Cavalier King Charles Spaniel pros and cons

By helloBARK!
Updated on 28 January 2020
Fact Checked


The perfect lap dog

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel are the quintessential lap dogs. Serving royal figures such as Charles I, Charles II, Queen Victoria and even Princess Margaret, these dogs love to cosy up to their owners. They crave companionship and enjoy to be in the company of humans. Indeed, these little dogs will follow their owners around the house wherever they go. Expect a permanent shadow! They are affectionate and love to plant a sloppy kiss on your face. It’s no surprise these dogs are such a hit on Instagram with their fluffy ears, big brown eyes and lush coats.

Good apartment dogs

Some dogs aren’t suited for apartments but the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a good fit. They’re a relatively low maintenance dog – at least in terms of exercise and space. They are one of the larger sized toy breeds but these regal dogs don’t take up a lot of space. Indeed, they’re very portable and you can easily accommodate them in a specially designed travel bag for dogs so you’ll have company on your daily errands.

Easy to train

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a companion dog and as a result, they love nothing more than to please their dog owners. So it isn’t really a surprise that they make quick learners. This is from their drive to keep their humans happy. As a result, they can learn basic obedience and more advanced commands from a young age. While they may not be as bright as the Border Collie, Poodle or German Shepherd, this breed still rank 44th out of 137 when it comes to the world’s most intelligent dogs.

Moderate amount of exercise

These dogs make idea companions for those who don’t have the ability or opportunity to do a lot of exercise. Elderly people who are unable to walk long distances are a good fit for the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. Single dog owners could also be a good fit provided they can meet the dog’s companionship needs. The breed require a moderate amount of exercise, which equates to an hour of exercise a day to keep these dogs happy and stimulated. While they may be great lap dogs, they still some short walks.

Good with children

If you’re looking for a dog that will make a good family pet, you’d be forgiven for thinking of a Golden Retriever or Labrador. The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a great option for young families looking for a dog. They are docile animals with an affectionate temperament. However, young children will need to be educated about how to handle this fragile toy breed. It is never advisable to leave a dog alone with a child, even if they are perceived to be family friendly.

Don’t bark a lot

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel doesn’t make a lot of noise. They rarely bark. While this is a good thing for those who live in an apartment complex or with neighbours effectively living on top of them, they’re not suited as guard dogs or watch dogs. Furthermore, their amiable nature means they’re more likely to be friendly to strangers rather than scare off unwanted visitors.

Read more: The best dog food for Cavalier King Charles Spaniels


Little Louie gets to grips with the snow (Photo: @heylittlelouie / Instagram)

Little Louie gets to grips with the snow (Photo: @heylittlelouie / Instagram)

Health problems

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel does suffer from a number of health problems that tend to affect a large portion of the breed. Most notable is heart disease. The condition is called Mitral valve heart disease and it’s the deterioration of one of the heart’s valves that can eventually lead to heart failure. Syringomyelia is another health problem that can affect the brain and spine of Cavaliers. Other issues include hip dysplasia, luxating patella, gum disease and slipped discs.

Regular grooming

While these dogs are low maintenance when it comes to exercise, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels do require regular grooming to maintain their coat’s beautiful appearance. If you want to prevent their fur from becoming matted, it is a good to give them a regular brush daily (or at the very least weekly). Not only that, but Cavalier owners are advised to give their elegant ears regular cleaning to prevent the build up of bacteria and infections.

Don’t like to be left alone

This toy breed love human company, which is a big positive. However, the downside is Cavalier King Charles Spaniels don’t like to be left alone for long periods. If you’re in a position where you can’t avoid leaving your dog alone for more than four hours a day, then this probably isn’t the right dog for you. You could always hire the services of a dog sitter or a dog walker if you’ve got your heart set on a CKCS. They’re known to suffer from separation anxiety, too. A dog camera could potentially help to provide a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel with some comfort if they’re home alone.


These adorable, fluffy-eared dogs don’t come cheap. The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Club of USA advises that a puppy could cost between $1800 and $3600 depending on a number of different factors. These include the prices of different breeders, the pup’s bloodline, any health issues it may have and whether it conforms to the breed’s standard (under AKC rules). There are number of Cavalier King Charles Spaniel rescues in both the United States and the United Kingdom.

Not hypoallergenic

When you search Cavalier King Charles Spaniels on Google, one term that is searched a lot is whether these dogs are hypoallergenic. However, these gorgeous spaniels aren’t a good fit for those who are allergic to dogs. While the AKC state on their website that no dog breed is completely hypoallergenic, they list 19 types of dog that are better than others for allergy sufferers. The Cavalier King Charles Spaniels aren’t on their list.

Can’t let off the leash

While the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel are companion dogs, they were also bred to scare birds during hunting seasons. Given they have a potential prey drive for small animals, it is not a good idea to walk a Cavalier off the leash. While some dog owners may feel comfortable doing so, it takes just one time for disaster to strike. Garden and yards should be well fenced to ensure these dogs don’t wander off in pursuit of a small bird or animal.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel are the 19th most popular dog in USA (Photo: Adobe Stock)

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel are the 19th most popular dog in USA (Photo: Adobe Stock)

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