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All about your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Loving and trustworthy, and a contender for the title of top tail-wagger.

Playful, friendly and fearless, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel has a lot of love to give and is a joy to have around the home. From grooming advice to common health conditions, our guide covers the key things you should know about this affectionate and happy dog, known for his adorable expression.

A Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Runs In A Field

Breed information & advice

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is part of the toy breed group, with charming brown eyes and a constantly wagging tail. Much-loved by the aristocracy in the 17th century, this regal dog is gentle, mild-mannered and very eager to please.

  • The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel adores his family and follows them everywhere, so you’ll hardly get a minute alone.
  • He has a medium-length coat that needs regular grooming, and he is an average shedder.
  • He will typically weigh 5kg to 8kg, when fully grown.
  • A healthy Cavalier King Charles Spaniel can live for 9 to 15 years.

Typical size of a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Small: 30cm-33cm

While the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is considered a toy breed because of his small size, he has a big personality and loves nothing more than playing with you.

A couple of quick walks every day will make for a happy dog. Because he’s short-nosed and cannot breathe as efficiently as other breeds, take care in warm weather. When short -nosed dogs overheat, they don’t sweat the same way humans do, but instead pant to lose the heat through the mouth and tongue. So don’t leave your dog without shade or cool water.

Feed your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel two meals of high-quality dry food each day - the quantity will depend on the size, age and activity levels of your dog and always check the label on the food packet for portion sizes. Feed your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel two meals of high-quality dry food each day - the quantity will depend on the size, age and activity levels of your dog and always check the label on the food packet for portion sizes.

One hour of exercise per day

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels tend to be naturally well-behaved and get on well with other dogs , but training him as a puppy will help to socialise him.

A Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Looks On While Stood In A Field
Light Brown And White Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Looking At You

Common health problems & illnesses

There’s no reason why your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel shouldn’t live a long and happy life. However, being aware of the ailments your dog is more prone to, along with the associated symptoms, can help you to deal with any health issues that crop up.

1. Diabetes

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels may be affected by diabetes – a condition where the body doesn’t produce any or enough insulin, or is unable to use the hormone in the right way. This will mean he has a high level of glucose in the blood that has not been turned into energy to fuel him. Keep an eye out for signs in your dog such as him urinating a lot or being constantly thirsty or hungry. Your vet will investigate and recommend appropriate treatment.

2. Back problems

This breed may be susceptible to intervertebral disc disease, which is when the discs between the spine progressively degenerate. Be on the lookout for lameness in your dog’s back legs, anxious behaviour and an inability to jump or move around. Treatment can range from conservative management to surgery.

3. Dry Eye

Dry eye syndrome is when the immune system attacks the tear glands, causing the eyes to become red and inflamed, and can damage the cornea resulting in conjunctivitis, or infection. If your dog seems to be blinking a lot or you notice discharge or swollen blood vessels in his eyes, take him along to your vet for an examination to determine the cause and treatment.

4. Heart conditions

Heart conditions may affect Cavalier King Charles Spaniels at any age and can often be inherited, so early diagnosis and treatment is important. Coughing, difficulty breathing and changes in behaviour are among the common signs of heart disease and if you notice any of these in your dog, take him to your vet as soon as possible. The serious heart condition mitral valve disease is unfortunately very common in this breed, so much so that it is recommended that all Cavalier King Charles Spaniels should be screened for heart murmurs once a year from the age of twelve months.

Heart failure made up almost 8% of Tesco Pet Insurance claims for this breed in 2016.

5. Arthritis

Just as it is in humans, arthritis (inflammation of the joints) can be uncomfortable and painful for dogs. If your dog is showing signs of pain and stiffness and isn’t as keen as he’d normally be to get involved in exercise, your vet will perform various examinations to confirm diagnosis, and identify any underlying causes. Treatment options vary from lifestyle changes to anti-inflammatory drugs and painkillers.

Dog name popularity

If you’re struggling to think of a name for your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, take a look at the most popular ones at Tesco Pet Insurance for inspiration.

Dog name popularity

Average treatment costs

Wondering whether pet insurance for your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is worth it? We’ve put together the top five conditions claimed for by Tesco Pet Insurance customers in 2016, and the average cost of treatment.

ConditionAverage treatment cost
Heart failure£237.99
Heart murmur£214.12
Heart Condition£285.20
Valve problem£254.03
Heart disease £239.85

Tesco Pet Insurance claims data from paid treatments including excesses from 01/01/16 to 31/12/16.

Considering Cavalier King Charles Spaniel insurance?

We know your dog is an important member of the family, so give them the protection they deserve with Tesco Pet Insurance.

Tesco Bank Pet Insurance is arranged, administered and underwritten by Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance plc.

Grooming advice

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel has a medium-length coat, which should be brushed three or four times a week to keep it looking glossy and healthy. He’s an average shedder, so won’t require too much trimming.

The main thing you’ll need to look out for when grooming your dog is the feathered hair on his ears and legs becoming matted and tangled, but you can help to prevent this with gentle combing.

Brush your dog’s teeth ideally on a daily basis, trim his nails a couple of times each month , and try to get him used to the grooming process right from when he’s a puppy so that it isn’t something he fears. If you do that, it can become something you both enjoy.

Fun & interesting facts

  • Because of their affectionate and cuddly nature, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is nicknamed the ‘comforter Spaniel’.
  • The breed’s history goes back to the King Charles Spaniel and is associated with King Charles II, who instituted a law that stated they weren’t to be barred from any public place.
  • The breed is featured in various period dramas including The Tudors, Girl with a Pearl Earring and Dickensian due to their historical significance.
  • During his time at the White House, Ronald Reagan had Rex, his beloved Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, at his side.
  • Actress Courteney Cox and singer Frank Sinatra have each also owned a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.

Important information


The content on this page aims to offer an informative introduction to pet breeds, but does not constitute expert veterinary advice. If your dog or cat falls ill or has an injury, contact your vet immediately. Tesco Bank Pet Insurance has a partnership with vetfone™ which means that as a customer, you can benefit from their advice as part of your policy.

Tesco Bank Pet Insurance is arranged, administered and underwritten by Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance plc. The vetfone™ service is provided by Vetsdirect Ltd.

All facts and figures were correct at date of publication and were compiled using a range of sources.


vetfone™ is a 24/7 helpline that provides expert advice from nurses qualified with the RCVS (Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons). If your pet has a medical emergency, or you need reassurance on grooming, feeding or general advice, vetfone™ is there to help.

As a Tesco Pet Insurance customer, you can access expert veterinary advice provided by RCVS registered vet nurses as a standard benefit with your policy, and the service is provided at no additional cost. A quick call could answer any questions you have about your pet, give you peace of mind and could even save you an expensive trip to the vet.

Tesco Bank Pet Insurance is arranged, administered and underwritten by Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance plc. The vetfone™ service is provided by Vetsdirect Ltd.

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