If you’re in the market for a fun little dog that is going to love you till his very last breath, and be super easy to train, then the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel might just be what you’re looking for!
But be warned….
Because this breed has been around for centuries and because it remains a very popular breed even today, these little characters are at an increased for a variety of inheritable diseases which can make finding the perfect puppy pretty tough.
It can also make…
Owning a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel pretty expensive if you happen to own one that does develop medical complications later on 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 is going to have his or her understanding a particular “breed” will go a long way in telling you how that particular dog will likely behave. So, without further ado, let’s dive right 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 1700 century, but really came into “vogue” when King Charles the II really took a passion to these little dogs.
So much so…
That ultimately these little “spaniels” became known as the King Charles Spaniel due to his love of these dogs. During this time, these little dogs where mainly used as “comfort spaniels” spending most of their time in the laps of their wealthy owners essentially functioning as “portable heaters”.
As in … it’s so cold it’s a “two dog night”!
That said however…
Like most Spaniels, these little guys also make great hunting companions and perfect dogs for “flushing” out birds from the bush as well 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 American today.
The Blenheim (or red and tan) version of the King Charles Spaniel is now currently considered the 18th most popular dog breed in America! Which is saying something considering that there are over 200 different 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 actually two “competing” versions of the breed, the first being the version that we all know and love today, and a second version that had a “shorter” more compressed nose, similar to that of a Pug.
The version that we all know and love “won out” and eventually became one of the most popular dog breeds in England. However, numerous attempts have been made over the course of the last century to try and revert the breed back 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.
These little guys like many of his “Human” companions suffered greatly as a result of 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!
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 shortly after, the breeds popularity exploded!
Traits and Attributes of the Cavalier
There are a few things that you’re just going to notice right away about any King Charles. First, they’re going to have a long, loose coat that will require a fair amount of regular brushing to pamper him and to keep him tug-free.
His coat may be…
Tri-colored at times but often comes in dual shades. Coat colors include black and white, red and tan, fawn and brown – although the red and fawn dogs tend to be called Blenheim’s as we mentioned earlier.
These little guys are going to have small little heads! Now we mention this because this has been a “trait” that has been sought after and as a result has created some unintentional consequences that now worry many responsible dog breeders (see Chiari Malformations).
That said however…
Considering the fact that they are considered a “toy breed”, they can actually have some size to them and could legitimately be considered a medium dog in size and weight.
Have we mentioned they love to chase things?
If not, this is something that you’ll definitely 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.
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 chase when this behavior is a part of the very being is a bit naïve, and unfair to that King Charles since he or she is 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 adorable – 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 sort of sweet on these guys?)!
The Spaniel’s 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 just climb up into your lap and take a nap!
Gone are his hunting days…
To be replaced with patting and cuddling and anything else that involves your worship. Unless of course 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 around all day and wonder why you are not lavishing all of your attention in their direction. They expect praise, comfort and security, and they demand it at all times.
Which is one…
Of the reasons why these dogs are so easy to train. You see, because your King Charles is also going to be looking for your praise and attention, he or she will do just about anything you say to get it. So, unlike other dogs where you may have to constantly fight to get his or her attention, your King Charles will be looking to your for direction, encouragement and praise… the perfect student!
If you want a toy breed that spends its days lounging and that absolutely adores your kiddies – then this might be the dog for you!
Is it a Healthy Breed?
No. Not by a long shot. Hundreds of years of snobbery and breeding have led to a great many health problems with this dog, most of which are genetic.
Syringomyelia is one…
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, a heart murmur which 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 cause by a body and skull size that do not match. It can contribute to the painful condition of Syringomyelia and make for a very unhappy pup.
Which is why…
We here at IndulgeYourPet encourage anyone considering purchasing a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel to take their time researching “reputable” breeders in your area and… Take a moment and do a bit of research on purchasing a pet insurance policy for your new little guy.
If we failed to make it obvious, King Charles Spaniels have a “tendency” to get sick! And 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 and long and happy life together!
Now for more information…
About who we feel offer some of the “best’ pet insurance policies out there, we would strongly encourage you to check out our Best Pet Insurance Companies article.
I have a 2 year old but ,, he need a friend .
What other pups do you have for spring.
Or so you recommend a didfertn type pup for Cody, he loves me by when I am away he needs his own friend,
Our first recommendation when looking for a friend for an existing pet would be to take him or her to your local shelter and have him or her help you look for a “buddy”. You never know who he or she may “click” with. If that doesn’t work, and you actually need to look towards a breeder to obtain your next pet, you may want to stick with the King Charles breed. After all, their super cute and you’re already familiar with them.
Aside from that, our only recommendation would be to try and stick with another breed that will be about the same size and have a similar temperament as your current pet so that you aren’t inviting too much “drama” into your home.
I have a 2 yr old cavie who has separation anxiety badly. Is this considered “normal” for this breed? Apart from getting another dog, could you suggest anything that may help?
That’s a great question and one that we’d probably want to refrain from answering because of three reasons. First, we’re not Cavalier King Charles Spaniel experts. Second we’re not totally familiar with your dog or your situation, and third, it sounds like you are considering maybe getting another dog which would mean that were we to provide “poor” or “inaccurate” advice, it could lead you to bigger and/or worse problems.
Therefore, our advice would be to contact a local dog trainer in your area (preferably one who works with Cavalier Kings) who may be able to provide you with the answers you are looking for.
Best of luck!