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Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Pet Road Tests > Dogs

Breed: Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Temperament: loyal, friendly
Lifespan: 10-12 years
Maintenance: medium
Recommended for: families, young children, older adults

One of the consistent top performers in Burke's Backyard's best dogs list is also one of Australia's most popular pedigreed breeds.

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel was deliberately bred as a companion dog and has fulfilled its life's work admirably.

Appearance: With a sweet rounded face, big brown eyes and soft floppy ears the Cavalier is the ultimate "cute" dog. They are small, reaching only 31-33cm (12-13") and weighing 5-8kg (8-10lb). There are four colours, Blenheim (chestnut and white), Tri-colour (black, white and tan), black and tan, and ruby (solid red). They shouldn't be confused with the King Charles Spaniel, a dog with a shorter snout and is more reserved in nature.

Temperament: Known for their beautiful temperaments, Cavaliers are affectionate and compliant, tolerant of children and come highly recommended by many vets. Dr Rob Zammit especially recommends them for families with children unfamiliar with dogs.

Health: Choose your breeder carefully when buying a pup. Responsible breeders are screening parents to eliminate known genetic problems such as luxating patellas (slipping kneecaps), eye defects and congenital heart problems. Heart Mitral valve disease (MVD) is both a congenital disease and is inherited in certain lines of Cavaliers. Sadly, some people seem less concerned with diseases and more concerned with selling puppies.

Space/Housepet potential: The Cavalier makes an ideal housepet, being small, quiet and unobtrusive. They are said to be easily house-trained and do not need a big backyard. A regular walk, however, is recommended.

Ideal owner: Cavaliers appeal to older people and young families alike, and are adaptable enough to fit in either situation. They need affection and may fail to thrive if kept outdoors. Puppies may be injured if left unsupervised with children under three years.

Grooming: The Cavalier needs bathing and a good brush for 15-20 minutes each week. When coming out of winter, hair may be shed onto furnishings. The drop ears should be wiped clean and checked regularly to avoid infections.

History: Small spaniels have been favourites for many centuries with those people rich enough to keep a dog simply for pleasure, and not one that had to earn its keep. While it wasn't until the 1940s that Cavaliers were registered as a breed in their own right, they have had a rapid - and many would say deserved - rise in popularity to be Australia's 6th-most popular pedigreed breed.

National contacts

To find up-to-date contacts for breeders, contact the following organisations. The Australian National Kennel Council (ANKC)

Dogs NSW
Phone: 1300 728 022 (NSW only) or (02) 9834 3022
Fax: (02) 9834 3872

Dogs Victoria
Phone: (03) 9788 2500
Fax: (03) 9788 2599

Dogs ACT
Phone: (02) 6241 4404 - Fax: (02) 6241 1129.

Dogs West
Phone: (08) 9455 1188
Fax: (08) 9455 1190

Dogs SA
Phone: (08) 8349 4797

Canine Control Council of Queensland
Phone: (07) 3252 2661
Fax: (07) 3252 3864

Tasmanian Canine Association
Phone: (03) 6272 9443
Fax: (03) 6273 0844

Dogs NT
Phone: (08) 8984 3570
Fax: (08) 8984 3409
The Australian National Kennel Council (ANKC)

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