Cavalier King Charles Spaniel pros and cons

By helloBARK!
Updated on 14 July 2021
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.

Zoey the Cav (@zoeymycav) (pictured above) said in her interview:

Zoey is as independent as she is attached. She is never not cute. She is always happy. Watching her sleep, or prance, play, train, pose for our shoots, always brings me joy and happiness in my heart.

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

Louie the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel (Photo: heylittlelouie / Instagram)

Louie the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel (Photo: heylittlelouie / Instagram)

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.

Louie (@heylittlelouie – pictured above) found that consistency is the key.

Consistency has been key with Louie, but overall he is not a difficult to dog to train. And, as long as there are treats around, Louie is a star little poser!

Moderate amount of exercise

Herky and Milton the Cavalier (Photo: @herkythecavalier / Instagram)

Herky and Milton the Cavalier (Photo: @herkythecavalier / Instagram)

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.

Herky and Milton’s mum (@herkythecavalier – pictured above) offered some advice where Cavalier exercise is concerned.

A good rule is about one hour walk per day. They are highly adaptable so if you want to exercise more, they will follow you no problem. They also have no issue being couch potatoes on rainy days.

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

Milton the Cavalier (Photo: @herkythecavalier / Instagram)

Milton the Cavalier (Photo: @herkythecavalier / Instagram)

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.

Herky and Milton (pictured above) are examples of Cavaliers who don’t bark much at all.

Generally, no they do not bark a lot. When strangers walk in, they are welcomed with tail wags and licks. There are the rare occasions where they will bark. It will usually be when they are startled or afraid of something. But in general, Cavaliers do not bark much.


Herky and Milton the Cavalier (Photo: @herkythecavalier / Instagram)

Herky and Milton the Cavalier (Photo: @herkythecavalier / 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.

Herky and Milton’s mom (pictured above) raised some health conditions that prospective owners should be aware of.

Cavaliers unfortunately are prone to a lot of genetically inherited diseases that are often fatal. To lower the chances of getting a cavalier with these diseases, make sure you research reputable breeders and ask for health certificates and clearances from specialists.

Regular grooming

Zoey the Cavalier (Photo: @zoeymycav / Instagram)

Zoey the Cavalier (Photo: @zoeymycav / Instagram)

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.

While Cavaliers require some maintenance, you can do a lot of their grooming routine at home. Here’s Zoey (pictured above) to explain more.

The most common question is: “Does she shed?” Yes, she does. That is the ONLY box she doesn’t check. She is not high maintenance as far as grooming, she’s never been to a groomer, I bathe and brush her myself at home. But she does she a lot. There will be dog fur on your clothes, blankets and car seat. And it’s all worth it. Get a robot vacuum and call it a day.

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

Herky and Milton the Cavalier (Photo: @herkythecavalier / Instagram)

Herky and Milton the Cavalier (Photo: @herkythecavalier / Instagram)

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.

Herky and Milton’s mum (pictured above) admitted that Cavalier’s shedding is one of their worst traits.

I would say this is the “worst trait” of Cavaliers. They shed so much that regular (daily) vacuuming and brushing is absolutely needed. I would not recommend this breed for people with allergies!

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.

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