Why Cavalier King Charles Spaniels Are the Best Dogs Ever

My Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is the best companion I could ask for.

Cavaliers: A Cure for Migraines and Strange Anti-Dog People

To the outside observer, your average Cavalier King Charles Spaniel owner may seem like a bit of a fanatic. For one thing, we talk about our dogs incessantly, and not in doggy terms either. It's not all about the roll-over and the fetch, it's about rain boots, special cookies, and morning cuddles that linger past the buzzing of the alarm.

Many of us refer to our pups as children, and oftentimes Cavalier owners find that, like potato chips, it's hard to stop at just one Cavalier. So what is it about this obscenely cute little dog breed that turns once-sane people into fluffy puppy slaves? After looking objectively (or at least trying to) at my own life, I think I may have a few answers.

What Makes King Charles Cavelier Spaniels Special?

  1. They are unique.
  2. They love food.
  3. They are great with children.
  4. They are loyal companions.
  5. They are smart and clever.

1. Cavaliers Are Unique—Just Ask Your Cat

One of the most endearing and unusual traits about the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is his affinity for felines. Many dogs will either chase cats or be scared out of their proverbial boots when a cat comes around. But a Cavalier? No way!

Cavaliers love cats and will try to cuddle, lick, and love any cat that comes within their sight. Cats = best friends. The funny thing about it? Most cats will allow these strange dogs to be their friends, and interspecies cuddling (sometimes large piles) is not uncommon. Perhaps this is because Cavaliers think they are cats—they sure think so when they try to perch on the back of your chair, your neck, or your table.

2. Cavaliers Love Food

You can get a Cavalier to do anything for a cookie or a bit of food. In fact, it doesn't matter if the bit of food is a green bean, he'll still roll over, play dead and do somersaults for a morsel. Now, the caveat here is that you have to be careful to walk a fine line while training your Cavalier in order to avoid constant begging, but it always feels great to have someone around the house who will be eternally grateful, no matter what you feed them. Plus, some of the behaviors (such as the trademark Cavalier spin) inspired by a simple dog cookie will have you in stitches for hours.

3. Cavaliers Are Great With Children

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is descended from the toy spaniels so beloved by King Charles II of England, which you see in the painting above of the king as a boy. In modern times as well as past history these little spaniels have been superb companions for children, being loving, loyal, and above all patient with the antics of fussy little nuggets.

Cavaliers are naturally drawn to children and tolerate being picked up, hauled around, and dressed up with minimal fuss. My black-and-tan Cavalier, Byron, is always captivated by friends' babies, standing by their rockers for hours watching them sleep. I never worry about my pups around children!

4. Cavaliers Stick to You Like Glue

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is not a dog for people who aren' t looking for a constant, close companion. A Cavalier lives and dies for his human, and pines when his human is away. My dogs have even been known to howl piteously when I lock them out of the bathroom. They love to sleep in bed with their humans. And forget leaving them on the floor while watching T.V. In fact, I haven't knit on road trips for about two years because both of my Cavaliers insist on riding in my lap, which can be difficult to juggle! But for anyone who likes the reassuring physical contact of a warm, furry little body, you couldn't wish for a more perfect companion.

5. Cavaliers Are Pretty Clever

Unlike some companion breeds who may be a little dim, a Cavalier still has some of his spaniel-esque hunting and outdoor smarts. Sometimes his tail will shoot straight out like a rod and his nose will point sharply when a bird flies into the air. Though small, he loves to fetch and play like any big dog. Try hiding a dog cookie and turning him loose and he'll amaze you with his smarts! Playing with a Cavalier is just as fun as cuddling with one, because they are always curious and inquisitive and willing to partake in any new game.

Why You Should Buy From a Reputable Breeder

While Cavaliers are undoubtedly the best dogs ever (completely biased am I) they also suffer from the same plight many other purebred dogs do: puppy mills. Especially as the breed becomes more popular, puppy mills will churn out more pets for consumers. Please put a stop to these horrible mills and buy your puppy from a reputable breeder who can show you the puppy's health history and parents. Or better yet, rescue a Cavalier!

My Favorite Food for Cavaliers

RAjasekhara Mohanrao on August 31, 2020:

I’m getting a Cavalier King Charles on November I’m gonna name her Victoria and it took me a long time to convince my parents to get me a dog I am from India so I have to go to Delhi for her

RAjasekhara Mohanrao on August 30, 2020:

I’m trying to ask my mom for a Cavalier King Charles thank you pet helpful for me getting my Cocoa

Roberta Meadow on May 16, 2020:

I have had the joy of owning these wonderful pups for over 30 year's. They are amazing companions. Each one has their own personality. They are little comedians. 100% love.❣

Peter on May 23, 2019:

I have two..I adore them. I too have had several breeds over the years but never have I seen the best attributes rolled into one dog. Clever, affectionate and above other, Loyal. I just love them

Jose on May 16, 2019:

I have had different kinds of dog breeds through out my lifetime..e.x.: Doberman, Cocker Spaniel, German Shepard and Staffordshire bull terrier. Each breed had a unique quality. Now, with Hope (our CKCS)we have everything we wanted in a dog and more. This article I right on the money, Cavies are just the best breed, I have never seen a breed like this, so affectionate, so lovable so full of happiness and joy. BEST BREED EVER !!!

Hope Lyon on January 20, 2019:

This article is my Cav mix to a T!!! Hes the 2nd one I've had and is the light of my life. I even trained him - although it didn't take much training - to be my PTSD Service Dog. He even adopted a CAT!!! Our neighbors ran a cat recuse and Buddy would always be outside playing with this one cat, Midnight. So Midnight started following Buddy in the dog door to play, and eventually she would stay the night. Lol So I started feeding her. Buddy acted like a cat, and Midnight would run around with huge dog toys in her mouth!! Friends would ask "Oh when did you get a cat?" And we would say, we didn't! Buddy adopted the cat!" Lol Thanks for the PERFECT Cavalier article!!!!

KARA TURNBULL on November 24, 2018:

We have had a bleinham and he is 14. He is deaf, we have taught him sign language. We love him so much. He is great with kids, babys, cats, dogs. I would love to get another one, a tri-color.

Greta on August 03, 2018:

I have a cavalier and yes you are right, can't just stick with one. She'll be 11 months this month and I'm already planning to have a second one. I also have a cat and they're best friends. I love this breed so so much.

Buddy Davidson on April 10, 2018:

Just recently lost our Yorkie and want to get two kingcha

Charles Spaniels can you help

Robert Proctor on January 10, 2018:

We lost ours about a month or so ago and around the end of March we would to get another one. we live in the Richmond,VA. do you have any idea were a breeder may be in our area. Would like your help if possible.

Thank you: Robert Proctor

Thelma Alberts from Germany and Philippines on April 16, 2011:

Hello, CennyWenny. Thanks for sharing. I have a cavalier king charles spaniel. He´s an amazing dog like any other cavalier king charles. Great hub.

CennyWenny (author) from Washington on January 04, 2010:

Judith-Congratulations on the longevity of your fur babies! I looked to the parents for heart health, and am very pleased that Byron's mommy is 9 with no problems yet. Having a 15 year old Cavvie is an achievement to be proud of!

Judith Gill from New Zealand on January 03, 2010:

I enjoyed this hub a lot! I have 3 Cavaliers myself and I do love my family. My eldest is Chrissy, she'll be 15 this year, followed by Kobi at 12, and Shelley at 8.

Chrissy has been on heart pills for about 3 years now and I am pleased to say she has not deteriorated during that time. Shelley has just started on these pills too. Too closely inbred has been the problem, I believe. So, to you dog lovers out there considering buying a Cavalier: make sure you buy a dog not so closely bred if you want it to have a trouble-free life.

Again, thanks for sharing.

CennyWenny (author) from Washington on November 05, 2009:

I love all dogs really:) But these guys are just so adorable they worm their way into the grumpiest of hearts. Be careful with the food though! Mine needs to go on a diet because his dad can't resist his little face.

Enelle Lamb from Canada's 'California' on November 05, 2009:

I have always had a soft spot for spaniels - and this breed seems to be perfect - likes cats, likes kids, likes cuddles - hmmm...might just be my new addition to the fold LOL!

Top Five Myths About The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is considered a royal breed of dog. The breed most likely originated in Japan and was brought to England in the 16th century. The breed was a popular pet with British royalty. Queen Mary, Queen Anne, King James II, Mary Queen of Scotts, Queen Victoria, Queen Elizabeth II, and of course King Charles II owned Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. Anastasia Nikolaevna of Russia also had a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. The dogs were beloved royal pets because of their strong loyalty and companionship combined with their ability to aid in hunting. The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a beautiful and loyal breed of dog that makes a wonderful companion and family pet.

Here are the top 5 myths about the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.

They are lap dogs

Contrary to popular belief, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are not just lap and show dogs. Certainly, the breed was popular with British royalty because of their loyalty and comfort. The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel remains a very loyal pet that loves to be close to its master and will certainly snuggle in his lap. However, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a very active sporting dog. The dogs were bred to flush out and retrieve fowl. The breed is energetic and loves exercise and play. Cavalier King Charles Spaniels can live well in an apartment but also thrive in the country. They love to hike, run and hunt, and they have great agility.

The Battle of Blenheim Myth

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel may have different color coats. They can be either Ruby (mahogany), Prince Charles (tri-color), King Charles (black and tan), or Blenheim (chestnut and white). There is a myth about the origin of the Blenheim shade of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. It is said that in the 1800’s in Britain the Duke of Marlborough went off to fight in the Battle off Blenheim. His wife was at home helping their Cavalier King Charles Spaniel give birth to her puppies. To calm herself and her dog, the Dutchess of Marlborough pressed her thumb against her own and her dog’s forehead. The puppies were born with red or chestnut spots.

They are flea magnets

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel was thought to protect its owners from fleas and therefore the plague. Particularly with British royalty, the breed was brought into the Kings and Queens beds to sleep because they believed the dog attracted fleas and protected the owners from fleas and diseases. While this may be true to an extent, fleas would be attracted to any type of dog. Whether or not sleeping with their Cavalier King Charles Spaniel actually protected their masters from fleas and disease is questionable.

British law states that they can go anywhere

It has long been said that their is a written decree that the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel can go anywhere in public, even secure venues. King Charles II so loved his namesake breed of dog that he insisted they could go anywhere in public, including the Houses of Parliament. There is a belief in Britain that this law is in effect. Unfortunately for Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, there is in fact no written law decreeing the breed can go anywhere in public.

They are a curse

The breed so adored by King Charles II became widely popular in Britain during his reign. When the House of Staurt fell, some in England associated with the breed with the royal house. As a result the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel went out of favor. The breed became rare until Queen Victoria revived its popularity. While it is true that the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel went out of popularity for many years, it may not have much to do with a curse. The dogs were bred with pugs and had shorter snouts and domed heads. This breed is called the King Charles Spaniel. In the 1920’s, the breeds were distinguished with true Cavalier King Charles Spaniels having more elegant snouts and heads.

Dealing with the death of your Dog, telling your Child.

The bond between Child and Dog can become very strong. It’s extremely heart-warming to see your child grow up with your Cavalier a build a loving relationship together.

While there will certainly be plenty of cute moments, pictures and memories made together. Sadly, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels have a relatively short life expectancy. So, there will come a day when this relationship draws to an end.

This day will be just as emotional for you as it will your child. Ensure you help your child through this difficult time and try and focus on the positive times you had together.

Additional help and resources are available at the Animal Blue Cross.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels

On this page, you will find the answers to many of your questions as well as an introduction to me, my breeding program and my precious Cavies. We are not a kennel. Our dogs live in our home and have run of our farm . We are hobby breeders and have been breeding the Cavaliers for over 28 years, however we have slowed down breeding exponentially with the growth in our showing and breeding of our Welsh ponies. We strive to breed healthy, quality puppies at pet prices for PET homes. We have in the past, shown several of our dogs to their Championships . We breed mainly dogs of European decent for strong, healthful bloodlines without the extreme inbreeding found in many American lines.

PLEASE be very careful when purchasing your Cavalier puppy. DO NOT buy an “inexpensive” puppy, of course you must keep your budget in mind and most breeders will assist in pointing you in the right direction. All serious, responsible breeders price protect their puppies. The breed on average ranges in price from $2000.00 to $3000.00. You certainly should not overpay for your family pet, but please be wary of puppies priced less than $1000.00 to $1500.00, unless there is a good explanation WHY the puppy is so “affordable”. Screen the breeder and expect them to screen you. Also, it is important to purchase a puppy from a breeder who places the puppy on a spay or neuter contract to insure the preservation of the breed.

All of our dogs are of pure blood. Our breeding stock is vet checked regularly for deformities/abnormalities. All pet puppies are sold with a generous guarantee, they will be up to date on vaccinations and de wormed until they day before they leave my hands. Puppies are sold with a three year MVD, one year genetic and a fourteen day current health guarantee. A signed spay/neuter contract is required. We do NOT sell dogs for breeding purposes.

I hope I have educated you a little about your purchase. Enjoy the rest of my site and please call me if you would like more information!

Credit cards are accepted for purchases and deposits through PayPal (plus 3.5% for their fees) payment via Zelle also accepted. I am sorry but we do not ship our puppies but would be more than happy to meet you somewhere in the middle if possible.

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a happy dog that does well in a country or city setting as a house pet. The Cavalier has big, beautiful, dark eyes, and a long, silky coat.
They are friendly, obedient, and affectionate. They are good with children and other pets in the household. Many retirees prefer the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel because Cavaliers are wonderful companion dogs.

The appearance of a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is of pure elegance natural with no trimming.

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is an active, graceful, well-balanced toy spaniel and is very happy and free in action. They are fearless and sporting in character, yet gentle and affectionate.

The Cavalier is known and desired for its friendly, non-aggressive demeanor. It is this typical gay temperament, combined with true elegance and a royal appearance which are of paramount importance in the breed. A natural appearance with no trimming, sculpting or artificial alteration is essential for proper breeding.

The breed does not show any tendency towards nervousness or shyness. As a matter of fact, bad temper, shyness, and meanness are not to be tolerated. They are to be severely penalized in order to effectively remove the specimen from competitions. This may result in termination as a breeding prospect.

Living conditions: Cavaliers should live inside they can live comfortably in small apartments or houses. Cavaliers adore children and are very sociable with other dogs and strangers.

Playing and exercise: The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel needs regular exercise. They do well playing in a fenced yard and/or with regular walks on a leash. As with any dog, all the exercise you can give them is welcome. Cavaliers love to play tug-of-war, fetch, and to wrestle (be careful, they are small). They like the beach and the forest and will always keep up with you on a hike.

Grooming and health care: Cavaliers have a relatively long, silky coat occasionally with a slight waviness. Weekly grooming with a firm bristle brush is recommended, paying special attention to the ears. No clipping or trimming is necessary. Bathe only when necessary and preferably not more than twice a month. Special attention should be paid to the ears which are long with abundant feathering, for they can acquire hair clumps very easily. Cavaliers live about 11-14 years.

Training and intelligence: Cavaliers are very easy to train. They are highly intelligent and willing to listen. Although the Cavalier King Charles is noted as an intelligent dog, they do not make good guard dogs or watch dogs. However, a Cavalier may give a noisy greeting to a stranger alerting his owner to someone’s arrival.

Size and coat color: Cavaliers are about 12 to 13 inches tall and weigh 13 to 19 pounds. The coat colors can be Blenheim, tricolor, ruby, and black and tan.

Blenheim – Noted by rich chestnut markings well broken up on a clear, pearly white ground. The ears must be chestnut and the color evenly spaced on the head. It surrounds both eyes, with a white blaze between the eyes and ears, the center of which may be the lozenge or “Blenheim spot.” The lozenge is a unique and desirable, though not essential, characteristic of the Blenheim. Tricolor – These have jet black markings well broken up on a clear, pearly white ground. The ears must be black and the color evenly spaced on the head. It surrounds both eyes, with a white blaze between the eyes. Other markings include rich tan markings over the eyes, on cheeks, inside ears and on the underside of the tail. Ruby – Specimens are whole-colored, rich red. Black and Tan – Characteristics are jet black with rich, bright tan markings over eyes, on cheeks, inside ears, on chest, legs, and the underside of the tail. Faults for show ring quality include heavy ticking (freckle spots) on Blenheims or Tricolors and white marks on Rubies or Black and Tans.

Country of Origin: Great Britain.

History: Cavalier King Charles Spaniels originated in Great Britain from the King Charles Spaniels and Toy Spaniels. Developed from a cross between the King Charles and a Cocker Spaniel, the Cavalier differs greatly from its forebears.

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel of today is descended from the small Toy Spaniels seen in so many of the 16th, 17th and 18th Century paintings by the likes of Titian, Van Dyck, Lely, Stubbs, Gainsborough, Reynolds and Romney. These paintings show the small spaniel with a flat head, high set ears, almond eyes and a rather pointed nose. During Tudor times, Toy Spaniels were quite common as ladies’ pets but it was under the Stuarts that they were given the royal title of King Charles Spaniels and history tells us that King Charles II (1630 – 1685) was seldom seen without two or three at his heels. So fond was King Charles II of his little dogs, he wrote a decree that the King Charles Spaniel should be accepted in any public place, even in the Houses of Parliament where animals were not usually allowed. This decree is still in existence today in England.

Over time, the Toy Spaniels were replaced in popularity by short-snouted, dome-headed dogs of Asian descent, such as the Pug and Japanese Chin. The King Charles Spaniel was bred with these dogs, resulting in the similar-shaped head of today’s English Toy Spaniel breed. The King Charles Spaniel remained popular however, at Blenheim Palace, home to the Dukes of Marlborough, where the reddish brown (chestnut) and white version with the spot on the white blaze was the most popular – resulting in the name Blenheim for that color combination.

In the 1920s, an American named Roswell Eldrige offered twenty-five pounds as a prize for any King Charles Spaniel “of the old-fashioned type” with a longer nose, flat skull, and a lozenge (spot) in the middle of the crown of the head, sometimes called “the kiss of Buddha,” “Blenheim Spot,” or “Kissing Spot”. So, the breed was developed by selective breeding of short-snouted Spaniels. The result was a dog that resembled the boyhood pet of the future Charles II of England (“Cavalier King Charles”), whence the breed derives its name. The Cavalier has been the companion of choice to people of nobility for 400 years. Every crowned head of England had one as a companion as a child, as did many in the Dutch court.
By the 1940s these dogs were classified as a separate breed and were given the prefix “Cavalier”, to differentiate them from their forebears.

The Kennel Club granted the Cavalier King Charles Spaniels their own registration in 1945. The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel has been shown in the Toy Group of the AKC since 1996.

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is an active, graceful, well-balanced toy spaniel. Very gay and free in action, they are fearless and sporting in character, yet gentle and affectionate.The cavalier has been voted the best choice for families with children of almost any age for they are not an agressive dog in nature, but forgiving and extremely kind. However they adapt to almost any lifestyle.

It is this typical temperament, combined with true elegance and royal appearance, which are of paramount importance in the breed.

11 Things You Should Know About the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is one of the most popular Toy Breeds in the world, and with good reason: with their meltingly sweet expressions even tempers and tendency towards gentleness, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels can make the ideal family pet.

Standing between 12 and 13 inches, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is the tallest of the Toy Breeds. With their silky coat, and characteristic feathering across their legs, the American Kennel club recognize four coat patterns: Blenheim, a pretty mixture of red and white Ruby, a solid rich red Black and Tan and Tricolour, a mix of black, tan, and white.

Weighing in at between 13-18 pounds, they are the perfect size to cuddle up with on the sofa, whilst their sturdiness prevents the delicateness associated with many of the Toy breeds. The American Kennel Club characterises Cavalier King Charles Spaniel as an ‘active, graceful, well-balanced toy spaniel, very gay and free in action fearless and sporting in character, yet at the same time gentle and affectionate’. And who could fail to love a dog with these qualities?

Although smaller than sporting breeds of spaniel (like the similarly popular Cocker and Springer Spaniels), they retain much of the spaniel physiology. Because of their sporting character, they tow-the-line between lap-dog and active companion. They love nothing more than being with their humans, being equally happy to curl up with you on the sofa, and to join their human family on a hike.

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