Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Breed History

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel sitting in the grass

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a beautiful, gentle, and friendly lap dog that always could be a great companion to dog owners in any living situation. Flat head and high ears make them easy to identify from their toy dog counterparts.

United Kingdom is the place that they come from and they were not the dogs to have any owners that were working class. This breed was exclusive to the royal families in Europe just like other Toy Spaniels.

English Toy Spaniel are another name that they go by and that name is given to a lot of different Spaniels that come from the area.

Their name comes from the “Cavalier King Charles” specifically King Charles I and Charles II. At one point in time they were the favorites, but things took a turn somewhere in history.

Not only did they stop being the favorite they were facing extinction. Many dogs in history that were looking at extinction all had to endure crossbreeding with similar dogs to remain a breed.

Pugs and Japanese Chins were the dogs that are known to change the look and save this dog from no longer existing. Common ancestors made them ideal to increase the numbers and keep the breed alive.

Don’t look the same as they did in older depictions from times before they were in need of crossbreeding.

Although they are an old breed, they became a member of the AKC in 1995.


Every major Kennel Club around the world shows recognition to this breed. Crossbreeding may have made it a later arrival than others in the club but nonetheless they were added later.

Most see them as a toy group or something similar like companion or Spaniel.

Here are the different Kennel Club with their breed standards


Male Height: 12-13 inches

Female Height: 12-13 inches

Male Weight: 13-18 pounds

Female Weight: 13-18 pounds

Litter Size

3 to 4 puppies are the average litter size. Smaller size dogs are known to have smaller litters. Lap dogs are notorious for having much smaller litters and it is rare that they will have a double-digit puppy litter.


  • Black and Tan
  • Black and White
  • Blenheim
  • Ruby


They will cost you anywhere from $2,000-$10,000 and they are very expensive. Prices vary depending on location, supply, demand and other factors. Paying for a dog with papers will cost you more than a dog without papers.

When a dog has no papers, you will be looking at paying around $400-$500 for each puppy. Papers are a record of the bloodline as well as registration for the next litter of puppies if both parents have papers. Without papers you will pay less and not know the bloodline.


Medium length and silky or wavy without any curls. For dog shows the entire body outside of the feet are not allowed to be cut.

  1. Brushing
  2. Combing
  3. Bathing
  4. Ears
  5. Nails
  6. Professional Help

Grooming this dog consists brushing the coat daily or multiple times per week. Keeping their coat up is higher maintenance than other breeds that have a much shorter coat. Shedding times of the year will enhance the amount of brushing to get the loose or dead hair off the coat.

Combing the dog should happen at least once a week. When you are combing and brushing all the time the coat will never tangle or mat and will be kept in the best condition.

Bathe the dog as you see fit. Most people will look at their schedule and bathe the dog when they have time mostly during the weekends. Others want to do it when the dog is dirty or too smelly to stand.

Ears are going to be an issue for this breed so make sure you keep the dog clean. When you are brushing or bathing the dog take the time to clean the ears.

Nails should be trim during the walks and runs like they would naturally in the wild. When people don’t exercise, which we don’t recommend, purchase a pair of nail trimmers and carefully cut the nails.

If you need professional help and feel like you can’t accomplish the basics take your dog to get a nice grooming at least once a month.

Life Span

12-14 years is the average lifespan. Knowledge of their lifespan will help you understand when the dog is in their youth, adulthood, senior ages, and reaching a point of no longer being here.

Health Issues

Cardiac – irregular heartbeats are a common occurrence with this breed and can lead to more serious conditions later in life. Cardiac examinations are a recommendation from the Kennel Club to ensure your dog is in good health. Because this can develop at any time getting it once per year is the best decision.

Eye Exam – Getting an eye exam needs to happen multiple times throughout the dog’s life. One time will happen around a few months. After that you will need to get it annual until the dog is around 5 years old. Lastly, you need to get the exam every two years because the dog doesn’t have the condition most likely at this point.

Hip – Dysplasia in the hips can come from multiple issues. Getting an x-ray of the hips will show what is going on with the hips. Malfunction of the hips will show as early as a few months old and this is the only exam you need to take on the hips.

Luxation Patella – Kneecaps slip on smaller dogs and can be seen with a radiograph or with an experienced vet. Pain while exercising will cause discomfort and cause the dog to become hesitant and disengage quickly.

Breed Group

Toy group is the breed group that Cavalier King Charles Spaniel fall into. They all share a common trait of being lap dogs and small sizes. Owners live in many different areas throughout the country, but they are popular in cities that have big apartment populations.

Here are some of the dogs that are in the Toy Group

Exercise Needs

We don’t really make comments on how much energy because it is all situational. In other words, some dogs will need more than others in the same breed. Most important thing to look at is what we teach.

Look at the dog’s behavior to figure out if they get enough exercise. If the dog is bouncing off the walls, jumping out their skin, barking excessively, sprinting, jumping, nipping, and other bad behaviors then you need to exercise your dog much more.

When you are reaching a point where the dog is getting proper exercise you will have no problems with behavior. Remaining calm, listening, and not displaying out of control behavior will make the exercise program they’re on is good enough.

Here is a basic guideline

Morning: Hour (run, walk, or treadmill)

Evening: Hour (run, walk, or treadmill)

Younger dogs will need two sessions most of the time. Youth will have more energy than their older counterparts. Although dogs at all ages will need a run from time to time, they will need to run a lot as a young dog.

Adult dogs will have less energy and recover slower most noticeably at three to five years of age. Runs will still be a big part of the exercise program but there will be breaks in between exercise sessions.

Senior dogs will need almost no runs and a walk will have a run effect. Take the time to walk them around the block and see that they are tired all day long.

Use these guidelines and change the dog’s behavior. Remember exercise will alter behavior.


  1. Exercise program
  2. Commands
  3. Socialization
  4. Corrections

Exercising is the foundation of any training program. Behavior modification is going to be most effective when the dog is getting a daily outlet two times a day. Nothing you can name will change the behavior of a dog quicker than a long run or walk. You will spend most of your time in this section of training the entire time you have a dog. Whoever spends the most time here will have the best dog.

Commands are a smaller part a training program. Sit, stay and lay aren’t time-consuming to teach. Once the dog learns the command in two to three days, they will know it and perform it forever. You will find that using these commands while correcting, before they eat, and before they get water will reinforce everything these commands.

Socialize after the dog is getting the proper exercise amount. Taking them to the park at this point will help them calmly interact which is what you want. Overexcitement in the park will cause dog fights or some form of aggression. Doing this is safer for you and your dog.

Correcting the dog is essential in any training program but doing it right is more important. Verbal correction will be the way you correct 99 percent of the time. Leash and hand corrections work well but making them sit or lay after the fact is much better than simply touching the dog.

Do Cavalier King Charles Spaniels Bark A lot?

Small dogs are victims of not getting enough exercise due to stereotypes and this led to more barking, whining, and anxiety than the do would normally possess. Living in apartment buildings increases the time spent in cages and with this scenario dogs start to live a strange life compared to their nature.

When owners are good trainers and exercise their dog twice a day and once a day when the energy is lower, they will notice that the dog hardly ever barks and never has high levels of anxiety.

Although this advice is very simple it is not easy to follow and does require effort daily. Once you figure this part out you will notice people always compliment you on how behaved the dog is acting in comparison to their dog. All because you exercise your dog and they don’t exercise their dog.

Additional Resources