Breed Category: Toy
Country of Origin: England
Average Size: 22-28 cm (at the withers)
Average Weight: 3-6 kg
Average Life Span: 10-12 years
Grooming Requirements: Low
Exercise Requirements: Low


The King Charles Spaniel is a small breed of dog developed in England and is now considered one of the most popular and beloved toy breeds. It is thought to be hundreds of years old, though the breed as it is known today was standardised in the early 1900s.

For the first several hundred years of its existence, the breed was associated strictly with royalty and it is suggested that an early form of the King Charles Spaniel was actually a gift from Japanese royalty to England’s monarchs. It may share ancestry with two popular Asian breeds: the Pekingese and the Japanese Chin. The breed’s name is derived from King Charles II, who enjoyed the company of these toy dogs.

Though its role is solely that of a companion dog, the King Charles Spaniel possesses some hunting instincts. This are not typically put towards great use, as it is a quintessential lap dog, but it may express these instincts towards rodents or birds.


The warm and sweet look of the King Charles Spaniel has won the hearts of many throughout the world. It has large, round, wide-set eyes that are very dark in colour, but they are also very expressive. Its ears are long and feathered, as is its tail.

Its coat is long, sleek and has a slight wave. It was at one time considered four breeds, separated only by their colouring. There are now four different varieties of King Charles Spaniel: Blenheim, characterised by a white and red coat; King Charles, which has a black and tan coat; Prince Charles, which consists of a black, tan and white coat; and Ruby, characterised by a solid red coat with occasional white markings. This breed is not prone to excessive shedding and does not require specific grooming other than the brushing of its coat.

This is a small dog, weighing just 3-6 kg and standing only 22-28 cm in height. It is often seen carried around in the arms of its owner due to its portable nature.


The King Charles Spaniel is adored for its gentle disposition and good natured behaviour. It is content to live as a lap dog and enjoys pampering and attention from its owner. They are content to play mainly indoors and will be happy with short walks, so this breed makes a wonderful choice for the elderly or handicapped. It provides great company and is very intelligent and loyal.

This breed is well-suited for living in a flat, as it is not prone to barking and does not require a large amount of space in order to thrive.

Though it is a sweet and loyal breed, the King Charles Spaniel should be properly trained and socialised with other people and animals to avoid behavioural problems and intolerance of other animals.


There are unfortunately quite a few conditions that can afflict the King Charles Spaniel. Its flat face makes it susceptible to breathing and temperature-regulating problems, so the dog should not be overexerted. This breed’s extremely short muzzle also makes it prone to snoring. It may also experience patella luxation.

Vision problems that may affect the King Charles Spaniel include cataracts, distichia and entropion. It is also prone to cardiac conditions such as congestive heart failure.

This breed lives to be an average of 10-12 years of age, which is slightly shorter than most other dogs of this size.

King Charles Spaniel Organisations in Australia
The King Charles Spaniel Club (Vic) Inc

King Charles Spaniel Organisations in the UK
The King Charles Spaniel Club

King Charles Spaniel Organisations in the US
American Kennel Club – Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Club of NSW

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