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Is a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel The Perfect Dog For You?

The original King Charles Spaniel was a hunting dog. Eventually, it was bred down to a size more suitable to keep laps and feet warm in those damp, drafty and cold castles. They were also commonly used to draw fleas away from their owners, during The Plague.

The evolution of the breed can be seen in the paintings of the Masters from the 16th – 18th century. There they were; always included in the family portraits of the royals and wealthy. In earlier portraits, the noses of the dogs are pre-Pug. The later painting show a more Pug-like domed, brachycephalic shaped head.

In 1926, Roswell Eldridge, an American, offered a challenge, with a reward of $1,000 dollars, to anyone who could produce a dam and sire with more of the original King Charles Spaniel’s longer nose. The word “Cavalier” was added to differentiate the new from the old appearance.

So, what does this adorable, alert, active, and sometimes-haughty spaniel have to offer? Originating as hunting dogs, surprisingly, they are in the Gun family. They have been bred down in size to now be classified as a member of the Toy group. As a rule they weigh between 13-18 pounds.

Even though for the past 400 years, they have mainly served as loyal, devoted companions and family pets, they still carry that inherent need to chase and hunt. Their eyesight and sense of smell are keen. Unless your Charlie has been trained to immediately respond to recall, they will dart off in chase of anything that moves; including cars. Never allow them off lead in an unsecured area.

An unsocialized Charlie can be timid and possibly snappy. It is recommended to enroll them in positive reinforcement, punishment-free Puppy Kindergarten and socialization classes as soon as possible. They love to learn. They are quite sensitive to changes in the tone of your voice, which makes them easy to train. With adequate training and socialization they are great with older children and other pets. They can be prone to inappropriate behavioral issues associated with Small Dog Syndrome if they do not trust and respect you as a leader. Even though they are wonderful family pets, Charlies sometimes attach more closely to one person in the family.

Separation anxiety is quite customary in Charlies. They despise being separated from their family. If you cannot include them in most of your activities, they can become neurotic and/or destructive. Sometimes having a companion pet helps make them feel less alone.

They are also fantastic companions for older owners and apartment or condo dwellers. As lively as they are, they are fairly well balanced. A long brisk walk twice a day and followed by some interactive playtime with you, they are quite ready to come indoors and be the well-behaved dog you will be proud of.

This is not a dog you can leave outdoors alone for hours. They are sensitive to extremes of heat and cold.

Ask Charlie owners to describe their dog and they will smile and say: alert, intelligent, hates to be alone, easy to train, sweet, gentle, silly, sensitive, fun, well-mannered, intuitive, competitive, eager to please, and friendly. Many find it irresistible, the fact they look like young Cocker Spaniels their entire life.

The majority of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniels health issues are inherited. Because of that, it is extremely important to find an honest, responsible breeder. Their health issues include: eye diseases, deafness, patellar luxation, patent ductus arteriosus, entropion, Brachycephalic Syndrome, ear infections, back problems, obesity and the most serious, mitro-valve disorder and endocardiosis.

Their average lifespan is 10-14 years.

Average shedders, grooming is quite easy. A thorough weekly brushing of their silky, long hair will prevent matting, especially around the ears. Speaking of ears, because of those floppy long ears, make sure they are dried after baths and cleaned often, to avoid the risk of ear infections.

Bottom line: Do your homework. Research the breed. Talk to Cavalier King Charles Spaniel owners. They are a great pet for the right person or family. Run; do not walk away from puppies at pet stores, classified ads and flea markets. They only perpetuate horrifying puppy mills and sloppy, inexperienced backyard breeders. It may cost a bit more, but a reputable, responsible breeder is your best bet for a healthier, happier dog. If you cannot afford a good quality breeder, check with shelter and rescues. As Charlies are so popular with older owner many are surrendered because of nothing more than life circumstances. You just may find your new best friend there, patiently waiting for you and a forever home.

Source: Internet

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