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Home > Dogs > Cavalier King Charles Spaniel vs King Charles Spaniel: The Differences (With Pictures)

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel vs King Charles Spaniel: The Differences (With Pictures)

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel vs King Charles Spaniel

You may have heard of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and the King Charles Spaniel and wondered if they are the same thing. They look very similar, but there are some differences. Both breeds have been around for centuries, with records indicating that the King Charles Spaniel was developed in England during the 17th century to hunt game birds.

Both types of spaniels share common ancestors, and both came from similar breeding stock. However, they were bred and developed differently over time leading them to be two separate breeds today. Both types of spaniels also differ in appearance, size, build, and temperament, as well as their preferred activities and training requirements.

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Visual Differences

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel vs King Charles Spaniel - Visual Differences
Image Credit: Left – Courtney Mihaka, Unsplash | Right – Kasefoto, Shutterstock

At a Glance

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
  • Average height (adult): 12-13 inches
  • Average weight (adult): 13-18 pounds
  • Lifespan: 9-14 years
  • Exercise: 20-30 minutes a day
  • Grooming needs: Low shedding breed
  • Family-friendly: Yes
  • Other pet-friendly: Yes, but should be socialized
  • Trainability: Easy to train, intelligent, eager to please
King Charles Spaniel
  • Average height (adult):  12-13 inches
  • Average weight (adult): 13-18 pounds
  • Lifespan:  9-14 years
  • Exercise:  20-30 minutes a day
  • Grooming needs: High, 3-5 times a week, and monthly
  • Family-friendly: Yes, but not great with small children
  • Other pet-friendly: Yes, but should be socialized
  • Trainability: Easy to train, intelligent, eager to please


Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Overview

cavalier king charles spaniel dog lying on sofa
Image Credit: Fotyma, Shutterstock


The most important thing to know about buying a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is that they are absolutely a companion dog. Cavaliers love to be with their family and crave lots of attention and affection. This means that if you work long hours away from home, this breed probably isn’t a good match for you. They tend to get a bit anxious if they are left alone for extended periods of time, especially if they haven’t been trained.

Cavaliers can be shy or skittish around new people and loud noises. They aren’t often great around other dogs, especially those they don’t know. If you have other pets in the home, you’ll want to make sure your Cavalier gets plenty of one-on-one attention, so he doesn’t feel left out.

Exercise Requirements

Cavaliers are fairly low energy when compared to other breeds. While they should get daily exercise, they don’t require as much as some breeds. A daily walk around the neighborhood is more than enough to keep your Cavalier happy and healthy.

If you want to do more with your dog, you can try some training to increase its skills. Agility training is a wonderful way to get your dog moving and feeling accomplished. You should also keep in mind that Cavaliers have short legs and long backs.

This can make it difficult for them to get up and down from the floor to play if you have a high couch or bed. Be sure to provide your dog with a sturdy and comfortable place to sit or lie down where he can easily reach it. FYI…they love sleeping with their owners.

brown cavalier king charles spaniel
Image Credit: KnipsKaline, Pixabay


Cavaliers are intelligent dogs and can be easy to train. They also have a short attention span and may get bored with a particular training method if it takes too long to see results. Be sure to mix up the types of training you do with your dog, so he stays interested.

Start basic training as soon as you bring your dog home. Teach him to sit, stay, and come when you call his name. This will help you keep your dog safe and stop him from getting into trouble while you’re still getting to know him. Cavaliers can sometimes be difficult to house train. Start this process as soon as you bring your dog home and make sure you have plenty of time to succeed.


Cavaliers have a short, single coat that only needs to be brushed once or twice a month, making it great for owners looking for a low-maintenance dog. Use a pin brush or rubber comb to remove any loose hair and distribute any natural oils throughout your dog’s coat. Your dog’s ears should be checked regularly for signs of infection, such as redness, irritation, or odor.

You can clean his ears with a cotton ball and a veterinarian-approved ear cleaner. Cavaliers are prone to certain health conditions, including joint problems, heart disease, and eye diseases like glaucoma. Be sure to visit your veterinarian for regular check-ups and keep an eye out for any health issues that may arise.

female cavalier charles king spaniel
Image Credit: BJkenel, Shutterstock

Breeding History

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels were originally bred as hunting dogs and companion animals in Britain. As their popularity grew, breeders began to focus more on the aesthetic qualities of the breed, creating the dogs that are most common today.

Once known as “The King Charles Dog,” the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is now the most common toy spaniel breed. It is non-sporting and recognized by both the AKC and the CKC. While the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel has a long and successful history, his popularity created a market where less conscientious breeders could thrive. This has led to an increase in health issues in the breed.

Suitable for: small or large families. These dogs are also great with children or perfect for single homes.

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King Charles Spaniel Overview

Close up of a King Charles Spaniel
Image Credit: spmg, Shutterstock


The King Charles Spaniel is a sensitive, affectionate family dog that thrives on human companionship. They’re playful and mischievous, but not suited for families with small children. These dogs are indoor dogs and should never be left outdoors unattended.

The King Charles Spaniel is an eager learner but can be stubborn at times. They are sensitive dogs that respond best to positive reinforcement training methods. They are not ideal dogs for people who work long hours as they do better when they have consistent daily interaction with their owner. While not hyperactive, they are pretty playful and do need some daily exercise to keep them occupied and channel their energy in a positive way.

Exercise Requirements

King Charles Spaniels are not particularly active indoors and can be kept as indoor companions. They can, however, adapt to a variety of outside conditions as long as they have a place to get out of the elements when necessary.

They are moderately active dogs that can be exercised in a variety of ways: But they are not a breed that needs to be taken on long brisk walks. More moderate walking will satisfy their exercise needs.  These pups sleep 10-12 hours a day, so don’t be surprised if they seem like couch potatoes most of the time.


King Charles Spaniels are eager to learn and respond well to positive reinforcement training methods. They thrive on routine and consistent training. Early socialization and training are important to help prevent fearfulness and other behavioral issues with this breed. You should begin training your new dog as soon as possible with early socialization, basic obedience, and other training.

King Charles Spaniels can be stubborn at times, so you may want to consider using a positive reinforcement training method that uses treats to help reinforce new behaviors.


The coat on the King Charles Spaniel requires medium maintenance. Brushing three to five times a week in addition to monthly grooming will help to prevent matting and keep the coat healthy. Bathing should only be done when necessary – once every couple of months or less should be okay. King Charles Spaniels have sensitive ears, so it is important to clean them regularly. You can do this by wiping them out with a damp cloth.

Breeding History

King Charles Spaniels are a descendant of the spaniel breeds that were kept in the royal courts in the 1600s. This breed was not standardized as a specific type until later in the 19th century. The King Charles Spaniel is a rare breed today.

Breeding should be done carefully and responsibly to avoid health issues and genetic problems in the breed – something that almost caused them to go into deep decline centuries ago. Breeders should use genetic testing to help ensure dogs used for breeding are healthy and have the best chance of producing healthy offspring.

Suitable for: Large families with older children or multiple members of the home.


Which Breed Is Right for You?

It may be a bit challenging to consider which breed will be best for your home. First, consider the people that live in your home. Do you have small children? Do you live alone? The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is great with small children and as sweet as they come.

They are small, quiet, loyal dogs and make for wonderful companions. These dogs may be best for a single home or ones with young family members.

The King Charles Spaniel is a sensitive and affectionate breed that thrives on human companionship. These dogs are playful and mischievous, but not suited for families with small children. They are not hyperactive dogs, but they do need regular exercise and mental stimulation. So, if you prefer a dog that is a little bit more active, this may be a better breed for you.

Featured Image Credit: Top – otsphoto, Shutterstock | Bottom – Mark_KA, Shutterstock

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