Cavalier King Charles

Named after King Charles II of Great Britain, this sweet natured toy sporting dog made its debut in the United States when featured on “Sex and the City” as Charlotte York’s dog.

Common Characteristics

  • Size: 1 to 20 pounds
  • Lifespan: 6 to 15 years
  • Pet purchase cost: $1000 to $1000
  • Allergies: Moderate
  • Shedding: Severe
  • Primarily suited for indoors


Common Reasons for Surrender

Cavaliers King Charles Spaniels, often referred to as simply Cavaliers, typically find themselves in rescue through no fault of their own. Sometimes the owner is deployed with the military, is no longer able to care for the dog financially, allergies are discovered, or the primary caregiver passed away.


Cavaliers, often called love sponges, make the ideal “fur child.” Your Cavalier will work hard to please you, and the antithesis of a guard dog, will never leave your side, will want to sit on your lap when you watch television and will sleep in bed with you. While you may be your Cavalier’s favorite human, he will naturally love whoever he is with and that includes animals. Cavaliers are known for getting along with other dogs and even cats and birds. Cavaliers are also extremely adaptable, making it easier for them to adjust when a family member moves away or when moving to a new home.


Cavaliers shed moderately which means, if you have allergies, you probably won’t fare well with the breed. If you don’t have allergies, you may deal with your Cavalier having some tear staining, which you can control by using a teaspoon of cream cheese or a prescription from your veterinarian. Because of their long ears, Cavaliers are also susceptible to yeast infections of the ears, so you must monitor their ears at all times.


The Cavalier is a small dog that doesn’t require a lot of food, but she will require a good quality food such as Purina, Purina One, or Iams. Avoid any food that includes corn and wheat, both of which are unhealthy for dogs. Opt for foods with ingredients such as meat, chicken, lamb, turkey, rice, barley, and oats.

A cup of food a day will suffice and will keep your Cavalier trim and healthy. However, you may want to offer him treats in moderation, such as carrot cookies, liver snaps, and dental chews. Whatever type of treat you choose, make sure it is made in the United States.


Combine a healthy diet with moderate exercise daily. Allow your Cavalier to run in your fenced-in yard, and if you don’t have one, ensure you take him for one brisk walk each day. Many Cavaliers enjoy going up and down the stairs and, even when they are older, your Cavalier should keep climbing the stairs to help keep his heart healthy.

Possible Health Problems 

Generally a healthy breed, Cavaliers sometimes deal with such problems as luxating patellas and hip dysplasia.


Naturally clean dogs, Cavaliers typically shed in the fall and in the spring. Their hair can become knotted and tangled, which makes combing them regularly a necessity. Before you give your Cavalier a bath, comb him thoroughly, paying special attention to under his armpits, to remove any knots or tangles. Bathe your Cavalier no more than once a week to avoid drying out his skin and hair; baths twice a month are often sufficient.

Your Cavalier will also require regular nail trims and you should clip the hair between his foot pads once a month.


Expect training to take a little longer with a Cavalier. Bred to be a comfort dog who only wants to please their humans, Cavaliers aren’t as intelligent as some breeds. They catch on to training when you are consistent and positive. As long as you don’t expect perfection, you will see progress. Your Cavalier may still have accidents in the house when he is six. Successful training doesn’t equate to perfection.


Cavaliers love to run and chase whatever they see, so if you have a yard make sure it has a fence to keep your Cavalier safe. Your Cavalier will likely love to chase after a ball or enjoy a good game of tug of war. You may also want to include a regular trip to the dog park to allow your Cavalier to socialize with other dogs and to expend some of his energy.

We want to thank Canyon Crest Cavalier King Charles Spaniels for help with this profile.

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