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Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

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(188 Reviews)

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Species group: Toy Group dogs

Other name(s): Cavalier; Cav; CKCS

The basics:
Who can resist the big-eyed charm of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel? This endearing toy breed was developed from the English Toy Spaniels who were favorite pets of Tudor ladies and even-- as the name suggests-- actual kings. Highly social, this dog is a great choice for the family where there's almost always someone around both for active exercise and for relaxed cuddling. However, because of this need to be near their humans, they're a poor choice for the family where the home is empty most of the day. A lonely Cavalier King Charles Spaniel might lose its delightful personality and act out by chasing, barking, or simply withdrawing and becoming timid.

The cute yet aristocratic appearance didn't happen by accident. In the 1920s, an American breeder began to seek out long-nosed Toy Spaniels that looked like the animals in Van Dyck's contemporaneous portraits of King Charles II and his spaniels. In 1995, the Cavalier King Charles was officially recognized by the American Kennel Club as a separate breed.

Appearance / health:
The Cavalier is a lovely small spaniel with a body slightly longer than it is tall; it has a level topline, a flat skull and a cone-shaped muzzle; it has a shallow stop, well developed nose and wide nostrils; the eyes are round, dark, and expressive; the ears are long with copious feathering; the bite should be scissored; the tail is occasionally docked by no less than 1/3 its original length, though many prefer not to dock the tail; the chest, tail, legs and feet should all be heavily feathered. The coat is long and silky with an occasional slight waviness to it. There are four accepted colorations: Blenheim, Tri-colored, Ruby, and Black and Tan.

You should brush your Cavalier with a firm bristled brush or comb him. Because all of his feathering is subject to matting and tangles, brushing and combing must be thoroughly done quite frequently. Trim the hair on the feet and between the foot pads; no other trimming of the hair should be done. Clean his ears regularly and watch his eyes for any signs of over-tearing or infection. Though the Cavalier tolerates regular bathing (either dry shampoo treatments or fully wet bathing), avoid overly wet-bathing him during the colder months. If you have given him a wet bath, ensure he is fully dry to avoid him chilling, which he can quickly do. The Cavalier is considered an average shedder; however, your diligent good brushing or combining regimen will help cut down on dog hair in the house.

For apartment dwellers, a daily walk is essential to the health of your Cavalier as they, like any dog, has an instinctive need to walk. Otherwise, Cavaliers typically get sufficient exercise romping in the house or their backyard. Cavaliers should be taught early not to jump up onto or down off of furniture in order to avoid knee and joint injuries later in life.

For a Toy breed, the Cavalier is surprisingly healthy, with the primary concerns being only luxating patella, heart murmur (which is actually rather common) and hip dysplasia. Other less common health issues include syringomyelia, early onset deafness, back trouble, hereditary eye disease, mitral valve heart disease (typically first diagnosed as a heart murmur), cataracts, and the ear infections that are usually seen in any canine breed with long, folded ears.

Careful questioning of your breeder about her parent stock and who offers a health guarantee, along with a vet check prior to purchase, will help minimize your chances of purchasing a Cavalier of inferior breeding.

Behavior / temperament:
The Cavalier is a happy little tail-wagger of a canine companion. She is outgoing, lively, eager to please, and fearless. She is possessed of an intelligence capable of understanding what her owner wants and this makes her easy to train using a method of gentle obedience training. Cavalier’s are people dogs and require a lot of companionship to be mentally and emotionally happy; she should not be left alone for extended periods of time. Because the Cavalier is the descendant of hunting dogs, she will occasionally have an urge to give chase, so never let her run unleashed in an area that is not safely enclosed. The Cavalier is a very good choice for a novice dog owner.

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a natural pleaser with a wonderful temperament, making them an ideal canine companion for singles, couples, or the family. They love interaction with people and have a deep need for consistent human attention on a regular, daily basis. They do not do well when left alone for even moderate amounts of time and do very poorly if left alone for extensive periods of time and leaving them alone for long periods of time will lead to unwanted behaviors such as nervousness, nuisance barking and chewing. They are not at all dog-aggressive and, with proper socialization as puppies, make excellent companions for other dogs in the home and even make good companions for cats. Cavaliers have a playful, curious nature.

The Cavalier is rated high in learning rate, obedience and problem solving skills. Because of their eager-to-please attitude, they are very easily trained using positive reinforcement training – usually just the praise and attention of their owner for a task or command well performed is sufficient positive reinforcement for this sensitive little spaniel. Cavaliers are naturally tidy, clean dogs and respond very well to proper crate training; this will also aide in housebreaking your Cavalier. The greatest key to success with your Cavalier is early socialization and lots of it – to other people, to strangers, to pets of all types. Leash training is essential to the health and well-being of your Cavalier so they do not bolt away from you in response to a need to chase something interesting. Obedience training is a terrific way to accomplish these training necessities and socialization at the same time.

Though the Cavalier is not known to be an excessive barker, they will bark in alert; and, those who are left alone frequently and for long periods of time will become neurotic, nuisance barkers.

cuddle, luxurious, coat, greatest, family, dog, small, loving, dogs, loving, temperament, friendliest, dog

heart, murmurs, huge, health, issues, irresponsible, breeding, practices, neurotic, syringomyelia

average, intelligence, Cavaliers, love, water, Super, Lazy, snoring, docile, breed

Member photos

from breeders/sellers

(Breeders and sellers have to jump through hoops to get RightPet listings, literally, we make them do circus tricks. Unfortunately no one has met our high acrobatic standards for this animal yet, but hopefully they will soon!)

from shelters/rescues

Storm and Dream


Breed / species: Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Gender: Female

Age:  Adult

Mix: Yes

Size: S

Location: Flushing, NY 11354



Breed / species: Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Gender: Female

Age:  Adult

Mix: Yes

Size: M

Location: Mount Olive, NJ 07840

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