Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

  • Temperament Playful, Adaptable, Fearless, Patient, Affectionate, Sociable
  • Family Friendly Yes
  • Trainability Difficult to Train
  • Shedding High
  • Group Toy
  • Color Tricolor, Black and Tan, Blenheim (Red and White), Ruby (Mahogany Red)
  • Origin England (1600s)
  • Height 12-13 inches
  • Weight 13-18 lbs
  • Original Function Flushing Small Birds, Lapdog
  • Current Function Companion
  • Lifespan 9-14 years

Origin of the Breed

This breed is named after King Charles II, when in the 17th century, typical spaniels were cross bred with pugs, resulting in the smaller size pet with the up-turned noses. In the early 1700's the Duke of Marlborough would take the spaniels hunting, claiming the dogs could run alongside with trotting horses with no difficulty. As the dogs had red and white markings, they were called the "Blenheim" after the Duke of Marlborough's most notable victory of the Battle of Blenheim. In the 1920's there was a call to breed the King Charles Spaniel with longer noses, like the original breed of the 17th century, but the primary breed of King Charles Spaniels appears with the shorter nose thanks to his pug ancestors.

Coloring and Size Variations

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniels usually come in a combination of the following colors: black, tan, red, white, and deep red. They can also be bred in a "toy" size.

Behavioral Tendencies

This breed is known for an eager-to-please demeanor, tail-wagging, friendly and active. They are very intelligent, and require a fair amount of training to get the best results in behavior. They enjoy company, and are affectionate, playful and cuddly with their owner. They need a lot of love and attention, as being neglected left in a small area alone all day as this is very difficult for them. Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are incredibly friendly with children, and are docile and tend to be welcoming toward strangers; they are not ideal guard dogs. They have chasing instincts, and can develop a "pack leader" mentality toward the humans if not corrected. Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are great companion dogs.

Training Needs

They require a firm understanding that the master is the leader of the house, and the dog must submit to their authority. They respond well to incentivized obedience initially with proper training. They can sometimes develop a "moodiness" that needs to be corrected, sometimes tuning out their owner if they don't feel like responding. This means the Cavalier King Charles Spaniels needs to be shown how to give the proper respect to his owner, with obedience training, and positive reinforcement.

Health Complications

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniels typically struggle with a plethora of ear difficulties such as secretory otitis media (over production of ear mucus) which results in pain in the head and neck. They also have problems with dry eyes, sight issues, knee issues, and a genetic disease called hip dysplasia, which develops with age. They also have a tendency to gain weight easily, so take caution and do not over feed them.


This breed is more active and will need regular walks, or will be prone to developing behavioral problems. They love to play with their owners, but will also require rigorous walking on a daily basis.

Living Conditions

These active pups enjoy having space to roam and romp, most ideally in a home with a yard. Though they would not be best suited for living in apartments, it can be done if the dog is walked at least twice daily. Climates that are too hot also prove a difficulty, as they have thick, long coats.


These dogs are known for their shaggy ears and wavy hair. They have glossy, silken coats that do tend to shed more than shorthair breeds. They require regular brushing so the hair doesn't tangle, some ear cleaning, and professional grooming from time to time so that their coat length and paw hair is in check.

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