Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Dog Breed

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Dog Breed at a Glance


The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel dog breed is a gentle, graceful, and affectionate companion that is also known as Cav, Cavalier, and Cavie. This elegant toy breed is suitable for apartment living but thrives in a home with a yard. It is not too difficult to train, and makes a great watchdog, alerting owners of strangers or intruders, but will not be able to protect its family should a situation escalate. The Cav is good for new owners without previous dog ownership experience and with kids, and also makes an excellent therapy dog. It is ranked as the 18th most popular dog breed in the United States, according to the American Kennel Club.

Breed Group: Toy Group

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel puppies
Ruby Colored

HISTORY of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Dog Breed

The popular breed during the reign of King Charles II of Britain, the Cavalier lost its appeal after the his reign. Bred as a lapdog for aristocrats and princes, it only experienced more interest in the 1920’s and then a surge in popularity again from 2000 on.

Origin: United Kingdom


Eager to interact with everyone, including kids and the elderly, it’s also a good dog with other animals. It was not bred to protect, but will likely alert owners of a stranger at the door. This people dog needs company, either yours or that of another pet, including cats. It enjoys cuddling and thrives as a part of a family and is very sensitive. The breed has a high hunting drive and will wander and chase virtually everything that moves, so keep it on a leash at all times when out and about.

According to biting statistics, the Cavie has been linked to 1 adult human attack resulting in maiming. No deaths have been attributed to this dog breed. As such, it is ranked among the bottom 30% of dog attacks and it is highly unlikely that this breed would cause death.

Physical Characteristics of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

This small sporting spaniel breed has a medium-long silky coat that may be slightly wavy. Its feet are covered with long tufts of hair, its ears are pendulous, long, and feathery. It has a long body, its tail, legs, and chest are also feathery. It has an elegant and free gait demonstrating its regal history.

The common colors of the Cavie include blenheim, black and tan, tricolor, and ruby.

The Cavalier weighs between 13 and 18 pounds and stands between 12 and 13 inches tall, regardless of gender.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Dog Breed

Shedding throughout the year is to be expected with the Cav, in addition to seasonal shedding. Regular brushing helps, but prepare to vacuum. It is not a hypoallergenic dog breed, and it typically does not drool.

HEALTH and CARE of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Dog Breed

Life Expectancy

The life expectancy of the Cavalier is between 9 and 14 years. Most deaths of this dog breed are attributed to mitral valve disease which leads to heart failure.

Common Health Concerns

Each dog breed is susceptible to certain health issues. The Cavalier may be at a risk of developing the following:

  • Mitral Valve Disease
  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Hernias
  • Ichthyosis


This dog breed is able to handle cold temperatures, but does not fare well in high heat temperatures. It requires a long walk every day due to its potential to gain weight.

Dog Breeds


Feed your dog a high-quality dog food, which will ensure health and longevity. With the average weight of the Cavalier being 16 pounds, feed your small dog between 1/2 and 1 cup of kibble each day.


Trimming is not necessary, nor is it acceptable in shows. However, regular brushing with a soft slicker brush and a comb reduces shedding and keeps its coat in good shape and tangle-free. Additionally, the occasional bath is required to keep it clean. Check ears regularly for debris or wax buildup to avoid an infection from developing.

The AKC officially recognized the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel dog breed in 1995.



American Kennel Club