Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

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13-18 lbs
While the cavalier King Charles spaniel comes from spaniel roots, it is thought that this European toy breed was probably derived from crossing small spaniels with Oriental toy breeds, including the Japanese Chin, the pug, or the Tibetan spaniel. The cavalier King Charles spaniel was known as a "comforter spaniel," due to its many significant contributions to the comfort of its owner, including its use as a lap or foot warmer and its ability to attract fleas from its owner's body.
flushing small birds, lapdog
Date of Origin
spaniel, companion

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Health

Average Size
Height: 12-13 inches Weight: 13-18 lbs
Height: 12-13 inches Weight: 13-18 lbs
Major Concerns
  • CHD
  • MVI
Minor Concerns
  • Patellar Luxation
  • Entropion
Occasional Tests
  • Cardiac
  • Eye
  • Hip
  • Knee

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Breed History

According to some, King Charles II was so taken with this breed that he ignored state matters in favor of his dogs. Because of his close association with the breed, this type of dog originally became known as the King Charles spaniel. Later, the Duke of Marlborough was known to be a major advocate of the King Charles spaniel, specifically his favorite coat type, the red and white "Blenheim" color, which is named after the Duke's estate. A favorite of the wealthy, the King Charles spaniel was a fixture in their homes for many years. But it is interesting to note that over time, a dog with a shorter nose became more popular. In fact, by the early 1900s, the few dogs still in existence that resembled the earlier specimens of the breed were considered to be inferior. But Roswell Eldridge, a wealthy American, came to England to offer an extraordinary amount of prize money, 25 pounds, for the best "pointed-nosed" spaniels. He was interested in purchasing two dogs of this type because they most resembled the original look of the breed. In particular, Mr. Eldridge was trying to find those dogs that resembled ones in paintings by Van Dyck that featured King Charles II and his beloved dogs. This version of the spaniel also featured a flatter skull, and a "kiss of Buddha" - a spot in the center of the forehead. Appreciation and breeding of dogs with the original look favored by King Charles, named cavalier King Charles spaniels in honor of the "cavalier king" grew, thanks to Mr. Eldridge's annual pledge of prize money at Cruft's. The model for the first breed standard set by the Kennel Club was a dog named Ann's Son, and it was in 1945 that the cavalier King Charles spaniel was first granted separate registration by the club. The short-nosed type eventually lost popularity, and the pointed-nose dog become one of the most popular breeds in England. This breed did not enjoy the same popularity in America, and in fact, many cavalier owners fought recognition by the AKC to try to control the problems that often accompany strong popularity. It was in 1952 that this first of this breed was present in the United States, but it wasn't until 1996 that the AKC finally recognized the cavalier King Charles spaniel.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Breed Appearance

This elegant, royal-looking toy spaniel is slightly longer than it is tall. The front legs are straight, and its compact feet have well-cushioned pads. The broad pelvis is well-muscled, and the back legs are parallel. The proportionately-sized head features large, round eyes that offer a sweet, gentle expression. The eyes are usually a warm, dark brown color. The feathered ears of this breed are quite long and sit high on the head. The slightly tapered muzzle features teeth that meet in a scissors bite. The long neck is well-muscled, and it arches nicely into sloping shoulders. The tail is described as being carried happily, while the gait is free moving and elegant. The coat of the cavalier King Charles spaniel is silky and moderately long with a possible slight wave. Feathering can be found on the ears, the chest, the legs, the feet, and the tail. The coat comes in a variety of colors including: Blenheim (rich chestnut markings on a white ground), tricolor (black markings on a white ground with a white blaze between the eyes and tan markings over the eyes, on cheeks, inside ears and on underside of tail), ruby (all red), and black and tan (black with tan markings over eyes, on cheeks, inside ears, on chest, legs, and on underside of tail).

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Breed Maintenance

The coat of the cavalier King Charles spaniel should be brushed every other day with a comb or a firm bristle brush. Bathing or the use of dry shampoo should only be done when necessary. Pay close attention to the feathering on the ears, as it can easily tangle or mat. Trim the hair between the pads on the feet on a regular basis, and be sure to check and clean the ears regularly. After bathing, be sure that the dog is completely dry and warm. Watch the eyes for any signs of infection. This breed is considered to be an average shedder. While the cavalier King Charles Spaniels is an indoor dog who adapts well to an apartment setting, a small yard is recommended to easily meet its daily exercise needs. This breed is moderately active when indoors, but it really enjoys walking and playing in the park. Be aware that this dog isn't good in very warm conditions.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Breed Activity Requirements

A sweet, gentle, and playful breed, the cavalier King Charles spaniel is an affectionate dog that loves to explore, sniff, and chase. This breed can be an excellent companion dog for the disabled or the elderly. It needs human companionship to be happy and does best with older, more considerate children. Some dogs can be reserved around strangers, but this breed normally gets along well with other dogs and family pets. It is an intelligent breed that responds well to gentle training. Leaving the dog alone all day is not recommended as it loves to be around its people.