Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Breed — Your Lapdog of Lapdogs

cavalier king charles spaniel running on a leash

Say hello to the king of spaniels! The majestic, gregarious Cavalier King Charles spaniel, or Cav for short, makes a great companion for families of all sizes. Today the Cavalier King Charles spaniel dog breed is considered to be a highly affable family companion. It was bred to be a lapdog. Aristocrats in Europe used Cavs to keep warm and — get this — for attracting fleas away from them so they wouldn’t get the bubonic plague! (Source: Hillspet

Do Cavalier King Charles Spaniels Bark a Lot?

As a breed, the Cavalier King Charles spaniel isn’t known for excessive barking; however, every dog is unique and every breed has its own reputation. So, if you’ve got yourself a barker, first figure out why your Cav barks. That’s the first step to reduce your Cavalier’s nuisance barking.

4 things to know about barkers 

  1. Dogs need to bark. All dogs bark as a primary way of communicating with humans and other canines. Rather than looking to quiet your dog completely, focus on reducing any nuisance barking. 
  2. Dogs usually bark for a reason. It is common for a dog to vocalize when they have an injury or are in pain. For this reason, you need to eliminate health-related issues as the cause of your dog’s barking.
  3. Sometimes, it’s your fault. Many factors like genetics and their raising can influence a dog’s propensity to bark incessantly. But, people and environments can also influence a dog’s barking behaviors. 
  4. Be patient. Consistency and patience are key when working on your dog’s behavior.  Don’t change up your barking rules; always be consistent. Changing your dog’s barking habits takes time. Sorry, no overnight miracles here.

How to prevent a Cavalier King Charles spaniel from barking

If your Cav barks at everyone and everything that passes by your home, you can “cloak” or cover up the sights and sounds that drive your dog’s constant bark-fest. To hide visual and audible triggers, close doors, windows, curtains, and blinds. While you’re away, play music or content through a speaker to drown out outside noises.

When you are home, you might try to distract your dog with a game with you like hide-and-seek using treats. However, this doesn’t really neutralize a trigger and, if your dog is smart, each time he sees the trigger, he’s going to come to expect a play session. Be ready!

The Cavalier King Charles spaniel breed tends to be eager to please, so they do well with ultrasonic training tools. For more on using ultrasonic trainers, read this guide on using The BarxBuddy to control barking dogs.

Tips for treating separation anxiety in your Cav

Cavs become quite attached to their humans, so much so that they can suffer from separation anxiety when left home alone. If you’ve caught word your Cavalier barks non-stop while you’re away, there are a few things you can do to restore calm in your dog and peace in the neighborhood. 

  • Exercise your pet before you leave. Ensuring your pet receives an adequate amount of exercise before you leave can tire him out enough that he’ll be content to chill for a while. 
  • If your pet enjoys the sound of the television or radio, leave one of them playing when your dog’s alone. 
  • A favorite toy or blanket could further comfort your pet in your absence.

Tips for diffusing attention-seeking behavior in your dog

Attention-seeking barking may be another problem for your Cav. This breed loves its owners’ attention and will bark to get noticed. As difficult as it may be, ignoring your Cav is the best way to quiet him down. Don’t look at, speak to, or pet your dog until he’s quiet. It may be difficult to do, but whenever you pay attention (even looking) to your pet, you reinforce the behavior and ensure it will happen again. Once he calms down, offer lots of praise and a treat.

Facts About Cavalier King Charles Spaniels 

Predecessors of this relatively new breed, named after King Charles II, warmed royal laps for centuries. The gentle, loving Cavalier gets along well with children and other dogs. They adapt well to their owners’ lifestyles, whether they favor lots of activities or couch surfing. Cavaliers love being around their humans; however, their dependent personality is no match for their desire to chase birds, rabbits, and other small critters. Their propensity to run off warrants a leash anytime they aren’t in a fenced yard.

cavalier king charles spaniel dog breed closeup of face

  • Size: Cavalier King Charles spaniels range from 12 to 13 inches in height and weigh 13 to 18 pounds. 
  • Life expectancy: Cavalier King Charles spaniels have an average lifespan of 12 to 15 years.
  • Coat: Cavs have a silky rich colored coat that comes in four varieties: Blenheim (chestnut & white), black and tan, ruby, or tricolor (black, white & tan). 
  • AKC group: Cavalier King Charles spaniels belong to the AKC toy group.

Are Cavalier King Charles Spaniels Easy to Train?

Cavalier King Charles spaniels are eager to please their humans and are typically easy to train. With that said, the intelligent Cavaliers have an independent streak that may cause a bit of trouble if the dog doesn’t respect the trainer. Avoid yelling and punishment during training, as this could make your Cav fearful and defensive. Instead, use positive reinforcement with food rewards for this breed. Be careful not to overindulge your pet with treats as Cavaliers tend to have an issue with obesity. This breed does well with children, people, and other animals. However, early socialization can help a Cav become comfortable around new people and situations.

Do Cavalier King Charles Spaniels Need Grooming?

The Cavalier’s silky coat requires more attention than most breeds. Considered average seasonal shedders, you shouldn’t have a great deal of hair to tend with around your house. Brushing the entire coat a few times a week, including the ears, can prevent mats and tangles and distribute the skin’s natural oils, leaving the coat shiny and healthy. Grooming your pet provides you an opportunity to check for unusual bumps or other issues. Bathe when needed but be careful not to get water in the ear canal. Check ears weekly for signs of infection and trim nails monthly to prevent overgrowth, which can cause your dog pain. 

cavalier king charles spaniel in black brown and white

What If My Breed Is a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Mix?

Cute, cute, cute. This breed’s intelligence and affectionate, playful personality make it a popular option for mixes. Although you never know what you’re going to get when you mix breeds, researching both parent breeds can shed light on what traits the offspring may possess. Some of the more common health issues Cavaliers face include obesity and eye and heart diseases.

Here are some popular breed mixes of Cavalier King Charles spaniel and … 

  • Aussalier — Cavalier King Charles spaniel (CKCS) + Australian shepherd
  • Cavachin — CKCS + Japanese chin
  • Cavachon — CKCS + bichon frise
  • Cava-corgi — CKCS + Welsh corgi
  • Cavador — CKCS  + Labrador retriever
  • Cav-A-Jack — CKCS + Jack Russell terrier
  • Cav-A-Mo — CKCS + American Eskimo
  • Cavapoo — CKCS + poodle
  • Cavottish — CKCS + Scottish terrier
  • Chilier — CKCS + Chihuahua
  • Golden Cavalier — CKCS + golden retriever
  • King schnauzer — CKCS + schnauzer

Resource Links for More Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Info