The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Complete Guide

A dog is a perfect way to bring some energy into your home. Because they’re so loving and friendly towards your family, many people are choosing to adopt the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.

cavalier king charles spaniel
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

But, before you sign the forms and get your new dog, there are a few things that you should know to make sure you and a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel are a perfect match.

Whether you’re deciding if a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is right for you, or are seeking to learn more about the dog that you have, this is the place for you. We’ll go through everything you’ll need to know about this breed of dog and how to take care of them and ensure their overall well-being. 

Related Reading: A Complete Guide to the Lurcher Breed

Physical Features Of The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

There are a few physical features that help separate the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel from other dog species. First, they have big floppy ears. This gives them an adorable look, especially when they shake their head after having a bath. 

Another interesting feature is their padded paws. This will allow them to trot around the house without making too much noise. 

They are also well known for their cute facial expression, with their eyes set apart, framed by their long ears. Because of their features, they’ll be able to come up with many types of facial expressions.

For example, they might slide their ears forward when listening on alert. They also feature a slightly rounded skull and a slightly tapered muzzle. Based on this face, it’s easy to fall in love with this type of dog. 

Let’s start by looking at some of the physical characteristics that are commonly associated with the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.  They tend to be small dogs, known for their long floppy ears and soft fur.


First, let’s talk about their size. They are classed as small dogs.  Typically, you can expect them to stand at around 12 to 13 inches tall (30 to 33 centimeters) when measured at the shoulder. 

It should be noted that they don’t come in a miniature variety. So, if you see someone advertising any smaller dogs, you should avoid them, as they most likely aren’t a reputable breeder. We’ll discuss where you can get a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel in just a bit. 

cavalier king charles spaniel dog standing in a big mossy rock


A healthy weight for a fully-grown Cavalier King Charles Spaniel will be around 13 to 18 pounds for a male and 10 to 18 pounds for a female. However, because of their lovable faces, they tend to end up getting a little more food than they should (but try to keep this to a minimum). 

Coat Length And Color

One of the biggest reasons why people fall in love with these dogs is because of their coats. They have soft medium-long fur. This makes them perfect to pet and cuddle with. 

There are many different colour combinations that you might be able to find. However, the most common colour combinations are; Blenheim, Tricolor, Black and Tan, and Ruby. In some cases, you might get a dog that’s a combination of all three! 

To make sure that you keep their fur in good condition, you’ll need to make sure that you’re grooming them regularly. This should be fairly simple, combing their fur, to get rid of any hair that they might have shed.

The most common times for them to start shedding are in the spring and fall when the temperature is starting to cool down or warm-up. 

When brushing them, you want to give some extra attention to the backs of their ears and legs. These areas are prone to get tangled up, so you might need to comb these areas a little more frequently. 

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel running in grass

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Life Span

How long the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel lives will often depend on a range of factors. For example, you’ll need to take into account how much exercise they have and whether they develop any physical ailments.

However, in most cases, you can expect your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel to live for between 9 to 13 years. 

Caring ForYour Cavalier

Like all dogs, it’s important to make sure that you’re taking care of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel properly. This will ensure that they’re able to live a long and healthy life.

Thankfully, this dog species doesn’t have any strenuous requirements that you’ll need to follow when taking care of them. This makes them suitable for all types of families. 


One of the most important things that you’ll need to do when taking care of your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is to give them enough exercise. This will ensure that they can stay fit and healthy. It will also help them regulate their weight. 

They will tend to adapt to the amount of exercise that works best for you. However, they do like to get some kind of daily activity. This can be in the form of a walk and you might be able to tire them out in less than 20 minutes.

You might also want to play some games with them in the backyard. In most cases, they’ll be quite happy in a small yard.

However, when planning their daily exercise, you want to consider the time of day that they’re using. Remember that they are a short-haired type of dog. As a result, they might overheat if you’re playing in the middle of the day. Instead, take them for a walk either in the morning or during the afternoon. 

Setting Up The House 

Before you get your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, you’ll need to make sure that you’ve set up the house properly. First, it’s important to make sure that you have a good fence.

While the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is unlikely to run away, they do enjoy chasing around animals. During these games, they might get overenthusiastic and run out of the yard. 

This can be very dangerous, as they don’t have any “street smarts” which can lead to accidents, or worse, a tragedy. Thankfully, a secure yard will be able to prevent this from occurring.

You should make sure that you use a leash or harness when taking them for a walk unless you’re at a fenced dog park.

You also need to make sure that you have a place where they can go to lie down. This will allow them to get out of the heat of the day, stopping them from overheating. You also need to make sure that you have plenty of water available for them to drink.

Though they might enjoy an outdoor area, most Cavalier King Charles Spaniels will be happy to be kept indoors. This makes them the perfect choice for those with limited space. As a result, they can be a great option for anyone living in an apartment building. 


The amount of feed that you’ll need to give to your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel will depend on their age and level of activity. However, in most cases, you’ll need to give them between half to one cup of dry dog food each day.

It’s best to split this into two meals, giving them one in the morning and one at night. If you’re unsure about the amount of food they’ll need, you might want to ask the vet during your next appointment. 

Like all dogs, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel loves food. So, you shouldn’t leave down a big bowl of food, as they’ll overindulge. You should also be careful about the number of treats that you give them.

This breed knows how to use its charm to convince you to give more treats than they need. As a result, they tend to end up becoming overweight. 

Another good tip is to make sure that you feed them with a narrow bowl. This will prevent their ears from dropping into the bowl and getting covered with food.

For more food ideas check out this post: Best Dry Dog Food for Cavalier King Charles Spaniel 


It’s also important to make sure that you’re grooming your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. There are a few things that you should be doing.

First, as we mentioned earlier, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel tends to shed. As a result, you’ll need to make sure that you’re brushing their fur frequently, especially during the spring and fall months.

You’ll also need to practice proper dog dental health. You’ll need to clean their teeth two to three times a week. This will prevent any bacteria from building up. It will also stop bad breath.

You might also want to use a dog dental chew toy. These toys serve a dual purpose, giving them something they’re allowed to chew on while teething. 

You might also need to take care of your dog’s nails. If you’re living a more active lifestyle, giving them plenty of walks, they might wear down by themselves.

However, you might also need to trim them yourself. This will need to be done when you can hear them clattering on the floor. 

To keep your dog’s fur looking clean and healthy, you might want to bathe them occasionally. How often you’ll need to bathe them will depend on their daily routine. For example, if they are frequently going on walks and getting dirty, they might need a bath twice or three times a week.

If they’re mostly in the apartment, however, you might only need to bathe them once a fortnight. As a general rule, once they start stinking, it’s time for a bath. 

Finally, you might want to use the grooming process to check for potential injuries or signs of illness. For example, any unusual spots or markings on the skin. Signs of inflammation or tenderness tend to be warning signs. If you spot this, you should take them to the vet to get them to investigate further. 

To make grooming a little easier and a little more comfortable for your King Charles, you may want some doggie specific grooming items. Getting a dog-specific shampoo is a great start, and there are also dog dryers to make drying after a bath a breeze. If you’re looking to give your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel a unique style, you can get some dog clippers as well!

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel standing in water

Personality Of The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

While many people are initially attracted to the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel because of their cute appearances, it’s their personality that ends up clinching the deal.

This species has a deep connection with their parents, always wanting to be around them. To them, nothing is better than curling up and sleeping in your lap. 

They also tend to be very relaxed and will be able to adjust to your way of life. As a result, this is the perfect pet for all manner of people. For example, they tend to be ideal for families with young kids and those wanting a smaller dog for their apartment.

They also make a great choice for older people. They are also perfect for anyone who works from home, as they always want to be with you. 

Children And Other Dogs

Another reason why the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is so popular is that they tend to get along great with children and other pets.  This species is well-known for its love of spending time with humans. This also extends to our loved ones and the people that we hold dear. 

In most cases, a child will make an excellent playmate. These dogs will love to play a game and relish the opportunity to chase after the ball. However, they love curling up in your lap just as much, making them the perfect companions when doing homework. 

You might want to supervise young kids as they play with the dog. While they mean well, they might end up patting too hard or falling onto the dog. This can accidentally hurt the dog.  

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel plays well with other dogs, as they love to engage in chasing games. This can be a great way for them to burn off a little more energy during the day.

They might be able to get along well with a cat if you introduce them from an early age. It also helps to have a cat that will be willing to stand up for itself and who won’t be afraid to set strong boundaries. 

The only potential issue that you might encounter is if you own birds. If you keep them in a cage, you shouldn’t have any major problems. However, these dogs have a strong hunting instinct. So, if they get out of the cage, the dogs might end up chasing them around the house.

Meeting New People

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is renowned for being friendly, loving to meet new people. These dogs don’t take long to warm up to a new person. This makes them the perfect choice for anyone who frequently has visitors to their house. 

While your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel will love to greet people, that excitement can sometimes make them bark more frequently. Though they might make a fuss when someone is at the door, they won’t make good guard dogs. They are too kind and welcoming to be a deterrent to any criminal. 

Level Of Aggression

When you’re getting a new dog, it’s important to consider whether or not it will be aggressive. Thankfully, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is known for their calm personality. They aren’t likely to be aggressive or get into a fight. So, while they might bark occasionally, they don’t have any bite.  

Drooling And Licking

Like many other dogs, this species can sometimes drool. However, when compared to other types of dogs, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel doesn’t drool as much. But they do have a propensity to share their love for you by licking you. 

Typical Behaviors

The way that each dog acts will depend on its unique personality. However, there are a few behaviors that this species typically loves. First, as we’ve mentioned before, they are a lap dog.

They love to curl up in your lap while you’re watching television or reading a book. They are perfect companion animals. In most cases, they can be found close to their owners and parents, following you throughout the house. 

They also tend to be indoor dogs. While they might like to go outside occasionally to lounge in the sun or run around the yard, they prefer to stay inside the house. This will allow them to be closer to you.  

Characteristics and care for the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Cavalier Health Conditions

All pet owners want to make sure that their dogs stay healthy for as long as possible. However, this might not always be possible. Some species are more likely to develop diseases. 

Thankfully, in most cases, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a healthy species. But there are a few conditions that they will be more prone to receiving. As we’ll discuss later, one of the best ways to make sure that you get a healthy dog is by using a reputable breeder.

In most cases, you’ll be able to get a better chance of treatment if you’re able to diagnose and treat these medical conditions as early as possible. 

You’ll also want to plan regular vet check-ups for your dog. This will ensure that they’ll be kept up to date with important vaccinations. This can often be the key to reducing their susceptibility to preventable diseases.

It should also be noted that some facilities, like kennels and training schools, will need your dog to be up-to-date on their vaccinations before they will be able to attend. 

Heart Conditions

In some cases, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel will be at a higher risk of heart conditions. Sadly, in some cases, they can start to show signs of a heart murmur as early as two years old. It’s believed that this will often be linked to genetic causes. 

It should also be noted that, like most other dog species, the chances of developing a heart condition increase as they become older. As a result, you might want to get them more frequent vet treatments as they start to age. 

Hip Dysplasia

In some cases, they might start to develop hip dysplasia. This condition can often start to become apparent early in life and they might display some difficulty when walking or some pain when standing up. The reason why this disease occurs is still under investigation. But it’s believed to be linked to genetics and weight. 

The good news is that, in most cases, this won’t have a big impact on your dog’s way of life. They will still be able to get around and live a productive life. However, to treat the condition, you might need to make a few changes. In some cases, you might need to alter your diet. In rare cases, they might need to go through surgery. 


We’ve talked about this a few times, but it’s worth discussing again. The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is skilled at being able to get you to give them treats.

However, this can sometimes mean that they end up putting on a little too much weight. In many cases, obesity can contribute to other health conditions. So, while it will be difficult, you need to resist their charms. 

Training Your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Like all dogs, it’s important to make sure that you are training your dog from a young age. This will ensure that they are well-behaved. In most cases, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel will be very intelligent and will want to please you. This makes it easy for you to train them

However, there are some personalities who will be stubborn and resistant to change. When you get one of these types, you might need to spend a little more time training with them. Over time, they’ll start to learn the right behaviors. 

What Commands Should Your Dog Know? 

Because they are so intelligent, you’ll be able to train your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel to understand multiple commands. However, there are a few things that you might want to make sure that they will be able to understand. 

First, you might want to make sure that they can sit.  This will let you prevent them from getting overexcited at mealtime and jumping up at you, which is especially important if you’re an older citizen. You might also want to make sure that they know their name, and will come when called.  This can be useful if they manage to get out of your yard during the excitement of the chase. 

Finally, you want to make sure that you housebreak them, letting them know where they’ll be able to go to the toilet. Thankfully, this tends to be easy, as they are intelligent dogs. 

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Boot Camp Dog Training

When Can You Start Training? 

Your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel will be able to understand your commands from around eight weeks old. This makes it the perfect time to start getting them to understand basic commands.

However, you should make sure to start setting boundaries as soon as they come home. You might also want to consider taking them to a puppy training facility.

Training Course for Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Dog’s brains are like ours, they are soft and malleable. This means they are always capable of moulding and changing to learn new habits and behaviours.

I’m assuming there’s at least one thing you wish your puppy would do differently (ok, let’s be honest, about 10 things!).

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Where To Get A Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

As we’ve seen, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is one of the most popular dog species in the world, as they love to be your companion. So, if you’re interested in getting one, how can you make sure that you’re getting a good dog? 

In most cases, you’ll have two options that you might want to explore. You can either buy one from a breeder or pet store or adopt one. Both of these have some pros and cons. Let’s take a closer look at each one. 

Buying One From A Breeder

In some cases, you might want to get one from a breeder. This can be a great way of making sure that you’ll be able to get a high-quality pet. It will also give you certainty about their history and background. 

However, before you pay any money, you need to check the qualifications of the breeder. In this case, you want to make sure that you purchase the dog from someone who treats their dogs well. You also want to check their medical history. In most cases, the ASPCA or a similar organization will list reputable breeders in your area.


The other option is to adopt from a local pet shelter. This can be a very rewarding option. Though these dogs might have had a tough start, you’ll be able to make sure that they’re getting a better life. This also tends to be cheaper than buying from a breeder.

Like choosing the right breeder, you’ll want to make sure that you’re using a reputable adoption service. You might also want to discuss the dog’s background.

This can provide some insight into their behavior. For example, if the dog was abused in the past, it might take a little longer to feel comfortable around you. But, once they know that you’re not going to hurt them, they’ll feel safe coming out of their shell. 

cavalier king charles spaniel dog sitting, with blurred background
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel dog sitting, with blurred background

Dog Insurance for Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Just like humans, dogs make bad decisions and find themselves hurt or injured, and the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is no different (no matter how smart they may be!)

And, unfortunately, just like humans, dogs can get sick with disease or illness. Trips to the vet should be included in your cost analysis when deciding on getting a dog.

Of course, it’s always a good idea to practice preventative healthcare. We discussed the risks of obesity, so making sure your dog is eating the right amount and exercising can do wonders for their health and vet bills when compared to sedentary dogs eating low-grade food.

Making sure there isn’t unnecessary wear and tear on your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel’s joints can help improve their long term well-being as well. If there’s a lot of getting in and out of cars or up and down heights day today it can be a good idea to invest in a dog ramp or dog stairs as well.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel puppy in grass

Final Thoughts

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a very popular companion animal. Their small size makes them perfectly suited to curling up on your lap and watching TV with you.

They also can adjust to your way of life and the amount of exercise you want to give them. As a result, they are the perfect choice for many types of families, like people who work from home or older people who are looking for a friend to keep them company.

stuart and his dog

Family Dog Expert Author

Hi there! I’m Stuart, a devoted dog lover and family dog expert with over a decade of experience working with our furry companions. My passion for dogs drives me to share my knowledge and expertise, helping families build strong, loving bonds with their four-legged friends. When I’m not writing for SirDoggie, you’ll find me hiking, playing with my beautiful dog, or studying music.