Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Temperament & Personality

Quick Overview

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel dog breed is a good addition to any family. This dog is accustomed to being domesticated and cared for. They are gentle and good with children. So, they like cuddles and do well in a family setting.


Because they are a small dog, they are often thought of as a toy. However, they have enough athleticism to be considered a sporting spaniel.



About Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

There is something noble and royal about the name of this breed. True enough, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is as good as its owner. It was usually known for being owned by royalty. It can display that sense of being regal with its athleticism, gentleness, and attentiveness. It also has an even temper that makes it comparable to its owners.


At first glance, though, people will focus on the fact that this breed is pretty cute. It is not taller than 12 inches. It has a small stature and a sweet face. It has large, round eyes that will draw you in and remind you about the term “puppy dog eyes.”


The dog is also good for cuddling. It has a silky coat that captivates with its striking colors. It is good for many things, from going on a squirrel chase or playing with children and other dogs in the yard. This breed is adaptable and would often display its owner’s characteristics.



spaniel dog standing on wooden table



Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Care

To make sure your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel thrives, you must follow a routine care system. This should be put in place to ensure your Charlie stays healthy and lives longer. Here are some recommended parts of the routine.


  • Groom their coat well, at least once a week, so that it does not get matted.
  • Brush their teeth at least three times a week.
  • Clean their ears every week, from when they are still very young. Dry their ears thoroughly.
  • Make sure they get to walk daily and play regularly.
  • Have the dog exercise, but start any routine gradually.
  • Watch your pet as if it is a toddler, as they can be very playful.
  • During walks, keep your Cavalier leashed because they tend to chase after other animals.
  • They must have a consistent diet.
  • Do not give this breed food for humans. Ask your veterinarian for what should be ideally added to their meals, specifically for their age.
  • Do not expose them to heat for long periods.



The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a small dog. So, it has a fast metabolism, which enables it to burn through its food very fast. However, they also cannot each much at one time due to their little stomachs. So, Owners have to serve them food that is specifically formulated for small dogs. The food should be in small pieces to fit into their little mouths. If the food items can fit in well enough, the dogs should have no problems chewing them. This allows them to digest their food properly.



While it has a long, silky coat, this breed does not shed as much hair as other types of dogs. So, you use a vacuum or a lint roller from time to time, but it should not be much of a stressful job.


All breeds require regular grooming. You must regularly brush King Charles Spaniel’s coat, but the general upkeep and grooming are a little less than average. Every other day should just be fine, and even weekly for some dogs. Just be careful not to let the coat get too dirty and matted.


The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel tends to develop some teeth and gum diseases. So, make sure it gets its teeth brushed at least 3 to 4 times a week. When your puppy is teething, you may watch out for sensitive gums and teeth.


You can bathe this dog once a month, but ears must be cleaned every week. Do not forget to have its nails clipped.



The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel needs at least an hour of exercise daily. While it may have a fast metabolism, the dog can still gain some weight if it is not allowed to run about. The owners should also let it play. This breed would definitely enjoy some quality time with its owners and with other dogs. Again, make sure your dog is ready for the level of activity you are introducing it to.



A good and affectionate breed, the Cavalier is a social dog. It does not have any issues with people and other animals. In fact, it does not mind strangers. So, you may think twice about making it a guard dog. The Cavalier is also good with little children. Because of its social ability, this type of dog may even work well as a therapy dog. This Spaniel can go through puppy training classes to help it keep its good manners. Such courses will also prepare it for socialization. Being constantly participating in canine sports can help it develop not only better agility but also steadfast obedience.



Generally healthy, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel may still be prone to some small dog diseases. One of them is a brain/spinal disorder called syringomyelia. It may also develop hip dysplasia, which can lead to problems with mobility. Like any other dog, it may also develop heart disease and eye afflictions. The dog must get a thorough medical checkup before it breeds. The Cavalier can also get passed on with hereditary diseases.



Cavalier King Charles Spaniel History

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel breed goes back to the 16th century. During that century, the breed is evident in paintings by Gainsborough and Titian. Its popularity as a subject continued during the next two centuries.


King Charles II was also happy with his Spaniels from which he did not want to be separated. Ladies during that time liked having these cute dogs on their laps for warmth or pure enjoyment.


During the 19th century, the snub-nose spaniels became more popular. However, people such as the Duke of Marlborough wanted to continue the line of Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. In 1926, even American Roswell Eldridge became passionate about ensuring the line of these dogs that he offered a prize for someone to show up with this particular breed.



Cavalier King Charles Spaniel General Appearance

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel may have a regal name, but it is short with a silky coat. It has a well-formed muzzle, and it uses its large brown eyes as basically a “weapon” in front of its masters. It can be black, white, tan, ruby, or red. Adult Cavaliers measure from 12 to 13 inches tall. They usually weigh 12 to 18 pounds.



Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Breed Characteristics

The friendly and affectionate dog is more of a companion than a guard dog. The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is nice with just about everyone. This is good news for families with children and other animals. The Cavalier just wants to play with them instead of being jealous of them. They would also bark when strangers are nearby, but not too much.


Again, it will only announce strangers. It will not bark a lot, much less attack a stranger.



beautiful dog enjoying the outdoors



Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Feeding & Ownership

When you buy a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, make sure you buy it from a reputable breeder. It should not come from a puppy farm, wherein the dog may not have gone through ideal conditions. It would help if you went for a certified breeder to get a puppy that has been screened for various medical conditions. It may be a little more expensive, but it is a worthy investment.


Feeding Cavaliers should also be a great responsibility for the owner. You may have bought or adopted a healthy puppy, but being the owner should make you ensure the proper health and maintenance of your Cavalier. It may be an active dog, but it should not be fed too much. You can check the section called “Obesity” for more information.



Things You Didn’t Know About

The Cavalier King Charles spaniel is fairly new because it has been bred from toy Spaniels. The first known ones were lap warmers for Mary, Queen of Scots, in the 1500s. Not only did they become great royalty companions, but they were also often painted by artists next to their distinguished owners. Even the painters that took interest were some of the greatest of their time. You may check out some of the works of Lely, Titian, or Van Dyck.


Not everything about the Cavalier is glamorous, though. It was also used as a flea magnet. The royals believed that they would be free from flea bites if these dogs were present.



Cavalier King Charles Spaniels

If you are wondering, Cavaliers come in four colors, each of which has a unique name. This article focuses on the King Charles subtype in particular. This dog has a black and tan color. You may also hear about the Prince Charles dog, which has three colors, the mahogany Ruby subtype and the chestnut and white Blenheim.


Similar Breed: Lhasa Apso Temperament & Personality


Breed Mix-Up

The Cavalier has been mixed with many other types of dogs. There are no known issues for it breeding with most types of (if not all) dogs. It has been coupled with Chihuahuas, for example. The resulting crossbreed should have the physical appearance and temperament of both types of dog breeds.


Royal Favorite to Outcast

From Mary Queen of Scots to King Charles II, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel reigned supreme. After the king’s death, however, a new breed became more popular. People became more inclined to buy flat-faced dogs from Asia. The Japanese Chins and pugs with their short muzzles became court favorites. As a result, the longer muzzled spaniels were put aside.


New Face, New Breed

Thanks to Roswell Eldridge, there was a renewal in interest in the Cavalier spaniels during the early 20th century. Baroness Judith Blunt-Lytton was also compelled to bring back the long-muzzled breed. Breeders had to be given incentives to ensure the emergence of the long-nose over the flat-faced spaniels.


Though not particularly new, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel breed was formally recognized in 1945. So, while it had its beginnings in the 17th century, the dog had become known as a new breed.


What Do You Mean, “Average”?

Lovers of this breed may not be too happy about calling the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel an average type. In some ways, though, it is objective. It is small, but not too small. It is sturdy, but not too big.


Health Concerns

While generally healthy, especially when properly cared for, the Cavalier is also prone to developing certain health conditions. This is why breeders are supposed to get their dogs screened for preexisting conditions. You may want to do the same if you want to have more Cavaliers at home.


The Cavalier is prone to mitral valve disease, which is common when the dog is older. However, with this type of breed, it can start having symptoms of the disease at an earlier age. This condition sees a degeneration of the dog’s mitral valve. Veterinarians may detect a heart murmur even when it is still a puppy.


Another possible condition that can become serious is syringomyelia. This is a condition when the spinal cord develops cavities that fill with fluid. The dog will display symptoms wherein it scratches the air near its neck. Because of this symptom, it earned the nickname “neck scratchers disease.”


Some dogs display mild symptoms. However, this is a condition that can progress and deteriorate. The deterioration can lead to something serious, such as neurological problems. Therefore, this must be checked, and medical interventions must be made.


If an owner suspects syringomyelia, he must get the dog checked through an MRI scan. Some veterinary clinics offer low-cost MRI scanning to especially battle this health condition.


Eye conditions may also develop in a Cavalier. Common examples are multifocal retinal dysplasia and cataract. Most breeders would check their dogs for these conditions, so they have become less common in Cavaliers and other breeds. However, you should still get your dog checked, especially if you also plan to breed it.



brown and black dog standing next to each other



General Health Information for Your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Health is wealth. So, you will hear a lot about this when talking about the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. Again, you can ensure you get a healthy pup if you purchase from reputable breeders. Then, you should also actively take on the role of caregiver. While it can be predisposed to certain conditions, this type of dog is sturdy enough.


Dental Disease

Brush your Cavalier’s teeth at least three times a week. Four times would also help. If not, it may develop serious problems with its teeth and gums. When that happens, you may have to get it treated by a doctor. It can be as simple as making your pet use mouthwash and anti-inflammatory medication. On the other hand, it can lead to extraction or surgery.



You must clean your Cavalier’s ears regularly to keep them from developing infections. Otitis externa can be mild. However, it can also progress to a very serious condition that requires surgery. Surgery here can be as major as removing the ear canal.



A healthy diet is important for any dog breed, as with any type of animal. With the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, it is easy to forget that the tiny dog is prone to obesity. However, because it is a small dog, it can easily gain weight even though it is active.


Do not serve your dog dry, commercialized puppy food. It may be convenient for you, but these foods tend to have toxins and are full of carbohydrates. Your Cavalier dog should have a healthy, balanced diet. The meats should be human-grade, and there should be cardiovascular health supplements. This is to limit the possibility of your dog developing a heart problem.



The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is prone to the usual types of parasites: ringworms, tapeworms, hookworms, and coccidia. The last one is not a worm but a protozoan that is common in warm and humid places. Puppies often get tapeworms from fleas.


A particularly scary type of parasite is the lungworm. As the name suggests, this parasite can live in a dog’s lungs. It can also be found preying on dogs’ hearts. It is most commonly found in Cavaliers. So, be wary if you observe gagging, bleeding, anemia, harsh breathing, and other symptoms on your pet.


Spay or Neuter

If you have no intention to breed your dogs, spaying and neutering is a good move. Do not do it too early, though. Neutering a puppy before it turns six months can increase the risk of hip dysplasia. It can, however, cause a leveling of behavior or mood in females, especially.



Taking Care of Your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel at Home

Cavaliers may have some possible health conditions. Most of them could be avoided through medical screening. Regular checkups are also possible solutions to the problem.


So, you will not have any problems taking care of your Cavalier at home. Just follow its regular grooming and maintenance, and you should not have any issues. Because they are affectionate dogs, you would not have difficulty getting your pet used to being in a domesticated setup. The Cavalier loves being with its owners and even with other people. It also has no conflicts with other dogs or young children.


However, you must treat this particular breed like a toddler. It cannot deal well with being alone. It always needs some company.



Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Routine Care, Diet, and Exercise

Like any other pet, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel must be consistent in its diet, exercise, and grooming. Buying or adopting a pet is not just about being able to play with one. It is not a toy but a real dog. Make sure you are capable of keeping it healthy and happy.



Where to Adopt or Buy a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

If you want a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, you must consider your budget. If you want a cost-effective way, you can go to a rescue center. By giving a dog a home, you are helping reduce the number of abused canines out there. You may be asked to provide a donation.


However, you can also buy a puppy from a breeder. This may be your only option if you do not want to get an adult dog. If you are going to buy one, anyway, go to a certified breeder. These breeders will more likely meet high standards and conduct health tests. If you get a very cheap puppy, be warned. You may have engaged with a puppy farm, which may not breed their Cavaliers in healthy conditions.



More About Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Since you are interested in a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, you may want to know just how much you need to spend on it. After purchasing or adopting it, you may need to spend some money each month for maintenance.


You may have to think of setup costs. What are they, really? These refer to puppy vaccines, spaying, neutering payment, and equipment (tags, lead, harness, beds, collars, bowls, grooming items). Vaccines are necessary for keeping their immunity up. You may also decide to neuter your dog at six months old. As for all the equipment, you may need to replace them from time to time as your dog grows – and outgrows them.


You also have to consider food, regular vet checkups, grooming, accessories, and more. Your dog must go through preventative healthcare to ensure that your dog will not get seriously sick. You may consider getting pet insurance for your Cavalier.

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