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All About Cavalier King Charles Spaniels

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cavalier king Charles spaniel puppy eating a treat

Known as social butterflies, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels love being surrounded by friends, family, neighbors, and just about anyone else who will give them an ear scratch or treat.

Although technically classified in the toy group, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are one of the largest in this category. On average, these dogs will weigh between 13-18 pounds and stand 12-13 inches in height.

These Spaniels are often described as a sporty dog, which means your Spaniel will almost always be excited to embark on a trip. Whether it is a hike, a walk, or a run, dog agility, or active games in the backyard, chances are your dog will be ready to go.

If you do not have an overly active lifestyle, though, don't feel as though you need to shy away from these dogs. There are many Cavalier King Charles Spaniel parents who have noted that many Spaniels can also be content with just a walk, and then they will become calm and collected lap dogs.

red and white spaniel out for a walk

History of the Breed

Unlike some other types of dogs, the origin of Cavalier King Charles Spaniels is fairly well-known.

They are descended from another type of toy spaniel, which was at one point extremely popular among the royal and noble families of England. After the death of their namesake—King Charles II—the popularity of this dog slowly decreased, and other small-built dogs, such as Pugs, began taking their place in the royal palace. However, some individuals began mixing these famous Spaniels and popular Pugs, and the result was a Spaniel that now had a shorter, scrunched nose and a rounder head.

Around the time of the 1940s, two of these Spaniels were imported to the United States, but not many people took notice of these stunning dogs until the early 1950s. A lady by the name of Mrs. Sally Lyons Brown, who was a resident of Kentucky, was gifted a black and tan Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. Brown quickly fell in love with this charming puppy, and she soon decided to import more Spaniels. The rest is history.


As a sociable dog, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels do not enjoy spending an extensive amount of time alone. They are dependent upon others, and they enjoy having someone around to keep them company. This being said, Spaniels will not do well with being left outside for multiple hours, so they should always be treated as a house dog.

When your Spaniel is outdoors, they should always either be on a leash or in a fenced-in yard. Due to their sporty nature, they have a tendency to chase after small creatures such as birds or rabbits. While it is recommended that you are cautious and watchful if your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel will be in the same house as other small animals, there is no need to worry about having other dogs or cats around.

These pooches do have a tendency to bark at any approaching visitor or neighbors who may walk by but don't be mistaken. They do not make good watchdogs. They will instead cheerfully greet anyone who enters the house as their new best friend.

Common questions people have before adding a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel to their family include:

Are Cavalier King Charles Spaniels Hyper?

On average, these dogs are not known for being overly hyper. However, they are also not known for being lazy couch potatoes. Because each dog has their own unique personality, it is difficult to predict exactly how much energy your little pupper will have.

How Long Do Cavalier King Charles Spaniels Live?

The typical lifespan for these dogs can be anywhere from 10-15 years.

Are Cavalier King Charles Spaniels Hypoallergenic?

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are not hypoallergenic dogs, so they may not be the right choice for you if you are allergic to dogs.

Do Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Dogs Shed?

Like other Spaniel breeds, the King Charles Spaniel is known to shed a decent amount all year round. It's also worth noting that the amount of shedding is increased twice a year during the spring and fall seasons.

Grooming and Care

One of the many benefits of having a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is that they do not require a load of extra grooming or caretaking needs. They will require regular baths, ear and teeth cleaning, and nail trimmings.

These dogs are known to shed, so multiple brushings a week can help keep their coat healthy, and it will help decrease the amount of dog hair found on your clothes and furniture.

It is beneficial to make grooming your dog a stress-free, casual part of your routine. Ways to help alleviate stress include beginning their grooming routine at a young age and providing rewards after each cleaning session.

For general care, one of the easiest ways to ensure a healthy and happy Spaniel is to provide an an appropriate diet and daily amount of exercise. If you are ever unsure about the type or amount of dog food you should be giving your four-legged friend, talk to your veterinarian about your options.

The amount of exercise your dog will require will be unique to them—some dogs want two walks a day, while others are content with just a quick run around in the yard. As you come to understand your dog's personality better, you will also begin to recognize when more exercise is needed.

black and tan puppy sitting in a backyard


Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are intelligent dogs who are typically happy to learn new commands and tricks. They do not react well to yelling or raised voices, so it is important to stay patient and calm when working with your Spaniel. Using positive reinforcement and rewards such as toys or treats will help you along in your training journey.

As with other dogs in the 'toy' category, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels can also have issues when it comes to house training. In order to help make this process less stressful, try to establish a schedule for your dog and provide them with plenty of opportunities to go outside. While it may initially seem over-the-top and unnecessary, this will help your dog better understand that their business should be done outside in the grass, not inside on the carpet.

As the number of accidents in the house decreases, then you can begin increasing the amount of time between each trip outside. Remember, this training schedule won't last forever, and it is much better to get house training under control as soon as possible, instead of waiting until things get out of control.


While Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are fairly healthy dogs, they are still prone to some health issues. According to our claims data*, the top 5 common health problems that affect Spaniels include:

  1. Heart Disease
  2. Ear Infections
  3. Diarrhea
  4. Digestive Issues
  5. Heart Murmurs

If you suspect that your dog has any of these health issues, it is recommended that you take them to the veterinarian as soon as possible.

Fun Facts About Cavalier King Charles Spaniels

  • Originally known as the King Charles Spaniel, or the English Toy Spaniel in the US, 'Cavalier' was added to this dog's name in order to distinguish them from the flat-faced King Charles Spaniel.
  • The Dukes of Marlborough had a country estate (Blenheim Palace) where a large amount of King Charles Spaniels were kept and bred. Because a majority of these dogs had a red and white-colored coat, this color variation of Spaniels became known as Blenheim.
  • With their small build, nice manners, and moderately active lifestyle, King Charles Spaniels oftentimes do well in an apartment or condo environment.

*Internal Claims Data, 2019

The information presented in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute or substitute for the advice of your veterinarian.


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