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Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Tags: toy, Small-sized, Adaptable to apartment life, Kid-friendly

We're the original "comfort dog," snuggling on royal laps to keep queens cozy on those chilly carriage rides -- and attracting fleas so Her Highness herself didn't catch the plague. Nice work if you could get it, and our regal likenesses appeared in many royal portraits. Namesake King Charles II (1630-1685) didn't mind sharing the canvas his cherished spaniel. But by the 1920s, an American dog fancier (Mr. Roswell Eldridge) noticed that King Charles Spaniels of the day didn't really resemble the dogs in those old paintings. So he offered a prize for retro-breeding back to the original form. The prizewinner became the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, a distinct registered breed. To tell us apart, the regular King Charles Spaniel is the one with short, turned-up nose and tends to weigh less than the Cavalier kind (our longer bodies average 11-20 pounds). Either variety fits nicely on a lap. And we still attract fleas.

Rave review

  • Adaptable to apartment life -- with ample exercise
  • Affectionate, devoted family friend
  • Agile and active
  • Busy is better than boredom
  • Classy canine
  • Coat needs regular care
  • Confident and self-assured
  • Even-tempered, good-natured

Report card

  • Intelligent and ready to learn
  • Loves kids and vice-versa
  • Outdoor enthusiast
  • Pleased to please
  • Caters to the country, tolerates town
  • Socialization and training must start early

What to expect

I need you to do me two favors: first, please don't let me succumb to my greedy-eating habits and become obese (overweight is tough on the back and other bones) and discourage friends from feeding calorie-laden treats when I beg. Second, please consider sharing my adorable, outgoing nature with others -- perhaps as a therapy dog. Who can resist scratching the silky ears of a Cav, or refuse those big, dark eyes that seem to plead: "Just one tiny treat?" Treat? Trick question! Hugs, yes. Treats, no thank you.

Watch for

Possible cardiac conditions (including mitral valve disease or heart murmur), patellar luxation (slipped kneecap), ear infections, vision disorders (including cataracts), and neurologic disorders.

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