Red and White (Blenheim), black and tan (King Charles) tricolor (Prince Charles) and solid, dark red (Ruby).
12-13 inches (30-33 cm)
10-18 pounds (5-8 kg)
12-13 inches (30-33 cm)
10-18 pounds (5-8 kg)
The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel does very well in small spaces such as apartments but is also ideal in larger settings. They will self-exercise if indoors and must be kept in a fenced yard or on a leash when outside.
The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is an endearing toy dog that has boundless energy and love. They are an excellent family dog and will do well with older, considerate children that are aware of the small size of this breed, especially as a puppy. The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is both athletic and active for its size but can also be a quiet companion dog.
The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel looks very similar to the larger King Charles Spaniel used as a gun dog and hunting breed. They have a distinctively beautiful feathered coat as well as a soulful expression in their eyes that often makes them appear almost human in expression. The head is almost flat between the high set, long, pendulous ears and the eyes are dark, well set to the sides of the muzzle and very large and round. They eyes should appear lustrous and moist, almost soft in definition. The stop is very slight and the muzzle should be approximately 1-1 1/2nches from the bottom of the stop to the tip of the black nose. The nostrils should be open and well developed in shape. The muzzle itself should be tapered and firm with the lips fitting tightly over the teeth.
The neck should be slightly arched or crested at the back, muscular and of proportionate length. The chest is deep and strong as is the ribcage and the body. The back is straight and flat giving a level topline. The legs should be moderately muscled and well developed and parallel to each other, giving a sturdy stance and balance to the dog. The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel should have no obvious turning in or out of the elbows on the front legs or the feet on either the front or rear legs.
Docking the tail of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is optional however most owners leave the tail natural. It is carried horizontal with the body and the ground and will always be moving in a circular motion when the dog is active and moving about.
There will be longer, noticeable feathering on the ears, legs and tail as well as on the feet. The hair on the chest and ruff will be slightly longer than the rest of the body and may be wavy but not curly. The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel comes in several different colors including red and white, ruby, black and tan and tricolor.
The coat is moderately long, silky and very well feathered on the legs, chest, ears and tail. The feet will also have feathering and this is a standard of the breed. The coat may be wavy but not curly and should not be very dense or wooly in texture. The only areas of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel's body that can be trimmed for show purposes are the feet. All other hair must remain natural and not even slight trimming is permitted.
The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is one of the few breeds of dogs that have been re-created after becoming blended with other types of spaniels. The original Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, although they were not known by that name, were first recorded in paintings from the sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth centuries as small dogs that were often found in the houses of royalty and in court. King Charles II was considered to be the largest supporter of the breed and was usually seen with a few of his favorite small spaniels. At this time these small dogs were used to attract fleas from their owners and were also often prescribed as a way to calm nervous and even cure stress ailments.
An American dog fancier by the name of Roswell Eldridge actually offered a prize in 1926 at the Cruft's Dog Show in England for breeders to produce a toy spaniel with a long nose, typically to those seen in the Van Dyck paintings of King Charles II. He did not want the current version of the King Charles Spaniel, which had a domed head, larger body size and shorter nose.
After there first showing at Cruft's in 1928 the long nosed, small bodied Cavalier King Charles Spaniel breeders formed an association and registered the breed as separate from the larger King Charles Spaniel. Mrs. Hewitt Pitt is considered to be the first breeder of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel that favors the current breed standards. Her prefix, Ttiweh, which is actually Hewitt spelled in reverse, is still seen in many championship lines of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel breed today. The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel was accepted into the KC in 1945 and into the Miscellaneous class of the AKC in 1961, but have since achieved breed status in the toy group in 1995.
The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel has a wonderful temperament and is ideal for single people, couples or even families. They are curious and playful by nature but also enjoy just cuddling up on a favorite cushion or even better on their owners lap. The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel loves interacting with people and really needs a lot of human attention on a regular, ongoing, daily basis. This is not a dog that does well left alone for moderate to long periods of time. They require contact with people on a continuous basis to avoid falling into negative behaviors such as chewing and barking and becoming nervous. Most breeders recommend the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel to families with older children simply because they are so small as puppies they may easily be accidentally injured by younger children.
The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is an excellent companion dog for dogs in the family or even other pets such as cats. They are natural "chasers" so do need proper socialization to understand not to chase the other pets in the house. They do well with other dogs and are not a dog-aggressive breed. Early socialization with other dogs will help the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel from becoming territorial or timid around other dogs.
The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel will bark when strangers come to the door and may take a few visits before they warm up to new people. The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel bonds with family members and will often choose a favorite family member although they will get along with everyone. The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a dog that enjoys being outdoors and going on walks and outings despite its small size. They are moderately active if left inside and will play and romp through the house or apartment if they can't go outside.
The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a natural pleaser and is a very easy dog to train and teach. They respond best to positive rewards and attention and love to be the center of attention.
As a Toy Breed the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is remarkably healthy. There are some serious Health conditions that can occur in the breed as with any type of dog. Buying from a reputable breeder will help eliminate any concerns with these conditions. The following are occasionally seen the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel breed:
Syringomyelia-cysts that form in the spinal cord that produce various levels of pain and immobility. Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are particularly susceptible to this condition so carefully check the bloodlines.
Mitral Valve heart Disease-MVD is a heart condition that causes degeneration of the mitral heart valve. It is fatal in most dogs that have the condition and is typically first diagnosed as a heart murmur. All Cavalier King Charles Spaniels should have a heart exam at their yearly vaccination for early detection.
Patellar Luxation-kneecap dislocation
Cataracts-eye condition that is often cured with surgery or medications
Otitis Externa-ear infections, all breeds with folded ears have this issue
Early onset hearing loss
Typically these conditions can be identified by a vet check and health guarantee that will be provided by the breeder.
As an average shedder it is important to keep the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel well groomed on a regular basis. The dead hair, if not removed from the coat, will result in matting and tangling of the fine, silky hairs that make up the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel coat.
Grooming can be easily done in a quick five to ten minute a day or every other day session, depending on how active and how much outside time the dog has. A stiff bristle brush and a grooming comb are all that is needed. Start by brushing the coat in the direction of hair growth, which is down and slightly back along the body and down on the chest and neck. Always brush first before bathing to prevent making any knots or mats worse through the shampooing process. This breed can tolerate regular bathing either full wet bathing or dry powder treatments, but try to avoid bathing too frequently, especially in cold weather. The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel may become quickly chilled so always dry completely before letting them outside after a full bath.
It is important to carefully trim the long hair on the feet and especially between the pads. Use blunt edged grooming scissors and make sure that you have help to hold the dog or puppy, especially if they are new to the process. Gentle pressure on the top and bottom of the foot will cause the pads to spread apart, making it easy to clip and check for any possible mats or debris that may be trapped.
Always check the ears for any sign of discharge in the outer ear area and wipe with cloth and warm water. Never use a Q-Tip or other pointed object in the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel's ear. Also clean the area around the eyes with a damp cloth, use water only, and check for any signs of irritation in the eye typically noted by tearing.
The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a very adaptable breed of dog that can adjust to the level of activity within the home. They do need regular exercise just as any other breed, but they are happy to just walk around the house with the owner or go for a brisk walk or a morning jog. This adaptability towards levels of exercise is what makes this breed such a versatile dog for seniors, families, very active individuals and even people with limited mobility.
Since the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a dog that will chase it is important to keep them in a fenced yard or on a lead whenever they are out of the house. They are so small they can easily dart out onto a roadway without a driver even noticing, often with tragic results. Early lead training either with a traditional collar or with a harness is the best idea to safeguard the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel when it is outside of the house.
As with most toy dogs the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel has a lot of spirit and loves to be involved in everything that the family does. They are great travelers and quickly learn to love going in the car. This makes them easy to exercise as they can go anywhere the family goes for changes in exercise locations. As a spaniel breed the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel will retrieve small balls and chew toys and typically do this very naturally and will little specialized training. Toy breeds, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel included, should not be encouraged to jump up or down off of furniture as it can lead to kneecap displacement and joint injuries as the dog ages.
The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a very easy dog to train as it is so eager to please and to earn the owners praise and attention. Since they have been used as a companion dog throughout history they are naturally very responsive and well mannered, although like all dogs, they do need to be carefully, positively and consistently trained.
Like most toy breeds they can be challenging to housetrain since they are so tiny as puppies. Carefully monitoring the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and taking them outdoors after eating, drinking, waking or playing will greatly help this process. They are naturally clean dogs and will also respond very well to crate training as a housetraining method.
Socialization is a key consideration in the Cavalier King Charles Spaniels development. A puppy obedience class is a great way to combine both socialization as well as basic instructions. Often smaller breeds have a tendency to both jump and bark, so it is essential to control both these behaviors right from the start and teach the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel to sit for attention as well as bark once or twice and then stop. Positive reinforcement through praise and attention as well as a simple "no" and ignoring for a few minutes is usually all that is required to help the puppy understand what is acceptable and what is not.
Training the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel on a lead is also important. Many people choose to use a harness instead of a traditional collar, as it is easier on the throat area of a small breed, especially if they have a tendency to pull against the collar. An obedience class can help correct this if it is a problem.