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How to Groom a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel: 8 Expert Tips

Written by: Nicole Cosgrove

Last Updated on April 4, 2024 by Dogster Team

How to Groom a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel: 8 Expert Tips

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is an eloquent and vibrant toy breed that is also a successful show dog. They are obedient and agile and make great family pets because of their sweet and gentle personalities.

The same basic care is given whether you have a show dog or a companion dog, and keeping this breed looking classy and groomed requires a little time and routine maintenance. Fortunately, these small toy breeds are easy to lift, can easily fit into a bathtub or sink, and have fairly manageable coats.

Let’s look at some tips and tricks to groom your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.


Before You Begin

pet grooming tools
Image Credit: hurricanehank, Shutterstock

Before you begin grooming your Cavalier, here are some items you may need:

Find a secure surface to put your dog on for grooming. A grooming table is ideal if you have one at home; otherwise, you can use a large table with a non-slip mat. If your dog is resistant to grooming, use a harness or leash to keep it secure and safe.

Make sure you have all your tools at hand so that you don’t need to be interrupted, and keep your dog’s favorite treats on hand to reward it for cooperating and listening.

divider-dog paw

The 8 Tips for Grooming Your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

1. Daily Brushing

If your dog has a long coat, it will be prone to knots, and a daily brushing of at least 10 minutes will pull out the loose hair and prevent it from tangling and knotting. A pin brush is a great brush to use as it causes minimal damage to your dog’s coat. Regular brushing also helps stimulate natural oils in the skin, which will make their coat shine.

If your dog has knots already, you will need to brush them out first. Thinning scissors can help loosen the matting and gently remove the knots.

It is essential to brush your Cavalier all over, including the ears, chest, tail, legs, feet, and underbelly, before you go on to the dog’s back.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel looks closely at the camera after the procedure of combing with an animal brush
Image Credit: tativophotos, Shutterstock

2. Monthly Bathing

Once you have brushed your cavalier well, it is ready for bath time. A monthly bath is ideal for keeping your dog’s coat fresh and healthy. If your pet is a show dog, then a weekly bath is more suitable. Use a non-slip mat to keep your dog safe and prevent slipping.

Wet your dog with a shower hose if you have one, beginning at the back and ending at the head. Cavaliers have a water-resistant coat, so you may notice the water is not absorbing as much. It is recommended to shampoo your Cavalier twice to remove dirt and build-up thoroughly.

Use a dog-friendly shampoo with a mild, low-residue formula and lukewarm water. Be careful not to get any soap in your dog’s eyes. If it’s easier, you could wipe down its face with a facecloth after its bath. After two shampoos, you can finish off with one round of conditioner to soften and smooth your dog’s coat.

3. Dry Your Dogs Coat

You can dry your dog with a towel or dryer but do so quickly since their water-resistant coat will spray water everywhere if they shake it off. A lint-free pet towel is a good option as it is highly absorbent, but if you use the blow dryer, do so on a medium setting while combing downwards. Consider starting with the ears, as they take the longest to dry.

Drying Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Dog
Image Credit: hedgehog94, Shutterstock

4. Trim Foot Fur and Nails

You know it’s usually time to clip your dogs’ nails when you hear them tapping on the floor. They will typically need a nail trim once every 3 to 4 weeks, but if you have a show dog, trimming is usually done once a week. Trimming your dogs’ nails after a bath is recommended as they are warm, soft, and easier to cut. Clip small pieces at a time at a 45-degree angle, not going too far back and cutting the quick.

Hair also grows at the bottom of the paws between the toes and needs to be trimmed weekly to prevent your dog from slipping. The feathering on top of a Cavalier’s foot is a feature of this breed, so if your dog is a show dog, do not trim the tops of its feet.

5. Daily Dental

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels requires daily oral hygiene. Establish a daily routine and clean their teeth when they are calm and relaxed. While daily cleaning is ideal, if they have a healthy mouth, three days a week will suffice. You should use a dog-specific toothbrush. The bristles are softer and angled differently; make sure to use a dog toothpaste also.

It is available in dog-friendly flavors such as poultry and peanut butter. Human toothpaste contains ingredients that may upset your dog’s stomach. A thin washcloth dipped in hydrogen peroxide and rubbed on your dogs’ teeth and gums daily can help prevent inflammation.

If you cannot care for your dogs’ teeth, you can take them to a professional groomer or vet every few months.

cavalier king charles spaniel toothbrush dog
Image by: tativophotos, Shutterstock

6. Don’t forget Eyes and Ears

The ears of a Cavalier are one of their defining features. While their cute, drooping ears protect the inner hearing canals, they inhibit the air from circulating underneath them. Because of this, their ears should be checked regularly for wax and debris build-up, which can result in an ear infection.

If your dog has gunk build-up in the corner of the eyes, you can clean them out with an eye wash made for dogs. Flushing your dog’s eyes regularly and keeping them clean can help prevent irritation. Tear Stains can also be cleaned with a cloth and eye rinse.

7. Thin the Coat

Some Cavalier King Charles Spaniel owners prefer to thin their dogs’ coats rather than cut them. Thinning shears can thin your dog’s coat as it grows. Thin the fur in a downward motion, following through with a comb to release the loose hair. Comb it thoroughly to determine if it is thin enough, and repeat the process if necessary.

Try not to get too close to the root, as that could thin it out too much and result in a “poofier” look.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Trim hair Dog Trimming Grooming
Image Credit: hedgehog94, Shutterstock

8. Give your Spaniel the Best Hairstyle

Show off your Cavalier’s regal beauty with a sleek hairstyle. A puppy cut can keep your Cavaliers coat well-maintained and cool during the hot weather. The hair is typically about 2 inches all over, except for their ears and sometimes their feet, which are kept longer. Hold the end of the fleshy part of the ear to avoid cutting it, and then trim the fur to the desired length, ensuring the ears are the same length.

If you want to clip your Cavalier, they can no longer show dogs as their fur doesn’t grow back to its natural shape. Clip down in the same direction as the fur and be more cautious around the chest area. Cut the back area under the tail and back legs with scissors and remove any stray bits from under the belly.


Getting your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel into a regular grooming routine is the best way to ensure your dog stays healthy and feels comfortable throughout the process. Your Cavalier will require daily brushing to prevent matting and regular bathing to keep its coat sleek and lustrous.

Its ears will need to be checked regularly for wax buildup. Like most dogs, their nails will require trimming when you hear them tapping on the floor, and oral hygiene should never be overlooked. If you want your Cavalier to be showcased in dog shows, then you should never clip its fur. Don’t forget to give your dog a treat to reward them for their cooperation and good behavior.


Featured Image Credit: hedgehog94, Shutterstock

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