Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Information


Often affectionately nicknamed the “Cavie,” the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a smaller breed of spaniel that is prized for its sweet, gentle nature. Although the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is one of the most prevalent breeds in the United Kingdom, popularity in the United States has grown in popularity since 2000 to become the 20th most registered breed according to the American Kennel Club. If you are considering opening your home to a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, the following is a full breed description to determine whether this energetic toy breed is the perfect pet match.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Basic Info
NameCavalier King Charles Spaniel
Other NameCav, Cavalier, Cavie
OriginUnited Kingdom
Size Type Small Dog Breeds
Breed Group Toy Dog Breeds
Life Span 9 -14 years
TemperamentSociable, Patient, Fearless, Adaptable, Playful, Affectionate
HeightMale: 12–13 inches; Female: 12–13 inches
WeightMale: 13–18 lb; Female: 13–18 lb
ColorsBlack & Tan, Blenheim, Ruby, Tri-color
Puppy Price Average $1000 - $1500 USD

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Physical description

Body Type

As a well-proportioned small dog, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel has a slightly rounded head that is adorned with a full muzzle that tapers gently with a minor stop. The dark brown-colored eyes are round shaped and set well apart on the head with dark rims. While the nose is black and the teeth come together to form a scissors bite, the long ears are abundant with feathering and hang down beside the cheeks. In some cases the tail may be docked to one-third inch, but most are left natural with their heavy feathering carried low on the hindquarters. Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are typically between 12 to 13 inches at the shoulder height with a weight from 10 to 18 pounds.


According to the breed standard, there are four color combinations that are considered acceptable for the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, which are tri-color, rich mahogany red, black with tan, and red with white. In the dogs that exhibit the Hlenheim coloring of red and white, there usually is also a chestnut-red spot distinguished on the top of the head in the direct center of the ears.


Cavalier King Charles Spaniels possess a medium-length coat that is often described as silky, smooth, soft, and abundant. Along with the luxurious coat, the dogs also have abundant feathering on the ears, legs, chest, and tail.

Good with Kids
Cat Friendly
Dog Friendly
Hypoallergenic  No


Since the feathering covering the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is various areas is strongly prone to tangling and matting, the breed is relatively high-maintenance when it comes to grooming needs. It is recommended that the breed is combed or brushed with a firm bristle brush on a daily basis or every other day to keep the coat in good condition. It is essential that owners pay particular attention to brushing the ears and cleaning the inside of the floppy ears regularly to avoid infection. Furthermore, the hair between the paw pads must also be kept trimmed with clippers. While the dogs only need to be bathed or dry shampooed as necessary, owners need to ensure that the dogs are thoroughly dry and kept warm after the bath.


Named in honor of King Charles II of Britain, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is descended from the King Charles Spaniel or English Toy Spaniel. In the late 1600s, the King Charles Spaniels in England were bred with Pugs to create a smaller dog breed, which gave the dogs flatter noses, more rounded heads, prominent eyes, and slightly upturned faces. Recorded in paintings and tapestries with their noble British families, the Cavaliers became works of art that were prized as a luxury item. Though the breed was once successfully used for retrieving small game with hunters, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel has always had the purpose of being a loving companion.

After the first Cavalier club and breed standard were established, World War II caused a gigantic setback for the breed with the vast majority of breeding stock destroyed in the hardships. With just six dogs remaining as the starting block from which all Cavalier King Charles Spaniels descended after the war, the numbers began to steadily increase. In 1956, the first dog in the breed was brought to the United States and enthusiasts instantly fell in love. However, it was not until 1995 that the American Kennel Club officially recognized the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel as a separate breed from its forebears within the Toy Group.


Often a pleasant companion dog that loves people, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is eager, affectionate, energetic, playful, happy, outgoing, athletic, and willing to please. Naturally well-behaved, the dogs usually are intelligent enough to understand what their owners want and are relatively easily to train with gentle obedience training. As a friendly dog that is seemingly always wagging its tail, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel normally gets along well with small children, other dogs, and non-canine pets in the household. Due to their slight hunting background, the breed has impressive eyesight and sense of small that can gives them a natural instinct to chase. Therefore, it is strongly recommended that owners take the dog for a daily walk to fulfill these primal instincts and allow for a good romp in a safe, open area with ample playtime.

Interesting Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Facts

  • Often referred to as the “Ultimate Lap Dog” and the “Comforter Spaniel,” the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel was often used to warm their owners and help keep the fleas off of them.


  • Generally very healthy with an average lifespan of between 10 to 12 years, the breed is highly prone to the inherited disease known as mitral valve disease, which leads to heart failure and is the most common cause of death in the breed.
  • Despite the fact that the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is one of the largest breeds included within the Toy Group, the dogs are quite small for a spaniel with fully grown adults being comparable in size to adolescents of other larger common spaniel breeds.