At first glance, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel may look like a dainty breed, (and they do love to be pampered), but further investigation reveals an energetic dog with hunting roots, who loves the outdoors just as much as they love curling up in a lap for a belly rub. The King Charles is a true companion dog – they love to be with people as much as possible and should not be left alone for long periods of time. They make great companions for active, retired seniors who are willing to walk them daily and have a yard for running. Their temperament, energy level and trainability also makes them an ideal choice for the first-time dog owner.
Though small, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel loves the outdoors. Daily walks are a must, and they should be allowed to run and stretch their legs a few times per week. They can happily live an an apartment or condominium, as long as a commitment is made to their daily activity requirements. Anxiety is common with this breed, and can be made worse by living a sedentary life.
Hunters of small game can bring their King Charles into the field. They enjoy tracking and chasing, and have energy to spare when they are involved in such tasks.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are naturally well behaved, and training them is a breeze. They love to please, and will do anything for a treat. A gentle hand is required, as they can be a timid breed and don't respond well to harsh treatment. They can be graduated past the basic level into advanced obedience training and agility activities where they often excel.
Separation Anxiety is the most common problem with the King Charles. They are very dependent upon the people they love and hate to be alone. If they live in a house with people who work, a companion animal can keep them from becoming too anxious. Exercise can help, but generally the anxiety is rooted solely in their being left alone and they will bark excessively and chew destructively until someone comes home. The King Charles is best for a two-pet home, families with a stay at home parent, or empty nest retirees.
Because they are natural hunters, the Cavalier King Charles can not be trusted in an open yard or off a leash. If they catch sight of a small animal, they will give chase and won't come home no matter how desperately you yell after them. They have also been known to chase bikes and cars, which can be quite dangerous.
Timidity is common in this breed, and if not kept in check can develop into full blown fearfulness of everything, including their own shadow. It is important that the King Charles be socialized to enjoy new visitors and new experiences – which as puppies they will love. They are easy to travel with and should be exposed to as many new things as possible, as early as possible.