Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Cavalier King Charles looking forward

Quick Facts


13 to 18 pounds


12-13 inches at the shoulder

Average Lifespan:

10-12 years

Known For:

They love to be in a lap, will follow you everywhere you go, and they make friends very easy.


The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, with its expressive eyes and sweet disposition, is a gem in the canine world. Originating from the United Kingdom, this breed has captured the hearts of many with its elegance and charm.Β 

Often seen as a lap dog, the Cavalier is not just a pretty face but also a companion that brings joy and warmth to households worldwide. Its popularity has soared over the years, and it’s no wonder why. With a rich history and a personality that’s hard to resist, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel stands as a testament to the love and bond between humans and dogs1.

History and Origin

The history of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is as regal as its name suggests. This breed traces its roots back to the Renaissance era, where toy spaniels were the favored companions of European royalty. The name “King Charles” is a nod to King Charles II of England, who was particularly fond of these dogs and often seen with them by his side2.


Over time, the appearance of these toy spaniels began to change due to crossbreeding. It wasn’t until the 1920s that an American named Roswell Eldridge offered a cash prize at the Crufts Dog Show in England for anyone who could produce “Blenheim Spaniels of the old type,” resembling those seen in old paintings. This led to the revival of the breed we recognize today as the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel3.


While not necessarily “famous” in the Hollywood sense, Cavaliers have been the beloved pets of many notable figures throughout history, including President Ronald Reagan and Frank Sinatra. Their presence in historical paintings and tapestries also speaks volumes about their longstanding appeal.

Breed Characteristics


Barking Tendency

Dog Friendly

Health Issues

Shedding Level









Cat Friendly

Exercise Needs


Social Needs








App. Friendly

Child Friendly


Energy Level

Stranger Friendly

Watchdog Instincts







Appearance and Size

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is the epitome of grace and beauty. With a silky, medium-length coat and a gentle expression, they exude elegance. Their coat can come in various colors, including Blenheim (chestnut and white), tricolor (black, white, and tan), ruby (solid red), and black and tan4.


Their head is slightly rounded, with a full muzzle and a well-defined stop. The eyes are dark, round, and set well apart, giving them an endearing expression. Their ears are set high and adorned with lovely feathering.

In terms of size, Cavaliers are considered a small breed. Adult Cavaliers typically weigh between 13 to 18 pounds, with a height ranging from 12 to 13 inches at the shoulder5. Despite their small stature, they have a sturdy build, making them equally suited for laps and leisurely strolls.

Personality and Temperament

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is often described as the quintessential companion dog, and for good reason. These dogs are known for their affectionate nature, often forming deep bonds with their families. Their friendly disposition makes them excellent companions for both the young and the elderly1.


Cavaliers are also known for their adaptability. Whether living in a bustling city apartment or a spacious countryside home, they adjust well to their surroundings. They’re equally content lounging on the couch or playing fetch in the yard. Their gentle and playful nature often makes them great companions for children, though it’s always essential to supervise interactions between dogs and young kids2.


Despite their regal appearance, Cavaliers have a playful side and can be quite spirited. They’re also known to be quite intelligent, picking up on cues and commands with relative ease.

Health and Lifespan

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, with their loving eyes and joyful demeanor, are a joy to have around. However, like all breeds, they come with their set of health considerations. One of the most common health issues in Cavaliers is Mitral Valve Disease (MVD), a heart condition. Regular veterinary check-ups can help monitor and manage this condition3.


Another concern is Syringomyelia (SM), a severe condition where cavities or cysts form within the spinal cord near the brain. It’s essential to be aware of this and seek veterinary guidance if your Cavalier shows signs of discomfort or pain[^9^].


With proper care, a balanced diet, and regular check-ups, Cavaliers typically have a lifespan of 9 to 15 years. It’s worth noting that many live healthy, fulfilling lives with the right care and attention[^10^].

Care and Maintenance

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel grooming

Caring for a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a rewarding experience. Their silky coats require regular brushing to prevent tangles and matting. While they are relatively low-shedding, a weekly grooming session will keep their fur looking its best and provide a bonding experience between you and your pet[^11^].


Exercise is essential for the Cavalier’s well-being. A daily walk, coupled with some playtime, is usually sufficient to keep them happy and healthy. They love to chase balls and will gladly engage in a game of fetch.

Diet is another crucial aspect of their care. Feeding them high-quality dog food, whether commercial or home-cooked (with veterinary guidance), will ensure they get the nutrients they need. Regular dental check-ups and teeth cleaning are also vital to prevent dental issues.

Training and Behavior

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, with their eager-to-please nature and intelligence, are a joy to train. They respond best to positive reinforcement methods, such as treats and praise. Their sensitive nature means that harsh training methods are not only unnecessary but can also be counterproductive1.


While they are generally well-behaved, like all dogs, Cavaliers can develop behavioral quirks. Early socialization is key to ensuring they grow up to be well-rounded adults.Β 


Puppy classes can be beneficial, allowing them to interact with other dogs and people in a controlled environment.

Their intelligence means they can pick up bad habits just as quickly as good ones. Consistency in training is crucial. With the right guidance and patience, Cavaliers can excel in obedience and even agility courses.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and Families

Cavalier King Charles with people

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are known for their affectionate nature, making them excellent family pets. They thrive in households where they can be part of daily activities and enjoy the company of their human companions2.


Their gentle temperament makes them great with children. However, due to their small size, it’s essential to teach kids how to handle them gently. With proper introductions and supervision, they can also get along well with other pets, including cats.


The joy and companionship that a Cavalier brings to a family are immeasurable. Their loving nature and playful spirit make them a cherished member of any household.

Adopting a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

If you’re considering bringing a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel into your home, you’re in for a treat! These dogs are loving, adaptable, and sure to bring joy to your life. When considering adoption, it’s essential to research reputable breeders or rescue organizations3.


Ensure that the breeder conducts health tests on their breeding dogs and is transparent about the puppy’s lineage. If you’re looking to adopt from a rescue, be patient. Sometimes, it might take time to find the perfect match, but the wait is worth it.

Before bringing a Cavalier home, consider your living situation, work schedule, and the needs of the dog. Ensuring you can provide a loving, stable environment is crucial for both your happiness and that of your new furry friend.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Cavalier King Charles Spaniels good family dogs?

Yes, they are known for their affectionate nature, friendliness, and gentle temperament, making them excellent companions for families with children and other pets.

What grooming needs do Cavalier King Charles Spaniels have?

Their long, silky coats require regular brushing to prevent tangles and mats, and they may need occasional professional grooming to keep their coat in good condition.

How much exercise does a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel need?

They have moderate exercise needs, usually satisfied with daily walks and playtime. They enjoy being active but are also content with relaxing by their owner’s side.

What are common health problems in Cavalier King Charles Spaniels?

They can be prone to heart issues, such as mitral valve disease, and syringomyelia, a condition affecting the spinal cord. Regular veterinary care is important for early detection and management.

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