A Shave or a Haircut for your Cavalier?

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are well known for their beautiful coats. You want to keep your Cavalier looking his best, but is a haircut or a shave for the summer really a good idea?

Don’t Shave Show Dogs!

In the U.S., the Cavalier King Charles Club USA, Inc. specifies that “NO trimming of the dog is permitted. However, removing the hair growing between the pads on the underside of the foot is permissible.

Trimming hair between your pet’s pads can prevent slipping or problems walking.

If your Cavalier King Charles has no championship aspirations, however, you are free to ignore Kennel Club rules and regulations. But consider the following before deciding to trim, clip or shave your Cavalier Spaniel.

Blenheim Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are a “Double Coated” Breed

Dog breeds may be described as single-coated or double-coated. Double-coated Cavalier King Charles Spaniels have both a topcoat of longer guard hairs and a soft, thicker undercoat.

Without shedding, your dog’s undercoat can become so matted that it prevents air from reaching your dog’s skin.

As the weather turns warmer, rake your Cavalier’s undercoat with a deshedding tool to clear out the thickness of your dog’s undercoat. When the undercoat is thinned out, air circulates more freely between the hairs of the top coat and keeps your Cavalier cooler.

Related: Do Cavalier King Charles Spaniels Shed?

Should you shave your Cavalier for the summer?

Clipping or shaving a Cavalier’s coat might seem like the best approach to keeping your dog cool, BUT…

  • The longer topcoat hairs insulate your dog’s skin from the heat in the summer.
  • Your pet’s topcoat provides a water shield, keeping the skin and undercoat dry.
  • The topcoat also provides protection against mosquitoes and other insects.
Dog Shampoo

Unfortunately, clipping your Cavalier’s coat short may actually increase the risk of sunburn and overheating – the opposite of what you intend!

If I shave my Cavalier, will his fur grow back thicker and curlier?

What if your Cavalier’s coat must be shaved (e.g. for a medical procedure or due to a skin condition)?  Remember that shaving removes your Cavalier’s natural safeguard against heat and sun.

Limit your dog’s exposure to direct sunlight and high temperatures if his coat has been shaved.  Read our post on How to Avoid Heat Stroke to be alert to signs that your dog has become overheated.

As your Cavalier King Charles’ coat grows back, many pet owners find that their Cavalier’s coat seems much thicker and curlier than it did before.  This is because the silkier guard hairs of the top coat take much longer to grow back than does your Cavalier’s furry undercoat. 

Time, patience, and regular grooming should eventually help return your dog’s coat to its original texture, though there is some chance that top hairs do not always regrow on older dogs.

Best haircut for Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

The best haircut for a King Charles Spaniel depends on several factors, including the dog’s age, the weather, and the owner’s personal preferences.

Some of the most popular haircuts for King Charles Spaniels is the “puppy cut,” which involves trimming the dog’s coat to a uniform length of about one to two inches all over the body while the hair on the ears remains long.

Another option for King Charles Spaniels is the “show cut,” which is a somewhat more formal style. This haircut involves leaving the coat longer on the ears, tail, and legs, while the rest of the dog’s body should have a shorter coat length. 

And lastly, the haircut I prefer is very basic and sticks to the breed standards. It involves shaving the dog’s pads as well as the feet of the dog while leaving the rest of the coat intact.


Ultimately, regardless of the cut you choose for your doggy, I would strongly advise you to work with a professional groomer who has experience with the Cavalier breed and can help you pick a haircut that will keep your dog looking and feeling its best.

Related Articles

When do Cavalier King Charles Spaniels get their full coat?

Grooming your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Trimming your Cavalier’s Nails

4 thoughts on “A Shave or a Haircut for your Cavalier?”

  1. Is there any possible way to get my cavaliers precious coat back? I shaved him few times last year not knowing that it will make growing hair thicker and more curlier… if i groom it proper way for a long enough time, is there home to get hos beautiful coat back?

    • I did the same thing and I’ve let it grow out for quite a while now. Grooming regularly for a while will help too. Keep brushing and let it grow out.

  2. Thank you for your advice. I didn’t ask the groomer to shave him now I’m nervous that I might have really harmed his beautiful hair.

  3. The same thing happened to me the other day. Groomer shaved my cavelier and I’m voi g crazy and so sad now. I’m worried that his hair is damaged now and won’t grow back the same anymore. Is there anything that I can do?


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