Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Home > Dog Breeds > Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
13-18 lbs
Cav, Cavies

Diverged from the King Charles Spaniel in the 1920s, all modern Cavalier King Charles Spaniels descend from six dogs that survived World War II.  Their deeper roots lie in Spaniels of the 1600s that were cross-bred with Pugs for their favored short-nosed faces. The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a toy dog with smooth long wavy hair that comes in one of four color patterns: chestnut brown and white (Blenheim); black, white, and tan (Prince Charles); black and tan (King Charles); and chestnut (Ruby). They can be distinguished from the King Charles Spaniel by their domed skulls, slightly larger stature, higher set ears, and longer muzzles. As Spaniels, they come from a line of hunters, but they are now companion dogs, sometimes even called "comforter spaniels” because of their companionate nature. They are friendly, affectionate, people-oriented, and good with children and other dogs of any size, but because they are so people-oriented, they require a lot of human social interaction, and should not be regularly left alone. The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is eager to please, but of only average intelligence. They are too friendly to be good guard dogs, and enjoy chasing birds, small animals, and cars. They should be regularly brushed, but never trimmed.

flushing small birds, lapdog
Date of Origin
blenheim, red and white king charles, toy trawler spaniels

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
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Mitral Valve Disease
  • Thrombocytopenia
  • Syringomyelia
Minor Concerns
  • Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca
Occasional Diagnoses
  • Episodic Falling
Occasional Tests
  • Cardiac
  • Eye
  • Hip
  • Knee
  • X-Rays
  • Eye Examination
  • Physical Examination

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Breed History

Thought to be a descendant of the Toy Spaniel, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, as we know it today, has roots in the United Kingdom. The ancient, deeper roots are known to be in the Far East, Malta and Italy but much of what we see today in this canine evolved due to this breed’s time as a companion to royalty. First seen in paintings by famous artists such as Gainsborough and Van Dyck, The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel was a favorite of kings Charles I and Charles II, leading to the association of the name. King Charles II was so enchanted by the breed that he decreed the Spaniels to be allowed in any public place, including parliament. Standards for the breed were not set for some time; variations in the dog as far as color, jawline, head shape and stature were many. It wasn’t until the 1920’s that a breed standard was determined. The first Cavalier King Charles Spaniel was brought to the United States in 1952, though it wasn't until 1995 that the American Kennel Club finally recognized the breed. Their popularity has since grown so much that it is now the 18th most popular breed in the United States. The Cav’s greatest media exposure came as one of their kind played “Elizabeth Taylor,” the pet dog of Charlotte York, one of the four principal characters in the legendary television series “Sex and the City.”

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Breed Appearance

One of the endearing features of this sweet breed is the expression on the face, highlighted by the round, dark eyes that are slightly bulging. The muzzle is described as tapered, and the ears are fairly long, sitting high on a domed head. Feathering on the legs, feet, tail, chest, and ears add to the elegant look of this breed when in movement. The gait is often described as smooth and graceful. The coat, which is medium to long in length, comes in a variety of colors including Ruby (all chestnut red), Blenheim (chestnut markings on a white ground), Prince Charles or tricolor (black markings on white with a white blaze between the eyes and tan markings over the eyes, on the cheeks, inside the ears, and on the underside of the tail), and King Charles (black with tan markings over the eyes, on the cheeks, inside the ears, and on the chest, legs, and underside of tail). Some have a chestnut red spot right in the middle of the forehead, which is known as the Blenheim Spot, or the Duchess Thumb Print. The coat of this Spaniel is wavy and silky.
Eye Color Possibilities
Nose Color Possibilities
Coat Color Possibilities
Coat Length
Short Medium Long
Coat Density
Sparse Normal Dense
Coat Texture
Straight Wiry Wavy Curly Corded

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Breed Maintenance

The coat of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, because of the length and texture, should be brushed every other day with a comb or a firm bristle brush in order to avoid matting and tangling of the feathers. Often, owners will have a groomer do the job as the feathering on the ears and the hair between the footpads must be trimmed regularly. An average shedder, this canine is not hypoallergenic. The ears should be checked and cleaned regularly due to the fact that they are long and have fur on them which may allow moisture to remain trapped inside. Bacteria and yeast can easily build up, causing ear infections and odor. Teeth should be cleaned every year once they reach adulthood and you can do your part against dental disease by brushing your dog’s teeth daily, or at minimum, three times per week. The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel can adapt well to an apartment setting, but will be most content having access to a fenced yard for playtime after walks. Because of his short muzzle and long hair, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel should not be walked or left outside in hot weather. They should be fed ½ to 1 cup of quality kibble twice a day.

Brushes for Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Pin Brush
Nail Clipper
Brushing Frequency
Daily Weekly Monthly

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Temperament

A gentle, curious, and playful breed, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is an affectionate dog that loves to explore and roam. This breed is a great family dog, well-suited to living with children and other dogs of all sizes, and as they are great lap-cuddlers, they can be excellent therapy dogs for the disabled or the elderly. Even though they seem to be best-suited to cuddling and companionship, they are also active, sporting dogs who like to chase things. They can live equally well in the city or the country, and do well as part of a pack of two or more dogs. The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel needs human companionship to be happy, and should not be left alone for long periods of time. This breed is moderately intelligent, and responds well to gentle training. Because they are so friendly with family members and strangers alike, they do not make good guard dogs. 

Activity Level
Low Medium High
Rec. Walk Mileage Per Week
6 miles
Minutes of Activity Per Day
30 minutes

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Popularity

Popularity ranking
Popular Hybrids
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Pembroke Welsh Corgi
Bichon Frise
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Labrador Retriever
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Brussels Griffon
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Food Consumption

Cups Per Day
1 cups
Daily Cost
$0.8 - $1
Monthly Cost
$25 - $30

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Height & Weight

6 Months
Height: 6 inches Weight: 7 lbs
Height: 6 inches Weight: 7 lbs
12 Months
Height: 12 inches Weight: 12 lbs
Height: 12 inches Weight: 12 lbs
18 Months
Height: 12 inches Weight: 15 lbs
Height: 12 inches Weight: 15 lbs

Top Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Breeders

Check out who made our list for the most reputable Cavalier King Charles Spaniel breeders of 2017.
Coosa Creek Cavalier King Charles Spaniels
Lake Worth, Florida
Mid Lake Cavaliers
New York, New York
King Charles Cavaliers Spaniels by Val
Cape Coral, Florida
Kabaret Cavaliers & Tibeten spaniels
Bonita, California
Cavaliers Of Castlemar
Durant, Oklahoma
Countrymanor Cavaliers
North Sioux City, South Dakota
Deb-Mar's Cavalier King Charles Spaniels
Deer Park, New York
Chadwick Cavaliers
Hawleyville, Connecticut
Lizmere Cavaliers
Casar, North Carolina

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Owner Experiences

2 Years
3 People
House & Yard
Goibg for walk in local park
Merlin has brought great joy into my life. I lost my little papillion 2 years ago due to a rare kidney disease. I cried for months non stop until one day going into our local pet store to by some fish for our aquarium. Merlin was brought in by a gentlemen whom owned Merlins father. He was untrainable for show. I knew right away he was for me, I fell in love with him. His price tag was scary. He came AKC registered and his father was a show dog. I have always rescued animals never purchased. I prayed to bring Merlin into my life. 3 weeks went by and no one purchased him. Very unusual because this pet place can usally sell in a few days. I reccidved a check in the mail unexpected in the amount of 400 dollars, not alot of money but Alot to me. I went down to the pet store and pleated my case with the cash. Well they agreed and Merlin came home with me and filled me with new life. He is lovable, kind, gentle, funny, caring, smart, loyal and mine. I will always be grateful for my king Charles Cavalier. I recommend getting one of these beatiful Cavaliers for yourself. You will thank yourself for doing so.
1 month, 3 weeks ago