Cavalier King Charles Spaniels – A Once Royal Breed
The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel originated in 1925 when Roswell Eldridge offered money to anyone who could produce King Charles Spaniels, with long noses, as they appeared in Van Dyck’s painting of King Charles II and his spaniels. Within 15 years a new breed had been born and the Cavalier King Charles Spaniels were now a recognised breed, with ‘Cavalier’ used to differentiate them from their forebears.
This friendly, kind, and energetic breed has become excessively popular throughout the later half of the 20th Century, becoming an ideal urban companion eager to run along a seafront or curl up next to their owners in bad weather.
Their own increasing popularity has been a thorn in the breed’s side, as increasing demand has meant more and more inbreeding with this breed. Consequently, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel has suffered from an overwhelming increase in heart conditions, which in turn has reduced its life expectancy across the breed.
When choosing town this breed, please examine the medical history of the dog in question or several generations, otherwise, you could end up with a lot of veterinary bills in the future.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Facts
- Colour – There are four main colours that the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel comes in; Blenheim, Ruby, ‘Black Tan’ and ‘Tri-Colour’. Its coat has a distinctive harsh, wiry texture if properly maintained.
- Weight – They weigh between 5 to 8 Kgs (10 to 18lbs).
- Height – They will be 31-330cms (12 to 13 inches) at the withers.
- Life Expectancy – 9 -12 years
- First Use – Companion
- Use Today – A Companion Dog
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Training and Temperament
This is a good tempered dog and as such can be recommended to live with families with young children. They can also suitable for both indoor living and can walk in cold conditions. They get on well with other dogs and socialise very easily. The only downside is that they may need to have weekly grooming sessions because of their long hair.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Video
For those wanting to know more about this breed, here is a video describing its history and breed today:
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Heath Issues
Today’s Cavaliers are descendants of only 6 dogs, therefore, any disease that was present in the founding dogs will be passed down to a large proportion the entire species of Cavalier King Charles Spaniels and future generations. Therefore, if you own this breed you are likely to come across any of the following health conditions during its lifetime:
Mitral Valve Disease (MVD): Unfortunately, almost all Cavaliers will suffer from the disease of the mitral valve, which tends to progressively worsen as they age, leading to heart failure. There have been developed breeding suggestions by veterinary geneticists and cardiologists, looking for ways to eliminate this defect in the breed and recommends that parents should be free of the disease for at least 2.5 years and the grandparents at least 5 years.
Hip Dysplasia: This is a genetic condition that causes there to be an incorrect development of the hip joint socket when it is developing and can lead to lameness, or and painful arthritis of the joints. If you are considering purchasing a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel puppy, please ask about the hip scores of each parent, before buying the puppy.
Luxating Patella: Small dogs do suffer from this common issue and is caused when the patella, femur, and tibia are not correctly lined up. The result is that the dogs walk with an abnormal gait, perhaps a skip or hop. The issue can be found at a young age, but in general, the dog will show more signs as it ages, which in turn leads to arthritis and a degenerative joint disease.
Syringomyelia: Is the growth of a cyst or cavity forms inside the spinal cord. Over time, this can cause pain, weakness, paralysis, and stiffness in the shoulders, back and extremities. This is a rare disorder and you will be able to speak to your vet about it.
Eye Disorders: A Cavalier can suffer from a number of eye conditions throughout its lifetime, some can cause blindness. The Canine Eye Registration Foundation conducted a study in 1999 of Cavaliers and the showed that on average 30% of all Cavalier King Charles Spaniels had eye problems. They included
As with all dogs, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel will age and will succumb to the common diseases that all dogs have, such as degradation of their eyesight and general ill health. There are suitable herbal, and medical remedies that you can purchase to ease any issues that might arise as your dog gets older.
NB – When buying your puppy Cavalier King Charles Spaniel puppy, please ask for the puppy’s parents, health records to give you a better understanding of the possible health problems that your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel might have in the future. For Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, aim to obtain health clearance from the following bodies:
- Orthopaedic Foundation For Animals (OFA) for Hip Dysplasia (scores of fair or better), hypothyroidism, Von Willebrand’s disease, and elbow dysplasia.
- To certify the condition of the eyes, visit the Canine Eye Registry Foundation (CERF).
- Please read details on the OFA website – www.offa.org
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Food Requirements
Although classed as a toy breed, this is one of the largest of the ‘Toy Breeds’, so, therefore, will want a larger amount of food a day when compared to other Toy breeds. There are obviously various qualities of food available in the marketplace these days and I’ve gone through and provided details of the best foods for smaller breeds and the healthiest foods for dogs overall.
Please note that all individual dogs diets depend on the dog itself, are they active, are they growing, are they large or their breed? There are a number of different factors that determine the amount of food that you feed your dog. What I really don’t like seeing are fat, overweight dogs that clearly haven’t been exercised sufficiently and being fed too much.
A simple method to find out if your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is overweight is to, run your hands down the chest of your dog and you should be able to feel their rib cage without having to press too firmly. If you are unable to feel their ribs, then they are being fed too much and are not getting the required exercise necessary.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Grooming And Care
Brushing Their Coats
With their medium length coats, it is apparent that the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a breed that needs regular grooming to maintain and care for their coats. Despite their medium length of hair, their coats are relatively straightforward to maintain – simply brush them often and make sure their coats do not get knotted.
Not only will your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel need to be groomed regularly, but I would suggest that you aim to brush their teeth a few times a week to establish good levels of dental hygiene. This will allow your dog to become accustomed to allowing you to actively open their mouths and invade their personal space peacefully.
Washing and Clipping Your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
On a monthly basis, or even every two weeks you should consider washing your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel to clean out any dirt that you are unable to get out manually by brushing. After cleaning, they will need to be dried and have their nails clipped if they are long.
You may find that drying your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel does take a long time using a conventional human hair dryer. If so, then I recommend you read a page dedicated to Dog Hair Dryers that will massively speed up drying your dog.
For all my recommended products and equipment that are suitable to keep your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel both healthy and cared for, please visit the Equipment and Products pages for reviews and suggestions.
Please note, whenever introducing cleaning, grooming or clipping to your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel they will initially be unaware of the procedure and consequently be nervous around the brush, toothbrush and hairdryer. The easiest way to make sure they soon become used to this is to simply apply constant praise to them and reward them every time you have completed one of the tasks in maintaining your dog – a simple dog treat is a good idea.
Lastly, as part of grooming, you will want to apply monthly flea prevention once they are clean. I personally use Advantage as this has kept fleas away from Leo.
Insurance Rates for A Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Remember, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a purebred and will likely suffer from genetic health issues as they got older. Although I listed the main health issues this breed is likely to suffer during their lifetime, there are additional potential health issues that can give your dog an unpleasant trip to the vets and at the same time giving your wallet a potential shock to treat those health issues.
You easily find that a trip to the vets for a number of their common conditions can range from $500 to over $20,000 (£450 to £15,000 in the UK), it would, therefore, be prudent to make sure your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel has the right insurance coverage. When you take out insurance for your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel make sure that the insurance covers the following:
- Accident Coverage
- Illness Coverage
- Orthopaedic Conditions
- Hereditary Conditions
- Prescription Medications
Cost of Insurance For A Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Throughout the US, expect to pay between $350 to $400 annually to provide sufficient insurance coverage for your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. You can find deals in the UK for anywhere between £150 and £300, with similar coverage. Although, this dog has been inbred for a number of years and there are expected defects, the sheer volume of owners means that premiums have been driven down to average annual rates.
All Dog Insurance details and recommendations can be found on my Dog Insurance Page. As this website has been created for all English speaking people, there are different rules and insurance policies available for each of the following countries:
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel References and Resources
For further information about the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and if you think this breed of dog is suitable for you, please visit the official UK and the USA kennel club sites: