The noble and spirited Cavalier King Charles Spaniel dog breed is a fantastic companion with diverse personalities.
The King Charles Spaniel highlights the individuality of canine behaviors and tendencies.
From fun-loving retrieving to roles as therapy dogs, these furballs have as many differences as they have similarities.
We adore these pups for their cute forms and friendly mannerisms.
We all want to show our Cavalier King Charles Spaniel love, and the best way is to learn the nuances of the breed.
Highlights of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
- The Cavalier King has proud Spaniel ancestry
- Breed is very reliant on companionship
- Too friendly to be guard dogs (though tend to bark)
- Best suited to living indoors as housedogs
- We can avoid most health issues by dealing with a good breeder
- Significant grooming needs (these dogs are prone to shedding)
Things to Know About the Breed
This enthusiastic dog breed has ancestry with divergent histories.
While the dogs themselves are new, spaniels have a rich history of nobility and appreciation.
Cavaliers date back as far as the 16th century.
Together, these dogs became the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel less than 100 years ago, when the breed was first recognized in 1955.
These are toy dogs that are on the larger end of the size spectrum for their type.
- Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
- Ruby Spaniel, Blenheim Spaniel, Charlies, English Toy Spaniels
- King Charles II, known as the Cavalier King, is the namesake of this breed
How These Dogs Came to Be
This breed of dog originated in Great Britain as early as 1016 AD.
The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel was once a hunting dog, but by the 1500’s these pups were prolific as companions.
Their regality is hard to miss and has led them to be family members of royalty, including Mary, Queen of Scots (a very well-known royal figurehead).
In Victorian times there was crossbreeding with pugs and Chin dogs (Japanese pups).
This led to their current reference as “Charlies”.
Though called by a number of names, these pups retain their air of nobility and pomp.
Charlies are toy breed dogs (though they are on the more size-able end of the spectrum).
As a result, they are ideal lap dogs (something added to by their love of attention and affection).
Small size makes them perfect indoor companions, suited to urban living conditions. We love these dogs for their pocket-sized and friendliness.
Male: 12–13 inches (30.5–33.0 cm)
As the breed of dog gets smaller (like our much-loved Charlies), the differences in height between genders is less varied.
The males tend to be of similar height to their female counterparts.
Female: 12–13 inches (30.5–33.0 cm)
Female Charlies tend to be the same (or similar) height as their male foils.
Differences between the dogs will be less seen in size and more in behavior and temperament.
Puppies: 4–6 inches (10.2–15.2 cm)
Puppies of this breed are generally half the size of adulthood.
Because toy breeds are so small, the babies typically grow to double their size and stop.
Sizes of pup will vary based on the size of the litter.
Male: 13–18 pounds (5.9–8. kg)
Male Charlies (those born with XY chromosomal distribution) are generally heavier than the females of this breed.
Even though these dogs are small, the natural predisposition of retaining muscle remains strong.
Since muscle is heavier than fat, these dogs will generally weigh in heavier than girls of the same breed.
Female: 10–15 pounds (4.5-6.8 kg)
While size does not necessarily differ between the gender of dogs of this breed, the weight will vary.
Female forms (even in small pups) will be more focussed on fatty tissue which is necessary to protect the reproductive organs in the dog.
Since fat is lighter than muscle, dogs with two X chromosomes will be slighter than their male counterparts.
Puppies: 3–7 pounds (1.4–3.2 kg)
Just as the height of puppies at birth will be variable, so will be the weight of these dogs.
This determination depends largely on the size (and health) of the litter itself.
Provided the litter is smaller, the birth weights will generally be higher.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Breed Purity: PureBred or Mixed?
The purity of a breed is a result of its history of crossbreeding.
The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel was only recognized as a breed by the American Kennel Association in the 1950’s.
Since that is less than 100 years of tracking, it is relatively simple to ensure breed purity.
In order to pursue this as a value, it is critical to find a breeder with a good reputation and moral compass.
It is always easier to track and trace genetic health concerns when dealing with purebred dogs.
The drawback is the relative limitation in the gene pool.
A responsible breeder will take this into account.
With purebreds, it is also simpler to glean an understanding of temperament specifics.
That said, adopting a mix-breed dog (provided it is not for show purposes) is a suitable option for devoted pet-parents.
Behavior and Temperament
Perhaps due to their history in royal households, these dogs are some of the best-behaved pups you can find.
We love them for their high energy and amenable temperament (especially in households with children).
They love to be around people (and us pet-parents love the company).
This, of course, is assuming we train the dog properly.
All little breeds are wont to yap for attention.
When we make it clear to them that this is not an ideal method of getting this affection, the behavior reduces, and these dogs are once again some of the friendliest canine companions around.
Generally speaking, Charlie is a fairly alert pup.
Their situational awareness is not superb; though, since they are not guard/watch dogs, this is not a large concern.
They keep a steady focus on us pet-parents (since they are always looking for extra love).
When it comes to other surroundings, trained Charlies are generally quite calm.
A friendly and amicable nature is what made these dogs companions instead of hunters (per their original breeding).
Charlies are incredibly friendly with creatures of all sorts.
This includes children, strangers, and other dogs.
Due to this incredible outgoingness, families happily keep them as house pets.
Children benefit greatly from companionship with these clever canines.
The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is one of the gentlest breeds of dog.
Don’t let the sharp noise of their occasional barking fool you, this is one of the most gentle dog breeds available.
While they do not make great guard dogs (due to small stature and excessive friendliness), they make great companions in any household.
Smarts vary from dog to dog, even from within the confines of a single breed.
Since these pups started as hunting animals, they have a genetic predisposition to the cleverness that comes from hunting and chasing.
Even so, since these dogs have spent hundreds of years domesticated in the household, much of their intelligence has been reallocated to gaining human affection (not that pup-parents complain about the extra love).
Charlies are incredibly outgoing dogs that are outwardly friendly in most (if not all) situations.
It is one of their key sources of charm.
Because they are so easy to get along with, they are suitable in almost every home situation.
Due to the fact that these pups are so outgoing, it is easy for them to get lonesome.
The personality of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is incredibly friendly and pet-parent-reliant.
These dogs thrive in the company of others (though benefit the most from human companionship).
Charlies love to cuddle and make wonderful lap dogs.
They are constantly striving to gain the attention and approval of their owners.
When we properly care for these pups, they are some of the friendliest dogs in the world.
The coat on these pups is soft and silky to the touch.
Generally, these dogs will be prolific shedders (especially in spring and summer).
The fur will be of medium length and feature out towards the tail, chest, legs.
We also see the feathering on their large, floppy ears.
There are a number of color patterns seen on these puppies.
Charlie is an attractive dog who is often recognized by the trip of colors that make up his coat.
Other sets of patterning include tan/beige and black sets, as well as red and white.
When these dogs have a uniform color, they are typically found with deep red fur (often referred to as mahogany).
One of our favorite aspects of these pups is their deep-set eyes, filled with emotional expression.
Generally, the eyes will be dark and beady with a thick set exterior.
Eye health is a critical (and often neglected) factor in overall wellbeing.
These beady eyed puppies require attention to keep the area clean and free of debris.
Generally, the noses on these pups will be short and round with dark coloring.
Since the nose on canine kind is so sensitive, it becomes a great tool of assessing the overall well being of the dog.
Checking to see whether the Charlie’s nose is moist or too dry, warm or too cold, leads to early intervention on these pups’ sensitive smellers.
The tails of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel breed are generally perky and curled.
Since the pup is so small, this appendage, which functions as a balancer for the spine, does not need to be very long.
Their tails are very expressive and almost in constant motion during the Charlie’s waking hours.
The ideal litter size for this breed of dog is 5.
With births resulting in more dogs, there is generally a runt (or overall reduced birth weights).
Low weight at birth can lead to a lifetime of health concerns.
When there are fewer in the litter it does not add to health and puts added strain on the mother should they reproduce in the future.
9- 13 Years
These dogs, when left to their own reproduction, are susceptible to 25 different inherited diseases.
Modern breeding techniques have increased the lifespan of this breed to the higher end of the spectrum.
To make best efforts getting a healthy Cavalier Charlie, finding a reputable breeder is paramount.
Properly bred pups tend to avoid the health pitfalls that shorten canine lifespans.
It is always best to take regular visits to the dog groomer.
They are specifically trained in the needs of a variety of breeds and can perform specific services with professional tools.
For the day-to-day, ensure proper teeth cleaning (toothbrush and paste) as well as regular brushing.
This serves to bond the pup and their parent, as well as avoid troublesome issues like matting on the fur.
Toy dogs, just like all other creatures, benefit from cardiovascular engagement.
Since these dogs are so small (and have proportionately smaller hearts), it is important to keep exertion levels moderate to low.
These dogs benefit from walks more than runs, as this will reduce joint issues.
Since these pups are sensitive to the weather, it is important to supplement with indoor exercise.
These dogs are playful, so keeping them active and engaged is straightforward.
All dogs benefit from routine veterinary visits, just as all people benefit from regular trips to the physician.
Breeders work to avoid serious genetic concerns, though this does not speak to the individual health of the pup.
As this breed ages, they become more vulnerable to a variety of illnesses including immune system weakening and hip dysplasia.
Lifelong healthy eating habits and regular exercise work to mitigate the impacts of these issues.
- All dogs require proper, diligent training to develop properly
- Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are eager to please (positive reinforcement works well)
- Set realistic and achievable goals for the spaniel in training
- Ensure clear communication so that the dog understands what you want
- Remain friendly but firm (this will show affection but also gain respect)
- Be sure to stay consistent (establishing clear rules is necessary to training)
- Dog training classes are available for all dog breeds
Physical Characteristics of the Charlie
The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a small breed of dog, with a generally uniform appearance.
The fur colors range, though the length and type of coat remains fluffy and medium length.
The breed has long, floppy ears and a perky nose.
The dark, deep set eyes give these pups an emotional appearance.
Generally, they are a little over a foot tall and lightweight.
The Cavalier’s ability to adapt depends largely on the situation to which they are growing accustomed.
While these dogs do well with new people or in new living situations, they do not bode well in solitary conditions.
This breed is sensitive to the weather (both hot and cold).
It is a good measure to have a sweater in winter and water in summer to avoid any issues.
Other Dog Friendly
Charlie’s got their place in royal households due to a very graceful demeanor.
While they do not make good watchdogs, these pups are incredibly friendly with other canines.
The calm temperament is one of their key draws.
Because of this, the Cavaliers do very well in dog parks as a mode of exercise.
While they are not the most prolific shedders, this breed does have a noticeable amount of hair loss.
It is generally not an issue due to the small size of the pup (much less fur to shed).
Shedding will escalate during the warm seasons and taper off as the weather gets colder.
Frequent brushing prevents excessive fur loss throughout the course of the year.
Affection is the primary requirement of this dog breed.
They thrive when receiving the full attention of their human families.
Toy dogs are especially prone to cuddling, since they evolved to rely very heavily on human companionship.
The calm energy and devoted affection of these pups makes them great for family situations.
All living creatures need exercise. It is important to remember to meet the physical demands of this breed.
Because they are so small and not prone to weight gain, it is easy to neglect exercise.
Aerobics are important to overall health, as well as mental well being.
Due to the species having risk for hip dysplasia, low to moderate exertion is ideal.
The need for interaction is one of the fundamental driving forces of this dog breed.
Much of their personality derives from the desire for the approval of their human families.
These dogs are generally successful in all situations except those that require them to be alone.
If you are getting a Cavalier Spaniel, the biggest requirement to consider is the high demand for time.
Toy dogs are generally suited to apartment living.
Charlies adapt well to new living conditions.
They require minimal space and do not show territorialism.
This allows all the creatures to share the living quarters without influencing the contentment of the pup.
So long as exercise and affection are sufficient, these dogs function well in urban settings.
Grooming Needs and Particulars
These dogs are fairly well-behaved when grooming (with the occasional exception to the rule).
Due to the long fur, these pups need daily brushing to keep their coats healthy.
It is necessary to take extra care when we deal with these pups’ ears; because, since they flop down, they are naturally more prone to infection.
Checking that they are properly dried works to prevent this health concern.
As with all dogs, regular clipping is important to their overall health and good mood.
Cavalier Charlies are generally great with strangers.
While this prevents them from being successful guard dogs, it makes them amenable to almost all social situations.
The dogs may bark at first (and even then, quite little).
However, after being told to stop, the issue will most likely not recur.
This, of course, depends on proper training of the dog.
Provided the animal is well cared for, they will commonly be comfortable with strangers.
The tendency to stay quiet is another reason we love these pups as apartment dogs.
It is out of the norm for these pups to yap.
While they may bark from time to time, it is more to communicate and will quickly cease once they have the pet-parent’s attention.
These graceful pups are generally poised and quiet, even around crowds.
All creatures are susceptible to illness.
That said, modern breeding techniques are to credit for largely ridding this species of severe genetic illness.
To ensure that this holds true, ensure that you pursue only breeders of repute.
Otherwise, Charlies are susceptible to epilepsy (seizures) and deafness.
To mitigate any issues, ensure regular veterinary visits.
The Cavalier Charlie is true to his name.
This breed of dog is generally not a territorial creature.
Especially when we provide these pups with a sufficient amount of love and attention, they tend to behave properly.
One of the behavioral features that maneuvered them from retrieving dogs to companions was their graceful attitudes.
Typically, these dogs are fine with other creatures being in their space.
Amicability with children and cats are two of the biggest draws of these animals.
Feline presence can often be distressing to pups with fewer social tendencies.
Territorial dogs typically are the most distressed, since cats aren’t great with boundaries.
Charlie lives up to the cavalier namesake and functions well around cats (and all other furballs).
Toy dogs are a small class of creature.
When size reduces, generally the form will compensate with other defense mechanisms.
A key method of compensation is intelligence.
Being able to react quickly and gain situational understanding facilitates survival of small breed animals.
Even though they do not need to use these methods as widely, they remain scripted into the Cavalier DNA.
Though there are exceptions to every rule, these dogs are generally highly trainable.
Even though their origins as retrieving dogs are long since behind them, Cavalier Spaniels have retained the cleverness working bestows.
They are alert and willing to please (two things that make any dog trainable).
The kind nature and generally calm demeanor of these pups makes them great playmates for children.
High intelligence makes them recognize that the child is a vulnerable person, and they will typically behave accordingly.
In any household with both kids and dogs, proper training to establish reasonable boundaries is a necessity.
Toy dogs are generally quite energetic and require a lot of attention.
Often, this is communicated through an overall playfulness.
While the Cavalier Spaniel tends to be calmer than many other toy breeds, the pups remain playful and spirited.
Since these pups desire, more than anything else, the affection of their human companions, play is a great way to show love (and get exercise).
Since these dogs are so good-natured and inclined to please, watchdog ability is not one of their strong suits.
These dogs want to be friends (even with strangers).
Though they may bark, these pups do not have an intimidating appearance and so are not a strong deterrent.
They evolved as companions-and continue to act as such.
The behaviour shown by the Charlie Spaniel in social situations is no less than cavalier.
These pups comfortably interact with most (if not all) other dogs and pets.
Even in households with cats or other furry friends, the Cavalier Spaniel will be perfectly content (provided they receive a sufficient amount of attention).
As pup-parents, one of our most important jobs is to ensure that we provide balanced nutrition to our furry pals.
Food provides the necessary building blocks for everything from muscular structure to immune function.
Canine diets should start with high quality animal protein, with balanced sources of fats, fibers, vitamins, and minerals.
It is generally best to pursue a dog food manufactured with a focus on toy dog breeds.
Puppies have voracious appetites (because they are growing), and small stomachs.
It is our job, as their caregivers, to provide the best balance.
Puppies need a dog food specifically designed for young pups.
These generally have a smaller kernel size and additives like DHA.
It is important to feed the pup less, more frequently (until he ages into adulthood).
Adult Charlies are a petite dog. Since we determine food portions primarily by weight, they do not require an enormous amount of food.
The typical Cavalier Spaniel will be content with 1 to ½ cups of food. We prefer to divvy this up into two meals.
Generally, you should serve one in the morning and one in the early evening.
This allows proper digestion (and saves room for the occasional treat).
Famous Cavalier King Charles Spaniel’s (And Their Owners)
#1 Mary Queen of Scots, The Ever-Loyal Pup
This world-famous Scottish figurehead lost her life to the guillotine in 1587.
Her loyal pup, a kind-hearted Cavalier spaniel was with her until the end- hidden in the folds of the Queen’s dress.
The story goes that the pup did not leave the place where his master had fallen and died just a few days later of grief.
#2 King Charles II, The Namesake
This British monarch is the source of these regal pups’ names.
It is the generally cavalier attitude on which this King prided himself (and the fact that he had a spaniel of sorts with him), is the reason for the names of these adorable pups.
The dog’s name was Dash and he lived to an old age.
#3 ‘Liz Taylor- The TV Sensation
Sex and the City was a popular show from the 1990’s and 2000’s set in New York.
The show gained massive popularity and was on the air for several years.
Elizabeth Taylor, the Cavalier Spaniel featured on the show garnered a lot of attention and modern popularity for the breed.
#4 Queen Victoria’s Tori
Tori sticks to the tradition of these dogs being a popular breed amongst royals. Queen Victoria had Tori as a pup for a great many years.
Once her daughter was born, the namesake belonged to the baby.
This is another historical example of these dog’s popularity through the centuries.
#5 Ronald Reagan’s Charlie
While not royalty, the tradition of upper heads of state keeping dogs was also common in America.
In fact, most presidents have had a canine companion.
Reagan, the American President during the 1980’s, often expressed his appreciation of this kind-hearted dog breed.
#6 Frank Sinatra, The Musical Pup
This world-famous singer plays on the radio to this day.
Every present tune like ‘Fly Me to The Moon’ and ‘New York’ made this man (and his Cavalier Spaniel) culture icons.
This pair travelled the Americas on tour.
Many saw Sinatra show endearment to his Charlie on the road and off.
#7 Diane Sawyer, The News Spaniel
Good Morning America’, the well-known morning news sensation saw a great many appearances by Diane Sawyer’s Charlie Spaniel.
The friendly pup brightened mornings as he would lovingly meet and interact with the various guests.
The pup became well known to early risers, and his friendly demeanor brightened many a day.
#8 Princess Margaret, The Royal Spaniel
This princess, the sister of Queen Elizabeth II, is a well-known fan of this dog breed.
The royal’s affection toward this pup displays the long-held adoration of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel in British culture.
The friendly dogs are well behaved, making them suitable companions for many (even royal) endeavors.
How to Collect This Breed
There are many ways to pursue your love of Cavalier King Charles Spaniels.
First is ensuring that you can accommodate all of their needs.
The most significant factor is time.
Making sure you have sufficient time to spend with your new pup is paramount.
Next, make the decision between purebred or mixed.
If you are choosing a mixed-breed, then perhaps adoption is suitable.
Should you decide to pursue a purebred pup to ensure a good temperament/health, then finding a reputable breeder is the first step.
Look into kennel clubs to get an idea of where to find a breeder near you.
How Much Does a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Cost?
The price of any dog will vary based on various considerations.
These include the repute and accessibility of the breeder, the dog breed in question, as well as the season of the year.
Generally, the price of Charlie spaniels will range from roughly $1800 to $3500.
There are other ways to bring home your family’s dream pup.
Adoption is a fine choice provided purebred is not a necessity and will range from $200 to $400.
Gun Dog, AKC Toy Group
In 1996, the showing of Charlie was in the Toy Group.
This was at an event run by the American Kennel Club.
The class of Gun Dogs will also apply to this breed.
Gun dogs generally evolved seeking out and retrieving game on hunting trips.
People specialize in Toy Breeds precisely for their small stature and pocket size.
National Breed Clubs
Which Cavalier Charlie Characteristics Shocked You?
Now that we have had a chance to investigate the nuances of this adorably friendly breed, was there anything that surprised you?
For me, it was learning how wonderful these dogs are with kids and company.
Were there some facts you already knew?
Let us know in the comments- we would love to learn from your expertise.
Give us a shout and tell us what you will keep in mind when adopting a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.
If you had fun with this article, share it along so it can find fellow Cavalier Charlie companions.