, Lady Mary Forwood of England gave a black and tan bitch puppy named Psyche of Eyeworth to Mrs. (Sally) Lyons Brown of Kentucky. She imported more of the breed after falling in love with it.
When she discovered that she was unable to register her dogs with the American Kennel Club, she began making contact with Americans who owned Cavaliers. There were not more than twelve at that time. She established the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Club, USA (CKCSC, USA) in 1954, which has served as the nation’s sole breed club and registering agency for Cavaliers for more than fifty years.
Because they believed that the club’s strict code of ethics prevented the breed from being commercially bred, the members of the CKCSC, USA decided not to push for the breed’s full recognition during this time. They worried that if the breed received too much recognition, it would become too attractive to breeders who wouldn’t uphold the standards they had established.
The AKC Miscellaneous status was largely preserved so that members who wanted to compete their dogs in obedience events could do so. The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Club, USA was invited by the AKC in 1992 to take over as the breed’s parent club. No, the membership voted.
The American Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Club (ACKCSC) was founded by a small group of CKCSC, USA members, who also applied for parent-club status with the AKC. This was approved, and in March 1995 the AKC formally recognized the breed. Although the ACKCSC is the parent club for the breed within the AKC, the CKCSC, USA is still a separate breed registry.
This diminutive but stout dog weighs 13 to 18 pounds and stands 12 to 13 inches tall at the shoulder. There is no such thing as a “toy” Cavalier, so you should steer clear of purchasing one from a breeder that sells dogs that are only half that size.
The outgoing Cavalier looks up to humorist Will Rogers, who is known for saying that he never met a stranger. The Cavalier is eager to meet everyone who comes across him, and the more laps (or treats) they offer, the better. The personalities of Cavaliers can range from quiet and sedate to rowdy and rambunctious, just like those of any other breed of dog.
They may or may not bark when someone knocks on the door, making them a poor choice for a watchdog — unless, of course, you want to watch the thief cart off the silver. Of course, there are exceptions; some Cavaliers will alert you to every activity in your neighborhood and bark angrily whenever a stranger approaches, but generally speaking, you’re better off investing in an alarm system than relying on your Cavalier to warn you of danger.
Although Cavaliers are generally healthy, they are susceptible to some health issues like all breeds. Not all Cavaliers will contract one or more of these illnesses, but if you’re thinking about getting one, you should be aware of them.
Find a reputable breeder who will provide you with the health clearances for both of your puppy’s parents if you are purchasing a puppy. Health certifications attest to a dog’s having undergone testing and being declared free of a specific ailment.
You should anticipate seeing health certificates for von Willebrand’s disease, hypothyroidism, hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, and thrombopathia from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA), thrombopathia from Auburn University, and normal eyes from the Canine Eye Registry Foundation (CERF) on Cavaliers. You can check the OFA website (offa.org) to confirm health clearances.
- Cavaliers frequently suffer from the condition known as mitral valve disease (MVD). The condition begins with a heart murmur and worsens until the dog experiences heart failure. Older dogs of any breed are prone to developing heart disease, but Cavaliers are more likely to do so early—sometimes as young as one or two years old. There is ongoing research into how to prevent this condition. Responsible breeders regularly have their breeding dogs examined by veterinary cardiologists for the condition, which appears to have a genetic component, in an effort to stop it from passing down to subsequent generations.
- Syringomyelia (SM): This condition appears to be common in Cavaliers and affects the brain and spine. Mild discomfort to excruciating pain and partial paralysis are all possible symptoms. It results from a malformation of the skull that leaves less room for the brain. In most cases, symptoms start to show between the ages of 6 months and 4 years. The first symptoms may include sensitivity around the head, neck, or shoulders, with the dog occasionally whining or repeatedly licking at his neck or shoulder, typically just on one side of the body, without actually making physical contact with the body (“air scratching”). They might even try to scratch while moving. Because of this, it’s crucial to take your Cavalier to the vet if he starts scratching in order to rule out SM. Visit the Syringomyelia website for more details.
- Episodic Falling: This condition is frequently mistaken for epilepsy, but unlike epilepsy, the dog is awake during the falling or seizure. Because the dog’s muscles can’t relax, it results. The symptoms can range from brief, mild episodes of falling to prolonged, seizure-like episodes. Although symptoms often appear before five months, they may not be apparent until much later in life.
- Hip dysplasia: This hip joint deformity is thought to be caused by a variety of factors, including diet, environment, and genetics. Most affected Cavaliers can lead regular, healthy lives. Rarely, surgery may be necessary for someone to lead a normal life.
- The patella, or kneecap, can become luxated. Anatomical parts that have been dislocated, such as a bone at a joint, are luxated. Patellar luxation is a painful condition in which the knee joint (often of the back leg) slides in and out of place. Although it can be disabling, many dogs with this condition live relatively normal lives.
- Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca (Dry Eye): This condition typically results in a decrease in tears due to an autoimmune reaction to the dog’s tear glands. Once identified, this condition can be effectively treated with daily drops in the eyes. Blindness may result if the condition is not treated.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are suitable pets for apartment or condo living due to their size and typically quiet temperament. They are moderately active inside, and a small yard serves as their only outdoor space. A securely fenced yard or leash-free walks are essential for this breed. They lack street smarts and, if they see a bird or other interesting prey, will run directly in front of a moving vehicle.
Your Cavalier will enjoy a daily stroll or playtime in the backyard and will adjust his level of activity to match yours. Avoid taking him for a walk during the hottest part of the day because he is a short-nosed breed, and never leave him in a hot yard without access to shade or cool, fresh water.
Half to one cup of premium dry food should be consumed every day, split between two meals. NOTE: The amount of food your adult dog consumes is influenced by his size, age, build, metabolism, and level of activity. Like people, each dog is unique, so they don’t all require the same amount of food. A highly active dog will require more than a couch potato dog, which should almost go without saying.
The kind of dog food you purchase also matters; the better the food, the more effectively it will nourish your dog and the less you will need to shake into the bowl. Instead of leaving food out all the time, feed your Cavalier two times per day using a measuring cup. Give him the hands-on and eye tests if you’re not sure if he’s obese. Look down at him first.
There should be a waist visible. After that, lay your hands on his back with your thumbs along his spine and your fingers spread outward. Without exerting much pressure, you should be able to feel his ribs but not see them. He needs less food and more exercise if you can’t. It’s a good idea to cover the ears with a snood, headband, or pull them back with a hair scrunchie while your Cavalier eats if you feed a canned or raw diet.
He’ll end up with food in his fur otherwise, which is not appealing. Look for bowls with a small diameter for both food and water so the ears don’t drag in them. See our recommendations for selecting the best food, feeding your puppy, and feeding your adult dog for more information on feeding your Cavalier.
Coat Design and Maintenance
Medium-length, silky to the touch coats that can be slightly wavy are a feature of cavaliers. Feathers cover the ears, chest, legs, feet, and tail of adult cavaliers. Cavaliers are available in four hues:
- Blenheim is a deep chestnut color against a pure white background. On the top of their foreheads, some Blenheims have a chestnut lozenge that resembles the shape of a thumb.
- Tricolor, with black markings over the eyes, on the cheeks, and on the underside of the tail, and a white coat.
- Black and Tan, with tan markings on the chest, legs, underside of the tail, and areas around the eyes, cheeks, and ears.
- Ruby is a solid, rich reddish-brown color without any white markings or spots.
The most typical color is blenheim, though the others are not uncommon. Cavaliers are not too difficult to maintain. Three to four times a week, you should brush or comb them, and you should bathe them as necessary. That might be once a week for a dog who likes to play outside and spend a lot of time on your bed or other furniture.
Check those areas frequently for mats that need to be gently combed out because the feathered hair on the ears and legs is prone to tangling. Regularly trim the hair around the foot pads, and clean your Cavalier’s ears. The only real challenge is keeping white paws from appearing dingy. Cavaliers shed on average.
Although some people trim the feet for neatness’ sake, they don’t require any special trimming or clipping. In fact, it’s preferable for the feathering to remain natural. Some of us like the look of the furry-footed hobbit. At least twice or three times a week, brush your Cavalier’s teeth to get rid of tartar buildup and the bacteria that live there. Even better than twice-daily brushing is prevention of bad breath and gum disease.
If your dog doesn’t naturally wear down his nails, you should trim them once or twice a month. They are too long if you can hear them clicking on the floor. The feet are kept in good condition by having short, neatly trimmed nails, which also protect your legs from being scratched when your Cavalier jumps up to greet you. As soon as your Cavalier puppy is old enough, start exposing him to brushing and examinations.
Dogs are sensitive when it comes to their feet, so handle his paws frequently and examine his mouth and ears. Lay the groundwork for simple veterinary exams and other handling when he’s an adult by making grooming a rewarding experience filled with praise and rewards. While grooming, keep an eye out for sores, rashes, or infection-related symptoms like redness, tenderness, or inflammation on the skin, in the ears, nose, mouth, or eyes, as well as on the feet. Clear eyes without any redness or discharge are ideal.
You can identify potential health issues early on thanks to your thorough weekly exam.
Kids and other animals
Children who enjoy throwing a ball for them, teaching them tricks, participating in dog sports, or just having them on their lap while they read or watch television may find cavaliers to be excellent playmates. However, due to their small size, they should be watched when playing with young children who could accidentally hurt them.
In order to prevent biting or ear or tail pulling on either party, you should always teach kids how to approach and touch dogs. You should also always supervise any interactions between young children and dogs. Teach your child to never try to steal a dog’s food or approach a dog while he or she is eating or sleeping. Regardless of how friendly they are, dogs and children should never be left unattended.
They get along well with other dogs and, if exposed to cats and other animals early on, can learn to get along with them. A Cavalier enjoys a good game of chase, so it helps if the cat is willing to defend herself. They take pleasure in it even if the cat retaliates.
Others attempt to eat them or, at the very least, pull their tails, while some Cavaliers coexist peacefully with pet birds. Always keep an eye on how your Cavalier behaves around birds and other small animals because they have a keen sense of hunting.
Frequently, people buy cavaliers without fully comprehending what goes into owning one. There are lots of Cavaliers who need to be adopted or fostered. We have not included all of the rescues that have occurred. Contact the national breed club or a local breed club to find a Cavalier rescue if you can’t find one listed for your region.
The breed clubs, associations, and organizations listed below can provide you with more details about the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.