King Charles Spaniel

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The King Charles Spaniel Dog Profile

The silky, flowing coat of King Charles Spaniel is abundant. This Spaniel breed is not the same as the Cavalier Spaniel (Click Here to see the difference).

Straight or somewhat wavy coats are possible. It has thick fringing on the edges, as well as feathering on the feet.

The breed’s head and expression, on the other hand, are its distinguishing features. With lustrous black eyes and a well-cushioned face, the head should be domed, providing a gentle appealing look.

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King Charles Spaniel Highlights

  • Cavaliers are a type of person who is reliant on others. They enjoy social interactions and should not be left alone for extended periods of time. 
  • Especially in the spring and fall, your Cavalier will shed. Brushing and combing are required on a regular basis. 
  • If he isn’t kept on a leash or in a gated yard, he may want to chase birds, rabbits, and other small prey because he is a spaniel at heart. 
  • Cavaliers may bark when someone knocks on the door, but they aren’t good security dogs due to their loving temperament. 
  • Cavaliers are indoor dogs who should not be kept outside. 
  • Never buy a puppy from an irresponsible breeder, puppy mill, or pet store if you want a healthy dog. Look for a reliable breeder who thoroughly vets her breeding dogs.

King Charles Spaniel Breed Features & Ratings:
Rated base on a 5 Star Scale
ENERGY LEVEL:                                1 Star
PLAYFULNESS:                                  3 Star
AFFECTION LEVEL:                           2 Star
FRIENDLINESS TO DOGS:                4 Star
WATCHFULNESS:                               1 Star
EASE OF TRAINING:                           3 Star
HEAT SENSITIVITY:                              5 Star
VOCALITY                                             4 Star

King Charles Spaniel Breed Profile:

Dog Breed Group:  Working Dogs

Height:  10-11″

Weight:  8-14 lb

Life Span: 



OTHER NAMES:  English Toy Spaniel








Activities: Obedience, Conformation 

Type: Purebred


Black & Tan

Black & White



Litter Size: 3-5 puppies

Puppy Prices: Average $1500 – $2500 USD

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is one of the most expensive breeds of small dog breeds. Usually, the average cost of purchasing a pet quality puppy from a reputable breeder is about $1,500 to $2,500. However, for a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel puppy with top breed lines and a superior pedigree, you may need to pay between $3,500 and $5,000. 

King Charles Spaniel Health:

Unfortunately, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a breed that is connected with various possibly inheritable health issues, in part due to their rising popularity and the resultant unethical breeding methods. 

If you’re looking to acquire a puppy, make sure you go to a reputable and accredited breeder who has run the necessary health checks on the parents.

Cavaliers are typically healthy, however they are susceptible to some health issues, as are all breeds. Although not all Cavaliers will contract any or all of these illnesses, it’s vital to be aware of them if you’re thinking about getting one. 

Find a good breeder who will show you health clearances for both your dog’s parents if you’re buying a puppy. Health clearances demonstrate that a dog has been checked for and cleared of a certain disease. Expect to find health clearances from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) for hip dysplasia (with a score of fair or better), elbow dysplasia, hypothyroidism, and von Willebrand’s disease in Cavaliers, as well as thrombopathia clearances from Auburn University.

  • Major concerns: patellar luxation
  • Minor concerns: early tooth loss, entropion
  • Occasionally seen: PDA
  • Suggested tests: (knee), eye, heart
  • Life span: 10–12 years
  • Mitral Valve Disease 

Cavaliers are prone to this problem. It begins with a cardiac murmur that worsens until the dog develops heart failure. Heart disease is common in older dogs of any breed, but Cavaliers are especially prone to getting MVD at a young age, as young as one or two years old. This condition is still being researched as a way to prevent it. Because it appears to have a genetic component, prudent breeders have their breeding dogs examined by veterinary cardiologists on a regular basis to see if the condition can be passed down to future generations.

  • Syringomyelia 

This illness, which affects the brain and spine, appears to be rather common among Cavaliers. Mild discomfort to severe pain and partial paralysis are all possible symptoms. It’s caused by a skull deformity that decreases the amount of room available for the brain. Between the ages of 6 months and 4 years, symptoms usually arise. The first indicators you may notice are sensitivity around the head, neck, or shoulders, with the dog occasionally whining or scratching at the area of his neck or shoulder, usually on one side of the body, without making physical contact with the body (“air scratching”). Even when walking, they may try to scratch. As a result, if your Cavalier is itching, it’s because of this.

  • Episodic Falling 

This disease is commonly mistaken for epilepsy, yet the dog is awake during the fall or seizure. It’s caused by the dog’s inability to relax its muscles. Symptoms might range from minor, infrequent falling episodes to long-lasting seizure-like events. Symptoms typically appear before the age of five months, however they may not be observed until later in life.

  • Hip Dysplasia 

This malformation of the hip joint is thought to be caused by a number of causes, including genetics, environment, and food. Cavaliers who are affected can typically enjoy normal, healthy lives. In rare cases, surgery may be required in order to live a regular life.

  • Patellar Luxation 

The kneecap is known as the patella. The term “luxation” refers to the dislocation of an anatomical portion (as a bone at a joint). Patellar luxation occurs when the knee joint (usually in the back leg) moves in and out of place, causing pain. Although this can be debilitating, many dogs with this illness have reasonably typical lives.

  • Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca (Dry Eye)

An autoimmune reaction to the dog’s tear glands usually causes this ailment, which results in a decrease in tears. This illness is easily treated once diagnosed by putting drops in the eyes every day. It can lead to blindness if left untreated.

Eye and Heart conditions

Cataracts, corneal dystrophy, distichia, entropion, microphthalmia, optic disc drusen, and keratitis are all common eye disorders in King Charles Spaniels. The King Charles Spaniel has a higher risk of distichia than other breeds (where extra eyelashes or hairs cause irritation to the eye). The other disorders are thought to be inherited, with onset ages ranging from six months for cataracts to two to five years for corneal dystrophy. 

Mitral valve disease, in which the mitral valve declines, allowing blood to flow backwards through the chambers of the heart and finally leading to congestive heart failure, is a heart disorder associated with the King Charles Spaniel.  A condition known as patent ductus arteriosus occurs when blood flows backwards from the heart into the lungs, causing heart failure.  Both of these diseases have similar symptoms and can be passed down through generations. The King Charles Spaniel was determined to be the 7th worst breed for heart disease in a review of 105 breeds, with 2.1 percent of 189 dogs affected. 

Other common issues

King Charles Spaniels, as a brachycephalic breed, might be sensitive to anesthesia.  This is because brachycephalic dogs have extra tissue in the throat right behind the mouth and nasal cavity, known as the pharynx, and anesthesia acts as a muscle relaxant, obstructing the dogs’ narrow airways. These narrowed airways might make it difficult for dogs to exercise adequately and make them more susceptible to heat stroke.  Other congenital and hereditary disorders found in the King Charles Spaniel include hanging tongue, which is caused by a neurological defect that prevents the tongue from retracting into the mouth; diabetes mellitus, which may be linked to cataracts; and diabetes mellitus, which may be linked to cataracts.

Due to the risk of surgery in brachycephalic breeds, the English Toy Spaniel Club of America recommends that umbilical hernias be treated only if other surgery is required.  In another OFA research, the King Charles Spaniel was ranked 38th out of 99 breeds for patella luxation, with 4% of the 75 animals evaluated having the condition. However, between 1988 and 2007, surveys done by the Finnish breed organization indicated that the incidences were greater in some years, ranging from 5.3 percent to 50 percent.

There are a number of breed characteristics that may raise health concerns.  They include problems with the skull, such as an open fontanelle, a soft region in the skull that is frequent in puppies under a year old. Hydrocephalus, often known as water on the brain, is a complication of that condition. This disorder may result in neurological signs, necessitating the dog’s euthanasia. Fused toes, in which two or more of a dog’s toes are fused together, may appear to be a health risk, but this breed trait is not to be concerned about.

King Charles Spaniel Grooming:

Cavaliers have silky, slightly wavy coats that are worn at a medium length. Feathers cover the ears, chest, legs, feet, and tail of adult Cavaliers. 

Cavaliers are available in four different colors: 

  • On a pristine white background, Blenheim is a deep chestnut. A lozenge is a thumb-shaped chestnut dot on the top of the Blenheim’s forehead. 
  • Tricolor, having black markings on a white coat with tan markings around the eyes, cheeks, and tail underside. 
  • Black and Tan, with tan markings across the eyes, cheeks, inside the ears, chest, legs, and tail underside. 
  • Ruby is a deep reddish-brown color with no white patches or marks. 

Brush your Cavalier’s teeth at least twice or three times a week to get rid of tartar and the bacteria that live inside it. Brushing your teeth on a daily basis is even preferable if you want to avoid gum disease and foul breath. 

If your dog’s nails don’t wear down naturally, trim them once or twice a month. They’re too lengthy if you can hear them clicking on the floor. Short, carefully trimmed nails keep your Cavalier’s feet in good condition and keep your legs from being scratched when he jumps up to meet you.

When your Cavalier is a puppy, get him used to being brushed and checked. Handle his paws frequently – dogs’ feet are sensitive — and inspect his lips and ears. Make grooming a pleasurable experience for him, complete with praise and rewards, and you’ll be setting the stage for smooth veterinarian tests and other handling when he’s older. 

Check the skin, ears, nose, mouth, and eyes, as well as the feet, for sores, rashes, or symptoms of infection such as redness, tenderness, or inflammation. There should be no redness or discharge in the eyes. Your weekly examination will enable you to detect potential health issues early.

King Charles Spaniel Exercise:

A daily stroll is required for Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. Play will provide a lot of their activity needs, but it will not satisfy their basic urge to walk, as it does with all breeds. Dogs who do not have access to daily walks are more prone to exhibit behavioral issues. They’ll also appreciate an off-leash frolic in a safe open area, such as a large, fenced-in yard.

King Charles Spaniel Training:

The Cavalier is a calm, friendly breed that is anxious to please its owner. They get along nicely with strangers and other animals, and they are excellent with youngsters. Cavaliers are intelligent and easy to teach, and they thrive in a variety of canine activities such as obedience, rally, and agility. They make excellent therapy dogs due to their loving temperament. Early socialization and puppy training sessions, like with all breeds, will help the young Cavalier develop good manners and be comfortable around a wide range of people and situations.

King Charles Spaniel Food and  Nutrition:

The Cavalier should be fed a high-quality dog food that is age-appropriate (puppy, adult, or senior). Some Cavaliers are prone to becoming overweight, so keep an eye on your dog’s calorie intake and weight. Give your dog treats in moderation if you wish to do so. Treats can be a useful training aid, but feeding too much might lead to obesity. If at all possible, give table scraps sparingly, avoiding cooked bones and high-fat items. Discover which human foods are suitable for dogs and which are not. If you have any concerns regarding your dog’s weight or diet, consult your veterinarian.

King Charles Spaniel Temperament and Personality:

Will Rogers, who reportedly declared he never met a stranger, is the outgoing Cavalier’s role model. The Cavalier is anxious to meet everyone who comes across his path, and it’s even better if they sit down and offer a lap (or a treat). 

Cavaliers, like any dog, have a variety of characteristics ranging from quiet and placid to noisy and rambunctious. They may or may not bark when someone approaches to the door, making them a lousy choice for a watchdog – save for keeping an eye on the thief hauling off the silver. Of course, there are exceptions — some Cavaliers will alert you of every event in your area and bark at strangers — but on the whole, you’re better off.

King Charles Spaniel Care/Upkeep:

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are suitable choices for apartment or condo life due to their size and generally quiet disposition. They are moderately active indoors and can get enough exercise in a small yard. 

This breed requires leash walks or a securely secured yard. They lack street smarts, and if they see a bird or other interesting prey, they will run right in front of a car. Your Cavalier will appreciate a daily stroll or romp in the yard, and he will adjust his activity level to match yours. Avoid walking him in the heat of the day because he’s a short-nosed breed, and never leave him in a hot yard without access to shade or cool, fresh water.

King Charles Spaniel Relationship with Children and Other Pets

Cavaliers make excellent playmates for children who like throwing balls for them, teaching them tricks, engaging in dog sports, or simply having them on their lap while reading or watching TV. They should, however, be watched when playing with tiny children who may damage them accidently due to their small size. 

As with any breed, teach children how to approach and touch dogs, and constantly supervise any interactions between dogs and small children to avoid biting or ear or tail pulling on either party’s side. Teach your youngster to never approach a dog who is eating or sleeping, or to try to steal the dog’s food. No dog, no matter how well-behaved,

They get along well with other dogs and can learn to play nice with cats and other pets if introduced to them at an early age. It helps if the cat is willing to stand up for herself because a Cavalier enjoys a good game of chase. They even enjoy it if the cat chases back. Some Cavaliers live peaceably with pet birds while others try to eat them — or at the very least pull their tails. Always supervise your Cavalier’s interactions with birds and other small animals; they can have a strong hunting instinct.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Names
RankBoy NamesGirl Names

King Charles Spaniel  History:

Since the 17th century, this companionable breed has been connected with lords and royals in Europe, particularly England. They were more often known as Toy Spaniels at this time, although their appearance might vary. They were very popular with King Charles I and his son King Charles II, and their name comes from this. King Charles II was reported to be so enamored with the breed that he declared that they could be brought into any public building, even the House of Commons. 

The toy spaniel was a favorite of King Charles II of England, which is why the dogs today bear his name, despite the fact that there is no evidence that the contemporary varieties are descended from his specific pets. During this time, he is credited with increasing the popularity of the breed. The spaniels were allowed to roam wherever in Whitehall Palace, especially on state occasions, according to Samuel Pepys’ journal.  “All I observed there was the silliness of the King, playing with his dog all the while and not minding the work,” Pepys wrote in a diary entry detailing a council meeting on September 1, 1666.

The red and white toy spaniel originally appeared in Titian’s paintings, such as the Venus of Urbino (1538), in which a miniature dog is employed as a symbol of female seductiveness. During the 16th century, Palma Vecchio and Paolo Veronese painted further paintings with these little spaniels. Although the muzzles were more pointed than they are today, these dogs already had high domed heads and small noses. These Italian toy spaniels could have been mixed with local small dogs like the Maltese, as well as imported Chinese dogs. The Papillon is a toy-sized spaniel that originated on the continent.

The Blenheim color variety was named after the First Duke of Malborough, John Churchill, and his wife, who were both passionate about these dogs. They had a large number of guests at their property, Blenheim Palais.

Queen Victoria was a fan of the breed as well, and Dash, her Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, was her closest childhood companion. 

These Spaniels began to be mixed with flatter-faced companion breeds from Asia, such as the Pug and the Japanese Chin, during Victoria’s reign. The English Toy Spaniel was born as a result of this (which is confusingly known as the King Charles Spaniel in the UK).

Throughout the reigns of King James II and Queen Anne, toy spaniels remained popular at the British court. White and red varieties were particularly popular.  Following the Glorious Revolution in 1688 and the reigns of King William III and Queen Mary II, the Pug was imported to Britain, causing the King Charles Spaniel to undergo significant physical modifications.  Comparisons of needlework depictions of English miniature spaniels with those of the continental variety demonstrate that by 1736, alterations in the English types had already occurred, with a shorter nose and the breed moving away from that depicted in earlier works by Anthony van Dyck.

“Twenty years ago, His Grace the Duke of Marlborough was reputed to possess the smallest and best breed of cockers in Britain; they were generally red–and–white, with very long ears, short noses, and dark eyes,” the Sportsman’s Repository stated of the Blenheim Spaniel in 1830.  The term “cocker” was not used to describe a Cocker Spaniel during this time, but rather a little spaniel employed to hunt woodcock. The Blenheim Spaniel was named after the Duke of Blenheim’s house, Blenheim Palace.

The popularity of toy spaniel breeds as lapdogs for ladies often rivaled that of the Pug. Toy spaniel breeds had the disadvantage of having long coats that required continuous care. The toy spaniel had evolved from the dogs of Charles II’s time by 1830. The Dog, by William Youatt, was published in 1845 and was critical of the modifications: “The current King Charles breed has undergone significant changes for the worse. The muzzle is almost as short as a bulldog’s, and the forehead is equally ugly and conspicuous. The eye has been enlarged to double its original size, and it has a foolish expression that matches the dog’s personality too closely.”

Breed enthusiasts began working in the 1920s to revive the appearance of spaniels from King Charles II’s and the Duck of Malborough’s period, which led to the development of the breed we know today. The American Kennel Club first officially recognized the breed in 1995, but it has grown in popularity since then, with the AKC ranking them as the 18th most popular breed in 2018.

The Kennel Club attempted to combine the King James (black and tan), Prince Charles (tricolor), Blenheim, and Ruby spaniels into a single breed, the Toy Spaniel, in 1903. The Toy Spaniel Club, which was in charge of those different varieties, objected vehemently, and the dispute was only resolved after King Edward VII intervened, stating that he preferred the name “King Charles Spaniel.” The American Kennel Club followed suit in 1904, merging the four species into one single English Toy Spaniel.  Although the Japanese Spaniel was considered a sort of toy spaniel, it was not integrated into the new breed and was recognized as a separate breed.

All About King Charles Spaniel:

Large dark eyes, a small nose, a high domed head, and a line of black skin around the mouth characterize King Charles.   It has a small yet compact body and stands 9 to 11 inches (23 to 28 cm) tall at the withers.  The tail of the breed is customarily docked.  It has the traditional spaniel large pendulous ears and a four-variegated coat, which it shares with its offshoot, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.

The four sets of markings reflect the four former breeds from which the modern breed was derived. Black and tan markings are known as “King Charles”, while “Prince Charles” is tricoloured, “Blenheim” is red and white, and “Ruby” is a single-coloured solid rich red. The “King Charles” black and tan markings typically consist of a black coat with mahogany/tan markings on the face, legs and chest and under the tail. The tricoloured “Prince Charles” is mostly white with black patches and mahogany/tan markings in similar locations to the “King Charles”. The “Blenheim” has a white coat with red patches, and should have a distinctive red spot in the center of the skull.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are frequently confused with King Charles Spaniels. There are several notable distinctions between the two breeds, the most notable of which is their size. The Cavalier weighs between 13 and 18 pounds (5.9 to 8.2 kg) on average, whereas the King Charles weighs between 8 and 14 pounds (3.6 to 6.4 kg). Furthermore, while their facial features are similar, they differ: the Cavalier’s ears are placed higher and its skull is flat, whilst the King Charles’ is domed. Finally, the King Charles muzzle is often shorter than that of a Cavalier. 

The American Kennel Club divides the breed into two classes: English Toy Spaniel (B/PC) (Blenheim and Prince Charles) and English Toy Spaniel (R/KC), but the Kennel Club of the United Kingdom divides it into one.  The King Charles Spaniel, along with the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, is classified as an English Toy Spaniel in the Fédération Cynologique Internationale’s Companion and Toy Dog Group.

Where to Adopt or Buy an American Water Spaniel: 

If you’re buying a puppy, do your research and make sure you’re buying from a responsible and respected breeder who does all of the necessary health exams to reduce the chances of your puppy acquiring a hereditary problem. 

Because of the breed’s popularity, it will be exploited by unscrupulous backyard breeders and puppy factories. The dogs are frequently kept in deplorable circumstances, are improperly socialized, and no precautions are taken to guarantee that they are not breeding from sick canines. 

Always keep in mind that mom and puppies should be seen together in a supportive household environment. Your puppy should not be brought home until he or she is at least eight weeks old and well grown.

More Dog Breeds and Further Research: 

If you would like to research other similar breeds, check out:

Japanese Chin

Brittany Spaniel

With so many dog breeds out there, with the right research, you will be sure to find one that is a good match for your lifestyle.


Are King Charles Spaniel apartment-friendly? 

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are ideal for living in an apartment. Indoors, they are quite busy, and a little yard will suffice. The Cavalier does not do well in extremely hot weather.

Are King Charles Spaniel good with kids? 

Good with Children: This breed is recognized for being fun, energetic, and friendly among children.

How much exercise do King Charles Spaniel need? 

A daily stroll is required for Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. Play will provide a lot of their activity needs, but it will not satisfy their basic urge to walk, as it does with all breeds. Dogs who do not have access to daily walks are more prone to exhibit behavioral issues. They’ll also appreciate an off-leash frolic in a safe open area, such as a large, fenced-in yard.