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Cavalier King Charles Spaniels: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

With their expressive eyes and gentle demeanor, it's impossible not to fall in love with the adorable Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. Interested in bringing one of these pups home? Here’s everything you need to prepare for your own royal Spaniel.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel


The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel origin traces back to the 17th century in the United Kingdom. The breed was named after King Charles II of England, who was rarely seen without his beloved Spaniels. The breed's rich history and connection to aristocracy have made it a symbol of elegance and grace. Some say they’re the “royal lap dog.”


You may recall a particularly famous animated Cavalier King Charles Spaniel named Lady from Disney’s Lady and the Tramp. Wasn’t she beautiful?

Known for their magnificent silky coats and big, beautiful eyes, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are downright charming. Look into those soulful eyes; they're sure to melt your heart.

Similar breeds

Looking for similar breeds to the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel? The English Toy Spaniel is of similar size and looks. This breed was also popular among British kings and queens for those who like royalty vibes.

You may also appreciate the English Springer Spaniel, American Cocker Spaniel, and Papillon.


The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel's temperament is affectionate and friendly. They also make for excellent therapy dogs! With such gentle personalities and loving natures, they're ideal companions for families, including those with young children. They adapt well and will feel at home wherever life takes you, from the city to the countryside.

If you want a playful pup, you're in for a treat. Cavalier King Charles Spaniels have an uncontainable sense of enthusiasm for fetching and chasing games. If you're throwing a ball, their tail is wagging.

Are Cavalier King Charles Spaniels hypoallergenic?

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is not considered a hypoallergenic breed. Its shedding can be a concern for those with allergies, so proper grooming and care are essential to minimize potential issues.

Looking for an allergy-friendly dog? We've got you covered with our guide to hypoallergenic breeds.

Illness/Health concerns

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are prone to a few health issues you'll want to watch out for. This includes Mitral Valve Disease (MVD), a heart problem that shows up in some older dogs.

A common joint issue in many dogs, hip dysplasia, is also prevalent among Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. This can later lead to arthritis.

You’ll also want to keep those long, floppy ears clean to prevent infections.

How big do Cavalier King Charles Spaniels get?

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels can weigh as much as 18 pounds, standing up to 13 inches tall. Whereas most breeds have significant differences between males and females, these dogs tend to be close in size.

How old a dog is and their general activity levels can affect their size in adulthood. If they’re a mixed breed, this can also change these figures.

Life expectancy

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel's life expectancy ranges from 9 to 14 years, depending on genetics, diet, and their overall care.

Expected lifetime cost

Raising a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel can cost around $12,000 to $15,000 over their lifetime. This estimate includes grooming, training, regular veterinary care, food, and plenty of treats.

Estimated cost to insure

Pet insurance is a sound investment for anyone with a soulful sidekick. For a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, pet insurance can range from $30 to $50 per month, on average. Age, health, and where you live will influence this cost.

The good, the bad, the ugly

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are fabulous, no doubt — but all dogs have quirks and behaviors that make them unique. Here are a few we think you should know about.

  1. Separation Anxiety: Cavalier King Charles Spaniels love their humans, but their strong attachment can lead to distress when left alone.

  2. Grooming Needs: That stunning, silky coat doesn’t take care of itself. Regular grooming is essential to maintain their natural beauty.

  3. Health Issues: These Spaniels are susceptible to a few health problems, including Mitral Valve Disease, hip dysplasia, and ear infections.

  4. Allergy Alert: Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are not hypoallergenic and may not be ideal for those with allergies sensitive to shedding.

  5. Exercise Needs: These pups have a high prey drive and love to chase things, so they’ll appreciate regular physical and mental exercise — just be careful around cars. They’ll chase those, too.

So you want a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel...

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel's affectionate nature and elegant appearance make for a truly beloved breed. If you’ve fallen for these pups (and who wouldn’t?), we hope this guide helps you prepare and make an informed decision. After all, a dog this regal deserves the royal treatment.

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