Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

(Toy Group)

", graceful, well-balanced toy spaniel, very gay and free in action; fearless and sporting in character, yet at the same time gentle and affectionate. It is this typical gay temperament... which [is] of paramount importance in the breed" (AKC Standard).

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Club.

"Originally bred in England to warm the laps in drafty castles and on chilly carriage rides. They were also used to attract fleas and thereby protect their owners from the "Plague". Today it is one of the five most popular breeds in England. They are strictly companion dogs.

"They have a calming effect on many people. They are excellent with children and enjoy playing with them. In addition, these dogs are extremely beneficial for senior citizens or those experiencing "empty nest syndrome". Cavaliers also travel well. For the most part they are healthy and naturally clean dogs.

"Very susceptible to Mitral Valve Disease, up to 50% of the dogs bred anywhere in the world may be affected. Be sure to thoroughly question the breeder about their MVD protection plans (

"Potential problems: shyness, nervousness" (Digital Dog).

"History tells us of the devotion to the breed felt by England's kings Charles I and II, and of the Dukes of Marlborough with their strain of early spaniels kept at Blenheim Palace...

"In 1926... the Cavalier was virtually extinct, having evolved into the English Toy Spaniel... "the Old Type" - long nose, flat skull, no stop... officially AKC recognized in 1994" (Gammon, John D. "Cavalier King Charles Spaniel." Breed Column. AKC Gazette, Dec. 2003, 48).

"Cavaliers are very flexible in adjusting to lifestyles...

"Inquisitive and intuitive, friendly and unflappable, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel has been bred for hundreds of years as a pure companion... the No. 1 Toy dog in England, where the breed originated.. recognition by the AKC in 1996...

"Almost supernaturally accommodating, they are sensitive enough for the sedentary lifestyle of an elderly couple yet robust enough to fit in with an active family.

"But they have one non-negotiable requirement: attention and plenty of it... without affection they just pine...Because they crave affection, Cavaliers are not appropriate for owners who prefer an outside dog or an independent temperament...

Color combinations: "the Blenheim has a pearly white coat with rich chestnut markings. The other color variations are tricolor, white with black and tan markings, ruby, a solid rich red; and black and tan, black with bright tan markings...

Grooming: "Brush twice a week, with special attention to ears and tail. Spayed pets grow heavier coats that may require occasional trimming for easier maintenance...

"It's an endearing, enchanting breed. They're so sweet and affectionate, a 5-week old puppy will press against your cheek, trying to get closer...

"..use a fenced backyard or a leash to keep your Cavalier close. He can get carried away socializing. "They love other dogs and people so much that they'll follow them or jump into a car"...

"..his silky coat.. does not protect against the elements. As for shedding.. "We have dog hair 365 days a year".. spayed and neutered Cavaliers typically grow heavier coats. Many pet owners trim their dogs regularly for tidy looks.

"Topping the list of health concerns.. is mitral valve disease, in which the heart valve deteriates and leaks... Eye problems such as cataracts and retinal folds... hip dysplasia and luxating patellas... An emerging concern is syringo-myelia, in which fluid collects in a cavity in the spine, causing a permanently twisted neck and weakness or wobbling in the legs.

"As with any other breed, potential owners must seek out breeders who do appropriate health testing of their breeding stock and willingly document them" (Flaim, Denise. "Kingly Companion." Dog Fancy, Feb 2004, 46-49).


Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Club, American
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Club, USA
CKCS Club, American
CKCS in the UK
CKCS breed FAQ
CKCS Breed Info
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Colby Glass, MLIS