Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Temperament (Is it The “Perfect” Dog?)

Is the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Temperament the perfect dog temperament? You be the judge. We will share the good and bad Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Temperament and personality traits. As well as highlight other important things you need to know before you settle on this popular breed.

Photo of Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Balck And Brown Portrait

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Temperament

Although the Cavalier may look dainty, remember that appearances are deceiving! This is a sturdy, active and outgoing dog who is just as happy to go for a long walk as he is to curl up on the couch with you for a cuddle.

Friendly and Loving (Towards Everyone)

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel temperament makes him loving toward everyone – whether they have met them before or not.

The Licker

If you don’t enjoy getting your face getting licked, then the Cavalier is not the dog for you. This dog is such a lovebug that he will use any means at his disposal to prove it to you – including that sloppy tongue of his!

Cavaliers also get on very well with other dogs but they may chase other small pets. They can learn to live in harmony with other animals if you allow them to get used to them while they are puppies.

They Have the Ideal Temperament for Children

Of all the dog temperaments I've encountered over the years, I believe the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel temperament is the perfect companion for a child.

Photo of Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Outdoor Portrait

He’s always happy, and he’s just as affectionate. Because they are small, friendly and non-threatening dogs, Cavaliers are particularly suited to children who are nervous around dogs.

The Cavalier is a patient breed and will cheerfully sit on his young master's lap and allow the child to brush his long, soft coat.

Because of their sweet and affectionate nature, these little dogs are also a great choice for senior citizens or even first-timers who have never owned a dog before.

Poor Watchdogs

Their friendly, trusting nature betrays them when it comes to protecting and alerting their masters.

That's another way to say he’s not the best watchdog – and an even worse guard dog.

He may bark when someone arrives at your home, but he will be eager to meet them and will welcome them with enthusiasm.

Timid

Another possible issue with the Cavalier temperament is timidity.

If you don’t give them the opportunity to socialize with lots of people and other dogs while they are still young, they can grow up to become nervous in unfamiliar situations.

Photo of Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Portrait White Background

This is a great reason to take your Cavalier to puppy pre-school and to continue their training as they grow into adulthood.

Needy

Separation anxiety is the most significant problem associated with the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel temperament. They become very attached to their owners and hate being alone.

They can become destructive and/or bark non-stop, which doesn't exactly make you popular with your neighbors.

Cavaliers are happiest when their owner is home with them for a large part of the day.

They are best suited for retirees or families with a work-at-home mom or dad.

If you must leave your Cavalier alone on the regular, I recommend that you have two dogs to keep each other company.

Strong Prey Drive

All Spaniels are hunting dogs, and despite their sweet, gentle nature, the Cavalier will chase if you give him the chance.

He may pursue other small animals, or even cars and bikes, which can end in disaster. Worse still, he may not come back when called.

This is dangerous for several reasons:

1. Firstly, he may get lost if he runs blindly after his prey.

2. Secondly, he may suffer an injury from the car or bike he is “hunting.”

Keep your Cavalier on a leash whenever you are out and about so he is unable to chase, and so he won't get hurt or lost.

As you can see there are many positive features of the Cavalier King Charles temperament and few negatives.

However, you can manage the negatives if you raise your Cavalier properly and take into account his need for companionship.  

The Cavalier is the ideal dog for any situation that calls for a gentle and loving but still enthusiastic companion.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Origin

You can trace the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel's history back to the 17th century, during the times of King Charles II of England.

Breeders designed these attractive dogs as companions and to keep their owners warm during those cold English winters.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Appearance

A healthy adult Cavalier will weigh between 13 and 18 lbs. and will be between 12 to 13 inches tall, regardless of gender.

As far as colors are concerned, the Cavalier comes in black and tan, ruby, or Blenheim (chestnut red with white), as well as tricolor.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Training

Cavaliers are intelligent dogs, which makes them easy to train. Even a youngster can take great delight in teaching his four-legged best friend to sit, roll over and shake hands.

Photo of Cavalier King Charles Spaniel In Forest

You will see the best results with positive methods, and because they love their food, this isn't hard to do.

The gentle Cavalier may become frightened by a loud voice or harsh handling. Children, therefore, need to learn to treat their little friend gently.

Some Cavaliers do have an independent streak, which gives them a reputation for being stubborn. However, they, more often than not, have a strong desire to please their masters, so you should be able to rein him in relatively quickly.

Helpful Dog Training Resource:

For help with training your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel dog, you should take a look at The Online Dog Trainer by Doggy Dan. Doggy Dan is an expert Dog Trainer based in New Zealand. His online resource contains Hundreds of Excellent Dog Training Videos that will take you step-by-step through the process of developing a healthy, happy well-behaved dog.

Grooming

When it comes to grooming, you will need to brush the Cavalier regularly to keep him looking handsome.

Give him the occasional bath when he starts to smell like “dog.”

As with other floppy-eared breeds, you will need to check the Cavalier’s ears every week for potential infections. And be sure to trim his nails at least once a month.

There are few things more uncomfortable for a dog than not being able to walk without pain because his nails are too long – and this is a preventable problem!

Exercise

When breeders created the Cavalier, they were aiming for a lap dog. However, because he has sporting dog blood, he does love a fair amount of exercise every day.

The Cavalier will gladly join you for daily walks, and he loves to participate in canine sports. But he’s just as happy to spend the day inside, lazing around on the couch.

As mentioned earlier, due to his strong prey drive, if you do take him to the dog park, be warned: do not take him off the leash. Instead, I recommend letting him run around, while supervised of course, in your fenced-in backyard.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel: Staying Healthy

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel's life expectancy is between 9 and 14 years.

Most Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are healthy, but you should still be aware of the health issues that tend to affect this breed, just in case.

Some of these conditions can include:

Cavalier King Charles Temperament

Helpful Health Resource:

Note: Don't let the many issues above scare you. The best way to approach health problems is to prevent them in the first place. The Ultimate Guide to Dog Health is a great place to start. Get a copy to keep at home. It will help you prevent the painful health issues that can plague your lovely Cavalier dog from expressing his winning personality and maximizing his life expectancy.

Finding the Perfect Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

If you’re looking into bringing a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel puppy home, I can help you decide which option is better for your family.

Basically, you have two choices: you can either buy a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel for sale from a breeder or adopt one through a rescue or adoption agency, like the American Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Club.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Puppies for Sale

The average Cavalier King Charles Spaniel price varies wildly, from around $1,800 to $3,500.

The price of the dog depends on a lot of factors, including the area in which the breeder lives (e.g. a city dog will, more than likely, cost more than a country dog) and the purity of the dog’s bloodlines.

Cavalier King Charles Temperament

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Adoption and Rescue

If you are planning to add a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel to your family, adoption should probably be your first option.

This is because, with adoption, you kill two birds with one stone:

  1. First, you get a new family member.
  2. And second, a dog who’s looking for a good home actually finds one.

Of course, there are downsides to adoption. For one thing, you may not always be able to find a puppy.

Most of the dogs in shelters are older, typically because they had a prior family and things did not work out (usually because of the humans, rather than the dogs). But this also means that they probably have plenty of training already!

For another, depending on how long the dog was in the shelter, he may have developed some issues while he was in there. For one thing, he may have food aggression because he was never sure when he would get his next meal. Or he may have increased separation anxiety.

It is important to be aware of these things before you adopt. This is because, if you can commit to an adoption knowing you may have to work out some kinks, you’re less likely to bring the dog back because he has “issues.”

Photo of Cavalier King Charles Spaniel In Folliage

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Breeders

It may take you some time to find a worthy Cavalier King Charles Spaniel breeder, but trust me, your perseverance will pay off.

The last thing you want to do is encourage puppy mills to keep doing what they’re doing by buying one of their dogs.

Why are puppy mills so bad, you ask? Because they care more about the money they make off of their dogs than the dogs themselves and, to an even lesser extent, your happiness with the dog you pick.

Always do a trial run in person with a breeder before you buy a dog. Don’t conduct everything over the internet. You want to see the breeder’s home in person to make sure the dogs are living in a clean, safe and hopefully loving home.

Simply put: with breeders, what you see is what you get. If the breeder cares about her dogs, it shows. If she doesn’t, you’ll be able to tell that, too. A good breeder will ask you just as many questions as you ask her to ensure her pups are going to a good home.

Top Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Mixes

If you’re interested in a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel mix, there sure are plenty to choose from out there. Here are but a brief few:

Other Toy Dogs

The Cavalier is part of the Toy Group of dogs. The one thing Toy Dogs have in common is their size. Although other groups contain small dogs too, this is the only group with exclusively small dogs. And small size matters when it comes to dog ownership.

Photo of Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Walking Puppy

For one thing, a smaller dog is easier on your wallet and more manageable than a large dog. Of course, you still need to know an individual Toy Dog's temperament to understand what to expect.

One thing I can tell you is to not, for a minute, equate a dog’s small stature with a specific temperament.

Some people think smaller dogs are yappy, or default to being lapdogs. This is not always the case. Just like people, every individual dog is different, depending on his temperament and how you raise him.

If you’ve decided after reading this that the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is not the dog for you, here are a few other toy dogs and their temperaments for you to check out:

Conclusion: Why the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel?

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel temperament is one for the ages. He’s great with kids, and he’s amenable to both an active and not-so-active lifestyle.

You have to be careful with this one, though – no letting him off the leash, especially in places where he can catch a scent of potential prey and take off after it. He has the potential to get lost, and you’ll never see him again.

Referred to as a “comforter dog,” the Cavalier is easygoing and warms up to every new person he meets. Of course, this means that you should not, by any means, rely on a “comforter dog” to guard your property. He’d much rather have tea with the enemy than bite him on the ankle!