One of the most important factors for a lot of people when choosing a dog breed is its temperament and behavior. In particular, specifically what they are like around babies, children and other pets. So is a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel a Good Family Dog? The answer is almost certainly, yes. But please read on to find out what considerations need to be taken before making a commitment.
All Dogs, regardless of breed, have different personalities. A dog’s upbringing and level of training undoubtedly have an impact on their temperament and how they behave around others.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel with Kids
Generally speaking, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are Good Dogs to have with Children.
The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a highly popular toy breed which is known for its playful and loyal personality. The breed enjoys nothing more than the companionship of its family members.
It has a calm and loving temperament and adores being around its owners. These characteristics make it a good choice for families with a baby or children.
Whilst the Cavalier is a playful dog, it is also known for being very peaceful towards humans as well as other dogs. They will normally be calm and mindful when around babies as a result. This is a dog who enjoys curling up quietly with the family and enjoying some quiet time.
Introducing A Cavalier King Charles Spaniel to Children
Regardless of your Dog's age or temperament, Children should always be supervised, particularly young children.
Ideally, you would introduce your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel to your child when they are a puppy.
Purchasing a puppy (from a reputable Breeder) allows you to have a full understanding of your dog’s history.
While we certainly encourage rescuing a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel in some circumstances, a rescue Dog may not have had the best background and may be less predictable. Which is less than ideal when introducing them to your child.
Hopefully, you’ve had a chance to visit your puppy in advance, and you may have taken your child with you so they’ve been able to interact with each other.
When you first bring your puppy home your children will be extremely excited.
It is important you discuss with your child that your new puppy will need space and time to adjust to their new surroundings and that they should be left alone to explore.
Don’t rush your new pup, set them up a safe bedding area, ideally a large crate. This can be covered with a blanket to make the area more peaceful and relaxing.
Don’t allow your child to disturb the Dog when they are in their bed, this ensures the Dog knows he has a safe environment, should all the attention get too much.
When you feel, your Dog is settled, you can start having supervised interactions with your child and dog.
Start by having your child stroke the Dog, slowly bringing their hand towards them. As the dog becomes more confident with these interactions you can start to introduce toys, treats and start to have some fun together.
Are Cavalier King Charles Spaniels good with Children? Molly Certainly thinks so
Molly is our #cavpack Friend, she has a Daughter and owns 2 Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. She shares her insights below;
Molly is a freelance writer living in the wilds of Vermont with her wife, daughter, three cats and two Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, both puppy mill rescues. Callie is a 6-year-old former breeding female, and Charlie is a four-month-old puppy, both of whom she blogs about at callieswag.com. Molly has a regular column in two local newspapers focusing on awesome animals in the area. She has also worked in education, substance abuse prevention, other mental health areas, and with LGBTQ+ youth. Molly is eternally trying to finish her novel which, surprisingly, has nothing to do with animals.
The question isn’t that simple, and neither is the answer, of course.
Most Cavaliers do wonderfully with children and vice versa; but, like with anything, some Cavs just want to spend the day cuddling on the couch with a quiet adult and some kids who only want a dog who will play all day.
Not that there aren’t Cavaliers who will have that level of energy, it just takes picking the right dog.
From sweet and easy-going to rambunctious and head-strong, or anywhere in between, one trait Cavaliers tend to have in common is the desire to follow their human anywhere.
The complete and undying affection your Cavalier will give both you and your child(ren) is one of the breed’s biggest gifts.
Our first Cavalier, Callie, is a 6yo rescue, former puppy mill breeding stock. When we decided to adopt Callie, it was partly because I work from home so I can be with her most of the time, and mostly because I needed a dog to help get my anxiety under control. I thought working with Callie would help. It did, but not as much as it helped my daughter.
My daughter is only with us a few days a week, she spends the rest of the time with her dad; but when she is here, Callie is in love, and G needed to feel that unconditional love. She needed someone to whom she could safely whisper all her secrets. Callie lays in bed with her at night to put her to sleep. And, while Callie is only 6, my daughter is nearly 8, almost the same age I was when I fell in love with my first Cavalier.
Like many adult Cavaliers, Callie’s favorite thing to do with G is cuddle on the couch. My wife and I have had to discourage too much TV watching because of this, so now G has a box of books next to the couch she can read while she snuggles.
Callie’s second favorite thing to do? Pick G up from an after-school program. I’ve never before met a dog who likes being greeted by a mob of strange children like Callie. She’s in heaven.
A fellow Cavalier owner shared an incredible story about her dog, Holly.
“[I’m] always surprised by children's reactions to Holly, she has been around some children that have learning disabilities and behavioural issues but when they are with her they seem calm, gentle and caring, also children that are usually scared or afraid of dogs, even little ones, surprise even their parents when they ask to stroke Holly.”
“Holly has helped her [human] sister become more confident and overcome her speech problem. [Her sister] was given the task of training Holly which meant she had to speak clearly and say the words properly or Holly wouldn't understand, they are inseparable and always up to no good!”
Many Cavalier’s make great therapy dogs. Holly became her sister’s speech therapy dog and still has an energy that makes other kids feel safe. Without being formally trained as one, Cavalier’s like Holly can act as therapy dogs in many situations.
Another Cavalier owner talked about her dog’s reaction to her pregnancy and the newborn.
“Bella knew I was pregnant before I did, she became my little protector everywhere we went…. She'd spend evenings resting her head on my pregnant tummy.
Even still we weren't sure how she'd react to a small human taking up our time, but we needn't have worried. When we came home from the hospital, she was very gentle with me and checked over her little sister and became smitten.
Whenever the baby was in her Moses basket, Bella would sit near it to make sure no one disturbed her. Visitors had to get approval before being allowed near the baby; the health visitor got glared at for making her sister cry (routine test).
From the day they met they have been friends, they play fetch with each other and share snacks! Dog was one of our daughter's first words, and Bella is always the one she looks for when we get home.
If we have visitors, Bella is always keen to see small humans. Bella is great friends with one of the daughters of our friends, so much so she sits and waits when she comes round eager to play. She will do anything for Miss I.”
Recently, we had a scary experience with our second, and new, rescue Cavalier, Charlie. Charlie is about 3.5 months old and a little small for his age at around 4 lbs.
He loves to play outside and run around with my eight-year-old daughter who is dog savvy and tries really hard but is also used to Callie who doesn’t move much.
Puppies are unpredictable and so are kids, Charlie got under her feet and tripped her. She did her best not to but ended up stepping on him.
There weren’t any signs of an immediate emergency, however, he was yelping when held or moved in a certain way. Our daughter was beside herself, horrified that she had hurt the puppy while playing like she often does.
I took Charlie to the vet the next day where it turned out he had cracked the very first rib. Again, our daughter was devastated, she felt like it was all her fault. The vet sent me home with several stories to tell her about other puppies this happened to, but it didn’t really assuage her feelings.
This is one of the risks of having a small puppy around children. They can get hurt in a total accident. My wife was outside with them. She was watching carefully, ready to call Charlie over at any point. But that doesn’t mean the risks outweigh the benefits. These dogs are marvelous, their affection, sense of humor, readiness for adventure and love of small humans make them fabulous family dogs.
As Holly’s mom said:
“Never a dull moment with a Cav and child, madness reigns supreme! They give them comfort and protection, and in return, they [the child] learn to throw our toys and find it hilarious when the dog returns them. The Cavs tidy up dropped food and [together they] generally create mischief, run, play cuddle and snooze.”
Are Cavalier King Charles Spaniels Good with Babies?
Just as with Children, Babies should always be supervised. Never leave a Baby alone with a Dog.
Before committing to owning a particular dog, you need to know if it will be suitable if you have a baby in the house or are planning to have a baby in the future. We see frightening reports in the news quite often about accidents relating to dogs and babies, so it’s important to make a safe choice.
It is unlikely you would have a baby and get a Puppy/Dog at the same time!
So, unlike when you introduce a Child to a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, with a Baby, more often than not you will be introducing the Dog to the Baby, rather than the other way around.
Not only will having a baby around the house be a new and exciting experience for you, your dog will be feeling a mixture of emotions too. It will take some time for your Cavalier to adjust to this new family member.
When you first bring your baby home, you will want to keep your Cavalier King Charles in a separate room to allow you time to settle and introduce the Dog to the Baby at your own pace.
Allow your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel to interact with your baby, they’ll likely want to give him/her a sniff! Be on guard and supervise all interactions.
As your baby grows, they will start to interact more and more with the Dog. As neither babies nor dogs can speak, you need to always be vigilant. Observing their interactions.
It’s quite easy for a small toddler to hurt a dog, pulling their fur, ears or tail. And as your baby grows and learns to crawl or walk, it is not only harder to keep an eye on them, it’s also more difficult for your dog to escape these interactions.
Ensure your dog has a safe space such as a bed in another room where the baby can’t access. And if you feel your toddler is being a little rough, send the Dog there to escape and get some peace.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are often said to be one of the best dog breeds to have around babies. They are renowned for the affection they show to their families, and at times, cannot bear to be parted from them.
They are well known for their kind and gentle nature which is a very important factor when weighing up a dog’s suitability around babies. The Cavalier has very low aggression and will very rarely show anger toward humans or other dogs, behaving politely to most it encounters.
Another advantageous character trait of this breed is its patience – it will generally be very tolerant of most behavior and therefore not react in a dangerous way if the baby does something potentially annoying. Additionally, being a toy breed, it will not be able to get access to cots and cradles as easily as a taller dog breed.
This breed has a tendency towards timidity and so will not overwhelm a baby with overly outgoing, confident behavior. However, due to their gentle nature and small size, it is recommended that you don’t allow children under five to play unsupervised with a puppy Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, as they might unintentionally hurt it.
It is more advisable to have an adult Cavalier in the house with babies and very young children for this reason. Bear in mind that the Cavalier does need quite a lot of attention to keep content, so make sure you have enough time and love to spare it, alongside looking after your family.
Whilst this breed is particularly suited towards being in a home with a baby, caution is always needed.
Any dog is capable of causing harm, whether intentional or accidental. Never leave a dog in the company of a baby without supervision for this reason. Having said that, if you’re looking for a small, affectionate and kind natured dog to have around babies then the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is an ideal choice.
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.
In summary, Is a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel a Good Family Dog?
Yes, Regardless if you purchase a puppy or an older Dog, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels make great family pets.
Remember to ensure you always supervise interactions, do this and you should have no problems introducing a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel to your family. And in return they will bring lots of love, happiness and Joy for may years to come.