Cavalier Breed Information

The History of the Cavalier

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a breed with its history going back to the royalty in England as they were companions of King Charles I and Charles II. They are pictured in many old paintings from that era. They were known as a toy "Comforter" spaniel. In fact, the Cavalier was never bred to be anything other than a small, gentle pet - a beloved lap dog. But Cavaliers also were sporting in nature, enjoying a run outside the palace walls. Those breed characteristics have stayed with the Cavalier to this day, and are essential to a sound and happy Cavalier.

Appearance & Care

Cavaliers are bred in all four colors—Blenheim (rich chestnut and white); Ruby; Black & Tan; and Tricolor (black & white with tan points). Cavaliers are loved for their 'royal' appearance, with large, dark, "melting" eyes, and glamorous feathering and coat. In the show ring, AKC regulations state that NO trimming is allowed, as it is considered essential that the breed be left in its natural state. Cavaliers are easy to groom. They require only bathing and regular brushing. According to the AKC breed Standard (the 'blueprint' for the breed which describes the ideal dog), the Cavalier should be between 12-13" at the shoulder and weigh between 13-18 pounds. Some leeway is permitted.

Cavalier's Gentle, Friendly Personality

The Cavalier is a happy, gentle dog—not at all aggressive with other dogs or people. Indeed, many Cavalier owners will tell you that "you cannot have just one Cavalier!" Some people want a Cavalier in each of their four colors! Cavaliers are agreeable and very trainable—not only as a household pet, but also they can excel as a Therapy, Obedience, and Agility dog. Remember, though, that Cavaliers cannot always be trusted to come when they are called, especially if they are chasing a butterfly or following the flight of a bird. For most owners, a fenced yard and/or a leash is an important safety feature for their Cavalier.

Health Issues

As with all breeds of dogs, the Cavalier does have some breed-specific health issues. Owners should ask their veterinarian to be vigilant in checking for mitral valve disease of the heart, eye conditions including retinal problems & cataracts, slipping patellas, hip dysplasia, and SM (syringomyelia, a neurological condition). Cavaliers can and should be screened for all these health concerns. With proper screening and care, the majority of Cavaliers live comfortably into double digits. Regular brushing of their teeth and dental care are of particular importance, as neglecting your Cavalier's dental health can lead to mitral valve disease. Responsible breeders health regularly test their breeding animals, and will be happy to supply the puppy buyer with veterinary specialist certifications of health testing. Cavaliers are most commonly screened for heart problems, slipping patellas, and inherited eye conditions. Other testing may be more problematic due to inherent costs or what a breeder might regard as risk to the dog (general anesthesia, for example).

What Cavalier Owners Should Know

The prospective Cavalier buyer needs to take his or her time in searching for a responsible breeder. Unfortunately, the Cavalier's notoriety on some popular TV shows and as a celebrity pet has resulted in some less reliable breeders, commonly known as "puppy mills," whose only goal is on making a profit, and neglecting to health test or take proper care of their Cavaliers. We take pride at GingerSnap Cavaliers in having our Cavaliers tested annually by a Cardiologist and an Ophthalmologist at the University of Minnesota Small Animal Clinic, as well as providing them with routine veterinarian check-ups and vaccinations. We are happy to report that our Cavaliers have tested clear of any heart or eye problems.

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