Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Breed Guide

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are a well-balanced and graceful toy breed. Their silky coat comes in four colors: Blenheim (white and chestnut), Ruby (solid red), Tricolor (black, white, tan), and Black and Tan. It's straight or slightly wavy, with feathering on the chest, ears, legs, and tail. These dogs also have some feathering on their feet. Cavaliers have high-set ears, large and round eyes, and a sweet expression. They measure 12 to 13 inches tall at the shoulder and weigh 13 to 18 pounds. Proper care ensures these dogs live up to 14 years.

Contrary to what many people believe, Cavaliers are fairly easy to train. They respond well to positive reinforcement, especially food rewards, and they learn quickly.

Cavaliers are energetic dogs that are compatible with city or country life. They are sweet and gentle, and this explains why they've historically been kept as companion animals. These dogs make great therapy dogs, and they are also found in confirmation shows.

This breed became famous after scoring a role on TV's "Sex and the City" as Charlotte York's dog. Many celebrities are fans of this breed, including Mischa Barton, Diane Sawyer, Claire Danes, Terri Hatcher, and Jerry O'Connell.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are sweet-natured, gentle, affectionate, and happy dogs that make excellent companion animals. They are very friendly and love children, and they enjoy being part of a family. These dogs like playing with toys and running around outside, but they also appreciate a calm cuddle on the couch.

This breed gets along with everyone, including cats, other dogs, and strangers. Cavaliers are highly adaptable, trusting, and easy-going, and they love to explore, chase, and sniff when outside. These dogs enjoy walks and other quiet forms of exercise, and it does not take much activity to satisfy their daily requirements.

Although these dogs are not shy or nervous, they tend to be quiet, calm, and reserved when indoors or around strangers. They prefer to be with a human companion at all times, and they may become withdrawn or depressed if left alone for long periods.

Cavaliers are prone to a number of genetic conditions that can negatively affect life. Early diagnosis and treatment of these conditions can increase the length of quality of life for these dogs, which makes routine veterinary well checks very important.

These dogs are more prone than some other breeds to congenital hip dysplasia, patellar luxation, entropion, retinal dysplasia, ear infections, and mitral valve insufficiency. Cavaliers are also known to suffer from cataracts, keratoconjunctivitis sicca (dry eye), allergies, and a neurological problem called syringomyelia. Additionally, the breed is prone to developing primary secretory otitis media, an ear condition also known as glue ear. This condition occurs when a plug of mucus forms inside the cavity in the middle ear. It can cause head pain, head tilting, ear scratching, and hearing loss.

Routine veterinary care, timely vaccinations, regular exercise, and proper nutrition ensure Cavalier King Charles Spaniels live 9 to 14 years.

Contrary to what many people believe, Cavaliers are fairly easy to train. They respond well to positive reinforcement, especially food rewards, and they learn quickly. Harsh words cause these dogs to shut down or hide, and training should be consistent and gentle. Like other toy breeds, Cavaliers can be difficult to house-train; with a little extra effort and time, however, these dogs can successfully become house-trained just like any other breed.

Cavaliers love to chase moving objects and animals, they love to lick everyone and everything, and they can be manipulative when they want a bite of your sandwich. It's difficult to train these behaviors away, which means care must be taken to keep these dogs on a leash whenever they are outside and to guard against wound licking. Also, it is important to be firm when it comes to food and snacks. Being overweight increases the risk of heart disease, arthritis, diabetes, cancer, and other health conditions in dogs.

Without plenty of exercise, Cavaliers will get into trouble. Additionally, these dogs tend to become bored, depressed, and even a little crazy if neglected or left alone for long periods.

The Cavalier's long coat needs brushing every other day to prevent mats and tangles that can occur in the breed's feathering. A stainless steel comb or slicker brush is very useful for removing tangles. This should be followed up with a bristle brush to bring out the shine in the breed's coat.

Because dirt tends to fall right off the coat of these dogs, bathing need only be done every few weeks to add shine to the coat and control odor. A gentle, pH-balanced shampoo will clean the coat without drying the skin, and a coat conditioner can add shine. These dogs do not require coat trimming.

The nails need trimming every few weeks to prevent breaks and snagging, and the ears need regular examinations and cleaning for excess earwax. Signs of infection, such as redness, odor, and discharge, should be promptly reported to a veterinarian. Brushing the teeth regularly is also important and will help prevent gum disease and tooth decay.

This breed may have developed when small spaniels were bred with Oriental toy breeds, such as the Tibetan Spaniel and Japanese Chin. These little dogs had rather strange duties; they were used as foot and lap warmers, and some even took on the role of attracting fleas away from their humans' bodies.

While these dogs were beloved by most people, they are known (and named) for their association with King Charles II of Britain. It's said that during the 1700s, he was so taken with his toy spaniels that he ignored matters of state. Because of this association, these toy dogs took on the King's name. These dogs were recorded in tapestries and paintings for centuries, usually next to aristocratic families.

Over time, the breed was neglected as shorter-nosed dogs came into preference. Then, a wealthy American, named Roswell Eldridge, visited England and offered a considerable sum for the best "pointed-nosed" spaniels. To win the money, breeders made an effort to breed old-type dogs, and eventually the pointed-nosed spaniels became more popular than the short-nosed varieties.

The American Kennel Club officially recognized the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel in 1995.