Cavalier King Charles Spaniel: character, appearance, nature, diseases, care, price, breeding

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a sociable, playful and highly intelligent dog breed. Precisely by virtue of this great intelligence this breed needs to constantly interact with the family in which it lives and also with other dogs. In this article we will tell you how to take care of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.

This breed is not well known. However, he is very popular in his home country, the UK, largely due to his friendly and cheerful nature.

Many lovers of these long-haired friends explain that one of the advantages of the breed is its size. Officially, it is considered a small breed. However, they are not overly small, like Chihuahuas for example. They are also not overly delicate, as is often the case with smaller breeds.

It is important to clarify that this breed is different from the King Charles Spaniel . Although they share many similarities, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is smaller in size and weighs less.

Cavalier king: the story

Already the four names that make up his breed suggest an aura of elegance and royalty. Although the breed standard was made official in 1928, already in the 18th century, the Cavalier King was widespread on the English territory . In the 11th century, it was illegal to hunt except with a dog capable of entering a hole 11 inches in diameter. Hence the first experiments that saw the light of the Toy Spaniel . Initially designed as a hunting dog, however, he has kidnapped the heart of Charles I . The sovereign, so obsessed with these dogs, issued an edict that allowed this breed to access any place , including Parliament . The name was also changed and, from Toy Spaniel , became Cavalier King Charles Spaniel . In the course of the following centuries, the traces of the Cavalier King are certainly not lost , on the contrary, in the paintings of those years it is possible to see the mutation that allowed to obtain the breed as we know it now , or crossed with the Pug , which gave it that flattened nose and large bulging eyes.

In addition to the aforementioned King Charles I , many have succumbed to the charm of these dogs. Former President Ronald Reagan, Liv Tyler, Franck Sinatra (who had four), Princess Victoria of Sweden, Sylvester Stallone, Natalie Imbruglia, Arnold Schwarznegger. .. in short, it is very difficult to resist their deep eyes. Other historical figures who have had one of these dogs are Coco Chanel and Oscar Wilde .

Learn all about the  : Different Dog Breeds

Character of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel breed

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a dog with a cheerful, active, courageous, spontaneous, determined character and somewhat unaware of dangers. Their demeanour is affectionate and friendly , without showing signs of nervousness, shyness, or aggressiveness.

This breed has an intelligent and very insightful temperament , it is easy to train, but it should not be treated harshly or unfairly because it is somewhat sensitive. The same happens with its brother, the English toy spaniel or King Charles spaniel.

One of the characteristics that has contributed the most to the enormous popularity of this breed is its excellent character, cheerful and very brave. So much so that you can even become a little unaware of the dangers that surround you.

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel does not know fear and that can be the cause of some problem with other larger and stronger dogs, which he does not hesitate to face if the case arises.

Spontaneous, open and cheerful, it thinks that everyone is its friend, so it has no problem getting close to anyone and other animals naturally.

The constant movement of its tail, in addition to a characteristic sign, clearly denotes that this is a sociable dog by nature and that it has been selected for centuries to act as a companion dog, ready to please others.

  • Energy: Medium / High. It is an active and sporty animal that needs to get some regular exercise.
  • Temperament: Cheerful, spontaneous, brave and not very aware of dangers, he is very affectionate, sociable and sweet. Intelligent and insightful, it is easy to train.
  • Adaptability: High. It adapts to any environment, as long as it can be in the company of its family.
  • Sociability: Very high. Its relationship is excellent both with its family, including children and the elderly, as well as with other dogs and pets, and with strangers.
  • Health: Good. It is a fairly healthy dog.
  • Longevity: Very high. Live more than 15 years.
  • Utility: Company. It can be used as a therapy dog, but it is basically a companion animal.

Is it a good family dog?

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is an extraordinary family dog. Healthy, easy to maintain, very sociable, friendly and intelligent, cavalier owners can count on their pet for whatever activity they undertake and fully trust it.

It is an animal that likes to enjoy life inside the home with its family, travel, walk with its owner on the street, play in the park, run in the field … That is, share every moment of its life with those whom you love the most and with whom you feel happy and fulfilled.

On the other hand, this high degree of energy, together with his great discipline and intelligence, have made him a great competitor in obedience and mini agility , at the same time that they have made him one of the dogs preferred by the entities that are dedicated to train therapy dogs, as their abilities are many and varied

Can he be left alone?

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel does not like to live in a kennel or without being able to have permanent contact with the humans that are part of his family.

You cannot spend many hours a day alone. They run the risk of suffering episodes of separation anxiety, which usually translate into noisy, destructive, jealous and overprotective behaviour that is not typical of the breed.

Therefore, if it is the case that its owner is going to have to leave the animal alone for many hours a day, the best option is to have more than one copy of the breed, because in this way the animals will not get bored nor will they so miss the company of their owners.

Is it an active dog?

The specimens of this breed are very active and sociable. They like to always be involved in everything that happens around them and they enjoy doing a lot of activities.

Despite their size, they need to exercise daily and love to go for walks on a leash as well as to do free workouts.

Regarding the latter, one must be careful to always carry them out in safe and limited places, since, due to its genetic past as a hunting dog, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel can show a certain tendency to get lost while chasing some trail.

How does it behave with other animals?

This dog loves to play with other dogs, and his relationship with them is excellent, at least as long as they do not provoke him or pose serious hierarchy problems. In such cases, the cavalier who is brave and determined does not shy away from the fight, even if he is never the one who provoked it.

The relationship he establishes with pets of other species is also good , especially if he has gotten used to it since he was a puppy, since if he cannot try to hunt them, bringing out his old hunter instincts.

How do you behave with children?

His relationship with children is practically perfect. The truth is that it seems that this dog was made of the same material as them. You cannot find a better and more careful playmate.

There is never usually any problem on the part of these dogs towards children, but rather the opposite. It is very important to educate the smallest of the house about the nature of your pet, so that they know what its physical characteristics, its needs and its temperament are.

A good strategy is to involve children in the daily care and routines of the animal so that, in this way, they feel it as an important part of their lives.

In this way, they will not see it simply as a toy or a simple object of entertainment, but as a living being whose rights must be respected and who must be treated with delicacy.

Is it good for the elderly?

It also lives wonderfully with the elderly , since he is not excessively energetic and does not cause behavioural problems . In addition, on the other hand, it helps the elderly to be active, to stay in shape, to go out, to interact with other people … since this dog has a relatively high level of activity.

As we have seen, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is, in short, a companion dog in capital letters . Selected and developed to live with people and to find in this relationship its maximum fulfillment.

Characteristics of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel breed

The general appearance of a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is harmonious and very balanced, it is a small dog, with a funny demeanor and a friendly expression.

How is the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel physically


The cavalier’s body structure makes it appear as a sporty-looking animal with great agility. It is rather rectangular, since the length of its body is greater than its height at the withers.

The feet are solid and compact, and are provided with thick and resistant foot pads. The fingers are covered with long hair that falls in the form of fringes.

Its tail is quite long, in harmony with the rest of the body, it is well set on the rump and the dog carries it with a cheerful demeanour. In the past it was usually amputated and only two thirds of its natural length was left.

But at present there are many countries that do not allow this practice, which is why it is very common to find specimens with the tail in its natural state. It is well covered with fringed hair, forming a showy plume.

The hair of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is long, silky and without curls, although it sometimes has a slight wave. It has abundant fringes in various parts of its body.

It is an animal of easy and graceful movement that its hind limbs give a lot of momentum. Viewed from the front or from behind, the front and rear extremities move in a parallel plane.


Sweet looking, the skull is almost flat between the ears and the muzzle is not very long. This is not pointed, but it gradually tapers towards the nose, which is very black.

Their eyes are large, rather round and pigmented in dark tones, they are well separated from each other. His look is sweet, intelligent and kind.

The ears are set high, long, and set well apart. They fall close to the head and are covered with abundant hair that forms long fringes.


The cavalier king Charles spaniel coat can come in four different colors , all of which are very beautiful:

  1. The black and tan specimens are shiny black with very characteristic tan spots distributed over the eyes, on the cheeks, inside the ears, on the chest, on the extremities and on the lower part of the tail.
  2. Ruby- type specimens are characterized by having a uniform deep red mantle , without white spots.
  3. Those known as blenheim have beautiful bright brown spots well distributed on a white background
  4. The tricolor cavalier have the body covered with black and white spots , and they show certain tan spots on the eyes, on the cheeks, on the inside of the ears, on the inside of the limbs and on the lower part of the line.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Breed Standard

  • Origin: United Kingdom.
  • Size: Small.
  • Height at the withers: between 25 and 34 cm for males and between 25 and 34 cm for females.
  • Weight: between 5.5 and 8 kg.
  • FCI Classification: FCI No. 136. Group 9 – Companion Dogs. Section 7 – Companion English Spaniels.
  • Use: Companion dog.
  • General Appearance: The Cavalier is an active, graceful, well-balanced dog that has a friendly expression.
  • Head: Rounded lines, it does not have a muzzle that is too long, but neither is it short or flat.
  • Skull : It is almost flat between the ears.
  • Nose-frontal depression (stop): It appears shallow.
  • Muzzle: Not very long, it gradually refines as it approaches the nose, but without becoming pointed.
  • Nose: It is well developed and black, without flesh-colored spots. Jaws: The jaws are strong, with a perfect, regular and complete scissor bite.
  • Eyes: They are large, dark and round, but not bulging. They are located quite apart from each other.
  • Ears: Set high, reach a good length and are covered with abundant hair that falls in the form of beautiful fringes.
  • Neck: The neck is moderately long and slightly arched.
  • Body: It is robust and harmonious.
  • Back: The back is straight and the loin, short.
  • Chest: Moderately developed, ribs well sprung
  • Tail: Moderately long, the dog usually wears it straight and raised, but not falling on the back. It forms a very showy tuft of long hair.
  • Forelimbs: They are straight and have moderately developed bones.
  • Shoulders: Well sloped.
  • Forearms and arms: With fairly strong bones, they are straight.
  • Hind limbs : They are solid and with good bones.
  • Legs: They are robust.
  • Knees: Well angulated.
  • Hocks: They present good angulations and are perpendicular to the ground, not deviated inwards (cow hocks) or outwards.
  • Feet: They are compact, solid and have thick pads. They are covered with long hair in the form of fringes.
  • Coat: the hair is long, silky, and without curls, with abundant fringes that are sometimes slightly wavy.

Education and training of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a very intelligent and easy-to-train breed. She has always had a very close contact with humans, which makes her very insightful. To the point that he is able to understand the orders immediately , without having to repeat them.

It is therefore an excellent dog for inexperienced owners , who find the breed the best possible introduction to the canine world.

In any case, it is always advisable to seek the advice of an expert professional if you want to make the most of the excellent relationship that is established between the cavalier and all the members of his family, as well as to solve any minor problems that may arise. by the way.

A good demonstration of the skill and insight that this dog enjoys is the height with which it participates in obedience competitions, as it is one of the most used small breeds and one of those that achieves the best results.

With this dog you have to be constant and consistent at work and positive reinforcement methods should always be used. This is so, since it is a very sensitive animal and does not understand or tolerate being treated harshly or unfairly, especially when it is unable to observe such behaviour with its owner.

However, it should not be treated with excessive care either, something that occurs quite frequently with small and companion breeds, since then the animal can end up developing the small dog syndrome.

It should not be led to think that he occupies a higher position than he really belongs in the hierarchical pyramid of the family, so that he does not become dominant or disobedient. It is necessary to set certain rules for him to follow and establish behaviour guidelines and laws that limit his daily life.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel health and diseases

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a healthy breed with few widespread health problems. This leads to a happy and long life, with a longevity that is above average. They can live more than 15 years .

However, this does not mean that there are no diseases that affect the breed. If they are detected, they should be controlled as far as possible and, above all, the reproductive specimens that have developed them should be removed from the breeding line.

One of these conditions, which in recent years has gained great media coverage due to its dissemination through television, is syringomelia, a type of severe encephalitis that can even be fatal.

However, as it is a disease transmitted by a recessive gene, it is quite easy to control its spread simply by doing the appropriate genetic tests on the dogs that you want to use for breeding.

Other typical conditions of this breed are eye diseases, knee dislocation, a problem quite typical of small breeds, some back ailments , caused many times by their skeletal conformation and often aggravated by obesity or lack muscle tone.

In the same way, ear infections, very common in lop-eared dogs, and also sporadic cases of deafness, although their frequency is so low that they are not considered a general problem of the breed.

In fact, despite all these possible ailments, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel owners should never think that they are dealing with a naturally sickly dog.

Obesity, on the other hand, is certainly a health problem for this dog. In fact, it is the most important and widespread evil among all canine breeds today, and has an especially high incidence among dogs considered only for companions, such as the Cavalier.

Likewise, apart from taking care of their diet and their level of activity, the best health strategy that the owner of a cavalier can follow is to act preventively, regularly visiting a fully trusted veterinarian to complete the relevant vaccination and health programs. Annual revaccinations (both against the most common diseases and against others of a seasonal nature or required by law, such as rabies)

As well as an internal and external deworming program . This is very important since parasites not only act as vectors of very serious diseases but can also make vaccines ineffective.

They also reduce the response of the dog’s immune system to them, so that the animal is unprotected against some serious ailments.

The veterinarian, on the other hand, must also become the professional in charge of routinely and regularly checking the condition of the animal’s mouth, eyes, ears, hair and skin , which are the main external indicators of good health. health of the dog, as well as to keep a strict control of the evolution of its weight in the different stages of its life.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel feeding

The cavalier’s diet must be rich in nutrients that keep its muscles in good shape and, at the same time, must provide them with the right level of fats for the correct functioning of some organs and for the good condition of his skin, hair or eyes.

But always without providing an excess of calories that cause the animal to get too fat.

And is that many owners of copies of this breed tend to forget that, although their dog loves to be at home in the company of the family, it also needs to do some regular exercise to stay in shape.

This lack of sports activity together with a hypercaloric diet causes the animal to incur a state of obesity or overweight, which increases the incidence of respiratory problems and exponentially increases the chances of suffering from cardiovascular or joint diseases.

Therefore, the best health advice for an owner of this breed is to keep your pet at its proper weight by subjecting it to the appropriate doses of exercise for its age and condition, and giving it a balanced and healthy food.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel care and maintenance

As for the aesthetic maintenance of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, it is very simple, so that the owner himself can take care of it.

In fact, all you need this dog is that you make a weekly brushing and be given a occasional bath when your-cio really is .

What is very important is to always use suitable products and utensils developed specifically for these dogs.

After bathing it, the owner should be careful to thoroughly dry the animal , without leaving any trace of moisture , since this breed catches cold relatively easily .

And, as always, it is recommended to take advantage of the time of the bath to review the condition of the nails and, if necessary, trim them, being very careful not to reach the fleshy part of the nail.

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