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How Long Do Cavalier King Charles Spaniels Live? Average Lifespan, Data & Care

Written by: Nicole Cosgrove

Last Updated on April 5, 2024 by Dogster Team

White and Red Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Puppy Close-up Photo

How Long Do Cavalier King Charles Spaniels Live? Average Lifespan, Data & Care

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a beautiful small breed known for their sweet and gentle personality. They’re also quite unique in that they have one of the shortest average lifespans of any breed. The average lifespan of a Cavalier is around 10 years, which makes them one of the shortest-lived dogs out there.

However, if you understand what factors influence your pet’s lifespan and take the right steps to care for their health, they can live to be even older. Keep reading to learn more about how old your dog could live to be and tips on how to support that as much as possible.


What’s the Average Lifespan of a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel?

The typical lifespan of a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel adult dog is around 10 years, but they can reach up to 14 years of age at maximum. While this is very impressive, keep in mind that every dog is different and may see different results. Your dog’s lifespan is influenced by a variety of factors, including their genetics, diet, and overall lifestyle. The Cavalier is among the shortest-lived breeds, along with the Bichon Frise and the Papillon.

cavalier king charles spaniel dog sitting on the floor
Image Credit: Svetlanistaya, Shutterstock


Why Do Some Cavalier King Charles Spaniels Live Longer Than Others?

Let’s look at some factors that can influence the lifespan of a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.

1. Nutrition

Similar to other breeds, providing your Spaniel with whole food nutrition that is free of preservatives, chemicals, or other harmful additives can lead to better wellness and health. Ultimately, this can increase the dog’s life span and reduce cases of chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart failure. It’s also important to feed your dog the proper amount and not overfeed in order to prevent obesity.

cavalier king charles spaniel puppy eating
Image By: Andrew Linscott, Shutterstock

2. Environment and Conditions

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are small dogs, but they are also double-coated. This means that though they are small, they will generally be warm, and chances are that if temperatures are good for you, they are good for them.

So, temperatures that are lower than 60 degrees Fahrenheit or over anywhere from 72 to 76 degrees Fahrenheit may be a bit uncomfortable for your dog and can lead to dehydration, excessive panting, and other heat-related issues.

If your puppy is constantly exposed to these types of conditions it can negatively affect his health, particularly in terms of skin issues and heart problems.

3. Enclosure Size/Living Quarters/Housing

These dogs are great for large or small homes, and they make for perfect “apartment dogs”. A sizable and livable home is all these dogs need to call a place their own. They make for great family dogs and many experts believe that it’s this happiness and homelife camaraderie that helps to extend their lifespan.

4. Size

It’s well-known that smaller dogs tend to outlive larger dogs for various reasons. However, the lifespan of the Spaniels is about average, even for small dogs.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Image Credit: Bruno/Germany, Pixabay

5. Sex

On average, many studies have found that females will live a few years past males but neutering and spaying will have an effect on this. Dogs that are neutered or spayed tend to live longer than their counterparts, and this is true for this breed as well.

6. Genes

The short lifespan of a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is often attributed to their genetic make-up; in particular, their tendency toward a higher rate of cardiac issues and certain orthopedic diseases. This can result in a shorter lifespan than other breeds. Thankfully, with the right care, your dog can extend its lifespan beyond that and live a long and healthy life.

7. Breeding History

People breed dogs today to get a particular look, such as big eyes or squishy skin. This can often have a negative impact on a dog’s health. Many of these Spaniels have genetic health problems including mitral valve disease (MVD) as well as heart issues. They are also prone to luxating patella, hip dysplasia, and syringomyelia. Some of these issues may be due to infrared breeding of the dogs and others may be due to adaptations over time.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel in the snow
Image Credit: Katrīne Žuka, Pexels

8. Healthcare

Healthcare is one of the main ways that you can increase your Spaniel’s life span. Generally, you should take your Spaniel to have a complete physical check at least once every year. Consider it a routine maintenance for your dog. That way, your vet can get on top of any health conditions and treatments that may be necessary for your dog.

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The 3 Life Stages of a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

1. Puppy

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Puppy
Image Credit: kelatout, Pexels

Puppyhood for spaniels starts at birth and will last anywhere from about 6 to 18 months of age. During these months these pups will be in their exploratory stage once they are able to stand up and move around.

Their eyes are usually closed for the first week or two, and they will still feed on their mother’s milk. You can also keep your dog healthy by providing it with supplements and ensuring that it has a warm, soft place to stay, as it will spend most of its time resting.

2. Young Adult

Spaniel pups reach the adolescent age anywhere between five and 14 months after being born. This phase is typically associated with large growth spurts, and you will notice your puppy getting more energy throughout each day, despite their clumsy behavior.

You can continue to provide it with supplements at this stage and help the dog adjust to its rapidly changing environment. You can even offer obedience training if your dog is strong and well-behaved enough at this stage.

3. Mature Adult

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel (Image Credit: allen watkin from London, UK, via Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 2.0)

Spaniels reach adulthood between 1 and 3 years after birth. They move into seniority once they are about 6 to 10 years old. During their adulthood years, they will reach their maximum weight and height, and this will signal the end of their growth. They will also grow into sexual maturity; at which time you can choose to have your dog spayed or neutered if they began to show a drastic change in behavior.

Spaniels should be trained at this point and taken to the vet every year for health exams. If your Spaniel has any short-term health problems, it’s best to discuss it with your vet so that it can receive treatment and or daily supplements.

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How to Tell Your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel’s Age

A dog’s age is difficult to determine because different breeds and dogs have different life spans. You can tell a Spaniel’s age, or at least the approximate age, by checking its teeth. The first two teeth that emerge in a puppy are called “wolf teeth.”

These are baby teeth; they help puppies chew and swallow. When a dog has all four adult teeth, the front two of these will be slightly smaller than the back two. An adult dog reaches its full height when it has all four adult teeth. It’s also worth noting that most dog breeds will experience a growth spurt between 2 and 12 months of age.

But you also tell a dog’s age by the color of its fur. Most dogs will have fur that is tan, white, black, brown, or bluish-gray. However, if your dog is suddenly growing gray strands of gray fur, it could mean that it’s at least between 6-10 years old.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel adult
Image Credit: kate-amos, Pexels



The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a beautiful small breed known for their sweet and gentle personalities. They’re also quite unique in that they have one of the shortest average lifespans of any dog breed. The average lifespan of a Cavalier is around 10 years. If you understand what factors influence your pet’s lifespan and take the right steps to care for their health, they can live to be even older, as much as 14 years.

This means regular vet visits, good nutrition, and monitoring for any signs of illness or injury. You can also help your dog’s lifespan by taking care of their teeth and coat, taking care of their paws, preventing orthopedic diseases and heart disease, and keeping an eye out for other signs of disease and getting treatment accordingly.

Featured Image Credit: steshka-willems, Pexels

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