There is great debate about the precise origin of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, also known as the Cav, the Cavalier and the Cavie. However, there is no doubt that small spaniels have existed for many centuries, especially favored by the children of royalty as they were a luxury lap dog bred purely for companionship rather than for work. This is an active, elegant, well-balanced toy breed described as being “very gay and free in action, fearless and sporting in character, yet at the same time gentle and affectionate” by the American Kennel Club official breed standard. A sweet, soft, melting expression is an important breed characteristic, with large, dark, round but not prominent brown eyes.
The Cavalier’s personality is one of open friendliness, a love of play and of course a love of lap time with their human companions. This breed is the perfect family dog: naturally well-behaved, large enough to handle romps, small enough to cuddle, completely people-oriented and downright adorable. They are excellent with children and the elderly, and they get along well with other animals. Cavaliers even greet strangers with great joy. This breed thrives so much on human companionship they cannot be left alone for long periods of time, or they will develop nervous, anxious and potentially destructive behaviors.
The Cavalier should stand between 12 and 13 inches at the withers and should weigh between 13 and 18 pounds. These are ideal ranges; slight deviations are permissible. Their moderately long, silky coat should be free from curls, and there should be long feathering on the ears, chest, legs, feet and tail. They should be brushed regularly, and their long floppy ears should be cleaned and checked frequently for signs of infection.