History & Overview
The Cavalier King Charles is a happy, active and fearless dog, very loyal to his family and a good companion for both children and the elderly alike. His ancestry can be traced back to small toy spaniels popular with both with royalty and as family pets in England for over 300 years. Those spaniels were named “King Charles Spaniels” in the 17th century.
Nowadays, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and the English Toy Spaniel are often confused with one another. In England, the English Toy Spaniel is known as the King Charles Spaniel, and in the United States, one of its color varieties is called King Charles. The two breeds resemble one another and come from the same stock. However, while the English Toy Spaniel is divided into two color varieties, the Cavalier does not separate the breed into varieties.
At A Glance:
Country of Origin:
Companion and Toy Dog
FCI Classification: Group 9 – Companion & Toy Breeds; Section 7 – English Toy Spaniels (without working trial)
AKC Classification: Toy Group
Small (12 – 13 inches at shoulders)
- Black and Tan – Raven black with tan markings above the eyes, on cheeks, inside ears, on chest and legs and underside of tail.
- Ruby – Whole colored rich red.
- Blenheim – Rich chestnut markings are well broken up, on a pearly white ground. Markings evenly divided on head, leaving room between ears for much-valued lozenge mark or spot (a unique characteristic of the breed).
- Tricolor – Black and white well spaced, broken up, with tan markings over eyes, cheeks, inside ears, inside legs, and on the underside of tail.
13 – 15 years
Cavaliers should be brushed weekly and bathed only when needed. Special care must be taken of their ears. The hair between the pads should be trimmed regularly to avoid matting. The Cavalier is a natural breed that requires minimal but regular grooming. Neutered or spayed pets will usually have a longer coat that is finer and thicker. This coat requires more attention and some trimming may be needed.
Fun-loving, affectionate, loyal, fearless and friendly. Cavaliers will alert you about visitors to your home but will warm up quickly to strangers.
Gets along with other dogs and animals.
Suitability for Children:
Wonderful with children
Should be exercised for 40 – 60 minutes a day to avoid weight gain.
Cavaliers are always eager to please and are easy to train.
Health & Behavioral Issues:
The most common inherited health disorder:
- Mitral Valve Diseases
- A neurologic condition occurring in a hereditary form in the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.1
- Corneal Dystrophy is believed to be inherited in the Cavalier King Charles breed.2
- Thøfner et al. – Prevalence and Heritability of Symptomatic Syringomyelia in Cavalier King Charles Spaniels and Long‐term Outcome in Symptomatic and Asymptomatic Littermates – J Vet Intern Med. 2015 Jan-Feb; 29(1): 243–250.
- Lynne et al. – Diagnostic Ophthalmology – Can Vet J. 2016 Jan; 57(1): 95–96.