The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, with its irresistibly warm gaze, isn’t just a breed—it’s a love affair. In my home, Cavaliers aren’t just pets; they’re adored family members, each with a unique personality and a story.
However, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re the right fit for every household. Here are the top six reasons why you might want to reconsider getting a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.
Why You Shouldn’t Get a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
#1 Size and Energy Level
Physical Limitations: Cavaliers’ short legs mean that while they might be enthusiastic about joining you for a walk, they can’t cover the same ground as larger breeds. A long hike or run that might invigorate a larger dog could be too taxing for the Cavalier. Their stamina, while commendable for their size, has its limits.
Not Your Typical Athletic Companion: If you’re an outdoor enthusiast looking for a canine partner for rigorous activities, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel might not be the ideal choice. While they’ll happily accompany you for a leisurely stroll in the park or a short hike, they’re not built for more strenuous activities like long-distance running or challenging hikes.
Safety in Active Households: In homes bustling with activity, especially those with young children, there’s a risk of the Cavalier getting hurt. Their small size can make them less noticeable, leading to potential accidents.
#2 Training and Instincts
While Cavaliers are easy to train due to their intellect and eagerness to please, their hunting instincts can pose challenges. When off-leash or in open spaces, they can become easily distracted by scents and might wander off to explore.
This instinctual behavior can pose challenges, especially in areas with potential dangers like roads or predatory animals.
#3 Grooming Needs
The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is often admired for its beautiful, silky coat. This luxurious feature, while aesthetically pleasing, comes with its own set of maintenance requirements.
Here’s a comprehensive look at what it takes to keep a Cavalier looking its best:
The Signature Coat: The Cavalier’s coat is long, silky, and often feathered, especially around the ears, chest, body, and haunches. They aren’t heavy shedders like some other breeds but their long hair can still shed moderately and requires regular attention.
Regular Brushing: To prevent tangles and mats, especially around the ears and feathered areas, regular brushing is essential. This not only helps in detangling but also distributes natural oils, keeping their coat shiny.
Trimming and Clipping: The fur between the pads of their toes can grow long and collect dirt or debris. Regular trimming of this fur is necessary to keep their paws clean and prevent any potential infections. Additionally, occasional trimming around the ears and tail might be required to maintain a neat appearance.
Bathing: While Cavaliers don’t need frequent baths, it’s essential to give them a thorough wash every few weeks or when they get particularly dirty.
Wet Weather Challenges: The Cavalier’s long coat can easily get wet and muddy during rainy days. If you live in an area with frequent wet weather, be prepared to towel them off or give them a quick rinse after their outdoor adventures.
In other words, while the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel’s coat is undeniably beautiful it does require regular attention. So, if you can’t dedicate your time to their grooming needs, then Cavaliers are probably not for you.
#4 Watchdog Capabilities
Cavalier King Charles Spaniels’ reactivity as watchdogs varies. It’s worth noting that this variability is often influenced by their individual personalities and early socialization experiences.
Some may possess a more reserved nature, while others might inherently lean towards being more alert and protective. Therefore, potential owners should be aware that while Cavaliers can potentially excel as watchdogs, their effectiveness in this role may not be as predictable as some other breeds known for their vigilance.
This consideration is particularly crucial for dog owners seeking a consistently reliable watchdog, especially in environments like an apartment.
#5 Companionship Needs
Bred originally as comforting lap dogs for royalty, Cavaliers’ primary role hasn’t changed much over the centuries. Their deep-seated need for human interaction and affection makes them both endearing and demanding in unique ways.
Here’s a closer look:
Devotion to Their Family: One of the standout traits of the Cavalier is its unwavering devotion to its family. They are often referred to as love sponges, strongly bonding with their owners. And while this is one of the main reasons Cavaliers are so loving, it might not resonate with you. This intense attachment means they thrive on attention and can become deeply affected if they feel neglected.
Not Suited for Long Absences: Given their need for constant companionship, Cavaliers don’t fare well in households where family members are gone for extended periods. Leaving them alone for long periods of time can lead to feelings of loneliness and even result in separation anxiety. Symptoms can include excessive barking, destructive behavior, or depression.
#6 Prone to Health Issues
Unfortunately, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are not the healthiest dog breeds in the world. And while they live on average between 12 and 15 years, there are several health issues they are prone to.
Hip Dysplasia: This is a condition where the hip joint doesn’t fit into the hip socket properly, which can lead to pain and arthritis over time.
Patella Luxation: This is when the kneecap slips out of its normal position, causing discomfort and difficulty in walking.
MVD (Mitral Valve Disease): This is a heart condition where the valve that separates the upper and lower chambers of the heart becomes weak, leading to problems with blood flow.
Syringomyelia: This is a condition where fluid-filled cysts form in the spinal cord, which can cause pain, weakness, and other neurological problems.
Ear Infections: These occur when bacteria or yeast grow in the ear canal, causing pain and discomfort, and if left untreated, can lead to more serious issues.