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  • Writer's pictureSteve Rigden

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, with its expressive eyes and beautiful silky coat, is a breed that embodies elegance and grace, yet thrives on companionship and affection. This toy spaniel, weighing between 13 to 18 pounds, is not just a lap dog but a lively and adaptable companion, renowned for its friendly and non-aggressive demeanor.

### History

The breed's origins can be traced back to the 17th century in England, where small spaniels were popular among the nobility and royals, including King Charles II, who was so fond of his spaniels that they were named in his honor. The breed as we know it today was developed mainly in the 1920s, by American Roswell Eldridge, who sought to revive the longer-nosed spaniels depicted in historic paintings. This quest led to the distinction of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel from the King Charles Spaniel (English Toy Spaniel in the US), with the Cavalier being the larger, with a more pronounced nose, and more active of the two.

### Temperament and Trainability

Cavaliers are known for their gentle and affectionate nature, making them excellent companions for families with children. They are remarkably adaptable, equally content to snuggle on a couch or participate in family activities. Their eagerness to please, combined with their intelligence, makes them highly trainable. They respond best to positive reinforcement techniques such as praise, play, and food rewards. However, their sensitivity means they do not respond well to harsh training methods. Cavaliers excel in various canine sports like obedience, rally, and agility, showcasing their versatility and trainability.

### Relationship with Children

Their kind and gentle nature makes Cavalier King Charles Spaniels excellent pets for families with children. They are patient and tolerant, often forming strong bonds with younger members of the family. Their playful demeanor makes them a great playmate for kids. However, like with all breeds, interactions between dogs and young children should always be supervised to ensure the safety of both the child and the dog.

### Health Issues

While Cavaliers are generally healthy, they are predisposed to certain genetic conditions. The most significant health concerns include Mitral Valve Disease (MVD), a heart condition that is common in older Cavaliers, and Syringomyelia (SM), a serious condition affecting the brain and spine, caused by malformation of the skull reducing the space for the brain. Early detection and management are crucial for these conditions. Other health concerns can include hip dysplasia, certain eye disorders, and ear infections due to their long ears. Regular check-ups with a veterinarian can help catch and manage these issues early.

### Care and Lifestyle

Cavaliers do well in a variety of living situations, from apartments to homes with large yards, as long as they have access to daily exercise to keep them fit and prevent obesity. Their coat requires regular grooming to prevent mats and tangles, especially around the ears and feet. Being sociable animals, they thrive on interaction and do not like to be left alone for long periods.

In conclusion, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a breed that combines elegance with a joyful disposition, making them not just a pet, but a beloved member of the family. Their adaptability, intelligence, and affectionate nature make them an excellent choice for families, singles, and seniors alike, provided their health needs are met and they are given plenty of love and companionship.

We have trained many many Cavaliers in the last 35 years. In the UK they are a fairly common breed of dog to own. This is because of their size and personality , but mainly because they are fantastic with children. They still require training to know how to behave around children, but they are excellent dogs to have as a family companion.

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