Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Training, Health Care, and Breed Information

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is as cute as a cartoon character. They almost look too cute to be real. This is very fitting to their personality, because they’re extremely cuddly, and are one of the best breeds of dog for small children.

Breed History – Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

The personality and cuteness of this breed of dog earned them special privileges in the eyes of royalty in Europe during the 1500s through the 1700s. Since that day, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel has been bred against other dogs in order to improve their appearance and reach the level of “cuteness overdose” that the breed has today.

Appearance – Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is somewhat larger than most other breeds of toy dog, standing about a foot tall, give or take an inch, and weighing between 10 and 18 pounds.

They have very large round eyes, their heads are somewhat flat, and their snouts are slightly longer than other related breeds. They have high-mounted, long floppy ears that hang down the sides of their faces.

Grooming a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a quite a chore, but their appearance makes the effort worthwhile. The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel has a beautiful long coat with straight or wavy hair, and feather tufts on their ears and tails. This coat requires brushing on a daily basis in order to avoid tangling.

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel’s coat will come in one of four color patterns: black and tan, solid ruby, Blenheim (a mix of white and red) and the tri-colored black, tan and white.

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Unique Health Problems – Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

A well-bred and well-cared-for Cavalier King Charles Spaniel will have an active lifespan of between 9 and 14 years. However, they have a long list of hereditary health issues which must be carefully bred-out by a responsible dog breeder.

Some of those issues are:

  • Patellar Luxation, a knee joint deformation.
  • Mitral Valve Disease, a heart disease.
  • Various eye diseases, including the common cataracts, and less common but more severe “cherry eye,” where the eye pops out of its socket.

Social Temperament – Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

There are very few breeds of dog which have the type of social temperament that you will find in a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. Cavs actively seek out social contact and new friends starting shortly after birth, and will bond quickly and affectionately with your entire family, including children, other dogs, and even cats.

You will find that a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel puppy will playfully approach every creature in your home and immediately try to make friends.

While this is wonderful, keep in mind that any time you take your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel out of the house, you should be mindful that not every creature will appreciate this outgoing nature.

This tendency to make friends does not remove the need for proper puppy socialization training – it just makes that process much easier.

It’s also important to keep in mind that, if your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is both an inside and outside dog, that your yard fences need to be impenetrable, so that the friendly puppy won’t go dashing carelessly out in the street to make friends.

Training a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

A Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is perfectly trainable, albeit easily distracted. In my articles about basic obedience training, I mention that it’s always good to start each new kind of training in a place that is free from distraction, and this is far more important with the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel training process.

Keeping that in mind, you will have no problem using my training instructions to teach a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, especially if you use food as a reward for each success, in addition to affection and praise. All rewards are highly valued by this breed.

In fact, they like food so much that you might consider using clicker training for giving rewards during obedience training in order to avoid the problems related to overfeeding.

Get started with puppy training at home, or read about other popular dog breeds .

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