The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

This page is designed to give you more information about the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. This information is based on years of experience with the breed, along with countless hours of study. If you have further questions about the Cavalier, please email us at

History Of The Cavalier King Charles

  • King Charles II (1630-1685) was the monarch of England, Scottland and Wales. He was rarely ever seen without having spaniels near him at his feet. During this time there were no dog registries, dog shows or serious dog breeders. These spaniels though was portrayed in paintings. In fact, King Charles II made a law allowing that the King Charles Spaniel be accepted into any public building included the Houses of Parliament. By the 1850’s, England started taking dog breeding and showing very seriously. Over many decades of breeding along with a financial incentive by American Roswell Eldridge the breed of Cavalier King Charles Spaniel came to fruition in 1928.
  • Miss Mostyn Walker’s dog “Ann’s Son” was the first official Cavalier King Charles and in Crufts the club drew the standard using “Ann’s Son” and the paintings of old to create the standard breed. It wasn’t until 1945 the Kennel Club (British) recognized it as it’s own breed. The breed suffered tremendous setbacks as a result of WWII. Only 6 Cavalier Kings Charles Spaniels survived the war because of food shortages and all Cavaliers today come from the same 6 Cavaliers.
  • The first recorded Cavalier living in America was in 1956 by W. Lyon Brown and Elizabeth Spalding. They started the Cavalier King Charles Club USA. The American Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Club was created in 1994 and in 1995 the AKC recognized the breed and the ACKCSC as it’s parent club.
  • The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is ranked as the 18th most popular pure-breed in the US.

Personality Of The Cavalier King Charles

The hallmark of this breed is it’s exceptional loving and gentle temperament. Unlike many other small breeds

that are very vocal and aggressive, the Cavalier is loving, kind, gentle and loyal.

They are very social and able to handle new people and new environments. They do well in small apartments and do not need a lot of exercise. They love to be lap dogs and will follow their owners around from room to room.

They are naturally dependent and desires to be with people. They are very good with strangers, with children and with other animals. They are not very vocal and do not shed very much. They are patient and kind. They are highly affectionate and loves to give kisses. They do well in both city and country living. They rank well above average in intelligence. They require brushing weekly but no trimming is necessary.

Coloration Of The Cavalier King Charles

There are 4 recognized color combinations for the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

  1. Blenheim– this is beautiful chestnut/red markings along with white. The name comes in honor of the Blenheim Palace where John Churchill raised Cavalier King Charles Spaniels in the early part of the 18th century.
  2. Tricolor– this has the chestnut, white and black markings. The ears and area around eyes are black separated by white hair. This is the most rare of the colors.
  3. Ruby– this is entirely chestnut. They could have some white but almost entirely brown.
  4. Black/Tan– these have black and chestnut almost completely.

Health Issues To Consider

Because of WWII, all Cavalier’s come from the same 6 Cavalier’s that survived the war. As a result of this called “founder effect” nearly 100% of Cavalier’s suffer from mitral valve disease. It is by far the number one cause of death in the disease causing death in 42.8% of Cavaliers. 12.3% of Cavaliers die of cancer and 12.2% die of old age.

Mitral Valve Disease is a disorder of the heart where the mitral valve doesn’t close properly when the heart pumps out blood. The first signs of MVD is a heart murmur. A cavalier can live their entire lives with a heart murmur but it is the first sign. Annual check-ups with your vet to check for heart murmurs are necessary. Over 50% of Cavaliers will have a heart murmur by 5 and 100% of them will have one by age 10. Again, a heart murmur is an early sign but doesn’t mean the pup has MVD.

The average lifespan of a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel varies greatly between 9-14 years. A dog that develops MVD lives typically only till around 10-11 years of age. To help lower the chance of your pup developing this, The Trained Cavalier health tests every adult prior to breeding them. They are given a cardiac exam every year and if they fail they are no longer bred.

Also, Recherche Cavs purchases their Cavalier from the best breeders of Cavaliers in the world today. Their are generations of health testing to help limit the chances and lengthen the life span of our pups. Again, almost 100% of all Cavaliers will have signs of MVD by 10 years of age so there is no screening that will fully protect but Recherche Cavs is doing everything possible to lengthen the life of our pups by only breeding healthy screened breeding stock.

The second most common illness with Cavalier King Charles Spaniels is hip dysplasia. 12.6% of Cavaliers are dysplastic which can cause lameness and discomfort. Each Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is hip tested and scored by either OFA (Orthopedic Foundation of America), BVA (British Veterinary Association) or PennHip prior to breeding.

Cavaliers do not suffer from serious eye problems typically. Some diseases like juvenile cataracts, retinal dysplasia are possibilities. Because of this The Trained Cavalier has each cavalier tested by a board certified ophthalmologist every year and given an eye clearance to breed.

All toy breeds can be prone to patella luxation. Patella luxation is where the knee cab rides outside the femoral grove when the knee is bent. Again, every breeding adult is tested and has a passed certification for patella luxation prior to breeding.

If you are interested in adding a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel to your family, we encourage you to check out our Available Pups page. Our pups are the highest quality fully-trained Cavaliers available, and we believe they would make an excellent addition to your home.

All Cavaliers Below Are Produced By Us and Are Sold