Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

The Cavalier King Charles has become the most popular of the Toy Spaniels. It is the ideal small companion dog with lots of character. Affectionate and friendly, it loves to interact and play games with everyone within the family.


Today's King Charles Spaniel was almost certainly developed from the land spaniels of the fourteenth century which may have come originally from Spain. The Stuarts were besotted with them and named them "King Charles". Indeed, Charles II shared his bed with several. They went out of fashion in Britain when William of Orange reigned but later staged a comeback in the nineteenth century when a toy red and white spaniel was bred at Blenheim by the Duke of Marlborough. Although the breed stalled as a gundog and companion, it became a showdog and pet when dog shows stalled in the mid 1800s. A fashion developed for short-nosed dogs and the original breed began to decline again. An American, Roswell Eldridge, offered handsome prizes to anyone who could reverse the trend and, slowly, by selective breeding, today's type of longer-nosed Cavalier King Charles Spaniel evolved.


Docile, gentle and intelligent, the Cavalier King Charles quickly learns the ways of its human family. With its friendly character, it is a joy to own. A fun dog, it has confidence and can be gently assertive. It loves to play with children but not roughly.

must know

Some hip dysplasia is present in this breed. Both sexes should be heart tested, as mitral valve disease and patus ductus arteriosis may be in some lines. Puppies and their parents should always undergo eye testing.


This is an elegant, refined small dog with a kind expression and an out-going perky character, displaying a free action when moving. It has a silky coat with colours that are vivid and clearly delineated. Dogs are 30-33cm (12-13in) in height.

Strangers 2/5

Will warn but with no aggression

Temperament 5/5

Kind and gentle

Exercise 3/5

Loves frequent free running and play

Grooming 3/5

Pay strict attention to ears and feathering

Other dogs 4/5

Non aggressive


Ideal family companion

General care

Being small, this dog needs less exercise than the bigger spaniels. However, it's keen on activity of all kinds, particularly play. The silky coat needs weekly combing with attention paid to any tangles in the feathering and ears, especially after walks.

Gallery of Cavalier King Charles Spaniel