Why is My Cavalier King Charles Spaniel so Big? (5 Reasons)

If you are wondering why your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is so big – you are not alone. Our lovely companions are prone to gaining some extra weight.

Since an overweight Cavvy can result in a number of health problems, it’s crucial that you keep an eye on your dog’s weight as a responsible pet owner.

In this article, I’ll provide all the information you need about the Cavaliers’ size. I’ll help you determine if your Cavalier is the right size and also provide you with solutions in case your dog is too big.

So, sit back, relax, and get ready to learn about the size of Cavalier King Charles Spaniels.

Why is My Cavalier King Charles Spaniel so Big?

The most common reason why your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is big is due to overfeeding. However, excessive food intake isn’t the sole reason behind an overweight Cavvy. A lack of physical activity, genetics, your dog’s age, or potential medical concerns can all play a part.

Typically, if your pup eats more than its ideal food portion, it will gain weight. On a similar note, a dog’s metabolism slows down as it ages – so your once young and energetic pup may need less food now than it used to. 

Exercise plays a significant role in maintaining a healthy weight, too. When your Cavvy is active, it burns calories, resulting in healthy weight loss. 

On the other hand, if your hound is a couch potato, you may notice its weight creeping up. 

Keep reading to find out how to determine whether your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is too big and what you can do about it! 

How Big Do Cavalier King Charles Spaniels Get?

When I first got my Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, I couldn’t stop gushing over how adorably tiny and fluffy he was. But as he grew, I began to wonder how big a Cavalier gets. 

If you’re a fellow CKCS owner or considering getting one, you might be wondering the same thing. 

Well, let me tell you – Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are considered a small dog breed, typically weighing between 13 and 18 pounds and growing up to 13 inches when fully grown. 

You should monitor the growth chart of your dog so that you have a sense of its development through different life stages.

My furry companion, for example, is on the smaller side and weighs 13 pounds. 

Of course, like with any breed, there can be some variation in size, but generally speaking, 20 pounds is the upper weight limit for the breed.

How Can I Determine if My Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is the Right Size?

As mentioned, Cavvy is considered to be at a healthy weight if it weighs 13-18 lbs (5.9 – 8.2 kg). Here are more signs to determine whether your dog may need to lose a few ounces:

Body Shape

Examining your dog’s body shape is a great way to determine whether your Cavalier is too big. 

A fit dog should have a large chest that is visibly wider than its stomach. In other words, your pooch should have a noticeable waist. 

To check your pet’s body, simply look at it from above. 

Do you notice a distinction between its chest and stomach? If your dog’s figure resembles an hourglass, your pup is probably at a healthy weight. 

If you aren’t sure, let’s look at other signs. 


This method is a slightly more reliable way of checking your dog’s weight. 

To perform a rib-check, follow these steps:

Place your hands on your dog’s ribcage, with your thumbs along the spine and your fingers spread out around the ribcage.

Apply gentle pressure with your hands and feel for your dog’s ribs. You should be able to feel the individual ribs without having to press too hard.

If you have to “dig” to feel its ribs, you probably have an overweight Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. On the other hand, if you can see your dog’s ribs and can feel them too easily, you have an underweight pet.

Fat Pads

Excessive fat is the number one indicator of an overweight dog. 

Unlike humans, who usually distribute fat all over their bodies, dogs tend to have “fat pads,” which are areas with clusters of fat cells. 

Usually, these pads occur between the legs and at the top of the hips. 

To check, lightly squeeze your pooch during your next petting session. If you grab a thick layer of fat, your Cavvy is getting chunky.

Behavior Changes

Finally, an overweight dog will exhibit certain behaviors that indicate an issue. 

A sign of an overweight dog is a lack of energy and enthusiasm for physical activities. Your pet may seem disinterested in playing fetch or going for walks, preferring instead to lounge around the house.

This could be due to the extra weight putting strain on its joints and making movement uncomfortable.

Also, your Cavvy may have difficulty breathing, and it may start panting after a short walk or run. 

Furthermore, you may also notice that your Cavvy is walking much more slowly or that it doesn’t tolerate hot weather as well as it used to. 

Related: Why is my Cavalier King Charles Spaniel so small?

What Should You Do if Your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is Too Big?

Regulate Diet

As mentioned, the number one cause of dog obesity is an inadequate diet. If this is the case, reducing your pup’s caloric intake is essential. 

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels have a tendency to overeat, so it’s important to measure out their food portions. This will help you to ensure that they are getting the right amount of food and prevent them from eating more than they need.

There are a few different ways to do this, including simply reducing your dog’s portions and/or switching to healthier food alternatives.

If your dog is overweight, stop free-feeding immediately. Pre-portion your pet’s meals and set them out on a schedule. 

Switch to high-quality dog food. The quality of the food you feed your Cavalier is important.

The finest dog food contains high-quality protein, healthy fats, low carbs, and essential vitamins and minerals.

If you are interested to learn more about this topic, here’s a dedicated article about the proper Cavalier King Charles Spaniels’ diet.

Limit Treats

If your Cavalier is too big, another reason could be the treats your puppy desires. You may need to reduce the number of treats your dog receives in addition to adjusting his main meals.

Treats can be a major source of extra calories and can easily push your dog’s overall caloric intake over the limit. In fact, experts believe that treats should only account for 10% of your dog’s diet. 

Since they are meant to be given as a reward, they are delicious and packed with calories, which can be why your dog is overweight.

If you suspect that the issue lies here, limit the treats you’ve been giving your pet. 

Refrain from over-rewarding your pup, even if it’s begging for another biscuit. You can also try using alternative rewards, such as praise or playtime.

Alternatively, switch to a lower-calorie option that your dog enjoys equally. 

Be More Active

We all know that Cavalier King Charles Spaniels develop personalities similar to those of their owners! As a result, if you tend to stay indoors all the time, your pup may also turn into a couch potato. 

While that may be sweet and endearing, it could be the reason your Cavvy packs on a few extra pounds.

If your pooch is otherwise healthy, try increasing its exercise levels by introducing more (or longer) walks, allowing your pup to run free in a dog park, or simply playing with it at home. 

You probably already know that Cavaliers aren’t the most energetic breed out there. Still, a regular exercise regimen will help keep your pup fit and healthy. 

Consult a Vet

Last but not least, I always appreciate the importance of a vet’s opinion. Take your Cavvy to a vet’s office for a weight (and overall health) check. 

Vets can help you deduce whether your pup has a considerable problem and give you a detailed weight-loss program based on your dog’s needs.

On top of that, it’s important to consider the possibility of a medical condition that may contribute to your Cavvy’s weight gain, such as hypothyroidism or Cushing’s disease (which is especially common in older dogs). 

To put your mind at ease and rest assured that your pet is as healthy as can be, don’t wait up – call your vet! 


In conclusion, several factors may be at play if your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is too big. Genetics, age, exercise, a medical issue, and (primarily) diet will influence the overall weight of your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. So, ensure your Cavvy receives proper nutrition and training to maintain a healthy weight and overall well-being. 

Thank you for reading. If you found this post helpful, be sure to check out our other articles about your dog’s health and wellness for more tips and tricks. Here’s my recommendation: Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Yelps When Picked Up.

1 thought on “Why is My Cavalier King Charles Spaniel so Big? (5 Reasons)”

  1. This to me is the best informative website I have come across in the 5 years of searching for articles of interest and help with my Boy Toby.
    Toby is my wonderful companion Blenheim he even has a spot on top, I picked up Toby from his birth home in Melbourne Australia at twelve weeks old and took him home to Adelaide, Oh! what a friend to have always by my side or close by what more could an old man want?
    Toby has a strange weight problem, he’s a couple of Kg over and it won’t go away even though he mainly eats vegetables carrots and broccoli with a tiny serve of raw lean meat, Breakfast he has 1/3 cup of kibble his dinner as above, so any suggestions welcome.
    Anyway thank you for a great web tutorial, kind regards Burnie83


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