Cavalier King Charles Spaniels

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels

Ratings by owners.
| Breed Reviews By Breed | Review a Breed
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Home Page

Average rating

Breed Notes

In the 1920s, an American by the name of Roswell Eldgridge, began searching for a toy spaniel that he say in paintings by Van Dyke and Hogarth from the times of Kings Charles I and II of Britain. It had a longer muzzle that the King Charles Spaniel of today. By 1944, enough of the breed had been rediscovered to be recognized in England as the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. The name Cavalier, which means medieval knight, was added by its breeders who hope that they have revived the medieval form of the breed.
The Cavalier is very happy, active and fearless. It is very loving to its family and a good companion for both children and the elderly alike.
The head of the Cavalier has a flat skull, shallow stop (division between the eyes and muzzle) with large, dark, round eyes that are set wide apart but not too prominent. Upper lips hang slightly over the lower lips. The body is short-coupled with a level back. The tail may be docked or not but if it is, it is to be no more than a third of the whole tail. The coat is long and silky but does not require excessive care. It comes in a variety of colors include black and tan, ruby (solid red), blenheim (red and white) and Prince Charles (tricolor). The weight of a Cavalier ranges from ten to eighteen pounds. The height averages from twelve to thirteen inches. of Connecticut writes:

The best and most unique dog we've ever owned.
Our Cavalier King Charles Spaniel just passed away after seventeen years of wonderful companionship. Saying he was unique is an understatement. He was large for the breed at 26 pounds (not overweight), extremely independent, intelligent and sometimes demanding. As an example of his personality I like to cite an event that puzzled me, but was clearly understood by my wife. Since my wife, who typically fed him, was preoccupied with other things I decided to feed him. I placed his bowls in the usual place in the kitchen and he proceeded to bark alternating staring at me and the bowls. Not understanding what was happening, I consulted with the expert (my wife) who told me, "Oh you have the bowls reversed, the water bowl has to be on the right and food bowl on the left." Once switched the commotion ended and he happily ate his food. He never chased anything (felt that it was beneath him and a useless activity), would not go to sleep until the lights were turned off ... so you get the picture of what we were dealing with. He clearly owned us and we desperately miss him. It will be difficult to own another dog without making comparisons.

Name withheld by request of U.S. writes:

Fun, loving, obedient dog that never gets tired.
Scares strangers. But if they come into the house, they will jump on you and show affection (as long as the owner is nearby) but will guard you if they start barking and you don't stop them (they are like alarm dogs). Can be very playful especially with children! of Nottingham, England writes:

A dog to suit any temperament.
I have owned two of these dogs and they are both very friendly and trustworthy. Not only that but they fit into your lifestyle instead of you having to fit around them. If you want them to keep out of your way and go to sleep they will and if you want to go on a ten-mile hike they jump at the chance. They are very obedient and quick learners. They do have a tendency to try and overindulge on food if given the chance and can become quite tubby if not fed reasonably through their lives. My two have never been possessive or aggressive and although they are wary of new people they will soon accept (a lot of fuss from) them! I would also DEFINITELY recommend them as a first dog, suitable for all ages and I don't have a bad word to say about them.

Name withheld by request of New Jersey writes:

My beautiful boy.
Our little Cavalier was the easiest dog we've ever had to house-train. He's so intelligent and eager to please. He's also very playful and loving. The only problem we've had with him is his biting, but I'm told he will outgrow this. He sleeps in our bed and, even though we like to think otherwise, we had no choice about this. One couldn't ask for a more loving companion who just wants to be with you all of the time. There are four of us in the house, and he will gladly snuggle with whomever is at home. I can't wait to get another one (or two or three)! of Florida writes:

A sweet dog whose tail never stops wagging.
These are wonderful dogs. Cavaliers were the favorite of British royalty way back when and still have a very strong holding there. They were both popular as lapdogs and hunters of small birds; and they still seem to be versatile. They excel at pet therapy, warming the hearts of all who meet them. However, I know of many who compete actively in agility and obedience trials. Always happy; you never see that tail stop. My Cav literally drags me down the street to meet every person who comes by. They are good with well-meaning kids &shyp; they will tolerate being hugged and petted by good kids. They love being with you, whether curling up on your lap or taking a long walk in the park.
But don't get one if you are going to be separated from people constantly. I'm gone during the day, but I spend lots of time on weekends and after school with my Cav to compensate for the time alone. If you have a frazzled schedule with no time, DON'T get a Cav. They NEED to be with their people. Also, get them from a responsible breeder &shyp; NOT A PET STORE! I've been seeing more of them in pet stores; which is a very bad sign. Find a breeder who does at LEAST heart tests; hopefully also knee and eye tests as well. Only get a Cav if you can see the breeder's dogs in person. If the dogs are snappy or shy DON'T buy their puppies. Many Cavs are very expensive &shyp; expect to pay about $1,000 or more. Don't judge breeders by price. Cavs are popular in the puppymill trade because they are so pricey. I have also heard that Cavs are hard to housebreak; I haven't come across this problem myself. Just stick to a crate training schedule, and praise, praise, praise when they get it right! Do NOT use harsh punishment! Don't yell, hit, shake or rub their nose in it! It won't work for Cavs. In fact it will make things worse. It will probably lead to submissive urination, fear of people, and they will lose their trust of you. Cavs are very sensitive. They are also one of the most adaptable dogs I have ever seen. They can live as lap warmers for the elderly or play with the kids. Do your homework, find a good breeder, socialize and train with lots of praise and make time to spend with this wonderful animal &shyp; your hard work will be rewarded!

Name withheld by request of UK writes:

To own just one is impossible!
Cavaliers are the most wonderful of dogs, beautiful to behold, not too big and not too small,most men would baulk at walking a Yorkie or similar but NOT a Cavalier; I regularly compete with my hubby as to who will walk the dogs today! They will do as much or as little as you want of them, but they will give you 100% of their hearts 100% of the time! Yes they do suffer with their hearts but a responsible and vigilant breeder will be trying to produce only the healthiest dogs she possibly can; ask the breeder as many questions as you can about the heart history in her line,if she won't answer then find a different breder who will! When all is said and done you have a lovely little dog who will be your constant companion and confidant, they know when you are happy and they know when you are sad, my Cavaliers go out of their way to cheer me up when I am down and they usually succeed too! Despite their apparently profuse coat they really just need a quick brush through once a day and a thorough comb out once a week. Try to avoid letting a Cavalier get fat as this could lead to a premature heart condition. But most of all I challenge you to stop at just one. If you have room for one you have room for two, but beware &shyp; they can become addictive! of Burlington, Ontario writes:

You could not ask for anything more!
I am a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel owner for the past six years. Or should I say, he owns me. The dog that wants to run and play or sleep and cuddle. He is the most affectionate, loving and definitely funny companion on four legs. Cav's even make most on two legs pale in comparison. The unconditional love and dedication you see in those soulful big brown eyes takes your breath away. I do not believe there could be life without a Cav. Cavaliers are known to have some health issues, mitral valve disease, patellar luxation, and a few others, however, to not consider one because of this would only be selling yourself way too short. Always, always visit a reputable and responsible breeder. A breeder who is actively involved in all health issues surrouding the CKCS is of utmost importance. It will make all the difference in the world. After owning a Cav. you will never consider another breed. At least I know I wouldn't. Again, you could not ask for anything more. They will always make you smile.

Name withheld by request of Mountain View, CA writes on 4/7/01:

My husband actually wanted a Cavalier over a big dog!
We have had one Cavalier for 4 years and the second one for 2 years. They are amazingly attuned to both male and female owners. They can walk outdoors for as long as we want; play frisbee or fetch as long as they want; and cuddle as long as all of us want. I can only think of one or two times that they have been reserved with a person or another dog. They are sensitive with people; quick to learn and intelligent in obedience situations; and I love to tell my my 16-pounders to "leave it" when they meet a shy big dog! We had planned to get a little dog; then a big dog a little while later. When it came time to get the "big dog," my husband was the one who insisted on another Cavalier. She has been his devoted fan ever since she entered our home. Pleae buy from a reputable breeder who is devoted to protecting the health of the breed. It is worth every penny to you; and these wonderful dogs deserve the best in breeding and care! of Duncan, BC writes on 7/20/00:

They are without a doubt the most loveable little creatures.
They are the biggest sponges in a little package. The problem is that they have no loyalty whatsoever. They love the stranger as much as the one who feeds them. Even in a fenced in back yard,( if they here children laughing ),colour them gone :under,over, whatever it takes to be with the fun and probably a dropped cookie. They are easy to maintain but not easy to keep at home, and as they have no fear one must be very careful to keep them on leash or in a secured enclosure. I have been raising these little sponges for 23 years and never have I regreted it. They always give more than they could ever get.

Name withheld by request of Ontario, Canada writes on 4/10/00:

Wonderful family pet.
We have owned our Cavalier for 9 years. She is every bit a member of the family. Our children never pass her by without stopping to stroke or speak to her. Unfortunately she now has developed heart problems but still she wags her tail when we speak to her. This breed is extremely affectionate and is truly for the person who wants unconditional love from their pet. Even though she is not well, she still tries to play with the children if they roll her a ball. She has been an extraordinary pet for our children and we will miss her greatly. This breed needs to be with a family who will spend a lot of time home with them. They do not like to be left alone, but why would you want to leave such a great companion alone? Cavaliers make wonderful family pets.

Name withheld by request of Arizona writes on 3/22/00:

A complete bundle of joy, adoration, devotion, and tenderness!
In my Cavalier I found my best friend. He is so affectionate, and completely attuned to my moods, joys, problems, and all the inner workings of my mind and my soul. This is a tender-heated breed, not for the boisterous crowd, but for someone who wants to cuddle and love and talk with a canine! They are sweet companions, best buddies, and aare a pleasure to have. They are NOT for folks who leave home everyday to go to work - they would die from loneliness! They rae costly to purchase (mine was $1500, pet quality) but for me, worth it to the penny! I would do anything for my cavalier...if you seek this kind of relationship, then go for it! of England writes on 3/19/00:

The hearts of angels and the spirit of humans.
If you want a loving companion who makes you feel you are THE most important thing in the whole world- buy a Cavalier and cherish it. They are gentle and caring but at the same time will walk miles and assume they are the size of much bigger dogs when of course they are not. You must look after their coat, eyes and nails and have them checked over each year as you would anyone you loved. They are prone to heart problems so also look after their weight and feed them sensible dog food and not scraps or tit-bits - they do not need it. Treat them with respect and kindness and do not turn them into toys and pampered pets. Remember they are royal dogs and need to keep their dignity. of Norway writes on 2/25/00:

Sent from heaven.
The Cavalier is perfect for people who don't want to use their dog for anything. Personally I don't think it is the best companion for little children, because they are too nice. Kids can do anything with them and the Cavalier doesn't react at all. It looks like a toy dog But when he come outside, the cavalier can walk many miles. (as I am from Norway, one mile is ten km, not the same as an english mile). I only have one Cavalier, and she's sick. But she always wag her little tail when we come home from work and school. The Cavalier is not the best dog if you want a show dog, but it will do its best no matter what. They are very senitive, and you don't have to raise your woise around a Cavalier ...
as I said earlier ... sent from heaven. of Ireland writes on 1/9/00:

Lots of fun and cuddles.
We have had our Cavalier King Charles Spaniel for three years. They have been the best three years of our lives. She is the sixth member of our family. What we would do without her I don`t know. She brings so much love and fun into our daily lives. Every morning she greets us all with a wag of the tail, a kiss and a huge smile. She knows us all by name - Mammy, Daddy, Suzanne, Caroline and Valerie. She also recognises our grandparents, cousins and friends and greets them always with a smile. She is the first dog that we have ever had and the difference that she had made on our livestyle has been huge. A Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a dog full of happiness and should be respected as all animals should be TAKEN CARE OF.

Name withheld by request of Canada writes on 11/4/99:

The most affection you can find in a dog.
My experience is limited in that I have only one Cavalier at the moment. He is a wonderful dog with the children and friendly to everyone he meets. He is a black and tan with beautiful eyes and an always wagging tail. He has been difficult to housetrain and needs a lot of attention. I would not
want to leave him home alone, as he would be heart-broken but he has not shown any signs
of separation-anxiety induced destruction. With the myriad of health problems in Cavaliers
one is always worrying about the upcoming years ... will he have hip problems, eye problems, knee problems or worst of all, heart problems. I think the health concerns can tend to hinder a sense of enjoyment with Cavaliers but if you are willing to research carefully the breeder from which you are obtaining your Cav your mind may be put at ease a bit more. Temperment-wise, he is willing to please, a bit sneaky(he only wants to steal the warmest spot on the sofa), extremely loving and playful
and as smaller dogs go, really very quiet. If you are a careful dog owner and willing to spend a lot of time,money and love (i emphasize a lot) then the years you are blessed with, in having a Cavalier in your life will be years full of unbridled mushy affection. of Oakland, CA writes on 10/10/99:

No better canine companion for all ages!
The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a delightful small companion for anyone--children, older people, singles. They are a toy, but they are a sporty, and extremely graceful in action. They are an affectionate breed who can be classified as watch dogs only in that they watch you...wherever you
go, those lovely, large, soft eyes follow you. They are not protective at all, and would probably wag their tales and lick any intruders.
They like nothing better than to sit next to you and cuddle. Ours comes to school every day where he greets anywhere from 50-100 kids with his puppy kisses. He also loves our three cats who have more mixed feelings about him than he does about them. They are a sensitive breed, though, and when the cats give a signal that they don't want him around, he backs off, though he finds them enticing. Also, when you take the dog on walks, you should allow extra time. Because they are relatively rare in the US, and so very beautiful, they attract a lot of attention.
As with any purebred dog, it is very important to be sure you get your dog from a serious, proper breeder and not somebody just doing back yard breeding or a puppy mill or pet store. The worst
thing about this breed is that they are unusually susceptible to Mitral Valve Disease. A proper breeder should be comfortable discussing this with you, and providing information on the dog's family history. These are great dogs for city or country.

Name withheld by request writes on 10/10/99:

Wonderful, loving dogs, but prone to health trouble.
The breed is prone to early onset of heart trouble, which we have been fortunate to avoid so far. They can have patella problems -- 2 of our dogs have luxating patellas. One was bad enough to need surgery. Early onset of deafness or hearing trouble is being noticed by people who train them. It's frustrating to spend time training, then wonder if your dog qualifies as having the "functional hearing" required for AKC competition. Back trouble is another problem. One of ours has invertebral disk disease. Hip displasia should be checked as well. One of ours has mild hip displasia. There can also be eye problems.

Name withheld by request of U.S. writes on 10/10/99:

There are easier dogs to own.
Cavaliers are beautiful, happy, extremely loving little dogs, with an enthusiasm for life. No dog on earth is sweeter, BUT... as they have no concept of harm, they require a great deal of watching (like a 2 yr old child), and 50% will have mitral valve disease by age 5 (98% will have it by age 10). Most will ultimately require medication for this condition, and this can cost as much as $2 each day. They must be checked annually by a veterinary cardiologist (not easy to find in most areas). They will usually live for 4-6 years after a mitral valve disease murmur is first detected by a cardiologist (your own vet will NOT hear low grade murmurs!). Cavaliers can also have hip dysplasia, luxating patellae, various eye problems, back problems and epilepsy. They use those beautiful faces to get what they want, and require real diligence to be truly house trained. They are smart and excel in both obedience and agility. of Coral Gables, FL writes on 10/10/99:

A big dog attitude in a small package.
Our Cavalier King Charles is the most wonderful dog we have ever had. He is beautiful, but that is not all. He is intelligent, eager to please, but most of all, he is our best friend. He loves everyone and likes nothing better than to cuddle on the couch, but then again he is always ready to play, chase a ball, take a long walk, or basically do anything that allows him to be with his humans. He is extremely adaptable, is not a barker but will let me know if someone is at the door. He needs little grooming and the only downside I see to the breed at all, is their susceptibility to mitral valve problems, which hopefully can be prevented by breeder testing and an educated buyer.

Name withheld by request of Florida writes on 10/1/99:

The perfect house dog!
Cavaliers are small, friendly and gentle. They don't bite, don't bark, love everyone, but do shed. They are the largest of the "toy" dogs, but no one has told them that; they feel they are the equals of every other dog, large or small.
Drawbacks: possibility of hereditary heart, hip, knee or eye problems.

| Breed Reviews By Breed | Review a Breed
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Home Page
Dogs Online