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The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a small Spaniel dog and a toy breed originating from the United Kingdom. Although they are a relatively new breed, they descend from the King Charles Spaniel that has been around for centuries. They result from cross-breeding these dogs after Charles II’s death and are now known for their red and white colouring, silky coat, large floppy ears and big, dark eyes that melt your heart.
Today, this breed is prevalent in England and has grown in popularity in the USA in recent years, too. Dog lovers adore them for their happy, affectionate nature, sweet, gentle faces and playful antics.
Meet the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is small for a Spaniel dog but one of the largest toy breeds, weighing 13 to 18 pounds and measuring 12 to 13 inches tall. Their faces are their primary attraction, and their big round eyes that are dark in colour can steal the heart of any dog enthusiast. Their eyes, combined with their large floppy ears, give them a genuinely loving expression.
Aside from their gorgeous faces, their medium to long, silky hair and plumy tails are their hallmarks. In addition, cavaliers commonly have distinct white and chestnut red coats, known as “Blenheim”. Still, they can also be Tricolour (black and white), black and tan, or ruby red.
Their hair is either straight or wavy, and they often have long “feathering” on their ears, feet, legs and tail. However, this feathering is not present in puppies but slowly appears as they grow into adults. They are seasonal shedders and require regular brushing and combing, especially during spring and fall.
They are generally a healthy breed that lives between 9 and 15 years. However, Mitral Valve Disease, which can lead to heart failure, is commonly found in Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. Cavaliers are also prone to Syringomyelia, which affects the brain and spine. What’s more, as a short-nosed breed, these pups can be sensitive to the heat, so be sure to keep them cool in the summer.
The temperament of a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are athletic dogs that are playful, curious and full of energy. They have a strong hunting instinct and love to chase anything that moves. While this is fine if they are playing in the garden, it does mean they are not the most streetwise dog. Thus, you should walk your Cavalier on a leash so they can not run off and harm themselves or other creatures.
Their personalities vary from dog to dog, and some Cavaliers are quiet and calm, whereas others can be rowdy. However, they generally love people and are instantly friendly towards strangers and guests, especially those who come bearing treats. Thus, if they bark at the doorbell, it’s not aggressively but rather due to initial fear and uncertainty.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are incredibly affectionate and loving towards their owners. Still, they tend to become owner-dependent, so you cannot leave them alone for long as they will quickly develop separation anxiety. When you’re home, your Cavalier will always be right behind you, simply happy to be in your presence.
These dogs are smart enough to learn commands and tricks, and because of their curious and social nature, they are always happy to learn new things. They are also extremely eager to please, so they will happily play fetch, feeling great pride in bringing the ball back to you.
10 reasons to add a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel to your family
- They are a royal breed - This breed is famed for its association with King Charles. Plus, they were favourites among various British royal families.
- They have adorable faces - Their large round eyes and cute fluffy ears give them a super sweet expression.
- They are toy size - Because of their small size, they have relatively low living costs, are suitable for someone who lives in a flat, and are easy to transport around.
- They are friendly towards strangers - This breed is most likely to bark from hearing another dog, rather than because people walk past the house. They are usually instantly friendly towards guests and strangers they meet on walks.
- They excel in obedience training - They are a highly trainable breed in all areas. However, as they are always eager to please their owners, obedience training Cavaliers is always a joy.
- They are very adaptable - Cavs do well in a wide range of environments, enjoy travelling and deal well with change. Moreover, they tend to adapt their energy levels to yours.
- They are playful but tire quickly - Unlike bigger dogs, Cavs only need about 20 minutes of exercise before they konk out. Thus, you don’t have to schedule long walks every day with this breed.
- They have a loving temperament - Although they are a sporting breed, they are also companion animals that show extreme loyalty towards their owners.
- They are snuggly - Thanks to their small size, they make excellent lap dogs and adore nothing more than cuddling with their humans.
- They are good with children - Their high energy and playfulness matches that of a young child’s, so they typically become great playmates and are very gentle, too.
Best homes for a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Although these hounds can adapt to different environments and people, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are house dogs. Therefore, they need an owner who will keep them indoors with the family rather than put them outside or in the garage alone.
Moreover, because they depend on their owners for affection and validation, they are not suitable for working professionals who are out of the house for eight or so hours a day. Moreover, they may prove a little too energetic for retired couples. Their ideal home would be with an active young family where there is always someone available.
They make beautiful playmates for children, get on well with other dogs and do not act fearful of larger canines. Their energetic and playful nature means they may not be the best breed for a household with cats, though. That being said, if they grow up together from an early age, they will most likely learn to play nice with them.