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King Charles Cavalier Spaniel
Toy Dog Breeds

King Charles Cavalier Spaniel

The King Charles Cavalier Spaniel is one of the most admired of all the spaniels. Most notably the former President and Mrs. Reagan owned one during the time they resided in the White House.

The Cavalier Spaniels are descended from the toy spaniels that were prominent in the 11-18th centuries and became very popular with English royalty especially so during the reign of Charles II, who in fact, gave his name to them.

They were also frequently seen in paintings by famous artists of the day. They are descended from the King Charles and other toy spaniels that most likely came from China or Japan.

These sweet-faced dogs are intelligent and loyal and have at times resided with both royal families as well as other famous celebrities - among them Elizabeth Taylor and television interviewer Diane Sawyer.

The spaniel is also referred to as the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and is often confused with the King Charles Spaniel which is a separate breed and generally smaller than the Cav.


Among the health problems that may affect this breed, inherited heart conditions such as Mitral Valve disease is the most frequently reported.

Other health issues may include hip dysplasia, ear disorders and eye problems such as cataracts and multi-focal retinal dysplasia. It is important when seeking a puppy to have the breeder provide the health testing that has been done on the sire and dam in regard to these diseases.

King Charles Cavalier Spaniel Guide Book The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Appearance And Coat Care

Height: 12 to 13 inches
Weight: 12-18 pounds
Color variations: Black/tan, Red/white, Ruby and Tricolor.

The King Charles Cavalier Spaniel does shed.

Grooming needs include frequent brushing with special attention to the silky longer hair, which easily tangles. Routine attention should be given to nails and especially to ears which like most long-eared dogs, need to have regular cleaning. This breed is by nature a clean dog and bathing is generally not needed more than every two months.

Show dogs are never trimmed except between the pads on their feet.

Personality and Traits:

This dog breed is graceful, sweet and gentle and makes an excellent family pet. Some would say he's the perfect lap dog and many agree that he is wonderfully soothing for high stress people. Being very much a "people" dog, affectionate and playful, he does like to have his family close by all the time.

The King Charles Cavalier Spaniel is a fearless breed that has an inherited sporting ability, which tends to make them give chase if unsuspecting critters cross their path, so it's a good idea not to let them roam too freely.

They have a reputation for being quite eager to please and well-behaved. If an owner is committed and gentle, training should should go smoothly. They are also known to be friendly toward other dogs or other family pets.

Activity Level:

Although the Cavalier can be content with any level of exercise, it is recommended that at least one walk a day is given to maintain a healthy heart condition, as well as for the change of scenery and fresh air that every dog needs.

Space Needs:

The Cavalier is very adaptable to most living arrangements and prefers to be inside with his family most of the time. They are not very active indoors, so a small outdoor area is welcome for a quick playtime outside. If no yard is available, a walk should be given. Milder climates suit the breed best.


The King Charles Cavalier Spaniel is gentle and considered to be a good choice for families with children. However, because it is a delicate dog, it is not recommended for very young children who might accidentally hurt the dog.

As always, the caution remains that activities involving children of any age should always be monitored by an adult just to be on the safe side.


Considering that exercise and grooming needs are not demanding, the King Charles Cavalier Spaniel is a good breed for the elderly or more sedentary family, providing that someone is home a lot, as they love companionship.

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