Cavalier King Charles Spaniels have small, well-proportioned frames with silky, wavy coats. Their rounded heads are in proportion to their bodies with conical muzzles and dark, well-developed noses. Their pendant (hanging) ears are set high and slightly feathered. They have long necks, sloping shoulders and straight forelegs. Their wagging tails are covered in fur and are not carried too high. They come in black & tan, tri-color, red, and chestnut on white. Overall, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels have an elegant and noble posture.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are endearing, lovable companions. Affectionate without being jealous, energetic without being frenzied, they are superb pals for playing around the house, cuddling on the sofa and tossing a ball in the yard.
These dogs get along with everybody—cats and other pets included. They are very good playmates for children, being patient and playful, and make a good first impression with strangers. Some can be a little reserved with new people, but they quickly warm up. For this reason, the King Charles is probably not the best choice for a watchdog.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniels may look like adorable lapdogs that want nothing more than a comfy couch, but they descend from a long line of hunters. Therefore, they might not be the best choice for apartment living. Give them room to run—preferably in a fenced back yard—and take them for a jaunt in the woods now and then. However, don’t forget the leash: They love to chase cars and small critters.
Being people-oriented dogs, King Charles Spaniels crave companionship and attention, rewarding their owners with equal amounts of affection. Don’t ignore them or leave them alone for too long: They can get depressed, lonely and sometimes batty.
A healthy Cavalier King Charles Spaniel can live as long as 14 years. Common health problems include a heart condition called mitral valve disease, hip dysplasia and ear infections. They need daily brushing, ear cleaning and occasional grooming.
The original King Charles Spaniels were popular dogs during the reign of Charles II, who adored small dogs. In many17th-century paintings, these elegant canines sit on the laps of princes and princesses. Over the years, the breed evolved, creating a diversity of types that did not resemble the original. An American dog breeder named Roswell Eldridge went to England in the1920s to find several of the classic King Charles Spaniels. Finding few options, he offered a prize for the best female and male breeds shown at the annual Crufts show. This sparked a new interest in King Charles Spaniels, but they did not receive AKC recognition until 1996.