Are Cavalier King Charles Spaniels Clever?

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Are you wondering if Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are Clever?

Well, not all dogs are created equal. So know what you are looking for in a pet before you start to go shopping and fall in love. If you want a highly intelligent breed in order to train for a specific purpose, then perhaps a Cavalier is not for you.

However, if you are after an affectionate lap dog, then you may be looking at the perfect breed.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels may not be the cleverest of dogs

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are great companion dogs for many reasons but are considered to be only of average intelligence, ranking 44th in neuropsychological researcher Stanley Coren’s Intelligence of Dogs.

There are 131 breeds included in the rankings. The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is considered to be of average intelligence in both working and obedience.

In comparison the top 5 most intelligent dogs are:

  • Border Collie
  • Poodle
  • German Shepherd
  • Golden Retriever
  • Doberman Pincher

Traits of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel really likes to chase. Due to this nature, they will never really become streetwise. Which is something you need to consider about this particular breed.

They can adapt well to life just about anywhere.

But for the safety of your dog you should always be prepared to put your dog on a leash when walking.

Training your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

This particular breed of dog can be trained but it will take some work. They understand new commands after approximately 25-40 repetitions.

In comparison, the most intelligent breeds of dogs such as a Border Collie or a Poodle will understand a new command after as few as five repetitions.

Perhaps consider a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel cross Poodle, a Cavapoo for a slightly more trainable dog.

Spaniel First Command Response

50%First Command Response

When you give your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel a command he will obey you on the first command approximately 50% of the time or a little better so you may need a little patience for this particular breed.

In comparison, more intelligent breeds of dog will respond to the first command at a rate of approximately 95%.

“More Intelligent Breed” First Command Response

95%First Command Response

This breed of dog is clever enough to learn assigned tasks so do not think that they are not trainable!

Though Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are mostly companion dogs now, they do have genes of their ancestors and enjoy sporty ventures like flushing birds and retrieving them.

When training Cavaliers they will try to please you and do what you ask of them.

Positive reinforcement works best for training this breed of dog and of course, food rewards.

They are sensitive in nature and yelling at them if they do not obey your command would be counterproductive. If you reward them when they exhibit good behavior they are likely to find other positive behaviors for which they will also be rewarded.

Just because they aren’t the smartest dogs on the block don’t write them off

Image: Twitter @christinepeel1

Though a Cavalier is not the smartest of the bunch when it comes to dogs if you have the time and the patience you are sure to be able to train your puppy to behave as you would like.

It is in their nature to try and please you. They are willing to learn if you are willing to spend the time teaching them!

If you need any further help training your Cavalier, then check out this excellent selection of dog training books which all offer great tips and advice.

If you start training your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel right away then you should not have a problem getting him to do what you wish.

Just remember to reinforce the desired behaviors. By doing this you will have a cooperative and loving companion.

3 thoughts on “Are Cavalier King Charles Spaniels Clever?”

  1. I have two female CavalierS and they are very smart.Missie is my oldest one, she will be 10 this June. Three years ago l started having my seizures again. Missie trained herself to warn my before I have a seizure. Joy will be two in July and also picks up on my going to have a seizures. I have found that both off these dogs are very smart and loveable.

  2. I love my cavalier spaniel! Right now he is only about 13 weeks old. I think he is very smart he doesn’t like when you tell him no!


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