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Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

by PetBond Veterinary Surgeon

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Cavalier Breed Traits

Cavaliers are a trustworthy, reliable and super affectionate with people and children of all ages.
They are intelligent, easy to train and quick to learn. They are  also very adaptable, and Cavaliers are just as happy living in an apartment as they are in a house, provided they are given lots of exercise and mental stimulation. They are a great choice for first time dog owners given their intelligence and willingness to please. Cavaliers are not known as ‘barkers’ and generally only vocalise when they need to say something.
This breed are also very social by nature which means they tend to get on with everyone which includes other animals and pets they have grown up with as well as others they meet. Cavaliers make wonderful companions for older people because they are loyal, loving and always willing to please their people.

This loveable breed do not make good guard dogs as they are so people loving, and also are known to suffer from separation anxiety if left alone for too long. They enjoy company and being the centre of attention.


Where did Cavaliers originate?

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is one of the oldest toy breeds, and it’s believed they originated in Japan and the Far East. The Cavalier is physically larger in size than their cousin the King Charles. They are renowned for being gentle and mild mannered, and not known for expressing anger to people or other pets. Cavaliers are also great with children, and become part of the family either in an apartment or house.

In Tudor times, Cavaliers became fashionable as lap dogs who kept the hands of upper class ladies warm whilst they travelled by train. The links with royalty endeared the term “King Charles” with this breed, and links with aristocracy strengthened over time. In fact, King Charles II rarely went anywhere without his Cavalier in toe. As a recognised breed, it only was in the 1970’s that Cavaliers became popular on the dog show circuit. In the 1980’s interest in the breed grew, and by the early 1990’s Cavaliers were prominent show dog winners as a result of their affable nature and manner. Ever since, the Cavalier has become one of the most loved dog breeds in Ireland and across the world.


Cavalier Appearance?

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels boast lovely coats that comprise of silky, long and straight fur that is curl-free. They have a tremendous amount of feathering and their coats should never be trimmed. They come in a variety of colours which are acceptable and recognised by the Kennel Club colours which are as follows:

Black and tan – raven black with tan markings above a dog’s eyes, on their cheeks, inside their ears, on their chest and legs as well as underneath a dog’s tail
Ruby – a rich red colour
Blenheim – evenly spread chestnut markings on a white coat
Tricolour –  black and white with tan markings over a dog’s eyes, on their cheeks, on the inside of their ears, on the inside of their legs and underneath their tails

Cavaliers are renowned for their unique looks and colouring, with some having a distinctive spot between their eyes at forehead level.


Does a Cavalier King Charles Have a Good Temperament?

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are exceptionally generous and sweet by nature. They are low maintenance and not very demanding.They are extremely loyal and affectionate by nature as well as being playful which are just some of the reasons why the breed has been so popular not only here in Ireland, but elsewhere in the world too for such a long time. Also, they are such gentle and friendly little dogs makes them extremely popular. They are not aggressive in any way, and make great companions for other pets & people. They do not want to be left alone, and ideally want to live in a household where someone works from home. Plenty of playtime for this intelligent breed!


Are they a good choice for first time owners?

Cavaliers are a great choice for first time dog owners because they are renowned for being so loyal, affectionate and eager to please. They thrive on being in a home environment and will happily snuggle up to their owners whenever they can. Because they are so amenable and intelligent, Cavaliers are mostly easy to train which includes obedience and house training.


Will a Cavalier Bark too much?

Cavaliers are not known to be excessive barkers, more especially if they have been well socialised from a young age which would involve them meeting lots of new people, dogs and other animals. But with this said, they are so social by nature that they tend to get on with everyone and everything although they would always let an owner know when there is someone at the door. Generally speaking, Cavaliers only “vocalise” when they feel the need to be heard. They are respectful of other people & pets, therefore if they bark you can accept is a genuine call for attention. Cavaliers do not make good guard dogs as they are so people friendly, however they will alert their owner to any intruders.


Will a Cavalier be easy to train?

Cavaliers are undemanding and extremely affectionate dogs which makes them easier to train than many other spaniels and dogs in general. They are very receptive to new information and respond to instructions. Some Cavaliers are known to be less resilient than others, and can decide to “quit” a training programme if the mood takes them! Once well socialised as a puppy, Cavaliers go onto train very easily and learn quickly. Some Cavaliers are so cute as puppies that people forget to set boundaries for them. This is not to the puppy’s benefit, and it is important to maintain a training routine with clearly defined parameters.

Are Cavaliers safe with Children and Other Pets?

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is known to be extra sensitive and well mannered when around children of all ages, assuming they have been well socialised as puppies. They are generally very good around other pets also as a result of their compassionate nature. They are incredibly sweet natured and known to be undemanding, tolerant characters in all sorts of situations which is why the breed has been consistently one of the most popular choices as family pets.

As with all breeds, Cavaliers must be properly socialised as puppies and not weaned from their mother too early. Introducing a Cavalier to other pets or children should be done slowly and under adult supervision. Sometimes children can unsuspectingly provoke a mild mannered dog or cause it pain inadvertently, therefore supervision is always advisable and to leave unattended.

Great for 1st time dog owners

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Health & Vet Matters

Cavaliers can be expected to live from 10 to 16 years when fed a suitable diet and properly cared for. It is important to regularly treat for worms and other well known preventative health strategies.

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is known to be a healthy dog, however they do suffer from various heart conditions more so than other breeds. The good news is that breed standards for pedigree breeding dogs offers health schemes which detect heart conditions much sooner than was previously possible.

Mitral Valve Disease (MVD) – This is where one heart value does not function properly.
Syringomyelia (SM) –  Is a condition where the back of the skull has not formed properly. A diagnosis can be established through an MRI scan
Eye disorders – Hereditary Cataracts (HC) and Multifocal Retinal Dysplasia (MRD)

All breeding dogs should be tested for these congenital conditions.

Another major health issue often seen in Cavaliers involves their weight. Obesity can seriously impact a dog’s life span, shortening it considerably. Carrying too much weight can also lead to a dog developing all sorts of other health issues which includes heart disease and orthopaedic complications.

Will a Cavalier develop obesity problems?

As previously mentioned, one of the biggest health concerns seen in Cavaliers over recent years involves their weight with far too many dogs now being reported my veterinary colleagues as being obese. Some Cavaliers do put on weight after they have been spayed or neutered so it’s important to keep an eye on a dog’s waistline and to adjust their calorie intake as well as their daily exercise accordingly. With this said, Cavaliers can very quickly adopt a lazy lifestyle and spend their days couch surfing and watching TV. By controlling your Cavaliers weight, you will certainly extend it’s life span and reduce the risk of heart and joint conditions.


 Will a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel need much grooming?

As with any other breed, Cavaliers need to be groomed on a regular basis to make sure their coats and skin are kept in the best condition. It is good to have a Cavalier professionally groomed at least 3 times per year. Cavaliers have beautiful feathering on their legs which should not be trimmed. They also have pendulous ears which are prone to ear infections and need to be examined everytime a dog is groomed, and any hair plucked which could act as a reservoir for infection.


How much Exercise will a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel need?

A Cavalier ideally needs one hour of exercise per day. As with all puppies, it is important to exercise them too much as this can cause excessive pressure on their growing joints, leading to orthopaedic problems. Generally, multiple short walks offer much better physical health and mental stimulation for Cavaliers as opposed to one very long walk. Cavaliers also running off lead, and exploring new environments as they are very inquisitive creatures. Always ensure that they are off lead only in designated areas in line with local council laws.


Some Cavaliers can be quite fussy eaters which can be frustrating, but most of them like their food a little too much. However, with a little perseverance and finding the right type of food, they will eat what is put down for them. Puppies like any other breed need to be fed the same diet they were used to with the breeder to avoid any upset tummies. However, their diet can gradually and safely be changed over a few weeks. Puppies need to be fed a good quality, nutritious diet and fed at regular intervals and ideally this needs to be 3 to 4 times a day.

Older dogs also need to be fed a nutritious diet to suit their ages and any health issues they may be suffering from. It’s important to keep an eye on a Cavalier’s weight as they get older because they are prone to putting on too much weight if they are not given the correct amount of exercise to suit their calorie intake. As such, it is important to rethink their diet to ensure they are getting all the nutrients needed without the risk of a dog adding on the pounds.


Dogs for Sale – Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Buying Advice

When visiting and buying any puppy or dog, there are many important factors to consider and questions to ask of the breeder/seller. Always only choose a Petbond Approved Breeder for your next puppy, as we are the safest online platform in Europe for you and your pet.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are an extremely popular breed both in Ireland and elsewhere in the world which means that well-bred puppies can command high prices. With Cavaliers there is specific advice, questions and protocols to follow when buying a puppy. Once you have decided that you and your family wish to rear a puppy , then you need to consider the information you must receive as part of the pet sourcing process.Beware of unregulated online websites and platforms which have no regard for pet health & welfare.You may see online adverts by scammers showing images of beautiful Cavalier King Charles Spaniels puppies for sale at very low prices, offering to drop the puppy off to your house. However, unscrupulous sellers ask buyers for money up front before agreeing to deliver a puppy to a new home. Potential buyers should never buy a puppy unseen and should never pay a deposit or any other money online to a seller. You should always visit the pet at the sellers home to confirm they are genuine and make a note of their address. PetBond ensures this, which is why you should always choose us PetBond.
By only choosing from a PetBond Approved Breeder, you are offering a puppy the best start in life and other puppies which follow. A Petbond Approved breeder meets the highest animal health & welfare standards which is at the core of what we do. PetBond is designed and managed by a team of vets who care about you and your pet.

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