Learn About the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Dog Breed

Learn About the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Dog Breed

King Charles Cavalier Spaniel – Dog Facts and Dog Breed Information


As the name suggests, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel was a favorite breed in England, named after King Charles II. The original Toy King Charles Spaniel accompanied royalty and the aristocracy in England wherever they went, including Parliament. The breed was officially recognized in the United States by the American Kennel Club in 1995. Ranked 140 of the AKC breeds, the fluffy, expressive Spaniel is popular as a playful companion for all ages. Masterpieces painted in the 14th, 15th and 16th Centuries include this precious family member. The size of today’s King Charles Spaniel, called the “Cavalier” is a bit larger than the original English Toy Spaniel from the 1600’s.


The Cavalier King Charles stands 12 to 13 inches tall at the shoulder and weighs between 13 and 18 lbs. He has a sturdy build for a small dog, but his silky hair adds a soft, cuddly look to his appearance. The term “Toy” does not accurately fit the King Charles Spaniel breed; therefore heed warnings to be careful when purchasing a “toy” version of this breed.


Coat and Color

The silky coat is medium length and sometimes wavy. The Cavalier sheds moderately and regular brushing will reduce the amount of shedding, while keeping the coat silky. Cavalier colors include brown or black markings on a pearly white coat, black on white with brown markings on the face, throat and tale, ruby or reddish brown with no other markings. His hair covers his feet, so you will hear the gentle padding of footsteps as he follows you from room to room.

Character and Temperament

The personality of the charming Cavalier King Charles breed makes him an ideal pet for people who live alone, couples or families with children. The King Charles was originally bred as a companion dog, but because he is a Spaniel, he still has the instinct to chase birds, squirrels and rabbits. Loyalty to his master and family group will keep him near you at all times. He should not be left alone for long periods, since he is social by nature. He may bark to let you know of incoming visitors, but he will wag his tail until they pet him, thus making him an ineffective “guard” dog. His big round eyes and long expressive ears will make you want to pet him when he plops into your lap and gives you that “love me” look!

Life Span

The life expectancy of the little Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is 9 to 15 years. Health issues can include heart murmur, improper growth of the skull, kneecap displacement or muscle spasms. Most symptoms appear before the pup is six months old, so the search for a pup that has been cleared for hereditary diseases is important for this breed.

Additional Information

To keep your Cavalier healthy and active, adhere to veterinary recommendations for amount of food and frequency of feeding. Wet or raw food may get on his ears while he eats, but it is okay to gently tie  them back with a soft “scrunchy} while he eats. An elevated food and water dish with narrow openings will help him keep his ears out of his food as well as make it more comfortable for him to stand, rather than bend while he eats.

Regular grooming, brushing, nail trimming and bathing will keep your Cavalier looking spiffy. Do not leave your Cavalier alone in the yard or let him run off-leash in open spaces. Since he is likely to be distracted by small yard creatures, you risk having him run into traffic.

Even though the Cavalier is considered sturdy for a small dog, let children know that he is NOT one to play rough. His knees and joints are designed for sitting in laps, posing on a doggie pillow and following his master everywhere.


The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is specially bred to meet the standards that were admired in the early ancestors. The cost of a purely bred Cavalier from an AKC certified breeder will start at $1,000. The most important issue for any purchase of this breed is certification that the pup’s parents have been screened and cleared of any illnesses that are indigenous to the breed. You may also adopt a Cavalier through Cavalier Rescue USA.

Your naps, reading time, TV viewing and trips will become things of joy when you are accompanied by your beautiful, friendly, loyal Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.

Cavalier King Charles Facts & Breed Stats...

Weight Range:

Male: 13-18 lbs. 
Female: 10-18 lbs.

Height at Withers:

Male: 13 in.

Female: 12 in.


Long back, floppy ears (naturally)


Exercise Requirements: <20 minutes/day
Energy Level: Average
Longevity Range: 9-14 yrs.
Tendency to Drool: Low Tendency to Snore: Low
Tendency to Bark: Low
Tendency to Dig: Low Social/Attention Needs: High

Bred For:

Flushing small birds, companion


Length: Medium
Characteristics: Flat
Colors: Red; red and white; black and tan; tricolor 
Overall Grooming Needs: High

King Charles Cavalier Club Recognition:

AKC Classification: Toy
UKC Classification: Companion Dog 
Prevalence: Common

The Doggie Diva Dog Boutique  would like to acknowledge the following sources:

American Kennel Club and Dog Time Weekly Newsletter
Photo: American Kennel Club (akc.org) Cavalier Page Photos

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.