King Charles

King Charles

14-18 Pounds
12-14 Inches
10-15 Years
1-2 Hours Per Day


14-18 Pounds
12-14 Inches
10-15 Years
1-2 Hours Per Day

The Cavalier King Charles spaniel is an affectionate, intelligent dog breed with never-ending devotion. The spaniel is great with children and a pleasurable companion. It is ideal for empty nesters and family and was originally bred for flushing small birds.

Males weigh between 13 and 18 pounds, while females typically weigh between 10 to 18 pounds. Males are 13 inches tall at withers, and females are 12 inches tall. Some of the natural features that identify this dog breed are the long back and floppy ears.

They require less than 20 minutes of exercise each day and have a lifespan of 9 to 14 years.

The breed also has a low tendency to drool, snore, bark or dig. However, King Charles spaniels’ attention needs are high, and they need constant companionship owing to their playful nature. The Cavalier has a distinctive face with a gentle expression created by its large dark brown eyes.

The dog breed has a slightly rounded skull and a full muzzle. Long feathered ears, wide on the crown which fan forward slightly to frame the dog’s face when they are alert. They also feature a long neck set on top of sloping shoulders. The breed has a compact body with a moderately deep chest. While in motion, the tail is carried gaily.

The dog breed features a long, soft, and silky coat in four combinations:

  • White and red with a partial red mask and a white body with red patches
  • Black and white with tan points
  • Ruby
  • Black and tan

The Cavalier King Charles spaniels have a playful, intelligent, and highly affectionate personality. They do not have any shyness or aggression in them and are excellent with children. The breed is also easy to keep and love to cuddle while being the perfect lap dog. They do however need regular grooming to keep their coat shining.


The King Charles spaniel is a descendant of a small toy spaniel that appears in many 16th, 17th, and 18th century paintings of Northern Europe. Originally, this dog was bred to keep laps warm on chilly carriages and drafty castles. In an Olde English prescription written for the Queen of England, she is directed to keep the “comforte dog” on her lap to treat a cold. The breed was popular in Northern Europe during these periods plagued by the infamous Black Death or the bubonic plague.

The other job of the Cavalier was to attract fleas which would then spare their masters the bubonic plague, which was flea-transmitted. They made it possible for the masters to survive the plague that was ravaging sections of Europe and Asia at that time. It was rare to see King Charles II without two or three of them at his heels. A decree he wrote which is still in effect, declared that the spaniel would be accepted in any public place.

In these early days, breed standards were not that popular. However, toy spaniels generally featured flat heads, high-set ears, and pointed muzzles. By the mid-19th century, the English had already fashioned a new look of this dog breed with a standardized appearance. Modern descendants possessed flatter faces, domed skulls, and undershot jaws.

Early 1900 breeders tried to recreate earlier versions of the breed with much success. So, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel was born. The breeding of the King Charles spaniel in the United States went on at a limited rate in the 1950s. However, it was not until 1996 that the breed became fully recognized by the American Kennel Club.



The dog breed is prone to several major issues, including heart disease. About half of them will have developed Mitral Valve disease by age five, and almost all of them will have this disease by the age of 10. In the disease, the mitral valve between the left atrium and left ventricle of the heart does not function as it should. It will not close properly, and this will cause blood to leak backward into the left atrium. In other cases, the valve may be narrow, and the blood supply becomes problematic.

The heart condition eventually develops into congestive heart failure, which happens a few months after the MVD has occurred. King Charles’s spaniels with a heart murmur are at an increased risk of death, calling for medical intervention.

The breed is also known to suffer from allergies, hip dysplasia, luxating patellas, syringomyelia, and cataracts. Syringomelia is a common health condition that affects the brain and the spine. Symptoms of this illness include slight discomfort, severe pain, and even partial paralysis in other cases. These symptoms occur between 6 months and four years of age and are responsible for the dog breed’s eventual death if they are not treated early enough.

These the most common health issues that face the Cavalier King Charles spaniels:

  • Otitis- a middle ear infection
  • Conjunctivitis- a pink eye
  • UTI- urinary tract infection
  • Periodontal disease
  • Colitis
  • Dermatitis
  • Gastritis
  • Foreign body ingestion
  • Heart murmur
  • Soft tissue trauma

You should know all about these health issues before getting the breed as a pet. It will ensure that you know what symptoms you should watch out for. As such, you will be in a better position to take the dog for treatment the very moment it begins to show symptoms of any of the medical conditions that have been described above.

Interesting Facts

  • Did you know that Margaret Thatcher, Britain’s prime minister, loved King Charles spaniels? Princess Margaret, Queen Elizabeth II’s sister, kept a Cavalier companion known as Rowley for many years. The dog breed was famous among the royal families and the rich owing to their good and friendly nature.
  • During the bubonic plague, people used to take the dog to bed with them. The dogs were a popular flea magnet and used to get bitten instead of their masters. They kept their masters from getting the infection, and as such, their lives were saved by the spaniels.
  • Former President Ronald Reagan and his wife, Nancy, had a King Charles spaniel named Rex. The job of Rex as a first dog was turning the Christmas lights on with his paw. The dog had an amazing lifestyle, complete with a fancy doghouse designed by Theo Hayes.
  • King Charles’ love for these dogs was so powerful he was accused of neglecting the kingdom in favor of caring for them. He was popularly known as the Cavalier King, where the other part of the breed’s name originates.
  • Their different colors give them unique names. Tri-color dogs are known as Prince Charles, black and tan breeds are known as King Charles, mahogany-colored breeds go by the name Ruby and chestnut and white dogs are known as Blenheim.
  • Blenheim is the name of a battle the Duke of Marlborough went to in the early 1800s. He won the battle, and soon after, puppies had red spots on their heads. Many people believe it was due to the Duchess pressing her thumb against their forehead to soothe herself and the dogs.

Photos of King Charles

Here are some Bernese mountain dog photos for you to get a good picture of the breed.

King Charles Names

Female, Male, Inspired by size or by coat color















More About The King Charles

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