Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

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tricolour, black & tan, ruby, blenheim
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Good with kids:
Pros Cons

  • highly affectionate and clever

  • becomes a superb apartment dog

  • suits well for families with kids of all ages

  • amicable towards other canines and familiar cats

  • easy to train good manners and basic commands

  • relatively high grooming requirements

  • needs more amount of exercise than most of the other toy breeds

  • can’t be charged with duties of a guard- and watch- dog

  • prone to ear infections


The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a fairly newly-invented breed of a canine companion with its homeland in England. Presently its sunshiny disposition and vigorous nature found it favour of thousands of dog’s fanciers from all over the world. Moreover it still retains hunting prowess of its spaniel forefathers and can be successfully used as a hunter’s assistant.


The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel may have never been developed if the American Roswell Eldridge hadn’t displayed interest in reconstructing the original version of the English Toy Spaniel. In 1926 he established the award of 25 pounds at the Cruft’s Dog Show in London that should have been handed to the breeder who would exhibit the English Toy Spaniel with the predetermined conformation. Unluckily Roswell Eldridge perished a month before his competition, but the money was awarded after all.

Few breeders of the King Charles Spaniel were delighted from the appearance of these dogs and subsequently decided to restore the Old King Charles Spaniel type. The breed was primarily created by crossing pure-blooded specimens of the King Charles Spaniel with required traits. Nonetheless strong probability holds that the members of the English Cocker Spaniel and the Toy Trawler Spaniel were occasionally used in the breeding program.

The Second World War drove the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel to the verge of complete extinction since only 6 of its specimens are believed to have survived its hardships. Severe inbreeding was the only way to recreate its population in the post-war years and this practice became the reason of serious health issues in the majority bloodlines.

It’s very likely that the first Cavalier King Charles Spaniels were brought to the U.S. during the 40s of the XX but it was virtually unknown in this country prior 1952. At that year Mrs. Sally Lyons Brown of Kentucky was presented with a black and tan female pup of this breed. In the subsequent decades she and her sister-in-law Gertrude Polk Brown became the major promoters of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel in their homeland. It attained full recognition of the United Kennel Club (UKC) in 1980.

The popularity of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel in its native land peaked in the 70s of XX. This fact attracted the attention of lots of commercial breeders who cared very little about the quality of their dogs. Their work inevitably resulted into the appearance of multiple lines of dogs with unpredictable temperament. Many American breed’s fanciers feared that this situation would repeat itself in their country if it receives the recognition of the American Kennel Club (AKC). Despite this justified apprehension it was officially accepted by the AKC in 1995.

Currently the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel predominantly serves as a companion and show animal although some of its specimens are still capable of becoming great hunting dogs.


The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a true social mixer but it wants nothing than a little bit of attention and care from its masters. This merry and amicable little fellow can adjust itself to any living circumstances and makes a wonderful canine friend for a large family as well as for an individual. This dog becomes strongly attached to all its masters and demonstrates the deepest affection towards the young members of its human family. It’s substantially stouter than the majority of toy breeds and therefore more accepting of kids’ jerky movements and exuberant games.

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel stands out for universal friendliness and it joyfully asks every unfamiliar person to play with it. Excessive shyness and fearfulness are the most common behavioural issues for its under socialized specimens. This dog should never be trusted with the guarding responsibilities since it would rather give an intruder a hearty welcome than show any indication of aggression. Some of these dogs are fitted for the role of a watcher but in general it lacks essential protective instinct.

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel usually lives in harmony with its counterparts and always welcomes an opportunity to socialize with them. Nonetheless the master should exercise extra caution when two strange dogs get to know each other. Prey drive is in the blood of this breed so it loves chasing strange non-canine animals. But it’s generally fine with those individual households pets with which it has had a chance to interact since an early age.

Health Problems

The most common problems for the breed include:

· mitral valve disease;

· idiopathic asymptomatic thrombocytopenia;

· macrothrombocytopenia;

· heart problems;

· syringomyelia;

· canine hip dysplasia;

· elbow dysplasia;

· luxating patellas;

· eye problems;

· microphthalmia;

· ear problems;

· excessive weight gain.


The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel requires rather extensive amount of grooming. Its soft and dense coat should be carefully brushed every two to three days in order to avert mats and tangles from developing. Make sure to brush especially thoroughly the areas around ears and tail, which are the most susceptible to matting and tangling.

Lots of the owners of Cavalier King Charles Spaniels opt to regularly take their pets to a professional groomer to make the daily care less onerous. This breed also needs periodic bathing and nail trimming. Its large hanging ears attract food, dirt and debris so it’s essential to examine and clean them on the systematic basis.


The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel has inquiring mind and responds well to training. This dog will do anything to command your attention and earn your praise so it usually learns quickly and easily. Thanks to this inborn eagerness to please the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a great success in obedience and agility competitions.

Be mindful though that although this dog stands out for above-average intelligence there is a certain limit to its learning abilities. Harsh discipline is inadmissible in its training because it only frightens the dog and provokes it to wilful behaviour. It’s a pleasant job to teach the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel proper manners, which it masters very naturally and even intuitively.


The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a small yet vigorous dog that has heightened exercise requirements if compared to other toy breeds. A couple of brisk and long walks a day are a must for it although it would definitely prefer to let off steam by running and playing in a securely fenced area.

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel isn’t the best breed for too intense activities but it’s fond of various canine games as fetch or fly ball. As long as its exercise needs are properly met the breed adapts well both to urban life and to any living condition. Hyper activity, unreasonable barking and other behavioural issues are commonly seen in those dogs that don’t get enough opportunities to stretch their legs.