The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is an affable, intelligent dog with a soulful gaze and long satin fur, ready to “drown” anyone who catches the eye in the sea of its own charm. It is not surprising that in the birthplace of the breed, in England, cavalier kings have long established themselves as professional comforters.
- Breed Name: Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
- Country of origin: UK
- Time of birth of the breed: XVII century
- Weight: 5.5 to 8 kg
- Height (height at the withers): up to 32 cm
- Life Expectancy: 11-12 Years
- Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are virtually immune to mood swings. Affectionate and lively, they are on a positive wave 24 hours a day.
- Both adult dogs and puppies are highly dependent on humans. Individuals experiencing a lack of master’s attention and staying alone for a long time can be dirty and make a mess. The purchase of a second “gentleman” partially solves the problem – it is easier for two animals to cope with boredom.
- Leadership and a desire to dominate are qualities that Cavalier Kings have never heard of, so they never fight other dogs for “spheres of influence.”
- Representatives of this breed are typical extroverts, seeing in everyone they meet as a future friend, whom they are happy to entrust with any secrets.
- Pets love tactile contact. Ironing, flapping, scratching the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is not only permissible but also very desirable. For this reason, dogs get close to children. They are not annoyed by too strong hugs of babies, moreover, animals are sincerely happy with them.
- Cavalier King Charles Spaniels get along easily with cats. But the representatives of the purring fraternity are not always ready to put up with the presence of these annoying handsome men on their territory.
- Most of the cavalier kings have retained hunting instincts inherited from their ancestors, so do not be indignant if the dog begins to actively pursue a lizard or kitten during a walk.
- Several years ago, the popularity of the breed in Britain began to gradually decline. But in Russia, the situation is exactly the opposite: the interest of domestic breeders in the Cavalier King Charles Spaniels has increased sharply over the past couple of years.
History of the King Charles Spaniel Breed
Due to the similarity of the names, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is often identified with King Charles Spaniel. And yet, despite a common Asian ancestor, these are two independent breeds with significant differences in phenotype. If you do not go into the intricacies of selection, the Cavalier King is a thoroughly “re-cut” King Charles, born as a tribute to British cynological traditions. At the same time, the Tibetan spaniels are considered the progenitors of both breeds.
Approximately from the middle of the 9th century, the European nobility became interested in the ancestors of today’s “kings” and “cavaliers”. Toy spaniels sat in the boudoirs of baronesses and duchesses, Titian and Van Dyck were racing to paint their portraits, and the bloodthirsty tyrant Henry VIII even recognized the right of animals to be at court. With the ascension to the British throne of Charles II, the breed added the prefixes king and Charles to its name and began to enjoy an almost unlimited list of privileges. Why, spaniels were even allowed into the holy of holies – the British Parliament!
The King Charles family began to fade away inevitably with the coming to power of William III of Orange. The new monarch started his own order at the court, settling in his chambers a “party” of pugs, whom he sincerely adored. The rest of the London elite immediately rushed to imitate the passions of the crowned person, as a result of which short-faced, goggle-eyed dogs came into fashion. Toy spaniel breeders also did not stand aside: in order to please the picky aristocrats, they began to cross their own pets with pugs and Japanese chins.
In the mid-1920s, European breeders decided to revive the old type of English toy spaniel. Around the same time, the British Kennel Club approved a cash prize for a breeder who, over the next five years, will manage to breed a classic King Charles variety. As expected, the promise of the award fueled the interest of pedigree specialists, and already in 1928, the first “specimen” of a King Charles Spaniel of traditional European appearance was presented to the canine commission. The animal had an elongated muzzle and normally set eyes that brought it closer to the dogs from Edwin Landseer’s paintings.
To avoid confusion in the future, the revived breed was given a new name. Thus, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel clan spun off from the King Charles tribe. By the way, the prefix “cavalier” was not chosen by chance. During the English Revolution, this was the name of the supporters of King Charles I, under whom the breed really flourished. In 1945, the Cavalier Kings were included in the KS registers, after which they began to gain popularity in other European countries.
For your information: over the years, fans of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel breed have been Ronald Reagan, Johnny Depp, Frank Sinatra, Teri Hatcher, Natalie Wood, and Hugh Hefner.
Both King Charles and Cavalier Kings belong to the section of English Toy Spaniels, but, as mentioned earlier, they have significant differences in the exterior. Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are larger (from 5.5 to 8 kg) and tall (up to 32 cm at the withers). The muzzles of dogs are moderately elongated, and the eyes are devoid of the bulge that their relatives inherited from pugs and other Asian breeds.
If “kings” attract with their pronounced orientality, then “cavaliers” – with their unique grace and truly European charm. Silky, straight, or slightly wavy coats, sparkling eyes, and elegant movements make them ideal pets for all lovers of glamorous breeds. In addition, Cavalier Kings are natural-born fashion models. You can shoot them asleep, cutting across a dandelion lawn, or sitting in the arms of their owner and not worry about getting a bad shot. These “British aristocrats” are photogenic anywhere, anytime, and in any mood.
Coat and Color
The coat is silky to the touch and very long. Straight hair is considered the reference, but the slight waviness of the coat is also quite acceptable.
The officially approved Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are:
- blenheim (expressive chestnut spots on a white background);
- black and tan;
- ruby (rich red hue);
- tricolor (black with white and tan marks on the eyebrows, cheekbones, back of the legs, ears, and under the tail).
Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are the best healers for blues and bad moods. They are literally “turned” in communication with a person and are completely unprepared to play the role of an outside observer in the family in which they live. Despite the generally not the most outstanding dimensions, there are always a lot of “gentlemen” in the house, as they are extremely curious and try to delve into everything that happens not only in front of their eyes but also behind their backs.
The breed’s need for human attention can be a little annoying to the owner who does not have the opportunity to constantly contact the pet or is tired of the overabundance of communication with him. That is why breeders recommend the Cavalier King Charles Spaniels for large families with several generations of relatives. So it will be easier for the dog to find a company for himself, without overloading one person with his sociability.
By virtue of natural curiosity and goodwill, the “gentleman” treats well anyone, even an unfamiliar person, therefore, entrusting him with the protection of his own home is a deliberately unsuccessful idea. Bribing this high-spirited “Englishman” is as easy as shelling pears: it is enough to chat gently with him or play a little. Such a feature of the breed as sonorous barking also does little to help the animal in its security activities. Cavalier Kings are more likely to show their vocal talents in games than in real danger, so forget about raising a decent watchman out of this glamorous major.
In relation to other pets, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are unparalleled charms. They are completely devoid of leadership habits and the desire to dominate everything that moves, so they will gladly hand over the “reins” to any four-legged creature who wishes it. A purebred “Cavalier” will easily get along with another dog, cat, or some exotic creature, provided that they do not try to take away the status of everyone’s favorite.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are very intelligent and easily comprehend all the subtleties of the educational process, which does not prevent them from turning on the “misunderstanding” mode from time to time. Often the owners fall for this canine trick and bombard specialized forums with questions like: “Why doesn’t the Cavalier King execute commands?” The reason for this behavior lies not in the obstinacy of character, but in banal boredom. Perhaps you simply overdid it with the seriousness and length of the training and tired the dog. Or they simply did not take into account the peculiarities of her temperament.
Cynologists assure: it is necessary to train the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel in the game and as affectionately as possible. Most of these British “aristocrats” are distinguished by innate timidity, so if you raise your voice during training for a pet, he can permanently refuse to participate in classes. Warm-up interest in training, too, is not forbidden. For this, a supply of the dog’s favorite treats is enough.
The “Cavaliers”, despite their rather mild and peaceful nature, are not alien to certain predatory habits in their souls. For example, having met a cat or a rodent on a walk, the dog will definitely try to chase him. Moreover, not every such “hunt” ends with a happy return of the pet. Gripped by the thrill of pursuit, the Cavalier King can easily get lost, so the “Fu!” and “Near!” with a pet should be learned in advance and as firmly as possible.
From 4-5 months, show-class Cavalier King Charles Spaniels begin to accustom themselves to the exhibition stand. At first, the animal’s success is rewarded with a treat. And only after the puppy has formed a stable association: stance = treats, you can use the command “Stop!”
Note: Experienced handlers do not recommend teaching the Sit! Command with the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, until the animal takes part in exhibition activities. Having been embarrassed in an unfamiliar environment, the pet can confuse the meaning of the commands and, instead of the required stance, give the opposite action.
Conditions of Detention
The first thing that the owners of future champions should pay attention to is the flooring materials in the house. On slippery flooring or laminate, the puppy’s paws will move apart, which will be a prerequisite for the formation of an irregular gait and set of limbs. It is best if the floor in the room is covered with a thick carpet or rugs since Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are exclusively apartment residents. On the street, they just walk and go to the toilet.
If you sometimes have to leave your pet alone, buy him an aviary, and teach him to sit in it. So the animal will be deprived of the temptation to chew on shoes or bite computer wires in your absence. Dogs of this breed are transported in cages, to which the pet will also have to be taught.
Important: do not use the cage and aviary as a punishment in cases where the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel “got” you too “overly sociable”. The dog will quickly figure out what the true purpose of this accessory is, and will earn an additional phobia.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are not customary to cut. Too often, combing them is also not worth it: the wool of the representatives of this breed has a silky structure and is almost not confused. Just brush your baby’s coat and enjoy the freedom from this duty for 5-7 days. The molting period is another matter. At this time, the “gentleman’s” hair needs daily brushing.
You can smooth the animal’s hair with a mitten: this is how dirt, dust, and dandruff are removed from it. Fluffy “footprints” left by Cavalier King Charles Spaniels on sofas and carpets are also easy to deal with. Even the most powerful vacuum cleaner sucks the hair of these dogs without problems. In addition, the wool of the “gentlemen” practically does not smell like a dog.
How often a dog is bathed is determined by its class. Show individuals are washed once a week with the use of a whole arsenal of means for smoothing and nourishing the hair, as well as giving it a noble shine. For pets, it is enough to have a bath once a month with shampoo and conditioner to make it easier to brush the coat. And don’t forget: the maximum allowed water temperature for the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is 39 ° C. The washed animal is dried with a towel and dried with a hairdryer. It is strongly not recommended to wrap the dog in a diaper and leave it to dry in it. Such experiments lead to hair loss and subsequent hair loss.
The most problematic organ of Cavalier King Charles Spaniels in the ears. Due to their hanging position, they are poorly ventilated, but they actively accumulate sulfur and pollution, so it is better to inspect and clean them more often. Your pet’s eyes should be checked every day, removing debris and mucus that accumulates in their corners with a cotton swab. In case of eye inflammation, you can rub it with chamomile broth. If the inflammation is pronounced, it is not forbidden to drop a couple of drops of albumin onto the mucous membrane. But from the tea infusion and boric acid solution, which are recommended to be used by “home-grown ophthalmologists” in dog forums, it is better to completely refuse.
The teeth of this breed are brushed twice a week, the claws are trimmed once every two weeks. After the walk, the paws of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel must be washed, and in winter they are smeared with vegetable oil or cream to protect them from the toxic effects of reagents.
Up to 4 months old, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are taken for walks as often as possible to train them to go to the toilet on the street. Starting from the 4th month of life, the number of walks is reduced, but their duration is increased. It is important to remember that Cavalier Kings do not need intense physical exertion and too long walks, but just standing with a pet under a tree will also not work.
It is better to walk the dog in areas where there is no asphalt. There, the animal can run properly without the risk of overworking and injuring its legs. If you really want to walk with your “gentleman” on the sidewalks, do not exceed the optimal limit for such walks of 40 minutes.
“Straight”, “drying” or both are all considered acceptable feeding types for Cavalier Kings. And yet, most experts prefer a natural diet as healthier. Consider the fact that the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is an obese breed when working on a menu for your pet. With an excessive amount of high-calorie food, the dog will instantly gain weight, but it will not always be able to lose it.
Necessary, from the point of view of benefits, products for “gentlemen” are lean meats, cereals, and also low-fat sour milk. By the way, this breed is very partial to “vegan” dishes, so in the summer season, more often introduce vegetable stews, fruit slices, and salads into your pet’s diet. In addition, many Cavalier Kings willingly eat berries, ground cucumbers, and zucchini. From time to time, it is helpful for dogs to give a yolk or quail egg.
- salty and spicy dishes;
- tubular bones;
- pork and any fatty meats;
- sour cream and cream;
- onion and garlic;
- pastries and white bread;
- river fish;
- pearl barley.
Owners who decide to regale the animal with industrial food should not forget about the breed’s predisposition to food allergies. In this case, you can only secure your pet by carefully studying the composition of the feed, so immediately dismiss the varieties in which “traces of the presence” of chicken or cereals were found.
It is difficult to train Cavalier King Charles Spaniels to use the tray, so the representatives of this breed have two options to send their “needs”: a street or a diaper. To instill in the pet the habit of going to the toilet while walking, he is taken outside immediately after eating or sleeping. If the method turns out to be ineffective, you can add a newspaper or a piece of cloth to which the dog went “in a small way” at home. An animal interested in a familiar smell usually remembers its own needs and sits down next to a wet diaper. Never scold a Cavalier King for puddles in the apartment, while praising the dog exaggeratedly for doing its “business” outside the house is very useful.
All hereditary diseases of Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are the end result of so-called line breeding and an overly limited genetic base. The first in the list of ailments, which affects about half of the “cavaliers” at the age of 5 years, is myxomatous degeneration of the valve or prolapse. The second scourge of the breed is syringomyelia (Chiari syndrome). An animal that has inherited this disease experiences discomfort and severe pain in the cervical spine, in the absence of timely treatment, leading to “twisting of the neck”.
The episodic fall syndrome is more difficult to diagnose than the two previous ailments, which does not prevent it from affecting a huge number of animals. The behavior of Cavalier Kings suffering from this disease is somewhat similar to the behavior of dogs with a back injury. They freeze in place for a long time, arch their backs while running and tighten their limbs while lying on their side. Another weak point of the breed is the joints. With age, many “Cavaliers” develop patellar instability, and most often it occurs in bitches. Syndromes of dry eyes and curly hair, which are very difficult to treat, spoil the life of pets.
How to Choose a Puppy
When choosing a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel puppy, you can follow the same principles as when buying any other purebred dog.
- Do not take babies from nurseries in which unsanitary conditions and disorder reign.
- To insure yourself against buying a sick animal, ask the breeder for the results of tests aimed at detecting genetic diseases in the puppy (dry eye syndromes, curly hair, episodic falls).
- The temperament of Cavalier King Charles Spaniels is independent of gender. Both females and males of this breed are equally affectionate and attached to the owner, so choose an animal according to your own preferences.
- Get to know the puppy’s parents and pedigree to avoid buying an inbreeding (closely related) animal.
- Choose a playful, curious toddler with a keen interest in toys. Lethargy and indecision in Cavalier King Charles Spaniel puppies indicate their physical and psychological exhaustion.