The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is one of the largest toy breeds. The tail is usually not docked, and the Cavalier should have a silky coat of moderate length. Standards state that it should be free from curl, although a slight wave is allowed. Feathering can grow on their ears, feet, legs and tail in adulthood. Standards require this be kept long, with the feathering on the feet a particularly important aspect of the breed’s features.
The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and the English Toy Spaniel can be often confused with each other. In the United Kingdom, the English Toy Spaniel is called the King Charles Spaniel while in the United States, one of the colours of the Toy Spaniel is known as King Charles. The two breeds share similar history and only diverged from each other about 100 years ago. There are several major differences between the two breeds, with the primary difference being the size. While the Cavalier weighs on average between 10 to 18 pounds (4.5 to 8.2 kg), the King Charles is smaller at 9 to 12 pounds (4.1 to 5.4 kg). In addition their facial features while similar, are different; the Cavalier’s ears are set higher and its skull is flat while the King Charles’s is domed. Finally the muzzle length of the Cavalier tends to be longer than that of its King Charles cousin.
The breed has four recognized colours. Cavaliers which have rich chestnut markings on a pearly white background are known as Blenheim.Black and Tan are dogs with black bodies with tan highlights, particularly eyebrows, cheeks, legs and beneath the tail. Black and Tan is referred to as “King Charles” in the King Charles spaniel. Ruby Cavaliers should be entirely chestnut all over, although some can have some white in their coats. The fourth colour is known as Tricolour, which is black and white with tan markings on cheeks, inside ears, on eyebrows, inside legs, and on underside of tail. This colour is referred to as “Prince Charles” in the King Charles Spaniel.
The breed is highly affectionate, playful, extremely patient and eager to please. As such, dogs of the breed are good with children and other dogs. Cavaliers are not shy about socialising with much larger dogs. They will adapt quickly to almost any environment, family, and location and suit city and country life. Their ability to bond with larger and smaller dogs makes them ideal in houses with more than one breed of dog as long as the other dog is trained. The breed is great with people of all ages, from children to seniors, making them a very versatile dog. Cavaliers rank 44th in Stanley Coren’s The Intelligence of Dogs, being of average intelligence in working or obedience. Cavaliers are naturally curious and playful, but also enjoy simply cuddling up on a cushion or lap, making them excellent companion or lap dogs for medical patients and the elderly.
Cavaliers are active and sporting. Cavaliers are successful in conformation shows, obedience and agility and they also make wonderful therapy dogs due to their sweet, gentle natures. The breed is adaptable in their need for exercise, happy with either sleeping on the couch or taking long walks.
Some cavaliers can suffer from luxating patella, eye conditions such as cataracts and earproblems, a common health problem among spaniels of various types, Patella luxation, eye conditions, heart murmurs and ear infections.