Canine Breed Menu



Breed Organization
American Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Club
Native Country
Great Britain
Other Names
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Blenheim Spaniel, Cav, Ruby Spaniel, Cavie
Life Expectancy
Approximately 9-14 Years
Litter Size
Average 2-6 Puppies
Breed Group
Breed Appearance
The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is one of the largest toy breeds. Nonetheless, it is small for a spaniel, with fully grown adults comparable in size to adolescents of other larger spaniel breeds. Breed standards state that height of a Cavalier should be between 12 to 13 inches with a proportionate weight between 10 to 18 pounds. The tail is usually not docked, and the Cavalier should have a silky coat of moderate length. Standards state that it should be free from curl, although a slight wave is allowed. Feathering can grow on their ears, feet, legs and tail in adulthood. Standards require this be kept long, with the feathering on the feet a particularly important aspect of the breed's features.

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and the English Toy Spaniel can be often confused with each other. In the United Kingdom, the English Toy Spaniel is called the King Charles Spaniel while in the United States, one of the colors of the Toy Spaniel is known as King Charles. The two breeds share similar history and only diverged from each other about 100 years ago. There are several major differences between the two breeds, with the primary difference being the size. While the Cavalier weighs on average between 10 to 18 pounds, the King Charles is smaller at 9 to 12 pounds. In addition their facial features while similar, are different; the Cavalier's ears are set higher and its skull is flat while the King Charles's is domed. Finally the muzzle length of the Cavalier tends to be longer than that of its King Charles cousin.

Breed Description
Head: Round. Skull nearly flat. Stop not very pronounced. Cone-shaped muzzle. Strong jaws. Lips not pendulous. Well-developed, black nose.
Ears: Set on high, long. Abundant feathering.
Eyes: Large, round, not protruding, dark.
Body: Long. Neck moderately long, slightly arched. Medium-sized chest. Well-sprung ribs.
Tail: Carried gaily but never much above the topline. Natural or docked by more than one-third.
Hair: Long, silky, not curly. Slightly wavy. Abundant feathering.
Coat: Black and tan (King Charles): raven-black with tan markings above the eyes, on the cheeks, insides of the ears, chest, legs, and underside of the tail. White markings not allowed. - Ruby (the rarest variety): solid, rich red. White markings not allowed. - Blenheim: rich chestnut markings well-distributed over a pearly white ground. Markings should be divided evenly on the head, with a characteristic kissing spot between the ears. - Tricolor (Prince Charles): well-spaced and well-distributed black and white markings with tan markings above the eyes and on the cheeks, insides of the ears, inner legs, and underside of the tail.
Size: 25 to 34 cm.
Weight: 5 to 9 kg.

This dog's history is both recent and ancient, since the breed existed by the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. In 1926, an American dog fancier noticed that today’s King Charles differs from the spaniel depicted in tapestries of yore. British breeders then re-created the ancient toy spaniel that was once a favorite of British kings and princes. Crosses with the King Charles Spaniel, the Pekingese, and the Pug established the first strains of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, officially recognized as a breed in 1945. The Cavalier King Charles is stockier and has a longer muzzle than the King Charles Spaniel. The Cavalier King Charles, which has eclipsed the King Charles, is becoming increasingly popular.

Tough, lively, athletic, energetic, and very spirited, this mini-spaniel was a hunting dog who tracked game by scent and sight. Very good-natured, intelligent, and gentle, he is a great companion. He does not bark excessively and is not a watchdog. He needs firm but gentle training.

Prone to syringomyelia, hereditary eye disease such as cherry eye, dislocating kneecaps (patella), back troubles, ear infections, early onset of deafness or hearing trouble. Sometimes hip dysplasia. Don't overfeed. This breed tends to gain weight easily. Also prone to mitral valve disease, a serious genetic heart problem, which can cause early death. It is wise to check the medical history of several previous generations before choosing your puppy.

He adapts well to city life but needs long walks. He does not like being left alone, and he cannot tolerate cold and dampness. He requires brushing and combing two or three times a week, but no grooming. His ears and eyes must be checked regularly.


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