Ten things you need to know about the Cavalier King Charles spaniel before you buy one
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Ten things you need to know about the Cavalier King Charles spaniel before you buy one

Dogs
Breed Facts

The Cavalier King Charles spaniel is a small dog breed from the Kennel Club’s toy dog group, and also one of the most popular small dog breeds in the UK. The Cavalier King Charles spaniel or “Cavvie” is currently the 19th most popular breed in the UK overall, out of over 240 different dog breeds and types, and every year thousands of new buyers pick a Cavalier King Charles spaniel to add to their families.

This is a versatile dog breed that can be a great fit for a wide range of different types of homes and owners, and one that can be great to live with if they’re the right choice for you – but before you pick and buy a dog of any breed, you need to do plenty of research to ensure that you know what you’re getting into, and that the breed is an appropriate choice for you.

With this in mind, this article will share ten things you need to know about the Cavalier King Charles spaniel dog breed – before you go out and buy a Cavvie of your own. Read on to learn more.

Cavalier King Charles spaniels are quite expensive to buy

First of all, smaller dog breeds like the Cavalier King Charles spaniel obviously cost less to keep than larger dog breeds, and they’re usually somewhat cheaper to buy too.

However, the Cavalier King Charles spaniel is actually quite costly to buy for a small breed, with the average asking price for pedigree dogs being £943, and for non-pedigrees, £731. This places even the non-pedigrees at a higher price point than many other small dog breeds, and so you should establish your budget before you begin to explore the breed in more detail.

Cavalier King Charles spaniels are very loving, but like to be the centre of attention

Part of the appeal of Cavvies is that they are highly affectionate and very demonstrative little dogs, which love to have company and someone to cuddle up with. However, dogs of the breed do like to be the centre of attention, and may become clingy and jealous if they think you’re giving too much attention to another person or dog!

The breed can also be prone to suffering from separation anxiety, although most dogs of the breed can be trained to accept being left alone for moderate periods of time.

They aren’t good guard dogs but can be good watchdogs

Cavalier King Charles spaniels do not make good guard dogs – they are too small and unintimidating, and also, much too friendly to see off a potential threat! If someone tried to get past your Cavvie to enter your home, the chances are that the dog would try to befriend them or run and hide.

However, Cavalier King Charles spaniels can make for good watchdogs, as they will usually bark to alert you to somebody approaching, but they’re not generally excessive barkers in other situations.

The breed can be somewhat challenging to train

Cavalier King Charles spaniels fall around the middle of the pack in terms of their intelligence levels, and dogs of the breed can be trained to follow all of the basic essential commands reasonably reliably.

However, this is a breed that sometimes takes a little longer to train than normal, and so you need patience, time and a consistent approach for training.

But they aren’t overly challenging to exercise

On the plus side, this is a breed that is fine with a moderate amount of exercise, usually being happy with just one or two brisk, lively half-hour walks per day.

Walks should include off-lead play and the chance to socialise with other dogs, but within the home, the Cavvie tends to be calm and well behaved.

Cavalier King Charles spaniels are brachycephalic

Cavalier King Charles spaniels have brachycephalic faces, although this trait is not as pronounced and extreme as it is within many other breeds.

However, this trait can result in the dog finding it more difficult to keep cool in hot weather and may have other implications for their health and care too, which you should investigate before buying a Cavvie of your own.

Ear problems are quite a common issue within the breed

A trait that many spaniel breeds share is a propensity to potentially suffer from ear problems, like mite infestations, infections and irritations.

This is due to the shape and length of the breed’s ears themselves, and requires vigilance and care on the part of their owners.

…And they also have one of the highest occurrence rates of syringomyelia

The shape and conformation of the Cavalier King Charles spaniel’s head and skull is brachycephalic as mentioned, and the breed’s high, domed heads can also increase the risk factors of individual dogs of the breed suffering from a health condition called syringomyelia, which can be hugely painful and disabling for affected dogs.

Parent dogs with syringomyelia may pass the trait onto their own young, and this is something you should learn more about and speak to breeders about when you start shopping around.

Choosing a Cavvie from an Assured Breeder is strongly recommended

Like all pedigree breeds, there are a number of hereditary health issues that are considered to pose a threat to the health of the Cavvie breed as a whole, and which can be tested for in parent dogs prior to breeding.

Most such tests are optional for breeders, but breeders registered with the Kennel Club’s Assured Breeder scheme are obliged to carry out eye testing on their parent dogs and strongly advised to carry out several other tests too, and so picking a dog from an Assured Breeder who has undertaken these tests is strongly recommended.

Cavalier King Charles spaniels can be a good choice for first-time dog owners

There is a lot to recommend the Cavalier King Charles spaniel as a pet to even first-time dog owners, and their personable natures and moderate demand for exercise, as well as their small size, makes them a viable choice for many people.

However, researching the breed’s health and training requirements in detail before committing to a purchase is vital, to ensure that you know what to expect and can provide the most appropriate care and lifestyle for your dog.

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