Woof woof, hey there, are you considering adopting a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel but wondering if they’re high maintenance?
Well, you’ve sniffed out the right blog post!
So, hold on to your leash, because in this article we’re going to dig deep into the care requirements and maintenance levels of Cavalier King Charles Spaniels.
Are Cavalier King Charles Spaniels High Maintenance?
Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are considered to be medium to high-maintenance dogs. Despite the fact that they are known for their lovely temperaments and relative ease of training, Cavaliers as a breed are prone to health issues as well as they require a significant amount of attention, time, and effort for grooming, cleaning, and bathing.
To better understand the maintenance level of Cavaliers and determine if they align with your lifestyle, make sure to continue reading.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Maintenance
Arguably the biggest challenge of owning a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is the breed’s predisposition to certain health issues. Here are some of the most specific health problems:
Mitral Valve Disease (MVD): This is a common heart condition in Cavaliers, affecting over half of the breed by the time they are five years old. MVD is a degenerative disease that causes the heart’s mitral valve to malfunction, leading to heart failure if left untreated. Regular veterinary checkups and monitoring for symptoms like coughing, fatigue, and shortness of breath can help detect MVD early.
Syringomyelia (SM): This is a neurological disorder that occurs when a fluid-filled cavity forms within the spinal cord. Symptoms of syringomyelia include sensitivity around the neck and head, pain, and weakness in the limbs. Early diagnosis and treatment are crucial to managing the condition.
Hip Dysplasia: Cavaliers may be prone to hip dysplasia, a genetic disorder in which the hip joint does not develop properly. This can lead to arthritis and pain in the hip, making it difficult for the dog to walk or exercise. Making sure that a Cavvy has a healthy weight can help minimize the risk of hip dysplasia.
Eye Issues: Eye problems are another issue that the breed is susceptible to. Cataracts, retinal dysplasia, and dry eye are some of the most common problems. Regular eye examinations by a veterinarian can help detect these issues early and provide appropriate treatment.
Patellar Luxation: This is a common orthopedic issue in small dogs, including Cavaliers. The kneecap (patella) slips out of its normal position, causing pain and affecting the dog’s ability to walk. In severe cases, surgery may be required to correct the problem.
Ear Infections: Cavaliers have long, floppy ears, which can create a warm, moist environment conducive to bacterial and yeast infections. Ear cleaning at least once a week plus regular monitoring for signs of infection can help prevent and treat this issue.
Bathing, Grooming, and Cleaning
As a breed with long, silky hair as well as distinctive physical features, Cavaliers require consistent care. Here’s what to expect:
Shedding: Cavaliers have a double coat that sheds moderately throughout the year. Regular brushing, at least three to four times a week, is necessary to remove loose hair, prevent tangles and mats, and distribute natural oils throughout the coat. During spring and fall (when they shed the most), daily brushing may be required to minimize the amount of hair in the home.
Cleaning the Eyes: Cavaliers can be prone to tear stains and eye discharge due to their large, expressive eyes. A gentle clean around their eyes with a soft, damp cloth or pet-safe eye wipes daily will help to remove any buildup and prevent staining. Monitoring Cavalier’s eyes for redness, swelling, or excessive discharge is also essential, as these could be signs of an eye infection or other issues.
Ear Care: Cavaliers have long, pendulous ears that can trap dirt, moisture, and debris, making them more susceptible to ear infections. Weekly cleaning with an alcohol-free ear cleaner and cotton balls or gauze is necessary to maintain their healthy ears. One should be careful not to insert anything deep into the ear canal. If you are interested in learning more, here’s an article on how to clean Cavalier King Charles ears.
Paw Care: The hair between the paw pads of a Cavalier can become matted or accumulate debris, which may cause discomfort or even lead to infections. Owners should trim the hair between Cavalier’s paw pads regularly and check paws for cuts, abrasions, or foreign objects after walks or outdoor play. In addition, trimming Cavalier nails every three to four weeks is recommended to prevent overgrowth and ensure proper foot structure.
Bathing and Professional Grooming: The frequency of bathing Cavaliers depends on their lifestyle and activity levels, typically occurring every four to six weeks. Besides home bathing, scheduling professional grooming sessions every six to eight weeks can help maintain a healthy coat. Professional groomers can skillfully trim the hair around the ears, paws, and sanitary areas, which some owners might find challenging to do themselves.
Another significant challenge of having a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel as a pet is its tendency to develop separation anxiety. This breed is known for its affectionate and loyal nature, often forming strong bonds with their owners.
While this trait makes them wonderful companions, it can also result in distress when they are left alone for extended periods.
Separation anxiety in Cavaliers can manifest in various ways, including excessive barking, destructive behavior, house soiling, or even attempts to escape the home. To minimize the risk of separation anxiety, a Cavalier should gradually become acclimated to being alone.
The famous happy eyes and lengthy floppy ears often come at a price. The initial purchase or adoption can range from $1,500 to $4,500 for a puppy from a reputable Cavalier King Charles Spaniel breeder. Depending on the lineage, aesthetics, and breeder’s reputation, the price may even be higher.
Besides the purchase cost, grooming, food, toys, and other supplies may add up to a monthly expense of up to $150. Also, as mentioned, due to their health issues, veterinary check-ups are more frequent than for other breeds.
The Joys of Cavalier Companionship
Easy to Train
Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are quick learners and have a natural desire to please their owners. They respond very well to positive reinforcement methods and are generally easy to train.
Whether you’re teaching them basic commands like sit and stay or more advanced tricks like shake and roll over, Cavaliers will quickly pick up new skills.
They are patient, and they don’t get discouraged easily. Meaning to say, you can take your time training them and they will still be eager to learn and improve.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are flexible dogs that can adapt to different living conditions. They can live in small apartments, but they don’t mind living in large houses with big yards either.
They are flexible in their lifestyle choices as well. Although the energy level of Cavalier King Charles Spaniels is generally moderate, they may easily fit into your lifestyle, regardless of whether you enjoy being active or want to spend most of your time at home.
Affectionate, Playful, and Devoted
I dare say that Cavalier King Charles Spaniels possess the most loving and affectionate personalities among all dog breeds.
Admittedly, I might be slightly biased; however, I have genuinely never encountered a dog so devoted and willing to provide abundant unconditional love. They epitomize the reason dogs are often referred to as human’s best friends.
These endearing canines are frequently dubbed “love sponges,” and do you know why?
Well, it’s because once you welcome a Cavvy into your life, you can rest assured that you’ll always have a devoted, furry friend by your side, eager to bring you happiness and ever ready for another cuddle session.
Great Family Dogs
Another advantage of owning a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is its exceptional compatibility with children, strangers, cats, dogs, and virtually any other living being you can think of.
These patient, gentle, and tolerant dogs create a harmonious environment, allowing you to rest easy without worrying about any unfortunate incidents occurring when they are left alone with youngsters. In fact, their gentle nature makes them more susceptible to injury from children rather than the other way around.
Moreover, their adaptable and social disposition makes them excellent companions not only for families but also for single individuals and seniors alike. This versatility only adds to the numerous reasons why Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are such cherished and sought-after pets.
They Are Quiet
You know what else is great about Cavalier King Charles Spaniels? They’re pretty quiet dogs.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniels don’t bark a whole lot, which makes them perfect for people who like a peaceful home.
Of course, like most dogs, they might bark from time to time to let their owners know if something’s up or when they’re scared, but they’re definitely not the breed that constantly yaps or causes a ruckus.
In conclusion, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are loving and loyal companions with exceptional personalities, suitable for both individuals and families.
However, the truth is that taking care of a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel requires time and patience. The breed needs consistent grooming, cleaning, and bathing, as well as frequent veterinary checkups, to ensure they stay healthy.
Still, with proper care and attention, these bundles of love can bring joy and happiness to their owners for years to come. I hope this article has helped you determine if a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is the right fit for your lifestyle and preferences.