Deciding on which dog breed to choose can be a difficult decision. There's many reasons why to choose a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. They are great companion dogs. And have an excellent temperament.
But what else do you need to consider when deciding which breed is right for you?
We reached out on Twitter and asked our friend @Harrythecav what made his owner Sarah decide to choose a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. Harry is almost 9 years old. While an amazing dog, he has had many health problems. But this hasn't stopped him having a loving and happy life.
Why did you choose a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel?
When I was finally in a position where I could have a dog I initially wanted a golden colored Cocker Spaniel. I always thought they were really cute and my friend had one and it was a really lovely dog.
The reason I wanted a dog was for companionship and I wanted a dog that would sit on my lap in the evening and let me stroke it.
While looking online at a page about the characteristics and personality traits of a Cocker Spaniel they had a link to the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. I clicked on the link because I’d always liked Cavaliers but didn’t know a great deal about them.
There was one thing in particular that stood out – it said:
“there is nothing a cavalier likes better than going out for a walk and then coming back and snuggling on its owners lap”.
That was me sold!
Researching the breed
I then started to do a lot of research about the breed because I wanted to make sure that my lifestyle and a Cavalier’s needs would match. I bought loads of books about cavaliers and read loads of online articles. There was no going back, I was having a Cavalier!
Finding a breeder
I got Harry from a local breeder who I found on the internet. She lived in a village about 6 miles from where I live, she was also registered with the Kennel Club.
A few months later I had a call from the breeder and I went out to meet Harry at her home. He was five weeks old when I first met him.
The breeder told me he was the last of the litter, she brought his mum out but none of his brothers or sisters.
I went back to see him again at 7 weeks and then I went to collect him and bring him home when he was 8 weeks.
When doing the research before I got Harry I sadly became aware of two problems that seemed very common in cavaliers, MVD and SM.
I read quite a bit about them and realised that it was almost inevitable that at some point in his life Harry would most likely end up with a heart murmur.
When I asked the breeder if they tested for these she got a bit funny with me and said in a rather offended tone that they didn’t need to test for them because their Cavaliers did not have them. I have since met a Cavalier from the same breeder who has SM.
Other than that though the breeder was incredibly helpful and supportive. There were a few times I had to call her in the first few weeks when I needed some advice and she was always happy to help.
Introducing him to the family
When I first got Harry I had a house rabbit called Millie. I tried to keep them separate but when Harry was a puppy he got in the room with Millie. When I went in the room I was terrified with what I would find. But Harry was just looking at her curiously!
Cavalier King Charles Spaniels really are an excellent breed of dog to keep with other pets. They are also great dogs to have with children.Harry has met plenty of children and is extremely well behaved with them.
Harry's Health Woes
Like most Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. Harry has had his fair share of health problems.
Unfortunately Harry was diagnosed with hip dysplasia when he was about 4 years old.
I noticed he wasn’t jumping up at people or on the sofa which was most unlike him, I took him to the vets and they had a good feel around and said it was likely either a problem with his spine or his hips so they did an x-ray and it was his hips.
He takes a tablet each morning which is supposed to build up his muscles. Fortunately at this stage he does not need an operation.
Harry went deaf when he was about 6. I realised if Harry was asleep and you moved he wouldn’t wake up. I thought at first he was just in a deep sleep, then I noticed that he didn’t seem to be reacting to noises in the kitchen. Normally if anyone was in the kitchen rustling food packets Harry would be straight out there but he stopped doing that. He also stopped reacting when I said “chicken” or “treats” whereas before his tail would wag furiously.
Harry also gets an upset stomach very easily. As a result of this for the past 3 years I have been feeding him a special hypoallergenic dog food and each night I put some Pro-Kolin powder on the food too.
Harry also suffers each year between March – October from itchiness. He has had loads of tests and tried loads of different tablets and shampoos but nothing seems to help and we haven’t been able to get to the bottom of what causes it. I used to have his fur cut 3 times a year between those times but now I have him done 4 times and that has helped a bit.
Harry has a grade 1 heart murmur which he was diagnosed with when he was about 7. He doesn't need any medication for that at the moment.
Pet Insurance has been invaluable
Harry has insurance with Pet Plan (in the UK). It’s about £55 ($70) a month. I've had to claim a few times (for the allergy tests mainly) and never had any problem with the claims.
Spanielking always recommends insuring your dog.
Final thoughts. Why I made the right decision choosing a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Harry is a real character, full of mischief, he loves rolling in fox poo and he eats stuff of the pavement. When out for a walk he's normally given a chew to carry to distract him. Whilst he's had his fair share of health issues he's been an amazing companion dog.
Should you choose a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel?
We hope this real life owner story has been helpful. There's definitely lots of reasons why to choose a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel dog. Has it made you want to choose a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel? Do you already own a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel? If so please let us know why you chose your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel in the comments.