The toy Spaniel breeds originate as far back as the Renaissance times, with the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel originating in 17 th century Britain. At the time, two British monarchs, King Charles I and his son Charles II, were particularly invested in the black and tan variety of the toy spaniels that were later named after them. Toy spaniels then remained the breed preference for the British aristocrats into the early 19 th century. It is rumoured that the original purpose for the companions were to attract fleas, which theoretically spared their masters the flea-transmitted bubonic plague. The black and tan variation of the breed was eventually crossed with Asian toy breeds such as Pugs and Japanese Chins, and became the breed we recognize today as the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.
Cavaliers are potentially one of the most affectionate breeds of the toy companion dog classification. Their irresistibly adorable faces are a true representation of their
personality and temperament. They are very playful and intelligent, and are
extraordinarily loyal companions, making them the perfect family dog. However, due to their devotion to their guardians, Cavaliers often tend to develop a separation anxiety when left alone. It is recommended to condition them to being left alone for a few hours at a time from a very young age in order to prevent a potential dependency issue.
Although they are not the most extreme example, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are also technically part of the brachycephalic classification meaning they have a shortened broad skull and jaw structure that creates a flat, or “smooshy”, look. While this is a physically appealing feature, it can create some health complications for the breed. The compression of their skull structure leaves the tissues inside their mouths and airways with very little space, often causing narrowed airways and nasal cavities. This is an important point to consider when deciding to adopt or purchase a Cavalier.
As with many other dog breeds, Cavaliers have genetic predispositions that put them at risk of developing various conditions or diseases. Some common areas of concern include heart disease, neurological conditions (seizures, tremors, vestibular disease), ophthalmic conditions (particularly cataracts and dry eye), epilepsy, skin allergies, and a bleeding disorder called hemophilia. It is recommended to ensure that you are purchasing a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel from a reputable and responsible breeder that is registered with a governing agency of some sort to help decrease the likelihood of your dog developing any of these conditions
Due to their respiratory concerns, brachycephalic dogs can also quickly overheat and are very sensitive to heat exhaustion. This can very quickly become an emergency situation for our smooshy-faced friends! Concerned about transporting your Cavalier in the heat? Toronto AMS is here to help with transport services provided in a climate-controlled environment! We are equipped to provide first aid care and assistance to your pet under the supervision of trained Registered Veterinary Technicians and animal care attendants.