Photo by Don DeBold
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel - Breed Profile:
Origin: United Kingdom
Physical characteristicsThe Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is an elegant toy dog with expressive round eyes. The head is well-proportioned to the body, neither large nor too small. The body is slightly longer than tall, with a moderately deep chest. The topline is level. The long pendent ears are set high and well-feathered. The large eyes are dark brown, with dark eye rims. Cushioning underneath the eyes gives the breed its distinctive soft expression. The muzzle is short, full and slightly tapering. The teeth should meet in a scissor bite. The tail is carried happily but never much above the level of the back. The gait is free and elegant.
Cavies weigh 13 to 18 pounds, and their height is 12 to 13 inches. Some larger males may weigh up to 22-25 pounds.
TemperamentCavalier King Charles Spaniels are affectionate dogs with naturally good manners. This comfort-loving breed adores cuddling in laps and snuggling on soft pillows, but it also has more athletic instincts than you might think. Adaptable, they are good for both city and country life. Very enthusiastic and sociable, they need a lot of companionship. Cavies shouldn't be left alone all day as it can make them very unhappy. Like any other dog, they need daily physical exercise and sufficient stimulation for the mind. They are easy to train and eager to please. Well-balanced Cavies get along well with other dogs and non-canine pets. They tend to be reserved with strangers. Be sure to become the dog's leader, as well as to socialize the puppy well.
Coat and groomingThe coat is moderately long, silky, and free of curls. Slight waviness is OK. Cavies have long feathering on the ears, chest, legs and tail. Feathering on the feet is a feature of the breed. Show dogs must not be trimmed, except for the hair growing between the pads on the underside of the feet. The hair on the ears is prone to tangling and matting, so Cavies should be groomed often.
Cavaliers come in solid ruby, black-and-tan, tri-color and Blenheim colours. The latter is rich chestnut on a pearly white background.
Photo by Sarah
HealthThe ears should be cleaned on a regular basis. Prone to obesity, so do not overfeed. Cavaliers don't do well in very warm conditions. Some lines are genetically disposed to mitral valve disease. It is a serious heart problem that sometimes causes an early death. Other health concerns are syringomyelia, hereditary eye disease, dislocating kneecaps (patella), and back troubles.
Other interesting factsDue to their hunting heritage, Cavaliers have an instinct to chase. These dogs do well in competitive obedience.
For centuries, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel (named after King Charles II of Britain) has been recorded in paintings and tapestries together with their aristocratic families. Obviously, Cavaliers were a luxury item and lived "the easy life" as pets and companions.
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