Pros & Cons of a Cavalier King Charles

Cavalier King Charles spaniels enjoy a good cuddle daily, but they aren't good watchdogs.
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The Cavalier King Charles spaniel is a toy breed pooch originally bred as a companion dog for British royalty and named for King Charles II in the 1700s. These regal little dogs are personable pups with a penchant for snuggling with their owners. If you're looking for a warm, silky-haired companion who loves to keep you company, the little Cavalier King Charles spaniel may be for you.

The Cavalier King Charles

Cavalier King Charles spaniels are about a foot tall and weigh between 13 and 18 pounds, making them a good choice for those looking for a small canine companion. These pups need an average amount of exercise in the form of a daily walk. Most of the time, they enjoy following you around the house and calmly cuddling, which is why they are frequently trained as therapy dogs. The little pups have friendly, affectionate personalities and get along with most people and other dogs. Because Cavaliers are delicate, they should be primarily kept indoors. While they will likely appreciate an occasional romp in the yard, it's not necessary if you're an apartment dweller.

The Advantages

The Cavalier King Charles spaniel is a loyal lapdog. These pups are quick to learn and easy to train in both obedience and agility, according to the American Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Club website. Cavaliers learn best when taught using positive reinforcement methods. While content to lounge with you on the couch, Cavaliers are polite and friendly enough to make good companions for those on the go. In fact, most Cavalier King Charles spaniels enjoy traveling with their owners and accompanying them in daily tasks around town. Because of their small size and amiable personality, you can walk or tote your Cavalier around in a carrier; he'll be happy simply spending time with you.

The Disadvantages

Cavalier King Charles spaniels don't make good guard dogs. Their small stature and tendency to enjoy the company of people preclude them from being used for the purpose of guarding you or scaring away strangers. Cavaliers have medium-length hair that you need to brush daily, with a thorough brushing weekly to prevent tangles, recommends the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Club. Their pendant-shaped ears require regular cleaning to prevent infections. Originally bred to flush out birds during hunts, your Cavalier may not be the best companion those with small pets. Their hunting instinct may also prompt them to run off after small creatures outdoors, so you'll need to keep Fido on a leash or in a securely fenced yard.

Health Concerns

Some hereditary health conditions are common in the Cavalier King Charles breed. Diseases including cataracts, retinal disorders, mitral valve disease, slipping patella, hip dysplasia and a neurological disease called syringomyelia, can all affect Cavaliers more than other breeds, advises the ACKCSC. Responsible breeders will usually have their Cavaliers tested for these hereditary conditions. Healthy Cavaliers live up to 14 years or more, according to the Vetstreet website. Cavaliers enjoy their food and can easily become overweight if you free-feed them from a large bowl or overindulge them with treats. With regular exercise and small, portion-controlled meals appropriate to their size, your pup shouldn't become obese.