king charles Spaniel Dog


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king charles spaniel

breed information guide

The King Charles Spaniel, also known as “Charlie,” is a beloved small spaniel breed with a long and royal history. It was officially recognized by the Kennel Club in 1945, and in 2022, 68 King Charles Spaniels were registered in the UK, showing their ongoing popularity. These dogs are known for their friendly and versatile nature, making them wonderful family pets. With their regal lineage and endearing personality, King Charles Spaniels holds a special place in the hearts of dog lovers. Although very similar this breed is different to the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel often slightly smaller in size with a shorter muzzle.

Read on to discover how the King Charles Spaniel, a breed steeped in regal history, has ascended the ranks to become a cherished family favourite, admired for its adaptable nature and affectionate companionship.

Quick Facts: 

  • Size: Small lap dogs
  • Weight: They weigh between 3.6-6.3 kg (approximately 8-14 pounds).
  • Height: King Charles Spaniel stands at 23-28 cm (approximately 9-11 inches) at the shoulder.
  • Lifespan: These affectionate dogs typically enjoy a lifespan of 9-14 years.
  • Types: This breed is classified under the Toy group.
  • Families: Known for their gentle and loving nature, they make excellent companions for families and are good with children.
  • Allergies: The breed’s long, silky coat requires regular grooming but is not specifically associated with hypoallergenic traits.
  • Appearance: They boast a regal appearance with expressive eyes, long, silky ears, and a soft, wavy coat. Colours include Blenheim (red and white), Ruby (red), Black and Tan and Tri-Colour., 
  • Temperament: These dogs are gentle, affectionate, friendly, and playful, thriving on human interaction.
  • Other pets: They are typically friendly and patient with other pets due to their sociable nature.
  • Barking: Vocal and chatty dog
  • Training: King Charles Spaniels are amenable to training with positive reinforcement and are known to be easy to train.
  • Exercise required: They need about 30 minutes of exercise per day to stay healthy and happy.
  • Owner requirement: They adapt well to various living situations and are content with love and attention, making them suitable for a wide range of owners.
  • Grooming: Regular brushing is needed, along with occasional professional grooming to maintain their coat.
  • Health: They may be predisposed to breathing problems as they are a brachycephalic breed (short muzzle).
  • Nutrition: A balanced diet is important for their overall health, as with any breed.
  • Accommodation: They are adaptable to both spacious houses and cosy apartments, as long as they have ample human interaction.
  • Cost: They can start from  £1,000 to well over £4,000.
  • Kennel Club Group: Toy Dog

Breed History & Traits:

King Charles Spaniel and the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, often called the ‘Royal Spaniels’, share a rich history. They both come from a tradition of making sporting spaniels smaller, a key part of their past. King Charles II of England (in the 1600’s) was very keen on the Toy Spaniel which is why these dogs bear his name. The original dogs had a more pronounced muzzle the shorter look was a result of cross-breeding with other breeds like ‘pugs’.

In the early dog show scene, people who loved Toy Spaniels formed a club. They set up the first rules for the breed. At first, they wanted to call this breed the Toy Spaniel. 

For a long time, up to 1945, the King Charles Spaniel and the Cavalier were seen as one breed and shown together at dog shows. But in the early 1900s, people started to fancy Toy breeds with shorter faces. So, breeders began to choose dogs with rounder heads and shorter muzzles, which were a hit in shows before World War I.

A big change came in 1926. Some breeders who loved the traditional look of the Spaniel, with a flatter head and longer nose, decided to do their own thing. They wanted to keep the original style of the breed. This led to King Charles Spaniel and the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel being recognized as two separate breeds in 1945 by The Kennel Club. The King Charles kept its shorter face and round head, which were the features King Edward VII had liked.

In the 1960s, the Cavalier started to become more popular, and fewer people were interested in the King Charles Spaniel. But lately, things have changed. Breeders have been really working on making King Charles Spaniel healthier and friendlier. Thanks to their efforts, the breed is making a comeback, winning the hearts of dog lovers once again.

Temperament and Personality:

King Charles Spaniel has a friendly and outgoing temperament, much like Will Rogers, the well-known humorist who never encountered someone he didn’t like. These spaniels are always ready to say hello and are at their happiest when snuggled on a friendly lap or being given a treat.

Their temperaments can vary significantly, ranging from calm and steady to energetic and playful. They may not always bark at new people. That makes them more fitting as companions rather than guard dogs. While some Charlies may show a more vocal and protective side, they typically are more inclined to greet an intruder with a wagging tail than a threatening bark.

Below is a table contrasting King Charles Spaniel vs Cavalier breeds regarding their temperament and personality traits:

TraitKing Charles SpanielOther Cavalier Breeds
AffectionateHighly affectionate, thrives on human interactionGenerally affectionate, though varies
PlayfulnessPlayful yet gentle, suitable for familiesPlayfulness levels vary by individual
AdaptabilityAdapts comfortably to various living situationsAdaptability can vary, with some needing more space
TrainabilityResponds positively to gentle training methodsTrainability varies, with some breeds needing consistent training
Exercise NeedsModerate; enjoys walks and play sessionsExercise needs can be higher in some breeds

Appearance and Colors:

The King Charles Spaniel stands as a paragon of grace, its regal bearing and deep, expressive eyes capturing hearts. 

  • Head and Skull: The skull is moderately large compared to the body size, well-domed, and full over the eyes. The breed features a well-defined stop between the skull and nose, and a square, deep muzzle. Their nose is black with large, wide-open nostrils.
  • Eyes and Ears: Their eyes are relatively large, dark, and set wide apart, contributing to their pleasing expression. The ears are set low, hanging close to the cheeks, and are very long and well-feathered.
  • Body Structure: They have a wide, deep chest, and their back is short and level. Their legs are short and straight, with well-laid-back shoulders. The tail, which was previously optional for docking, is now often left undocked and should be well-feathered and balanced with the rest of the body.
  • Gait and Movement: The breed is known for its free, active, and elegant movement, driving from behind. Sound movement is highly desirable and an important aspect of their physical build.

Four colour patterns are officially recognized in King Charles Spaniel:

  • Blenheim: This luxurious chestnut marbles on a stark white background and features the notable Blenheim spot—a lozenge mark—on the forehead.
  • Tricolour: This eye-catching combination includes a black on a white base, accented with tan over the eyes, on the cheeks, and under the tail.
  • Black & Tan: This pattern showcases a rich black background with tan accents above the eyes, on the cheeks, inside the ears, and under the tail.
  • Ruby: This colour is lustrous, uniform reddish-brown, free from any white patches or spots.


The King Charles Spaniel stands out for its sweetness and keenness to make its owners happy. This breed loves meeting new people, gets along with other animals, and is great with kids, making them ideal for families.

Their intelligence makes them quick to pick up on training that uses positive rewards, and they’re known to be easy to train—a trait they share with their relative, the Cavapoo, a King Charles Spaniel Poodle mix.

They’re good at dog sports like obedience, rally, and agility, often taking the spotlight. Plus, they have a gentle disposition when it comes to therapy work because of their soft nature.

Check out these training tips:

  • Use treats and praise: Charlie loves this kind of encouragement.
  • Start young: Begin training early since Charlie catches on fast, and early lessons lay the groundwork for later on.
  • Consistency: Keep your commands and daily routines the same so they feel secure.
  • Socialisation: Bring your Charlie to lots of different places and introduce them to people so they’re comfortable anywhere.
  • Engaging Sessions: Make training fun and snappy to keep their attention, and always end on a good note to keep them excited about learning.

With patience and steadiness, King Charles Spaniel can learn the basics and even go on to do well in obedience and agility contests, showing off their brains and elegance.


The King Charles Spaniel may love to curl up on your lap, but let’s not forget—they come from active sporting breeds. They do enjoy a good dose of daily exercise and are always up for some fun outside. These dogs are happy to go on walks and are pretty good at doggy sports. But they’re also fine just hanging out at home. They need about 30 minutes of exercise dailyeach day to keep them in good shape and spirits. That’s less exercise than a mini Cocker Spaniel might need, but it’s just right for them.

Here’s how you can make sure they get their exercise:

  • A Safe Place: Because Charlies might follow their noses due to their hunting background, you should keep them on a leash or in a fenced space.
  • Walks Every Day: Taking walks regularly is important. It keeps them fit and gives them something interesting to think about.
  • Fun and Games: They really like playtime and interactive games that get their bodies moving and tickle their curiosity.
  • Exercise with Learning: Mix up training with exercise. It’s good for their brains and helps them remember their training better.
  • Plan B for Bad Weather: When the weather’s bad, keep them busy with indoor activities instead of their usual outdoor ones.
  • Making Friends: Charlies often like making friends with other dogs. Setting up playdates is another fun way for them to get moving and be sociable.

Regular, not-too-intense exercise is what Charlie needs. It keeps them from getting too heavy and makes sure you have a happy buddy around the house

Ideal Home & Owner:

King Charles Spaniel is quite flexible and does well in various homes—be it a small apartment or a large house with a small garden. But, some things create the perfect home for this loving breed. Whilst they suit familiesfamillies they are more likely to be better suited to less chaotic environments e.g. older children or adults.

Here’s what future owners need to think about:

  • Companionship: They really don’t like being alone for too long. An owner who either works from home or can bring their dog to work would be perfect.
  • Gentle Environment: They fit best in a peaceful and stable household because they are naturally gentle.
  • Attention and Affection: These dogs love being the centre of attention and getting lots of love. An owner ready to give plenty of both will find themselves with a devoted and affectionate companion.

If you’re getting your home ready for a King Charles Spaniel, check these off your list to make sure you’re all set:

  • Comfortable Bedding: A comfy bed placed in a quiet spot for them to wind down and snooze.
  • Safe Play Area: A safe spot for playtime where they can’t run off or stumble on anything harmful.
  • Quality Diet: Stock up on premium dog food that’s right for their age, size, and how much they move around.
  • Grooming Supplies: Brushes, combs, and pet-friendly shampoo are a must for taking care of their beautiful fur.
  • Healthcare Plan: Plan for regular vet visits to stay on top of shots and to keep them free from parasites.

Other Animals:

Known for their sociable and loving nature, King Charles Spaniel usually enjoys the company of children and other animals. They make excellent companions for kids who like active play such as fetch, who are eager to teach tricks, or who just want a buddy to snuggle with during storytime or TV hours. But remember, because of their petite size, it’s important to watch over any play with small children to avoid any accidental harm to the dog.

As for other household pets, Charlies tend to live peacefully with other dogs and, if introduced early enough, they can learn to get along with cats and other domestic animals. Still, you should keep an eye on them, particularly around smaller creatures like birds, since Charlie’s chasing urge might kick in.

And it’s smart to teach kids the right way to interact with dogs to prevent unwanted incidents, such as bites or rough play, and to make sure they know to leave a dog alone when it’s eating or sleeping. No dog, no matter how gentle, should be left alone with a child without an adult present.

With the right precautions and proper introductions, your King Charles Spaniel has the potential to be a treasured, gentle addition to your diverse pet family.

Size & Weight

King Charles Spaniels are small lap dogs, making them perfect companions for those seeking a compact canine friend. Here are the specific details regarding their size and weight:

  • Weight: These charming dogs typically weigh between 3.6 to 6.3 kilograms, which is approximately 8 to 14 pounds.
  • Height: King Charles Spaniels have a shoulder height that ranges from 23 to 28 centimetres, which is approximately 9 to 11 inches.

These delightful dogs, classified under the Toy group, offer affection and companionship, and they often enjoy a lifespan ranging from 9 to 14 years, making them a cherished part of many families.

Grooming & Care:

To keep their coat shiny and healthy, King Charles Spaniels need to be groomed regularly. It’s best to brush them three to four times a week to keep tangles at bay, particularly in their feathered parts, and bathe them as needed – which for some could be every week.

Here are more care tips:

  • During grooming, pay extra attention to the ears and legs to prevent mats from forming.
  • Cut the fur between the foot pads and keep the ears clean to stop infections.
  • If they have white paws, they might need more work to stay clean and white.
  • These dogs shed an average amount and don’t need special haircuts, but some people like to trim around their feet to keep them looking tidy.
  • Looking after their teeth is key; brush them a few times a week to stop tartar and bacteria from building up.
  • Clip their nails once or twice a month, or if you start hearing them click on the floor.
  • Getting them used to grooming early on makes vet checks and other handling easier down the line.

If you do a full check-up each week while you groom, you can spot any health problems early. This, along with a good diet and regular walks or play, will help make sure your King Charles Spaniel is a happy and well-looked-after part of the family.

Nutrition & Food:

The King Charles Spaniel requires a specific dietary requirement to keep up their energy and coat health. They should eat about 1/2 to 1 cup of top-notch dry food per day, divided over two meals. The exact portion depends on their size, age, metabolic rate, and their activity level.

Feeding your dog high-quality food means they get more nutrients, so you might not need to feed less than with lower-quality options.

It’s vital to keep an eye on your Charlie’s weight. Do the eye test and the hands-on test to spot any extra pounds. You should see a waist when you look down at them. And you should be able to feel their ribs without having to push too hard. If they’re getting chubby, you should cut back on their food and increase their exercise. 

In case you’re feeding them wet or raw food, you might want to use a snood—or something similar—to keep their ears out of their food bowl. Bowls that are narrower at the top help stop their ears from dipping into their food or water.


King Charles Spaniels are usually healthy dogs, yet it’s essential to note that King Charles Spaniels belong to a brachycephalic breed. This means they may be prone to breathing problems due to their facial structure. Owners should also be aware of their large, prominent eyes and the possibility of a skin fold between the eyes and nose. Regular cleaning of the eyes, skin folds, and nose is recommended. Moreover, owners should be cautious about weather conditions and high temperatures, as Charlies can easily overheat.

For more detailed health information, it is advisable to refer to the breed club’s website and contact the breed club’s health officer, as well as the Kennel Club, for further information regarding eye, heart, and respiratory conditions specific to King Charles Spaniels.


Getting pet insurance for a King Charles Spaniel is a smart move, given the breed’s known health issues. You’ll want to compare pet insurance policies that includes genetic conditions, regular vet visits, and unexpected emergencies. It’s smart to look at different policies and pick one that gives broad protection suited to the breed’s specific needs.

Buying & Breeders:

When you’re on the hunt for King Charles Spaniel puppies for sale near me the key is to find a trustworthy breeder. 

Here’s what to look for in a breeder:

  • They should screen for health issues and offer guarantees for health.
  • Make sure the puppies and their parents have a clean and healthy living space.
  • Check out feedback and comments from other buyers.
  • Confirm the breeder has a deep understanding of the breed.
  • It’s crucial they stick to ethical breeding standards.

Rescue & Re-homing:

The Charlie’s, known for their loving nature and ability to adjust, often captures the hearts of those eager to adopt.

King Charles Spaniel rescue organisations, committed to the breed, work hard to give these dogs another shot at joy. Rehoming a King Charles Spaniel is a path filled with patience and affection, but the rewards for the dog and the new owner are enormous.

Follow these steps to adopt:

  • Start with research on rescue organisations focusing on King Charles Spaniels.
  • Apply for adoption, sharing details about your home life and dog experience.
  • Set up a meeting with the dog to make sure it’s a match.
  • The rescue might look over your home to make sure it’s safe.
  • Finish the adoption with paperwork and get ready to bring your new friend home.


In summary, a King Charles Spaniel isn’t merely a pet—it’s a delightful addition to any household. These dogs are the ideal size for a cosy cuddle on your lap, thanks to their manageable size and weight. Their need for grooming becomes an opportunity for bonding. For those well-versed in dog ownership or just pondering their first canine companion, getting to know and care for a King Charles Spaniel can forge a rewarding bond of affection and mutual respect. And so, we celebrate the King Charles Spaniel—a breed that encapsulates the pure delight and fellowship dogs add to our lives.


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