A Royal Breed: Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

The Perfect Owner & Home for the Cavalier

You’ll never have to wonder how your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel feels about you. Bred as foot warmers and companions to royalty, these dogs are true blue. With unwavering devotion they’ll shadow you from room to room. They crave attention and affection. If you’re seeking a guard dog, forget the Cavalier. They’d enthusiastically lick the face of any intruder.

If you’re gone all day a Cav is not an ideal match. One option is to get a pair of Cavs so they have each other. If you live alone and work long hours, a Shiba Inu is a more appropriate choice—they’re catlike and independent. They don’t need much so they are fine when they’re alone. Not so with the Cavalier. A Cav’s favorite place is wherever you are.

Appearance & Grooming

The Cavalier has a sweet, gentle, Bambi-like expression. The body appears slightly long in proportion to the low height of the legs. Their gait is elegant and the long tail sways and swooshes as they walk. Silky smooth hair grows long with feathery wisps of fringe that dangles from their underbelly, swoopy tail, and Beagle-type ears.


Their paws look like dust mops, the hair near the pads needs to be trimmed. Some shedding occurs but nowhere near the amount of say, a Golden Retriever. DAll dogs’ paws are susceptible to the elements (heat, cold, wet, icy, or rough terrain). Protect their lil feetsies with reusable disposables from PawZ.

You’ll have the choice of grooming the hair or leaving it au naturale. Oster grooming tools make it easy to trim hair. If left long, the hair needs to be brushed every couple of days to avoid matting. Cavaliers are easy to bathe and playful during toweling off. As with any dog, it is wise to brush their teeth daily to keep gums healthy which reduces risk of heart disease.

Personality, Temperament, & Exercise Needs

Fearless, eager and cheerful, Cavaliers aim to please. They’re natural charmers who shamelessly flirt with anyone for attention and a treat. They’re easy to train and gentle with children. Cavs enjoy running but are just as content curled up in your lap.

See also: Cavalier Rescue USA.

Cavaliers come from a hunting background and love to chase. Be sure to keep them on a leash or fenced in area so they can’t sprint in front of a car. These small spaniels favor children, despite kids’ not-so-gentle approach. As with most intelligent dogs, Cavs can learn up to 100 words.

This breed is the perfect combo of entertaining, cuddly and loyal, with a beguiling mischievous streak. They will crack you up. Expect sneaky antics accompanied by a beady-eyed cartoon villain expression. When they are doing something they know you won’t like, then turn their head dramatically as if to say, “No, no, nothing to see here.”

Socialization & Training Needs

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel has a hearty love for eating. They will do almost anything for a kibble  which makes them easy to train. They tend to follow their master as if still a humble servant to a King or Queen. Owners of any canine will find training much easier if they act as the “alpha” dog, otherwise the pet may feel he/she has to take over that role which can lead to confusion and behavioral problems.

Crate Training is Best

Signs of a dog’s anxiety are excessive drooling, gnawing on paws, continual barking and/or chewing or otherwise destroying things in the home. Every dog I’ve trained seek out their crate. Think of it as their private resting place. Choose a soft fabric and a safe toy. Be careful to never put any rawhide or anything that they can choke on.

Heart of Chelsea Animal Hospital vet, Dr. Marc Siebert, said, “I strongly suggest crate training. Dogs don’t relieve themselves right where they sleep. Start with leaving the puppy in the crate for short periods of time then quickly whisk him outside to do his business.”

Stefanos Tsartsalis, General Manager at Pet Central said, “Their crate is a safe haven. It replicates a den like their wolf ancestors would’ve sought out. When you’re home it’s best to leave the crate door open and don’t use a crate for punishment.”

Health Concerns for the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Cav’s have “pop eyes,” that can dry out. I recommend Tomlyn’s sterile eye wash Opticlear. To avoid ear infections use non-irritating Epi-Otic ear cleanser. Do not overfeed a Cavalier. This breed tends to act like they’re starving. They inhale food and gain weight easily. They’re also prone to mitral valve disease, which is a genetic heart problem. Life Expectancy: 9–14 years. My beautiful Buddy James loved his full life. He died in his sleep at age 14. He got mitral valve disease

-Owner’s Guide by Dorri Olds