Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are affectionate, playful, intelligent delightful little dogs who repay their owner's care and attention with endearing devotion.
They make great companions! For the last four hundred years, close contact with their owners has resulted in the development of happy, outgoing, loving little lap dogs who want to love you and be loved. They want to run and play in a safe place, and to sleep in a soft bed - preferably your bed, but they're willing to negotiate on that point! They get along well with children, other dogs and even cats if introduced while young.
Cavalier pups are very small and full-grown the AKC standard is only 13 to 18 pounds. Occasionally, there will be a 20 to 25 pound dog in the show ring and larger pet Cavaliers have weighed as much as 30 pounds!
Many breeders are reluctant to sell a puppy to a family with children under age five. Such families may find that an older puppy or grown dog may be more suitable.
Cavalier puppies are intelligent. Just like a human baby, these pups need human companionship as well as consistent and loving discipline. They do not thrive when left along all day without human or other animals to interact with.
Cavaliers are active and sporting little dogs that require exercise. They have an instinct to give chase to just about anything that moves, and should either be on a leash or in a fenced yard. Because Cavaliers never become "street-wise", most Cavalier breeders require a fenced yard as a condition for Cavalier ownership.
Their coat needs no trimming. With long silky ears and large soulful eyes, they are often described as looking like a Cocker Spaniel puppy all their lives. Their coat and tail is left natural. The standard makes tail docking optional, but two thirds of the tail must be left intact. Dew claws are removed as they are thought to be a hazard to the prominent eyes.
Cavaliers are clean and easy to groom, although they do shed. They are intelligent and quite trainable, but will occasionally chew things, and sometimes forget their manners by barking, making a puddle, and so on. Remember, they are first and always dogs, in spite of their ethereal faces!
They come in four colors:
• Blenheim (Red and White, with a red mask and ears, and red patches on a white body);
•Tri-color (Black and White with Tan Points),
• Ruby (Solid Red), and
• Black and Tan (without white).
The breeds original “duty” was to warm the laps of their human companions in drafty castles and on chilly carriage rides. Another job was to attract fleas & thereby spare their masters in the days of the Plague!
Cavaliers are still quite serious about their responsibilities, while many dog breeds no longer perform the tasks for which they were originally bred (ie: pulling milk carts, herding sheep, hunting lions). A prescription written in Olde English for the Queen of England directs her to keep a "comforte dog" (now known as the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel) on her lap to treat a cold.
“So many laps, so little time.” That could be the breed's motto. Cavaliers take cuddling so seriously. Many Cavalier owners will attest to this by saying, "If you want your pillow, you must get there first!"