Meet the Breed: Cavalier King Charles Spaniel


Cavalier King Charles Puppy by Karin Vogt.


  • Height: 12-15 inches
  • Weight: 10-18 pounds
  • Historical function: Royal companion, light field hunting
  • Modern function: Companion
  • AKC Classification: Toy
  • Tricolor Prince Charles Spaniel photo by Jelene Morris.

Physical Characteristics:

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a beautiful, well-proportioned dog with a silky coat with feathering on its long ears, chest, legs, feet, and tail. They are available in four colors: The dark chestnut and white variety are known as Blenheim. The black and tan markings are called the King Charles color. Ruby colored Cavaliers should be a uniform chestnut color. The Prince Charles coloring is tricolored with black, tan, and white.

History of Breed:

During the 16th Century in England, small spaniels were popular among the nobility as lap warmers and comforters. The popular pug was interbred with these spaniels and the King Charles Spaniel emerged with several pug features, especially the stub nose. A desire to return to the earlier long-nose version was encouraged in the 1920s, and the Cavalier King Charles version was developed to model the old style. World War II was a huge setback for the breed and numbers dwindled to just six dogs, potentially a source of the many genetic health issues this dog is prone to.


The Cavalier King Charles is an eager, lively, and pleasing pet that prefers to be near you but isn't demanding. They are intelligent, patient, eager to follow commands, and will get along with other dogs and other household pets.

  • Best suited for: Apartment life, families, children, senior citizens, good with other pets.
  • Preferred living conditions: Prefers to be around people. Does not tolerate heat well.

Care and Health

  • Grooming requirements: Regular brushing and occasional bathing. Average shedder.
  • Exercise needs: Daily walk.
  • Life expectancy: 9-14 years
  • Health concerns: Mitral valve prolapse (which leads to heart failure), hip dysplasia, Syringomyelia, episodic falling, bleeding disorders, early deafness, and eye problems. Has a tendency to overeat.

Breed Club Links: Since this breed is plagued with unfortunate health concerns, be sure to do your research and find a reputable breeder! Visit: American Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Club, Inc. BaxterBoo Perfect Pairings:  Double-Sided Pin Comb by Pet Head. Featured image by Don DeBold.

Have any stories to share about the lovely Cavalier King Charles Spaniel?

This entry was posted by Mary.
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