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Cavalier King Charles spaniel

You’ve probably heard about this breed’s loving and loyal presence as a family companion. And fortunately for most owners, those stereotypes are true!

While the Cavalier King Charles spaniel’s reputation as a “perfect” pet is soaring, understanding their temperament, personality, and care requirements is essential before bringing one home.

This article will answer some common questions about the Cavalier King Charles spaniel. We’ll discuss their temperament and personality, grooming and other care needs, and common health concerns.

Read on to find out all you need to know about this unique breed!

Cavalier King Charles spaniel breed overview


The Cavalier King Charles spaniel has an ancient lineage. This breed was used by European royalty for sporting, hunting, and companionship in the 16th century. They often served as lap dogs to keep their owners warm during long journeys.

As the years passed, the Cavalier’s popularity grew, and they became a much-loved companion. Today, they remain an incredibly popular toy breed with people worldwide.


The Cavalier King Charles spaniel is a result of careful and intentional crossbreeding. The mix between an attentive toy breed with the sporting, athletic spaniel hunter enhances the Cavalier’s charm, intelligence, and loving personality.

The Cavalier was officially recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1996.


The Cavalier King Charles spaniel ranges from fairly small to medium-sized. On average, this breed weighs between 13 and 18 pounds and stands between 12 and 13 inches high.

Cavaliers have long, luxurious coats that come in four color varieties: Blenheim (red and white), tricolor (black, tan, and white), black and tan, and ruby.

They have large, dark eyes, and their ears hang down beside their cheeks.

Life expectancy

While they appear delicate due to their size, Cavaliers are surprisingly hardy and can live up to 14 years with proper care.

What’s the Cavalier King Charles spaniel temperament and personality like? 

The first question pet parents should always ask about any new furry family member is what its temperament and personality are like.

Something to keep in mind when discussing the Cavalier King Charles spaniel temperament and personality is that no two Cavaliers are the same. Studies have shown that, though a breed’s temperament is important, breed type accounts for only 9% of behavior variation in dogs.

Is the Cavalier King Charles spaniel easy to train?

The Cavalier King Charles spaniel has average intelligence, with the ability to learn and remember simple commands. Cavaliers are also eager to please, which makes them easier to train than some other breeds. They respond well to positive reinforcement and consistency.

One thing to consider, though, is that the Cavalier King Charles spaniels tend to be independent spirits which makes them stubborn at times. Typically, though, they follow their owner’s lead and enjoy learning new things.

This unique aspect of their temperament, though, is why training is crucial for the Cavalier. It helps them develop good behavior and gives them mental stimulation.

Are Cavalier King Charles spaniels affectionate?

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel personality (which includes the dog’s temperament and its environment) typically drives them to shower their pet parents with love and cuddles. They’re enthusiastic and friendly with people of all ages, making them great pets for most families.

Cavaliers have a strong desire to be around their families; as such, they love being in the company of those they care about. However, they can be shy around strangers. You can help your Cavalier become more comfortable with others by socializing them as early as possible.

It’s also important to note that Cavalier King Charles spaniels, like many breeds, can become distressed if left unaccompanied for long periods. Training your Cavalier to handle short stretches of time alone can reduce the likelihood of them experiencing separation anxiety.

Are Cavalier King Charles spaniels high maintenance?

Adding a pet to your family is a big step. Once you’ve considered whether the temperament and personality of your chosen breed are a match for your lifestyle, you might want to begin thinking about the maintenance needs of your potential new family member.

Do Cavaliers require a lot of exercise?

Cavalier King Charles spaniels are typically high-spirited. To keep them happy and healthy, you’ll need to provide yours with plenty of play and exercise time — about one hour split into two or more sessions per day.

What should I know about grooming a Cavalier King Charles spaniel?

Cavaliers have a silky, medium-long coat. But one advantage this breed has that many others don’t is a single coat. This makes grooming much more manageable.

Brushing and bathing

Cavaliers do shed moderately all year long. Regular brushing (at least every other day) will help prevent knots from forming and keep shedding at bay. Ultimately, the more often you brush your dog, the more likely its loose fur will end up in your brush (rather than on your couch or floors).

When your Cavalier needs a bath, you can bathe them at home or send them to a professional groomer. This breed’s small size means they can be comfortably bathed in a tub at home. If you want to go this route, it’s important to work with your pup early on to keep the bathing process low-stress.

If home bathing isn’t for you, take your Cavalier to a groomer every four to six weeks to keep their coat healthy.

Nails, ears, and teeth

As with any pet, you’ll want to trim your Cavalier King Charles spaniel’s nails and brush their teeth regularly. Their nails should be trimmed every few weeks — you’ll know it’s time when you hear their nails clicking on your floors. Nail trims can be done at home or when you take your pet to see a groomer.

It’s best to also check your Cavalier’s ears daily to make sure they’re free of dirt and wax buildup. These things can lead to ear infections, so it’s best to take care of them regularly.

If your Cavalier won’t let you near their mouth, the AKC recommends visiting a vet for a dental check at least once every year — and there are quite a few stress-free options to help keep those pearly whites clean between visits.

What are some common health conditions in Cavaliers? 

Cavalier King Charles spaniels are prone to more health issues than other breeds. Many of these issues aren’t present at birth but develop later in the dog’s life. Here are some of the common concerns to watch for with your Cav:

Are Cavaliers good with other pets and children? 

The Cavalier King Charles spaniel personality makes them great companions to other pets and children. Not only are Cavaliers affectionate and gentle, but they’re also incredibly playful. As with all pets, early socialization and training will be the key to a harmonious household with this breed.

Teaching your children how to interact with your Cavalier is also important. This will help keep playtime safe for everyone.

Is the Cavalier King Charles spaniel right for you?

Bringing any pet home, including this affectionate, devoted breed, is a big decision. This breed’s willingness to please and overall friendliness and devotion makes them a great companion for most people, but you’ll need to consider whether you can give your pup a good life, too.

Do you have the right space and time to meet their grooming and exercise requirements? And do you have the financial means to care for your Cavalier if health issues arise? (We highly recommend looking into pet insurance to help with these potential costs!)

If you feel that a Cavalier King Charles spaniel isn’t quite right for you, an alternative small breed that you might want to consider is the shih tzu. Or, if you’d prefer a larger breed, maybe an American pit bull terrier would be a good fit.

If you’re ready to learn even more about how to care for your furry family member(s), head over to and discover more resources from our vet and pet experts!