Breed Spotlight: Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

4 min read
Jan 11, 2023

Facts about Cavalier King Charles Spaniel


9 – 15 years


10 – 18 lbs


12 – 15 Years




graceful, playful, affectionate 

Common Health Problems:

syringomyelia, mitral valve disease, eye conditions

Cavalier: How Do I Look?

Cavalier King Charles spaniels, known for their grace and beauty, are a toy breed with a silky and often richly colored coat.

Coat Type and Colors

Cavalier spaniels have wavy, silky, medium-length coats. Their colors include:

  • Black and Tan
  • Black and White (Tricolor)
  • Blenheim
  • Ruby

Drooling Level

In general, Cavalier spaniels are unlikely to have a drool problem.

Ears and Tails

Cavaliers have long, floppy ears feathered in hair. Their tails are not traditionally docked and, similarly to their ears, feature longer, wavy hair.

Shedding and Grooming

The Cavalier King Charles spaniel’s shedding level is moderate, and they should be bathed at least once a month. Their medium-length coats should be brushed three to four times per week to minimize tangles. The hair on their ears and legs is especially prone to matting, so pay special attention to these areas.

Cavalier Spaniel: Personality Traits

What My Adoption Bio Would Say:

With my silky coat and adorable face, I’m sure to be the prettiest pup at the party. But don’t let my good looks fool you! I’m a natural athlete and love a good squirrel chase every once in a while. Whatever your lifestyle is, I’m just happy to be involved. So whether you’re looking for a quiet lap dog or a playful companion, I’m the right dog for you!


The Cavalier King Charles spaniel’s temperament varies, but they are all attention-seekers and extremely affectionate. They are a difficult breed to generalize due to each individual dog’s uniqueness. Some Cavaliers are extremely quiet and lazy whereas others may be overly energetic and mischievous. Their behavior typically matches that of their owners.

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is not a simple breed to ‘generalize’ due to each individual dog being completely unique. Some Cavaliers are extremely quiet and lazy whereas others may be overly energetic and mischievous. The only generalization which may be made is they are all attention-seekers and they are all extremely affectionate.

Exercise Needs

Because each Cavalier has unique behaviors, exercise needs vary for this breed. You can generally expect your Cavalier spaniel to need 30 – 60 minutes of activity a day. A regular walking routine and occasional play is suitable for most.

Barking Level

Excessive barking is generally not a problem with Cavalier King Charles spaniels, but some can be fairly yappy.


The Cavalier King Charles spaniel is an intelligent breed and responds well to training. Cavaliers are very sensitive though, so be sure not to hurt their feelings throughout the training process. Positive reinforcement is a must, ensuring a smooth training process.

Housetraining can be a struggle for some Cavaliers, but most accidents and issues can be resolved with a consistent routine.

Good With Kids?

The Cavalier King Charles spaniel is very good with children and quickly becomes part of the family.

If you’re interested in owning a dog that’s great with families, check out these other breeds that are great with children.

Good With Other Pets?

Cavaliers are very friendly with other pets and will generally get along nicely with other dogs.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel History

The Cavalier originates from the United Kingdom and shared the same breeding history with the English Toy spaniel until 1920.3 King Charles I and his son Charles II were highly devoted to the breed that was eventually named in honor of Charles II.

Fun fact, Cavaliers make excellent therapy dogs because they were bred to be a comforting companion.4

Common Cavalier Spaniel Mixes

Some of the more popular Cavalier breed mixes include:

  • Cavapoo: a Cavalier and poodle mix
  • Cockalier: a Cavalier and cocker spaniel mix
  • Cav-a-Mo: a Cavalier and American Eskimo mix
  • Cav-a-Jack: a Cavalier and Jack Russell terrier mix
  • Cavapom: a Cavalier and Pomeranian mix
  • King Charles Yorkie: a Cavalier and Yorkshire terrier mix
  • Golden Cavalier: a Cavalier and golden retriever mix
  • Cava-Corgi: a Cavalier and corgi mix
  • King Schnauzer: a Cavalier and schnauzer mix

10 Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Health Problems

Cavalier spaniels may experience a variety of health issues, including:5

  • Cataracts
  • Colitis: inflammatory reaction in the colon
  • Conjunctivitis: pink eye
  • Dermatitis: an inflammatory skin disease typically caused by allergies
  • Entropion: condition where the eyelid grows inward
  • Gastritis: inflammation of the stomach lining
  • Hip dysplasia: painful skeletal condition affecting the hips
  • Middle ear infections: serious condition that can lead to hearing loss
  • Mitral valve disease: heart condition that leads to a lack of oxygen supply to the blood
  • Patella Luxation: a kneecap that moves out of its normal position
  • Periodontal disease: a serious gum injection
  • Syringomyelia: a painful neurological condition

Protect your Pets

Even the healthiest of pups can come with unexpected vet costs. Pet insurance can help keep your dog and your bank account happy.

How Pet Insurance Can Help Cavalier King Charles Spaniels

The Cavalier is prone to several costly health issues. A MetLife dog insurance policy may help cover the cost of diagnosis or treatment for some of these issues.1,2

Patella Luxation

A luxating patella means the dog’s kneecap is out of place or dislocated. This condition affects many toy and small dog breeds, including the Cavalier.6 Severe cases require surgery and more minor cases can lead to other costly knee injuries.

Mitral Valve Disease

Mitral valve disease is a common health condition found in Cavaliers. It typically begins as a heart murmur or mitral valve insufficiency and can progress to heart failure.7 Diagnosing mitral valve disease can require expensive testing, such as x-rays, electrocardiograms, and ultrasounds. Treatment can include heart medications, and in most severe cases surgery.


Syringomyelia is a neurological disorder caused by an underlying condition called chiari-like malformation where the brain is too large for the skull.8 Cavalier King Charles spaniels are one of the breeds most affected by syringomyelia. An MRI is helpful in diagnosing syringomyelia, and most cases will require pain relieving medication.

These are only some of the more expensive conditions your Cavalier may experience in their lifetime. Understanding how pet insurance works can help you prepare for expenses related to diagnosing and treating your Cavalier. Signing up for a dog insurance policy when your Cavie is a puppy may also help ensure they have coverage before issues become pre-existing conditions.

Protect your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel with Pet Insurance

Enroll in 3 Easy Steps

Nothing in this article should be construed as financial, legal or veterinary advice. Please consult your own advisors for questions relating to your and your pet’s specific circumstances.

1 Pet Insurance offered by MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is underwritten by Independence American Insurance Company (“IAIC”), a Delaware insurance company, headquartered at 485 Madison Avenue, NY, NY 10022, and Metropolitan General Insurance Company (“MetGen”), a Rhode Island insurance company, headquartered at 700 Quaker Lane, Warwick, RI 02886, in those states where MetGen’s policies are available. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is the policy administrator authorized by IAIC and MetGen to offer and administer pet insurance policies. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC was previously known as PetFirst Healthcare, LLC and in some states continues to operate under that name pending approval of its application for a name change. The entity may operate under an alternate, assumed, and/or fictitious name in certain jurisdictions as approved, including MetLife Pet Insurance Services LLC (New York and Minnesota), MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions Agency LLC (Illinois), and such other alternate, assumed, or fictitious names approved by certain jurisdictions. 

2 Provided all terms of the policy are met. Application is subject to underwriting review and approval. Like most insurance policies, insurance policies issued by IAIC and MetGen contain certain deductibles, co-insurance, exclusions, exceptions, reductions, limitations, and terms for keeping them in force. For costs, complete details of coverage and exclusions, and a listing of approved states, please contact MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC. 

3 “Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Breed Information,” American Kennel Club, 2022

4 “Therapy Dogs,” Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Club, 2021

5 “Cavalier King Charles Spaniel,” PetMD, 2009

6 “Luxating Patella in Dogs,” VCA Animal Hospitals, 2022

7 “Mitral Valve Disease in Dogs,” VCA Animal Hospitals, 2022

8 “Syringomyelia and Chiari-Like Malformation,” VCA Animal Hospitals, 2022