Ranked as the 14th most popular dog breed in the United States, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels hold the title of ‘ambassadors of affection’.
But, beyond their remarkable popularity and irresistible charm, there are many fascinating Cavalier King Charles Spaniel facts that are bound to astonish you.
So, make yourself comfortable as I’m about to unravel some cool, fun, and even sad stories about these bundles of love.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Facts
- Named After King Charles II
- Wondrous Workers
- Health Issue: Sad Facts About Cavalier King Charles Spaniels
- From Hunters to Companions
- The Breed’s Prominence in Fine Arts
- Ranked 44th in Dog Intelligence
- The Smallest Spaniels
- Amazing Sense of Smell
- They Were Faced Near Extinction
- Good With Other Pets
- Banned In Norway
- Celeb-Favorites: Famous Owners of Cavalier King Charles Spaniels
- Frequent in Pop Culture
- Prone to Obesity
- The Blenheim Mark
Named After King Charles II
One of the coolest facts about Cavalier King Charles Spaniel names is that they originate from none other than King Charles II of England. Such was his affection for these dogs that legends say he was almost never seen without at least one or two at his side.
The King’s fascination with these Spaniels was so great that he reportedly enacted laws allowing the breed in all public places – including the Houses of Parliament.
Beyond their noble origins, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are also valued for their work as therapy dogs. Their naturally affectionate, gentle, and patient personalities make them a perfect fit for the job.
These wondrous workers are trained to bring comfort and emotional support to those who need it most – including the sick, the elderly, and those dealing with stress or trauma.
Health Issue: Sad Facts About Cavalier King Charles Spaniels
From cool to sad fact – unfortunately, these lovable dogs are genetically predisposed to a serious heart condition called MVD (Mitral Valve Disease). This condition attacks the heart, which can deteriorate over time and cause heart failure if not managed appropriately.
It is the most common health issue in Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, with over half of all Cavaliers developing the disease by age 5 and 90% by age 10.
From Hunters to Companions
Despite their small size, Cavaliers actually come from a lineage of hunting dogs, and sometimes this heritage comes to the fore. If you own a Cavalier, you may have noticed a strong pursuit instinct, particularly showing interest in smaller creatures like birds or squirrels.
However, their typically gentle and friendly nature usually wins out, making them more interested in socializing than in fulfilling their hunting instincts.
The Breed’s Prominence in Fine Arts
If you’re an art lover, you might spot the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel in Edwin Landseer’s famous painting, “The Cavalier’s Pets.” As a prominent 19th-century animal painter, Landseer beautifully portrayed the breed’s elegance and charm, showcasing their royal heritage.
Ranked 44th In Dog Intelligence
Ranked 44th on Coren’s list of canine intelligence, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are described as “average” smart dogs typically needing between 25 and 40 repetitions to learn a new command. But what makes Cavalier King Charles Spaniels smart dogs is their exceptional emotional and social intelligence, along with their remarkable adaptability.
The Smallest Spaniels
In the diverse Spaniel group, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel holds a unique distinction: they are the smallest of the Spaniels. But even though they’re petite – Cavvies have a big heart and a lot of personality.
Their small size adds to their charm and makes them perfect companions for those living in smaller spaces, like apartments.
Amazing Sense of Smell
A captivating fact about Cavalier King Charles Spaniels is their amazing olfactory capability. Many don’t know this, but their sense of smell is actually phenomenal, thousands of times stronger than that of an average human.
While surpassing us in scent detection might not be that difficult, Cavaliers also rank impressively when compared to many other dog breeds. This superior sense of smell traces back to their hunting ancestors. Today, while they might not use this talent for tracking prey, don’t be surprised if your Cavalier manages to sniff out that hidden treat or toy with remarkable accuracy!
They Were Faced Near Extinction
Another interesting fact and somewhat somber chapter in the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel’s history is that the breed nearly faced extinction during World War II.
The war caused a drastic reduction in their numbers due to the hardships and scarcity it brought. Thankfully, a group of devoted breeders rallied to preserve the breed, painstakingly working to revive its numbers.
Good With Other Pets
Cavaliers are renowned for their sociable and friendly nature, which extends to other animals as well. They generally have a peaceful demeanor, showing kindness and patience to fellow pets.
Regardless of whether it’s a cat, another dog, or even smaller pets like rabbits, a Cavalier is happy to make a new friend. This makes them an excellent choice for households with existing pets, as they can seamlessly fit in and add to the warm, playful environment.
Banned In Norway
Despite their worldwide popularity and adorableness, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are banned in Norway. The Norwegian government has imposed strict laws on the breeding of dogs that are prone to inheritable diseases.
Given the Cavalier’s high susceptibility to certain genetic disorders, it has become part of the list of prohibited breeds for breeding.
Celeb-Favorites: Famous Owners of Cavalier King Charles Spaniels
Cavalier King Charles Spaniels have found their way into the hearts and homes of many celebrities. The breed’s loving, affectionate nature, combined with its adaptability and small size, makes it a popular choice for those in the spotlight.
Former U.S. President Ronald Reagan had a Cavalier named Rex, who even had his own luxurious dog house at the White House. There are many other celebrities, such as Frank Sinatra, Liv Tyler, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Courtney Cox, Sylvester Stallone, and Kristin Davis, among many other celebrities who owned Cavaliers.
Frequent in Pop Culture
In addition to being celebrities’ pets, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels frequently appear in movies and television. One of the most notable Cavalier cameos is in the popular TV series “Sex and the City,” where Charlotte’s dog, Elizabeth Taylor, is a Blenheim Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.
Additionally, In the film “Unleashing Mr. Darcy,” Elizabeth Scott gets to showcase her Cavalier King Charles Spaniel in a high-end New York show.
Prone to Obesity
Another intriguing fact about Cavalier King Charles Spaniels is related to their dietary habits. Known for their hearty appetites and deep love for food, CKCS have a reputation for being big gourmets.
However, this affection for meals can sometimes lead to a propensity for weight gain and obesity. Therefore, owners should be mindful of their Cavalier’s diet and ensure they get plenty of exercise.
The Blenheim Mark
The “Blenheim” spot, a distinct mark on the head, is a characteristic trait of Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, especially those with chestnut and white coats.
The spot’s origin is shrouded in legend, with tales tracing back to the Duchess of Marlborough during the Battle of Blenheim in 1704. As the story goes, her anxious thumbprint on her pregnant Spaniel resulted in puppies bearing this unique mark, forever imprinting it into the Cavaliers’ history.