Are you considering adding a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel to your family? Before making this important decision, it’s crucial to familiarize yourself with the key aspects of owning this beloved breed. In this article, we will explore 10 essential things you should know about Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, including their unique history, medical considerations, personality traits, exercise needs, and more. By understanding these factors, you’ll be better equipped to provide the love, care, and attention these wonderful dogs deserve.
1. Not the actual breed
The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel that we know today is not the original representation of the breed owned by King Charles the 2nd of England. In the past, breeders preferred a different look for the spaniels, with a dome-shaped head and a flat nose. To achieve these features, they crossed the spaniels with bulldogs, resulting in the breed known as the King Charles Spaniel.
However, in the 1920s, a man named Roswell Eldridge aimed to recreate the breed as depicted in portraits of King Charles the 2nd. He was determined to bring back the spaniels with a more pronounced muzzle and a flat skull, similar to those seen in historical artworks. Eldridge even offered a monetary prize for anyone who could produce a dog resembling the old breed. Unfortunately, Eldridge passed away before seeing his wish come true.
In 1928, a woman named Mostyn Walker presented a dog named Ann’s son at the London dog show, and this dog had all the desired features that Eldridge wanted to see. Thus, Ann’s son became the ancestor of all the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel we have today. Thanks to the efforts of breed enthusiasts and dedicated breeders, the breed was revived and gained recognition as a separate breed, distinct from the King Charles Spaniel.
The journey of the breed from its early roots to its current form is a fascinating tale that highlights the efforts of dedicated breeders to revive and preserve a beloved heritage.
2. Medical Issues
Like any dog breed, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel are prone to several medical problems, partly due to being a purebred breed. The strict breeding regulations set by kennel clubs limit the gene pool, making them more susceptible to genetic diseases. While they are generally healthy dogs, it’s important to be aware of potential health issues associated with the breed.
Common health problems in Cavaliers include slipping patella (knee joint issues), syringomyelia (a neurological condition), hip dysplasia, seizures, heart murmurs, and a weak immune system. Additionally, they are prone to dental issues, ear infections, and obesity if not properly cared for.
To reduce the risk of these health problems, it is crucial to choose a reputable breeder who conducts health screenings and genetic testing on their breeding dogs. Regular veterinary check-ups, a balanced diet, proper exercise, and maintaining good dental hygiene are also essential for their overall well-being.
3. Separation Anxiety
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel are social dogs that thrive on human companionship. They often form strong bonds with their favorite individuals and enjoy being close to them. However, this can lead to separation anxiety when they are left alone for long periods, as they may feel lonely and distressed.
Due to their need for companionship, it is highly recommended that Cavaliers be placed in homes where someone is around most of the time. Single people, couples with busy lifestyles, or those who are frequently away from home may find it challenging to meet the social needs of a Cavalier. It is advisable to consider this factor before bringing one into your life.
If you do decide to get a Cavalier and anticipate periods of separation, hiring a pet sitter or getting another dog as a companion can help alleviate separation anxiety. However, it’s important to ensure that the other dog is not too large, as it may unintentionally harm the Cavalier due to their size difference. Proper training, gradual desensitization to being alone, and creating a stimulating environment can also assist in managing separation anxiety in Cavaliers.
4. They are Excellent Therapy Dogs
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel make wonderful therapy dogs. Therapy dogs are trained to provide comfort, support, and a calming presence to people in various settings, including hospitals, nursing homes, and courtrooms. Their mere presence can bring smiles, hope, and laughter to individuals going through challenging times.
Cavaliers possess qualities that make them well-suited for therapy work. Their affectionate nature, gentle disposition, and trainability make it easy for them to connect with people and provide emotional support. They are highly receptive to human emotions and can sense when someone is in need of comfort.
With their soulful eyes and loving demeanor, Cavaliers are known to brighten the lives of those they interact with. Their ability to adapt to different situations and their willingness to be close to people make them exceptional therapy dogs. Whether it’s comforting a patient in a hospital bed or bringing joy to a child with special needs, Cavaliers have a natural gift for spreading happiness.
5. Be careful around children
While Cavalier King Charles Spaniel are generally docile and gentle, it is important to be cautious when they are around children. Due to their small size, children may unintentionally hurt them by petting too roughly or accidentally dropping them. In response to pain or discomfort, any dog, including Cavaliers, may react defensively.
To prevent any incidents, it is crucial to supervise interactions between children and Cavaliers. Teaching children proper petting techniques and gentle handling is essential to ensure the safety and well-being of both the child and the dog. By fostering a respectful and nurturing relationship between children and Cavaliers, the risk of accidental harm can be minimized.
Additionally, it is important to educate children about dog behavior and establish boundaries to prevent any misunderstandings. Teaching them to respect the dog’s space and understand their cues can help create a positive and safe environment for both parties.
6. Not a good guard dog
If you’re seeking a fiercely protective guard dog, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is not the best choice. Cavaliers are social and friendly dogs, often open to strangers and lacking the strong guarding instincts of some other breeds. They are not typically inclined to bark excessively or exhibit aggressive behavior.
While Cavaliers can provide some level of alertness by notifying their owners of approaching individuals, their primary qualities lie in their affectionate nature and ability to bring joy to people’s lives. They are more likely to greet visitors with wagging tails and cuddles rather than suspicion or hostility.
However, it’s important to note that individual personalities can vary within the breed. Some Cavaliers may show more protective instincts than others. Early socialization and training can help shape their behavior, but it’s essential to have realistic expectations about their guarding abilities.
7. No special access
There is a popular urban myth that King Charles the 2nd of England issued a decree allowing Cavalier King Charles Spaniel entry into any public place, including churches and the House of Parliament. The story suggests that King Charles wanted to bring his pet dog to church services due to their calm and gentle temperament.
However, there is no historical evidence to support this claim. So, while Cavaliers are known for their well-mannered behavior, it’s best not to assume special access rights based on a fictional decree. Always abide by the rules and regulations of public places and respect the policies in effect.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel are generally welcome in many public spaces and establishments that allow dogs. However, it’s important to remember that individual businesses and organizations have the right to establish their own policies regarding dog access. Before taking your Cavalier to any public place, it’s advisable to check their policies regarding dog entry and follow any guidelines provided.
8. Fencing is a must
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel are curious and adventurous dogs, making them prone to wandering off if given the opportunity, particularly in suburban or rural environments. Their friendly nature and small size can put them at risk when exploring beyond the boundaries of their home.
To ensure the safety of your Cavalier, it is crucial to have proper fencing around your property. A securely fenced yard will prevent them from wandering away, potentially encountering dangerous situations such as traffic or encountering aggressive dogs. Additionally, a fence will provide them with a secure and defined space to enjoy outdoor activities safely.
When choosing a fence for your Cavalier, make sure it is of appropriate height and securely installed to prevent them from jumping over or digging under it. Regularly inspect the fence for any gaps, loose boards, or other potential escape routes to ensure that your Cavalier remains safe and secure.
9. They are Easy to Groom
Grooming is an essential aspect of dog care, and some breeds require extensive maintenance to keep their coats in good condition. Fortunately, grooming a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is relatively easy and enjoyable for both the owner and the dog.
The Cavalier’s coat is not excessively deep or thick, making it more manageable than some other breeds. Their fur is remarkably soft and silky, which adds to their charm. Regular brushing, preferably two to three times a week, is usually sufficient to keep their coat in good shape and prevent matting. Occasional bathing, as needed, helps maintain their cleanliness.
To brush your Cavalier, use a soft-bristle brush or a slicker brush to remove any tangles or loose hairs. Pay close attention to areas such as the ears, chest, and feathering on the legs, as these areas are more prone to matting. Gently comb through the fur, being careful not to pull or tug on any knots.
Additionally, paying attention to their ears, teeth, and nails is crucial for their overall health and well-being. Cleaning their ears regularly, brushing their teeth, and trimming their nails when necessary are important parts of the grooming routine.
Maintaining dental hygiene is also crucial for your Cavalier’s overall health. Brush their teeth regularly using a dog-specific toothbrush and toothpaste. This helps prevent tartar buildup, gum disease, and bad breath. Additionally, trimming your Cavalier’s nails when needed prevents them from becoming too long and uncomfortable for your dog.
10. Finding the Right Pup
When considering adding a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel to your family, it is important to find the right puppy from a reputable source. Contacting a registered breeder is highly recommended to ensure the health, temperament, and quality of the puppy.
Reputable breeders often have a thorough screening process and may ask you questions about your living situation, work-life balance, and family dynamics to assess your suitability as a potential owner. They have extensive knowledge of the breed and can guide you in making an informed decision.
While you may have specific preferences for a puppy, it’s essential to trust the breeder’s expertise and consider their recommendations. They have the breed’s best interests at heart and are committed to ensuring that each puppy finds a suitable and loving home. Collaborating with a responsible breeder will increase the likelihood of finding a healthy and well-adjusted Cavalier King Charles Spaniel that will bring joy to your life for years to come.
If you’re open to the idea of adopting a Cavalier, consider checking rescue organizations and shelters. There are oftenCavalier King Charles Spaniel in need of loving homes, and adopting a rescue dog can be a rewarding experience. Rescue organizations provide a second chance for these dogs and can match you with a Cavalier that fits well with your lifestyle and preferences.
In conclusion, owning a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel can be a rewarding and fulfilling experience. However, it’s important to be aware of certain aspects of their breed’s history, health issues, and specific needs. Understanding their unique personality, potential medical concerns, and the importance of proper care and socialization will help ensure a happy and harmonious relationship with your Cavalier. With the right knowledge and commitment, these affectionate and lovable companions can bring immense joy and companionship to your life.