The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is one of the most versatile and adaptable small dog around. They love to romp and play and are very lively, but are equally happy living a quiet lifestyle as a full-time lap dog.
Cavaliers were originally used as bird dogs in ancient Rome. When Rome's trade routes went as far as China, the small breeds there were used to reduce the size of existing Roman sporting dogs. Because these dogs were small and cute, they eventually moved into the households of Europe and became "ladies' dogs". They became favorites of the British royalty, especially King Charles II, for whom the breed is named. These were the classic tricolor Cavalier. The Duke of Marlborough and his family also loved these little spaniels and the chestnut and white variety came to be known as Blenheim spaniels, because the family home was the Blenheim castle.
The Cavalier of today almost became extinct when a more flat-faced type became popular, but in 1926 the old-type Cavalier was resurrected by way of a contest in which breeders were given prizes to produce the best male and female specimens representative of the old type. In 1946, Great Britain granted the Cavalier its first certification.
Cavaliers came to the USA in the 1950's and were recognized by the AKC in the 1960's. President Reagan loved his Cavaliers, as do all of the rest of us!
Cavaliers are long-haired dogs and require regular brushing and bathing or their coats will become tangled. Regular brushing keeps shedding at a minimum. Even though a Cav looks like the picture of innocence, given the chance, s/he will roll in mud, leaves, etc., like any other dog.
Cavaliers are a hardy breed and not prone to chronic disease usually. Mitral valve disease is the major exception, but if parents are carefully screened for cardiac health and the dog is not allowed to become overweight, this risk is minimal. For a small dog, Cavs are fearless, quite strong and have lots of energy; a Cav also loves to sit quietly while her owner reads, watches TV, etc. They can easily live with bigger dogs and also with cats, if introduced at an early age.
Cavaliers are perfect for anyone. They are a wonderful family dog and love children, because of their playful nature. They are equally at home with retirees and will enjoy the quiet life as well. Cavaliers will love their owners their entire lives!