If you’re in the market for a fun little dog that will love you till his last breath and be super easy to train, then the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel might be what you’re looking for! But be warned, because this breed has been around for centuries and remains a prevalent breed even today, these little characters are at an increased risk for various inheritable diseases, making finding the perfect puppy tough.
It can also make…
Owning a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is pretty expensive if you own one that develops medical complications later in life! But before we get ahead of ourselves, we wanted to take a good close look at this particular dog breed so that if you are considering adopting a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, you’d have a better idea if owning one is going to be “right” for you.
While every dog will have their understanding, a particular “breed” will go a long way in telling you how that special dog will likely behave. So, without further ado, let’s dive into our article focusing on the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Fast Facts
Original Purpose: “Flushing” dog and companion animal
Height: Approximately 1 foot tall
Weight: 12 to 19 pounds
Interesting fact: It is believed that up to 95% of all Cavalier King Charles Spaniel dogs suffer from Chiari Malformations to some degree, even though only 25% will exhibit symptoms (which is still a HUGE percentage).
Dog Classification: Toy Group
Origin of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel dog breed dates back to before the 1700s but came into “vogue” when King Charles II developed a passion for these little dogs. So much so that these little “spaniels” became known as the King Charles Spaniel due to his love of these dogs. During this time, these little dogs were mainly used as “comfort spaniels,” spending most of their time in the laps of their wealthy owners, essentially functioning as “portable heaters.””
… it’s so cold it’s a “two dog night”!
However, like most Spaniels, these little guys also make great hunting companions and perfect dogs for “flushing” out birds from the bush and retrieving any game that ends up floating in the water, which is just one more reason why the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is one of the more popular toy dog breeds favored in America today. The Blenheim (or red and tan) version of the King Charles Spaniel is now considered America’s 18th most popular dog breed! This is saying something, considering there are over 200 dog breeds in the US alone.
Over the years…
This particular dog breed hasn’t had an easy go of it. In fact, for many years, there were two “competing” versions of the species, the first being the version that we all know and love today and a second version with a “shorter” more compressed nose, similar to that of a Pug. Eventually, the understanding that we all know and love “won out” and eventually became one of England’s most popular dog breeds. However, numerous attempts have been made over the last century to try and revert the breed to its original state with both a Short and Long nose version.
In 1945, a conclusion was reached, and the American Kennel Club announced the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel was a breed in its own right and set the Breed Standard. Unfortunately, these little guys, like many of his “Human” companions, suffered greatly due to the Second World War. During this time, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel’s population was reduced significantly to the point that the breed was nearly lost!
The good news is that eleven years after the American Kennel Club (AKC) first recognized the Cavalier as a “proper” breed, the first Cavalier made its way to America, where its popularity exploded shortly after!
You’ll notice a few things right away about King Charles. First, they will have a long, loose coat that will require a fair amount of regular brushing to pamper them and keep them tug-free. His skin may be Tri-colored at times but often comes in dual shades. Coat colors include black and white, red and tan, and fawn and brown – although the red and fawn dogs tend to be called Blenheim’s, as mentioned earlier.
These little guys are going to have tiny little heads! We mention this because this has been a “trait” sought after, creating unintentional consequences that worry many responsible dog breeders (see Chiari Malformations). However, considering they are considered a “toy breed,” they can have some size and could legitimately be regarded as a medium dog in size and weight.
Have we mentioned they love to chase things?
If not, this is something that you’ll want to keep in mind. You’ll want to keep this in mind when you’re taking your King Charles for a walk, and you’ll want to keep this in mind if you’re thinking about introducing an adult King Charles Spaniel dog to a household that has small children living in it. You see, while a King Charles puppy can be introduced to a home with small children and be “taught” not to chase, expecting an adult King Charles not to track when this behavior is a part of the very being is a bit naïve and unfair to that King Charles since they are simply behaving how the “ought” too!
And now’s probably a good time…
To also point out the obvious, Cavalier King Charles dogs and puppies are so adorable that people will frequently stop you in the street to tell you how cute they are (as if you didn’t already know). And who could blame these folks, what with their long, graceful ears that hang low and feel softer than cotton wool? (can you tell we sweet on these guys?)!
Personality and Temperament
The King Charles Spaniel is a totally devoted and extremely attentive little pooch. And while he might have the blood of a mighty hunter running through his veins – at the end of the day, this little guy would like nothing more than to climb up into your lap and nap! Gone are his hunting days to be replaced with patting, cuddling, and anything else involving your worship. Unless you’re looking for a little hunting companion, cause these guys are down for just about anything!
These are dogs…
That love people. They will follow you all day and wonder why you are not lavishing your attention in their direction. They expect praise, comfort, and security, and they always demand it; this is one reason why these dogs are so easy to train. Because your King Charles will also be looking for your praise and attention, they will do almost anything you say to get it. So, unlike other dogs, where you may have to fight to get their attention constantly, your King Charles will look to you for direction, encouragement, and praise… the perfect student!
If you want a toy breed that spends its days lounging and adoring your kiddies, this might be your dog!
Is it a Healthy Breed?
No. Not by a long shot. Hundreds of years of snobbery and breeding have led to many health problems with this dog, most of which are genetic.
Syringomyelia is on of the main worries with this breed. Also known as Syrinx (or SM for short), this disease results in cavities developing along the spinal cord, which shortly fill with fluid and cause a constant itch for your dog. King Charles Spaniels also suffer from:
- Hip dysplasia,
- A luxating patella (or floating kneecap),
- Skin diseases,
- Allergic reactions,
- Dry eyes and sight issues,
- Recurrent ear problems
- Mitral Valve disease is a heart murmur that can kill and requires regular screening to predict.
And if this isn’t a long enough list, they also tend to suffer from Chiara-like Malformation, a condition caused by a body and skull size that does not match. It can contribute to the painful condition of Syringomyelia and make for a miserable pup.
Which is why…
We at IndulgeYourPet encourage anyone considering purchasing a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel to research “reputable” breeders in your area… Take a moment and research buying a pet insurance policy for your new little guy. Because if we failed to make it obvious, King Charles Spaniels have a “tendency” to get sick! Having a pet insurance policy that may help keep the costs of treating your little buddy to a minimum will go a long way to ensure that you and your King Charles live a long and happy life together!
Now for more information…
We strongly encourage you to check out our Best Pet Insurance Companies article about who we feel offers some of the “best”‘ pet insurance policies.