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Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

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Undeniably cute and affectionate, the Cavalier King Charles spaniel is a popular pet for good reason. Easy to train and intelligent, these little dogs with huge eyes are wonderful companions and perfect for households with small children. They are adaptable and happy to live with other pets but are prone to obesity as a result of overindulgence.

Which breed group is the Cavalier King Charles spaniel in?

Breed group: Toy

Cavalier King Charles spaniel breed history

The ancestry of the Cavalier King Charles spaniel is something of a mystery. The dogs we treasure today are the descendants of the small toy spaniels which were popular with the nobility from the 16th century. However, their appearance has changed over the centuries. Wealthy woman cherished these little charmers as lap dogs in Tudor times as they were efficient hand warmers! The dogs gained their royal name as they were favourites of King Charles II.

It is possible that the spaniels of the Tudor era were later crossed with pugs to produce the smaller face and domed heads that we see today. Cavaliers fell out of favour for many years but rose to prominence again in Victorian times. The breed was recognised by The Kennel Club in 1945 and in 1963, a Cavalier King Charles spaniel won the Toy Group at Crufts. Ten years later, a King Charles won Best in Show. This raised the profile of the breed which is now amongst the most popular on the planet.

Cavalier King Charles spaniel breed characteristics

It’s their huge eyes which endear these dogs to all who see them. Those large eyes complement the sweet nature of the Cavalier King Charles spaniel which also boasts feathered ears which are set high on its head. This breed is notable for its waggy tail and silky, mid-length coat which can be black and tan, ruby, Blenheim or tricolour.

Cavaliers are incredibly affectionate dogs which are intelligent and easy to train. They are fabulous companion dogs and don’t tend to bark. They will form very close bonds with people and so don’t enjoy being left alone at home.

  • Lifespan: 10-16 years
  • Height: up to 33cm
  • Weight: up to 8.2kg
  • Huge eyes
  • Waggy tail
  • Silky-smooth coat
  • Black and tan, ruby, Blenheim or tricolour
  • Friendly
  • Good with children
  • Intelligent
  • Easy to train
  • Adaptable
  • Can suffer from separation anxiety

Health issues with Cavalier King Charles spaniel

Sadly, this breed can suffer from heart problems. Screening is possible before breeding to eliminate the issue. It is advisable for prospective owners to check that puppies are the offspring of dogs who have been screened. Cavalier King Charles spaniels are otherwise generally healthy but can suffer from both eye disorders and ear infections.

What is the Cavalier King Charles spaniel bred for?

These appealing dogs were evolved as lap dogs for the wealthy. Their endearing nature and sweet appearance ensured that they became hugely popular pets.

What sort of owners does the Cavalier King Charles spaniel suit?

Trustworthy, affectionate and reliable dogs, Cavalier King Charles spaniels are fabulous pets for families and older owners. Great with kids of all ages and easy to train, they are ideal for inexperienced owners and are good choices for those who live in apartments. Cavaliers form strong bonds with people and need company all day. They will live happily with other pets and are not overly demanding. However, they require frequent grooming.

With sweet expressions, huge eyes and very waggy tails, Cavaliers are so cute that it is hard not to overindulge them. As a result, these dogs can easily gain weight and so require owners who can withstand the charm offensive. They need a reasonable amount of exercise and respond well to training with positive reinforcement.


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