Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Puppies
Information, History, Personality and More

Who can resist Cavalier King Charles Spaniel puppies? With their sweet expression and large eyes, these bundles of joy are cute as a button and sure to melt many hearts.

Although born to be social companions suitable for city or country life, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel puppies ultimately remain spaniels at heart.

Also referred to as Cav, Cavalier, Cavie and Ruby Spaniel, this breed has also earned the nick name of "sporting toy breed" due to the lovely combination of spaniel and toy traits.

Whether you are thinking about buying a puppy or adopting an adult dog and want to know if this is the right breed for you or just want to learn more about this breed, I hope this article will help you find the answers to your questions.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Information and History

While this breed is relatively new, there is belief it may have resulted from the practice of breeding small spaniels to Oriental toy breeds such as the Japanese Chin and, possibly, the Tibetan Spaniel.

Popular among the nobles in England in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries, this Tudor lapdog was also known as a "comforter spaniel" because of its use as lap and foot warmer for many aristocratic ladies. It is not unusual to see many of these dogs immortalized along with their aristocratic families in the paintings of Flemish baroque artists.

In the 1700s, Charles II was so enamored with his spaniels that he was frequently accused of ignoring important state matters in favor of his pooches. The king gave this breed its name as he always seemed to have a few of these fellows around him.

After Charles II's death, the popularity of this breed decreased but in the early 18th century, John Churchill, the 1st Duke of Marlborough, bred several red and white specimens of King Charles-type spaniels for the purpose of hunting woodcocks in his estate named "Blenheim". Because of this, the red and white variety is still known as the Blenheim spaniel.

But by the turn of the 20th century, many spaniel enthusiasts favored a toy spaniel interbred with Pugs and other short-faced breeds to change breed's appearance and decrease its size. This interbreeding gave life to distinct specimens with new features such as a shorter nose and a dome-shaped head. The new breed became known as the King Charles Spaniel or, in the United States, the English Toy Spaniel.

So, by the early 1900s, the few remaining specimens that resembled the early members of this breed, as portrayed in older paintings, were considered inferior.

In the 1920's, Roswell Elridge went on a tedious search for point-nosed spaniels that were a faithful representation of those specimens seen in paintings. He also offered outlandish prize money for the best male and female specimens resembling the old-type spaniels. The award was granted to "Ann's Son" owned by Mostyn Walker. The breed was revived and the first breed club was formed in 1928 using Ann's Son as an example of the standard.

The breed was officially named the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel so to differentiate it from the flat-faced and dome-headed English Toy Spaniel. While these two breeds are often confused, should you place Cavalier King Charles Spaniel pictures and English Toy Spaniel pictures side-by-side, you will see many differences among these two breeds.

Some famous owners of this breed include King Charles I; King Charles II; James II, brother of Charles II; John Churchill, the 1st Duke of Marlborough and Queen Victoria.

The first cavaliers were brought to the United States in the early 1950s but it wasn't until 1995 that the American Kennel Club recognized the breed and categorized it under the toy group.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Physical Characteristics of Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Puppies

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel presents overall as a small, well-balanced dog with sweet and gentle expression.

The body is short and boasts good proportions. Its slightly longer than the height at the withers and has a squarish appearance. The chest is deep and boasts well-sprung ribs. The neck is fairly long and forms an elegant arch. The topline is level regardless if the dog is standing or moving. The tail is in constant motion when the dog is in action and is set not much above the back. The tail of Cavalier King Charles Spaniel puppies, unlike the English Toy Spaniel, is often left natural although docking is an option.

Cute Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Puppy

The elbows are kept closely to the sides. The front legs are straight and carried well under. The pasterns are strong. The hind legs are parallel from hock to heel. The feet are compact and boast well-cushioned pads.

The skull is slightly rounded and almost flat between the ears. The eyes are large, round-shaped and dark brown. The ears are set high. The nose is black, and unlike the English Toy, is pointed and has well-developed nostrils. The teeth must meet in a scissor bite. The presence of an undershot bite, typically found in the English Toy Spaniel, is actually faulted in this breed.

The breed is adorned with a moderate length single coat boasting a silky texture. Feathering is present on the ears, chest, legs, tail and feet. Curls are not accepted, but a slight wave is permitted. Trimming and clipping of the coat, excluding the hair between the pads and the underside of the feet, is severely penalized. Accepted coat colors include black and tan, Blenheim, tricolor and ruby.

    Height Weight
  Male 12 to 13 inches 13 to 18 pounds
  Female 12 to 13 inches 13 to 18 pounds


The breed standard describes Cavalier King Charles dogs as gay, friendly dogs that make excellent companions. Any hint of bad temper, shyness or aggression is not tolerated and is severely penalized in the show ring.

These gregarious dogs are very people-oriented and are eager to befriend just about anyone who crosses their path. However, they do need loads of early socialization so to build a confident and outgoing personality.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Staring at Camera

Most Cavalier King Charles Spaniel puppies and dogs get along well with other dogs and cats even though they may occasionally engage them in a game of chase.

With children, Cavaliers make excellent playmates, especially if the kids are eager to throw them a ball or teach them tricks. However, as with any dog, children and dog interactions should always be supervised.

Due to their sociable nature, cavaliers do well with strangers and generally make poor watchdogs. Don't rely on this breed to guard your home; he may actually even invite the occasional burglar over for an evening together! However, this does not hold true of all specimens; indeed, some may alert you about every single happening in your neighborhood.

Although some cavaliers have a bit of an independent streak, they are eager to please and enjoy being trained, especially if you motivate them with lots of praise and treats. As with other toy breeds, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel puppies can be difficult to house train. A consistent schedule along with plenty of trips outdoors will help them in the process.

Best Owner and Living Conditions

This breed does best with an owner that has time to love and cherish it. Leave this breed alone for too long and you may end up with a lonely and stressed fellow. This may lead to destructive behaviors and separation anxiety. The elderly should do well with breed as long as they can walk and socialize this dog.

The size and generally quiet nature of Cavalier King Charles Spaniel puppies and dogs makes them good apartment or condo dwellers. They are moderately active indoors, and a small yard is adequate for their exercise needs. A fence is a must with this breed.

Activity and Exercise

As with other breeds, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel puppies come in a variety of personalities and different energy levels. With this breed, you can get the best of both worlds: some may be calm, while others may be rowdy and rambunctious. A reputable breeder should be able to match you up with Cavalier King Charles Spaniel puppies of the right energy level.

Generally, this breed is moderately active indoors. A daily walk and a romp in a fenced yard or a dog park may be enough to meet his exercise needs. Just make sure to avoid the peak dog days of summer as this breed does not fare well in hot weather.


If you are looking for a breed with a coat that looks nice but is easy to maintain, you can count your blessings with this breed. However, being a heavy shedder, this breed needs to be brushed often, at a minimum, 3 to 4 times a week. Also, because it's prone to dangling, keep a close eye on the feathered hair on the legs.

Otherwise, grooming this breed is an "almost" effortless task.

Per breed standard, there is no need to trim or clip the hair, and you are only allowed to trim the hair between the pads on the feet for the sake of neatness. Bathe or dry shampoo when necessary and after giving a bath, make sure to dry the coat thoroughly. Also check the eyes for any signs of infection.

Health Concerns

When it comes to Cavalier King Charles Spaniel health, cavaliers are generally healthy. But just as other breeds, they can be prone to some hereditary and non-hereditary conditions.

Purchasing Cavalier King Charles Spaniel puppies from reputable breeders who health test their breeding stock will help reduce the chances for these conditions. Look for Cavalier King Charles Spaniel breeders who screen for hip dysplasia, eye disorders, patellar luxation and mitral valve disease.

Visit dog health problems to learn more about dog diseases and health care.

Even healthy dogs get sick. While many health problems will require an immediate attention from your Vet, there are many others that you may handle on your own. Learn how to save time and money (and how to prevent small problems from becoming big problems) by diagnosing and treating dog health problems that don't require your Vet's attention.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel on Grass

Life Expectancy

The average life expectancy for healthy Cavalier King Charles Spaniel puppies is between 10 and 14 years.

Final Thoughts...

If you are planning on opening your heart and home to this pooch, your days will certainly be filled with loads of affection from this sweet-natured companion. If you want a dog that is small, playful and attractive, boasting expressive eyes and a lovely coat in striking colors, then Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Puppies may be the right choice for you!

Did you ever consider adopting your next pet?

If this is the breed you are interested in, and adoption appeals to you, consider contacting your local Cavalier King Charles Spaniel rescue. There are thousands of pets waiting for a loving home and, yes, it's possible to adopt a purebred dog.

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