Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Dog


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Breed information Guide

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is the one of the most popular dogs in the UK (after the Cocker Spaniel/ Retriever) with an international following as one of the smaller (toy category) members of the spaniel family. According to Kennel Club 3,478 Cavalier King Charles Spaniels were registered in the UK in 2022. According to the American Kennel Club it is ranked 14th (of 287 breeds) in 2022.

This article is perfect for anyone looking to understand more about this special dog breed. If you are looking for a dog this article will provide the general information required to understand if a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is the right fit for you.

Quick facts

  • Size: Small
  • Weight: 5-8kg
  • Height: up to 33cm
  • Lifespan: 12-15 years
  • Types: toy dog with show varieties
  • Families: Good for families as a lapdog enjoy lots of cuddles!
  • Allergies: Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are not hypoallergenic and shed moderately compared to other breeds.
  • Appearance: distinctive long ears and one of the smallest spaniel breeds with multiple colours (Blenheim – red and white, tri-colour often black, red and white,  black and white, black and tan or red).
  • Temperament: energetic, friendly and attentive dogs that are good with children but as lapdogs (as with other spaniels but perhaps more so than other breeds) they do get lonely and suffer from separation anxiety.
  • Other pets: Like most spaniels Ideal mate to cats or other dogs but caution with small birds and animals due to instincts to hunt small prey.
  • Barking: Cavalier king charles spaniels can be vocal especially when left alone but no more than other Spaniel breeds and training can help reduce this.
  • Training: They respond well to training with food rewards and due to their intelligence require plenty of mental stimulation including scent work. Socialisation from a young age will help in family settings.
  • Exercise required: Despite being smaller they still required a minimum of 1 hour a day with plenty of opportunity to run around (off lead if possible). They have a keen sense of smell so any scents will attract them and also wear them out quicker!
  • Owner requirement: fit and active enough to provide the daily walks of 1 hour (cannot be left at home for more than circa 4 hours).
  • Grooming: Cavalier King Charles spaniels shed moderately so weekly brushing is required (including checking ears) and given their active lifestyle be prepared for bathing (a good dog shampoo is important) occasionally and quarterly professional grooming visits. Using grooming time to check for any lumps and bumps and ears.
  • Health: typical problems include ear problems, eye issues, and joint conditions like hip dysplasia and this breed can also suffer from urinary incontinence (most common in female dogs after spaying). King Charles Spaniels with a snub nosed can have breathing difficulties.
  • Nutrition: fresh water and mix of wet and dry food twice a day. Good quality high protein food helps given how active these dogs are.
  • Accommodation: these spaniel dogs suit a garden with good fencing so they can run around and burn off some energy. They can adapt to a countryside or urban location.
  • Cost: As with other spaniel dogs £1,000 – £1,500 from a reputable breeder and circa £80 per month (largely food and insurance as key ongoing costs). According to the PDSA, this type of dog can cost £13,000 over its lifetime.
  • Kennel Club Group: Toy

Breed History

Cavalier King Charles spaniels got their name from King Charles II back in the 15th century who was a huge fan of these companion dogs. Unlike other spaniels, they are classified as toy rather than gun dogs. Their distinctive appearance includes long ears and attractive colouring with a feathered coat.

King Charles Spaniel vs. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

According to the kennel club these are two separate breeds although with the same roots and heritage. Whilst they share the same colours there are some differences between the breed including:

  • Slightly longer muzzle for the Cavalier King Charles with a more snub-nosed appearance for the King Charles Spaniel.
  • The Cavalier King Charles is slightly larger in size with a height of up to 33cm vs the King Charles which is up to 28cm.
  • King Charles is lighter at 3-6 kg.

Temperament and Personality

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