The Cavalier is a member of the Toy Group. On average they stand 12 to 13 inches at the withers (shoulder) and weigh between 13 and 18 pounds. These are the ideal heights and weights. Cavalier's come in four different color combinations, Blenheim (a chestnut red and pearly white), Tricolor (jet black and pearly white with rich tan markings), Black and Tan (jet black with rich tan marks with no white) and Ruby (solid chestnut red with no white.)
The Cavalier is a graceful well-balanced, royal, fearless, sporting toy spaniel that is gentle and affectionate. They are known as a head breed and it's their head that sets them apart from the other breeds. Their melting expression with their large round eyes, full muzzle and ear set is what makes them a Cavalier and is an important breed characteristic.
The Cavalier is outgoing, friendly, and highly affectionate, the little dog with a big dog temperament. They are eager to please, intelligent, and very adaptable. The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is known as the "ultimate lap dog" and the "comfort spaniel". They were a favorite among royalty throughout Europe. Bred to be companions keeping their owners warm and keeping the fleas off of them sparing their owners disease. They played with the children and were even used to hunt small game. That brings in the spaniel that also makes up their name. These little dogs do have sporting roots and will give chase to almost any thing that moves with disregard for their own safety. They must be on a leash or in a fenced yard at all times. Because of this affectionate nature they make great pets and love their family but, that also means they need to be with their family as much as possible. They crave attention. This is not a breed that will do well being left along for long periods of time and the Cavalier is not an outside dog. They become very attached to their people, following you from room to room. Being so social Cavaliers normally love other dogs and the company they provide. When you can't be around having another dog friend for your Cavalier is a good idea but it will not replace their need for human companionship.
The Cavalier is very versatile and can do well living with just about every age group. They love children and seem to be drawn to them making this breed a great family pet but young children should be taught to be gentle with the Cavalier and never play rough for the dog's safety. Cavaliers do great with seniors as well. They are happy to cuddle up and warm a lap and their easy going personalities and small size make them easy to handle.
At Charming Cavaliers we do our best to evaluate each one of our puppies to help aid buyers in choosing a puppy that will suit their lifestyle. Temperaments can change as a puppy matures but each Cavalier has its own personality and will be better suited for a certain home environment.
The Cavalier breed as a whole has few health concerns. The health issues they do have can show up in all lines. All Cavaliers today can be traced back to six foundation dogs from 1926. By buying from a breeder who performs regular health screenings on the Cavaliers they breed and knows information on their lineage you better your chances of buying a healthy Cavalier. As the owner it's your responsibility to provide an annual veterinary examination that could catch a potential problem while it's still treatable. You will want to insure you keep your Cavalier current on vaccinations. Feeding a proper high quality diet and providing regular exercise is also needed. Watch your Cavaliers weight carefully and you will have a wonderful companion for many happy years to come.
The three genetic diseases that are most common in the Cavaliers are, Mitral Valve Disease (MVD), Patellar luxation and Hip dysphlasia (CHD). Mitral Valve Disease (MVD) is the most serious of the three. In dogs with Mitral Valve Disease (MVD) the valve between the left atrium and left ventricle begins to shrink and curl and no longer closes tightly blood is able to flow backward into the atrium this causes the heart to enlarge fluid may accumulate in the lungs. The pressure of the enlarged heart and the fluid leads to coughing and can lead to heart failure. This is common in toy breeds but, Cavaliers can have early onset so it's important that they have a family history clear of the disease. Patellar luxation is the displacement of the kneecaps or patella, it can be genetic or the result of injury or accident. Hip dysphlasia (CHD) can be genetic if diagnosed at a young age but, environmental factors can have an affect. Older dogs may get it as a result of the aging process. It is most common in larger breeds but, has been seen in the Cavaliers. The hip socket is too shallow for the head of the leg bone or misshapen causing abnormal wear and tear or friction within the joint as it moves.
Health prevention is key: Your Cavalier should be on heartworm protection as well as flea and tick. All of our Cavaliers are on Revolution or Tri-Heart depending on the season. Revolution protects against external and internal parasites such as heartworm, fleas & their eggs, ear mites, ticks & mange. It's a once a month topical medication you apply to the back of your dogs neck. Revolution is a prescription only medicine so you must see your vet. Tri-Heart is a once a month chewable tablet that prevents heartworms as well as roundworms and hookworms. It is also a prescription only medication you can get through your vet. We highly recommend you continue to use Revolution or talk with your vet about a heartworm preventive. This is important with all breeds especially Cavaliers given their history with MVD.
The Cavalier's coat is silky and luxurious with lots of feathering on the legs, chest, ears, feet and tail. They require very little grooming care compared to other longer haired breeds. Regular brushing is needed to keep the feathering free of tangles but, this can be done fairly quickly. This breed is deemed a natural breed meaning no trimming is required or allowed if you are showing your Cavalier. The only allowable trimming is of the hair growing in between the pads on the bottom of the feet, this should be done only about once a month. Cavaliers do shed but not a lot. Their hair falls out very similar to human hair in strands.
A bath is needed only about once a month to keep your dog clean and smelling good, to frequent bathing will dry out the skin. Be sure to brush out all knots in the coat before bathing. Being a drop eared dog Cavalier's can be prone to ear infections, cotton balls can be placed in the ears while bathing to keep water out but, be sure to remove them after the bath. Special attention should be taken to the ears, they should be brushed out daily because they tend to tangle and get food in them if the hair is kept long. You can buy a "snood" to put on your Cavalier while eating to keep their ears out of their food if this becomes a problem. Nails should be trimmed once a month and teeth should be brushed often using a small brush designed for dogs and toothpaste that is made for dogs. Because Cavaliers have large prominent eyes they can have issues with tearing/staining under their eyes. This tends to be seen a lot in teething puppies. These marks can be unattractive and may begin to produce an odor if not cleaned. Cleaning the area under the eye only takes a few moments. Cavaliers are known for their beautiful long ears but, because of those ears they are prone to ear infections. Air can not get into the ear and dry them out. To prevent infections you must clean the ears. Buy an ear cleaning solution and use a cotton ball soaked in the cleaner to wipe out the ears. Be sure your Cavaliers ears are dry after a bath or a swim. Healthy ears should be pink with no odor. As with all grooming start this with your young puppy to get him/her accustom to it at an early age.
The legendary Blenheim spot
You may wonder why it is desired for Blenheim Cavaliers to have the Blenheim spot on top of their head. Well, legend says that while James the Duke of Marlborough was fighting in the battle of Blenheim his wife Sarah, was anxiously awaiting news hoping for her husband safe return and soothing a female Cavalier in whelp by stroking/pressing the head of the expecting dam with her thumb. After news that the battle of Blenheim had been won five puppies were born, all with the mark of the 'Duchess Thumb Print" on top of their heads. It was rumored to have resulted from the Duchess pressing on the dam's head during whelping. Since then, it is desired, and considered good luck for Blenheim Cavaliers to bear the Thumb Print or Duchess Spot. The Blenheim name was than applied to the red and white Cavaliers with this spot.