AKC Dog Breeds: Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

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Toy Group
Height: 12-13 inches   Weight: 10-18  pounds  Color: blenheim, ruby, black and ton, and tri color

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel was developed in Great Britain, and during the nineteenth century became a favorite amongst the aristocracy. For centuries, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel (a namesake of King Charles II of Britain) has been recorded in paintings and tapestries together with their aristocratic families. It is obvious from these works of art that Cavaliers were a luxury item and lived "the easy life" as house pets. Though used successfully for shooting small game, the Cavalier’s true purpose has always been that of companion. Used to keep people warm, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel still loves to cuddle up with his loved ones. The breed was registered with the AKC in 1996. The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is an elegant, energetic toy breed that is compatible for city or country life. Successful in conformation shows, obedience and agility, they also make wonderful therapy dogs due to their sweet, gentle natures. The breed also became a TV star when featured on "Sex and the City" as Charlotte York’s dog.

General Appearance

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a beautiful dog with large, wallowing eyes, and a sturdy build. His coat is long, straight, and silky, and his ears are large, hanging to the side of his face and adding to his sweet and innocent appearance. The coloring of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel can vary, and the four varieties are blenheim, ruby, black and ton, and tri color. They have a distinctively beautiful feathered coat as well as a soulful expression in their eyes that often makes them appear almost human in expression. The coat is moderately long, silky and very well feathered on the legs, chest, ears and tail. The feet will also have feathering and this is a standard of the breed. The coat may be wavy but not curly and should not be very dense or wooly in texture. The head is almost flat between the high set, long, pendulous ears and the eyes are dark, well set to the sides of the muzzle and very large and round. They eyes should appear lustrous and moist, almost soft in definition. The stop is very slight and the muzzle should be approximately 1-1/2 inches from the bottom of the stop to the tip of the black nose. The nostrils should be open and well developed in shape. The muzzle itself should be tapered and firm with the lips fitting tightly over the teeth.

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is an active, graceful, well-balanced toy spaniel, very gay and free in action; fearless and sporting in character, yet at the same time gentle and affectionate. It is this typical gay temperament, combined with true elegance and royal appearance which are of paramount importance in the breed. Natural appearance with no trimming, sculpting or artificial alteration is essential to breed type. Friendly and easy to train, the Cavalier is a trustworthy companion for children and thrives as part of a family. The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is an endearing toy dog that has boundless energy and love. They are an excellent family dog and will do well with older, considerate children that are aware of the small size of this breed, especially as a puppy. The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is both athletic and active for its size but can also be a quiet companion dog.


The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a medium shedder, and grooming may need to be stepped up at times when he is shedding more heavily. Otherwise, his coat should be brushed three times per week, and his ear canals should be checked to ensure that they are clean and dry. For hygiene reasons you should also trim the hair around his bottom. You will also need to trim his nails when they get long.

Health Problems and Life Expectancy

The life expectancy of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is around 10-15 years. The Cavalier has a tendency to develop heart abnormalities early in life. It is extremely important to have regular veterinary examinations. They are also prone to allergies, deafness, cataracts, and diabetes.

Activity Level

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is an active and sporting breed that requires regular exercise to help keep their heart healthy. A fenced yard is a must, as they will give chase to anything that moves. They are able to adapt to apartment or condominium living provided there is a small yard.


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