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Like the other spaniels, it is commonly believed that the Cavalier King Charles spaniel originates from Spain, but according to some sources, the breed actually came from the far East, through Spain, to England, under the reign of King Henrik III. Others claim these small dogs were brought to England from France in the 1500th century by the Queen of Scots.

No matter where they originated; once in England, they became extremely popular among royalty. They were known to sleep in bed with their royal owners to keep them warm, and it was also said that they did it to attract the bites of fleas and the likes in order to protect their owners from plague and other gruesome diseases.

The breed was enormously popular under King Charles, and that’s where they got their name. It’s been said that he never went anywhere without at least two or three dogs at his heels. When he died, their popularity faded slightly, and in their place came the pugs. They were interbred, and a new look appeared within the King Charles spaniel breed; shorter nose and a domed head. Eventually, with the help of seriously interested breeders, the original exterior was brought back and two separate breeds were formed. The King Charles spaniel with the shorter nose, smaller bodies and domed heads, and the Cavalier King Charles spaniel, slightly larger, longer noses and flatter heads.

The Cavalier King Charles Club was formed in 1928, and at their first meeting on the second day of the Cruft’s dog show, they created a standard for the breed that still holds to this day. It did, however, take almost 20 years until the breed was shown in their own right. Until 1945, the Cavalier had to be shown together with the King Charles spaniel, or in classes open for all breeds.



It’s impossible not to like the Cavalier King Charles supercute, charming exterior. They are a quite small breed, and measures only 12 – 13 inches tall, weighing about 13 – 18 pounds, but they are super sweet. Physically, they look like most spaniels; well built and balanced with long, silky and feathery coat, long, floppy ears, and a long, feathery tail. The biggest difference between the Cavalier and the King Charles spaniel is the nose and the forehead; the King Charles has a shorter nose and a domed head, while the Cavalier has a longer nose and flatter head.

The Cavalier King Charles do need to be brushed through regularly to prevent tangles, and to keep it shiny and beautiful. Like any dog, they need a bath from time to time, but it really is up to you as the owner to decide just how often you want to do that. Grooming your dog also includes trimming nails, checking ears, teeth and a general check up to see he or she is healthy. Think of the grooming process as a cosy time with your dog, and a way to grow a stronger bond.


While the Cavalier is a small dog and known loving to cuddle up on the sofa or bed with you, they also are a sporting breed. They are energetic and playful, but don’t need hours and hours of hardcore exercise, like other working dogs may need. They do enjoy different canine sports, however, like long walks and hikes, agility and the likes.

It is highly recommended that you keep your Cavalier on a lead, since they still have hunting instincts. Should they find a scent that they find more interesting than you, you’ll find it hard to call them back if they are off lead. If you live in a house, it is also recommended you have a fenced yard for the very same reasons.

Cavaliers are amazing with kinds, and small enough not to knock even the smaller children down during play. Children and dogs should not socialize without supervision, however, no matter how good they behave around each other.


A Cavalier King Charles spaniel is intelligent and highly trainable. They are gentle, sweet and affectionate and will do pretty much anything to please their human. They are also a friendly breed, which may not bode well if you’re looking for a guard dog, but it does make social activities with friends, family and other animals a lot easier. With their sweet and gentle nature, a Cavalier can be an amazing therapy dog.

Don’t be fooled by their cute appearance and sweetness; the Cavalier still needs to be socialized and learn good manners at an early age, to be comfortable with different people and situations.


Like most breeds, the Cavalier King Charles has some health issues specific to the breed. The likelihood that your Cavalier will develop all of these are non-existent, but you should be aware of what they are just in case any of them would show up in your dog.

They are prone to several eye conditions, patella luxuation, hip dysplasia, middle ear infections (help your dog keep his ears clean, to prevent this), mitral valve heart disease, and a neurological condition called syringomyelia. Cavaliers can be screened for all these conditions, and most can live comfortably to old age.

Take good care of your Cavalier, offer good, nutritious food, health care, exercise et cetera, and your dog can live up to 12 – 15 years.


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