“A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.” - Josh Billings
Facts about the breed - Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Breed Standard Defining the Cavalier & CKCS Breed Information
DEFINING THE CAVALIER
Cavalier king charles spaniels are bred in all 4 colors—Blenheim (rich chestnut and white), Ruby, Black & Tan, and Tricolor (black & white with tan points.) The cavalier suits most esthetic tastes. One of the physical hallmarks of the breed is his ‘royal’ appearance, with large dark soulful eyes and glamorous feathering and coat. In the show ring, NO trimming is allowed, as its considered essential that the breed be left in its natural state without artifice. Easy to groom, he requires only bathing and regular brushing. According to the breed Standard (the ‘blueprint’ for the breed, describing the ideal dog), the cavalier should be between 12-13” at the shoulder and weigh between 13-18 pounds.
The cavalier is a happy, gentle dog—not at all aggressive with either dogs or man. Indeed, many owners assert that “you cannot have just one!” He is biddable and very trainable—not only as a household pet, but also as a Therapy, Obedience, and Agility dog. Remember, though, that he cannot always be relied upon to come when he is called if he is chasing a butterfly or following the flight of a bird. For most owners, a fenced yard and/or a leash is a ‘must have.’
As with all breeds of dogs, the cavalier king charles spaniel does have some breed-specific health considerations. Owners should be vigilant for mitral valve disease of the heart, eye conditions including retinal problems & cataracts, slipping patellas, hip dysplasia, and SM (syringomyelia, a neurological condition). Cavaliers can be screened for all these health concerns, and the majority live comfortably into double digits. Responsible breeders health test their breeding animals and will supply the puppy buyer with veterinary specialist certifications when possible. Cavaliers are most commonly screened for heart problems, slipping patellas, and inherited eye conditions. Other testing may be more problematic due to inherent costs or what a breeder might regard as risk to the dog (general anesthesia, for example).
The prospective cavalier buyer needs to search diligently for such breeders. Unfortunately, the cavalier’s notoriety on some popular TV shows and as a celebrity pet has spawned some less reliable individuals only bent on making a profit, who may not health test or take proper care. A good resource to find reputable breeders can be found on Breeder Referral lists on the CKCSC and ACKSC/ AKC web sites and that of CKCSC and ACKCSC member clubs. While there are no guarantees in nature, these breeders have demonstrated a sincere desire to promote the welfare of the breed.