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Last updated on April 18, 2014 at 8:55 EDT

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is one of the largest of the toy dog breeds. The breed has roots in the Restoration period; however the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel was first bred in the 20th century.

The predecessor of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, the King Charles Spaniel was named because the breed was a pet of Charles I. King Charles II issued a decree that the King Charles Spaniel could enter into any public place. Dogs in this breed were commonly in paintings of the time period. Their snouts and bones were thinner and longer than that of today’s Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.

In the 1920s, Roswell Eldridge began a quest for an old fashioned King Charles Spaniel so that he could begin breeding a new type, with a shorter snout. It was bred and named the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a fairly small dog standing between 12 and 13 inches tall and weighing 10 to 18 pounds. Unlike many spaniels, the Cavalier has a feathered, long tail, as opposed to being docked. The Cavalier has several other feathered features, including its ears, feet, legs, tail and chest. It has a fairly long silky coat that is slightly wavy and can be one of four colors: Blenheim, tricolor, black and tan, or ruby, with Blenheim being the most common.

The breed is very social and affectionate, so much that some people have called the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel the “ultimate lap dog”. It is eager to please its owner and generally good with children and other dogs. It does not like to be left alone for long periods without a companion.

The Cavalier is fairly high maintenance when it comes to grooming. It should be brushed daily and bathed often, but not more than twice a week to avoid skin irritation.

The Cavalier can be quirky, often acting like a cat. It will exhibit traits such as perching in high places and cleaning its own paws. It also may attempt to catch small birds and chase other small animals.

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel may suffer from a number of hereditary health problems. Mitral valve disease and Syringomyelia are the two most common problems with the Cavalier. A majority of Cavaliers suffer from mitral valve disease which typically leads to heart failure, and many suffer from the partial paralysis which comes with Syringomyelia which affects the brain and spine. Other conditions which affect the breed are episodic falling, hip dysplasia, luxating patella, and Keratoconjunctivitis sicca.

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Cavalier King Charles Spaniel