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February 8, 2013 at 8:00 AMComments: 4 Faves: 0

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

By Victoria Swanson More Blogs by This AuthorFrom the Purebred Star Blog Series

Do you love the idea of a small dog that is every bit friendly, loyal, and loving? Moderate activity level is on your list for the type of dog needed in your family? Perfect! The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel could be your next dog!

Great Britain is the origin of this adorable little breed. The King Charles Spaniel was a favorite toy breed of King Charles I and II. This breed was held in high regard amongst the royalty during the reigning years of the Kings. The spaniel that was favored by the Kings, is not the same as we see in the Cavalier today. In the 17th century the breed struggled to maintain its popularity and almost became extinct. The flat nose breeds were becoming popular amongst the royals, and therefore the spaniel was bred with a Pug and other flat-nose breeds, creating the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.

The spaniels were brought to America around the 1920's. The breed almost became extinct during World War II, with approximately 6 dogs left in America. These 6 dogs are the original basis for today's Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, which is also known as the English Toy Spaniel.

Four Colors To Choose From

Blenheim, Tricolour, Black & Tan, and Ruby are colors that this adorable small breed comes in. Grooming is minimal with just regular brushings to help keep their silky coat from getting mats. The Cavalier can be heavy a shedder during the shedding seasons.

They are not considered an allergy friendly breed.

Happy-Go-Lucky Breed

The Cavalier has it all in the personality department. They are loyal, loving, friendly, outgoing, happy, and playful. The Cavalier enjoys being around people of all ages, as well as other dogs and animals.They can have a high prey drive towards smaller animals such as rabbits or birds, so special care should be taken if these pets are part of your family. They are also known to have a natural instinct to chase cars, bikes, scooters, skateboards, or anything else on wheels. It will be important to train and prevent any mishaps.

This breed is content to follow you around the home, cuddle on the coach, or play in the backyard.

Although the breed is known to be very friendly around everyone, like with any dog, it is important to provide early socialization to help maintain this fantastic trait.

Easy to Train

This small breed is easy to train in all departments. Many small breeds can have difficulty with the potty training. No worries with the Cavalier, they are very easy to train, and are quick to learn commands.

It is important to start training your dog early on, as this will help teach them mannerisms, respect, and give them boundaries. Small Dog Syndrome is an unfortunate behavioral problem created by humans when small dogs are not given rules, and are allowed to be diva-like and run the household. Teaching your adorable Cavalier that they have rules and must listen to you will help prevent this problem.

Barking, Yes, But Not The Yappy-Type

The Cavalier is not a guard dog, but will happily signal when someone is at the house. They can get out of control with their barking if allowed, so early training will help prevent and control this.

They are more known for being a quiet breed. How perfect is that?

NOT an Overly Active Breed

The Cavalier is a breed that is adorable, and doesn't require much effort to drain their energy. All dogs require some form of exercise, and the Cavalier will do best in an environment when provided with a daily walk for a minimum of 30 minutes.

Though they are not an overly active breed, they do enjoy some playtime and will happily participate in a moments notice. The Cavalier does not fair well being left alone for long hours. Consider bringing your friendly pooch to Doggy Daycare to interact with other dogs and come home tired, ready to snuggle.

A Therapy Dog is a wonderful activity to consider with your Cavalier. This is a great way to volunteer within your community with your dog whether it is visiting sick children at the hospital, or going to a nursing home. There is an abundance of volunteer opportunities to do with a Therapy Dog, and with the Cavalier's outstanding personality traits, they are a prime candidate for this job.

Hunting versus Companion

Yes, this small breed was bred to hunt, being part of the spaniel group. But no worries, there is no need to run out and get involved in hunting to keep your Cavalier happy. Today they are more known for being a companion then a hunting dog.

The Cavalier is ABSOLUTELY not an outdoor only dog (actually NO dog is). They require an indoor lifestyle and do not necessarily need a fenced in-yard, but they should still be protected from running off. They are an excellent breed for condo or apartment living, as long as they are provided some form of daily exercise and playtime.

Versatile Small Breed

The average lifespan of the Cavalier is approximately 10-12 years. They do have several health problems that can occur. If purchasing a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, please only go through a reputable breeder. This doesn't guarantee no health issues, but it certainly will offer a better chance at having a healthy dog.

Health issues of the Cavalier to be aware of are; allergies, hip dysplasia, luxating patellas, mitral valve disease (heart disease), syringomyelia (brain and spine issues), blood disorder, breathing difficulties, eye problems, and ear infections. Keeping the eyes and ears clean will help to avoid infection. Because they are a flat-nose breed, consideration around extreme heat and cold needs to be taken. Many airlines also have restrictions for flat-nose breeds, so if you are considering having an air travel fur-buddy, the Cavalier may not work.

Aside from their shedding and some health issues, there really isn't much to dislike about this breed. They are a very versatile breed that just wants to be with their humans.

Adopt First

As you begin looking for a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, please check with rescue organizations first. Every year there are millions of dogs being euthanized - not because they are bad dogs, but because there is no home for them and insufficient resources to care for them at rescue agencies. By adopting a dog, you are truly saving a life!

At the very least, NEVER purchase any dog from a pet store. Unfortunately, those puppies almost always come from puppy mills. Instead, look for a reputable breeder to work with.

On a final note, it is important to spay and neuter your puppy by 6 months old to have a healthy and happy pet for many years to come!

Photo Credits:


Original Dog Bible, 2nd Edition by Kristin Mehus-Roe

More from Health Coach Victoria Swanson Others Are Reading


  • Sweet breed...

  • Yes, they really are!! Except they shed horribly, I am not sure if I, personally, could handle their overabundance shedding all year! LOL!

  • As an owner of a 7 yo tri Colour Cavi I can attest to their happy disposition...My male dog was a rescue at 4 yo and at that stage was still a complete dog with vigorous sexual mores.After being castrated he developed hot spots on his front left leg...Despite many vet visits and changes of diet,additives to water etc.the problem remains..He cannot tolerate an Elizabethen collar so daily cleaning with a warm saline solution and then bandaging is all that works....Any thoughts ?

  • Thank you Russell for sharing about your dog's disposition. I am so sorry to hear about his skin issue. You may want to consider trying our Derma-IonX. As an oral homeopathic product it quickly goes to work in reducing itching, inflammation, rashes, hot spots, dermatitis, eczema and psoriasis. Derma-IonX can also be used topically on troublesome spots on the skin (the order comes with a mini spray bottle). Here is the website link for this product;

    We hope you find this helpful.

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