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13 Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Pros and Cons

Last Updated: December 16, 2023

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are small British dogs known for their affectionate and playful nature. Unfortunately, they’re also a breed that’s highly susceptible to health issues, which is why potential owners will want to weigh out all of their pros and cons before welcoming one of these intelligent pups into their homes.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels’ pros are that they are known for their loving personalities, compact size, quiet yet loyal nature, and high intelligence level. However, their cons are that they have many potential health issues, anxious tendencies, and a long list of maintenance expenses.

If you’re interested in getting a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel but can’t decide on whether the joys of raising one of these dogs justify the stress and headache of looking after them, you’ve come to the right place.

Below, I’ll discuss all of the breed’s pros and cons – that way, you can make a well-informed decision about whether one of these dogs would make a suitable pet for your household.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Pros and Cons

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Pros and Cons

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are one of the friendliest breeds preferred by dog owners. If you’re on the hunt to find the perfect dog breed for your home, it’s time to make a careful decision. Many new owners regret later about their choice of breed!

To finalize this breed, take a look at the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel’s pros and cons.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel ProsCavalier King Charles Spaniel Cons
The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel has an amazing personality.Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are prone to health issues.
They’re great family dogs.The coats of Cavalier King Charles Spaniels require high maintenance.
The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a social breed.Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are terrible guard dogs.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are great apartment dogs.Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are needy.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are quiet.They’re expensive.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are highly intelligent.They aren’t suitable for people with allergies.
They have moderate exercise needs.
Pros and Cons of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

I’ll give you all the facts you need to know about these Cavalier King Charles Spaniel pros and cons in the rest of the article.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Pros 

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are a widely beloved breed, and there’s a good reason for that. Every person who’s ever had one of these pups will tell you that they can be a joy to raise – after all, they do boast a long list of advantages.

Here are some of the most notable Cavalier King Charles Spaniel pros:

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels Have Amazing Personalities

It doesn’t take long for a potential owner to fall in love with a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. These dogs have loving, playful personalities that are bound to charm just about anyone.

Spaniels live and breathe to keep their owner happy, so whether you’d like to take a leisurely walk around the park or cuddle up on the couch, you can rest assured that your pup will be more than happy to accompany you.

Great Family Dogs

Considering their lovable personality, it comes as no surprise that Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are great with children.

Finding the right dog breed when you have babies or toddlers living in your household can prove to be challenging. Luckily, with Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, you can rest a bit easier knowing that these dogs naturally love kids and have the instinct to protect and look after them.

With that said, it’s still essential to properly train your pup before allowing it to interact with your children. Moreover, never allow unsupervised interactions to take place if your kids are still young.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels also get along great with adults, seniors, and just about anyone really. That’s why they make for such excellent family dogs.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel being pampered

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels Are Social

Though, as all other breeds, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels need to be socialized from a young age in order to be their friendly, loving selves when they grow older, the good news is that this affection for other living beings comes naturally to them, so you won’t have to try too hard to get them to acquaint themselves to unfamiliar faces.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels often socialize with other animals, even dogs much larger than themselves. This is something I can attest to as my neighbor’s Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Duke, gets along just fine with my German Shepherd, despite their size difference.

So, if you have/plan on having other pets or simply want to feel calm and safe during your daily walks, getting a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is an excellent choice.

Great Apartment Dogs

Thanks to their small size, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are the perfect apartment dogs. They don’t take up too much space and aren’t energetic enough to require an entire garden to play, so this breed might be ideal for you if you live in a smaller space.

Keep in mind, though, that Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are larger than your traditional toy breeds, so if you’re really trying to optimize space, getting an even smaller dog like a Chihuahua might be the way to go.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels Are Quiet

Unlike Chihuahuas, though, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are quiet, which gives them a big advantage. When getting a dog, chances are you’ve already prepared yourself for some sleepless nights or angry calls from neighbors. Luckily, these are few and far between if you get a Spaniel.

Even when an unfamiliar face enters your home, these dogs are far more prone to lick and wag their tail rather than bark, which is yet another reason why they’re the perfect apartment breed.

Intelligent Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels Are Very Intelligent

One of the pros of Cavalier King Charles Spaniels is that they’re an intelligent breed able to pick up on new tricks and commands very quickly.

According to Stanley Coren’s book “The Intelligence of Dogs,” Cavalier King Charles Spaniels rank in 44th place. So, while they might not be as smart as Poodles, for example (which come in at #2), they’re still very bright and responsive.

So, if you’re looking to instill desirable behaviors in your dog without having to spend too much time or effort, Spaniels will make an excellent choice for you.

With that said, it’s still important to note that the sooner you start training your pup, the better.

Moderate Exercise Needs

If you need yet another reason to confirm that Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are the ultimate apartment dog – here it is: they have moderate exercise requirements, most of which can be fulfilled from the comfort of your own home.

Though daily walks are still ideal, these can be pretty short and can be substituted with indoor games if in a pinch.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Cons

If you’ve made it thus far, you’re probably wondering why Cavalier King Charles Spaniels aren’t the most popular breed in the world – they’re sweet, intelligent dogs that require minimal space and outdoor time.

Unfortunately, the breed also comes with several disadvantages that all potential owners need to be aware of.

So, let’s dive into some of the most notable Cavalier King Charles Spaniel cons:

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels Are Very Prone to Health Issues

Though every breed is susceptible to certain health conditions, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are actually among the unhealthiest breeds in the world. Being prone to a wide array of serious conditions that heavily impact their quality of life. 

Here are some of them:

Breathing Issues

Due to the way they were bred, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels have facial structures that make it difficult for them to breathe properly. In fact, the Oslo district court banned the breeding of these dogs in Norway altogether – that’s how problematic their inherited health issues were deemed.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are far more likely than most other breeds to suffer from brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome, which greatly limits their ability to breathe. As a result, many of the activities that would otherwise fulfill their lives (running and playing around) are usually impossible for these pups. 

Sick Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Sick Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Heart Issues

As if their breathing struggles weren’t enough, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels also suffer from a host of heart-related conditions, with the most common one being mitral valve disease.

Unfortunately, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are 20 times more likely than other dogs to suffer from this condition, with some studies even going as far as to suggest that in some cases, up to 90% of these dogs will develop this condition by the age of 10.

Mitral heart disease in dogs progresses very similarly to the same condition in humans. If left untreated, it can ultimately lead to premature heart failure. Even if the condition doesn’t reach the final, fatal stage, it can still have severe effects on your pup’s quality of life.

Symptoms of this disease include (but aren’t limited to):

  • Coughing
  • Breathlessness
  • Severe discomfort

Joint Problems

Joint problems are relatively common among smaller breeds, and Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are no exception. Some of the most common conditions of this nature this breed experiences include:

Sight-Related Issues

Though these conditions aren’t as fatal, they can still be just as life-altering as the ones mentioned above. Cataracts, inflammation, retinal atrophy, and other similar conditions that can significantly impair vision are common among Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, with many of them even requiring surgical intervention.

I know that all of this might seem scary, and it is; however, I still want to note that not all Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are bound to develop one of these conditions. With that said, they’re still likely to, so should you get one, ensure to look after your pup’s health as closely as possible and invest in regular vet screenings.


Due to their affection for food and low exercise requirements, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are extremely prone to weight gain and, in turn, to obesity too. Obesity in dogs is a health condition that can lead to a plethora of severe implications, and in extreme cases, it can even be fatal.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels Have High-Maintenance Coats

Though Cavalier King Charles Spaniels themselves are low-maintenance, their coats aren’t. These dogs are known for their long, luscious coats; however, these need to be groomed pretty regularly in order to be kept in good shape.

So, if you don’t have the time or the money for regular grooming appointments and brushing sessions, it might be best to go with a lower-maintenance breed.

Here’s a video to understand the grooming requirement better:

Terrible Guard Dogs

Remember how I mentioned that Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are far more likely to lick or wag their tail at a stranger coming into your house than to attack them? Well, that also means that these adorable little pups are some of the worst guard dogs you’ll ever find.

You can’t even blame their small size for this shortcoming, as Chihuahuas are far smaller and yet much more likely to attack every perceived threat or, at the very least, alert their owners about it.

So, if you’re thinking about getting a dog with which you feel safe and protected, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels aren’t for you.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels Are Needy

Unfortunately, breeds like the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, which are known for their extreme affection, can quickly turn needy. This means that if you’re someone who’s planning on being out of the house a lot, getting one of these dogs might be a mistake.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels get anxious and destructive when left alone for long periods of time – that’s part of the reason why I specifically suggested them as family dogs. When kept in bigger households, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels will feel far better cared for since everyone can pitch in when it comes to dog-sitting duties.

The good news is that these anxious tendencies can be subdued with proper training. However, even the best trainer in the world can’t get a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel to behave when left alone for hours on end.

Needy Cavalier Charles King Spaniel

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels Are Expensive

It’s interesting to see just how pricey it can be to look after such a quiet, well-behaved breed. First of all, just getting a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel from a reputable breeder will set you back thousands of dollars.

Then, when you factor in the regular vet screenings, grooming appointments, and specialized foods, it becomes clear that these dogs aren’t the best choice for those on a budget.

Not to mention that there’s still a high chance that your pup will develop one of the health-related issues mentioned above, and treatment will cost a lot more than your run-of-the-mill screening, so you need to budget for these types of emergencies as well.

Not Suitable for People With Allergies

Though no dog is 100% hypoallergenic, some breeds are better suited to people with sensitivities than others. Unfortunately, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels have long, high-shed coats that immediately put them on the no-no list of people with allergies.

If you only have a mild sensitivity to dog fur, you can still get one as a pet as long as you opt for a short-haired, low-shed breed – unfortunately, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels don’t fit the criteria.

Final Thoughts

After reading this guide, you should know more about the main Cavalier King Charles Spaniel pros and cons. Looking after this breed can be as rewarding as it can be stressful, which is why all potential owners need to be aware of all the advantages and drawbacks that come with the breed before getting one.

If you’re set on welcoming one of these playful pups into your home, it’s essential to choose a responsible breeder by taking all potential sources through a harsh vetting process. Moreover, make sure to take your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel in for regular vet screenings while also making sure it’s getting all the nutrients and exercise it needs.

Sharon Waddington
Sharon Waddington is the founder of World of Dogz. With over 30 years of experience working with dogs, this former Police Officer has seen it all. But it’s her trusty German Shepherd, Willow, who steals the show as the inspiration behind this website. As Sharon’s constant companion Willow has played a pivotal role in shaping her passion for dogs. Recently, Sharon has become deeply passionate about the plight of rescue dogs and is an active advocate for dog rescue, striving to make a difference in the lives of dogs in need.

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