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The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a small spaniel considered a toy dog breed by The Kennel Club and the American Kennel Club (AKC). The Cavalier secured Kennel Club status in 1944.

  Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
  Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Originally known as the King Charles Spaniel, this dog breed has changed over time due to interbreeding with pugs. Once the pug was introduced into the bloodline the breed exhibited a flatter nose, upturned face, rounded head and protruding eyes. The Cavalier was bred in the twentieth century in an attempt to restore the line to King Charles II's time.

Although related, the Cavalier is considered a completely separate breed from the King Charles Spaniel, which exhibits more pug-like characteristics.

The Cavalier breed is very popular in the United Kingdom and over the past few years has grown in popularity in the United States. These dogs are extremely social and patient, making them a very adaptable breed, well-suited for city or country life.

Cavaliers weigh an average of 18 pounds and live about 9-14 years. This affectionate yet elegant breed can develop a "small dog syndrome" and it is important to socialize them and establish good relationships with them. The Cavalier does not do well in intense heat and should be groomed accordingly. Their coats come in four colors: Blenheim (chestnut and white); Tricolor; Ruby; and Black and Tan.

Cavalier Breed Associated Health Problems

  • Hydrosyringomyelia — Distention of the central canal of the spinal cord, which then forms cavities and degenerates
  • Cardiac Valve Disease
  • Chiari-like Malformation — The back part of the skull is too small for the parts of the brain that are contained therein (the cerebellum and brainstem). These push against the opening from the skull to the spinal canal, causing obstruction and abnormal movement and pressure of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), which normally flows easily. The abnormal pressures cause the development of fluid-filled cavities (syrinxes) within the spinal cord.
  • Congestive Heart Failure
  • Otitis Media with Effusion (also known as "Glue Ear") — When there is thick or sticky fluid behind the eardrum in the middle ear.
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy — The retina either stops developing prematurely or the light receptors begin to degenerate early in life.