Choosing a family pet can be quite an involved process, what type of animal do you get that can slot into family life so quickly? Do you have small children that you need to consider, or maybe there are other animals in the household? Dogs are perfect family pets, but which breed is the best?
As a whole Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are considered to be a great addition to the family. They are easy-going, relaxed dogs that don’t require a lot of stimuli, and as they are lap dogs, they like nothing better than to relax with their families.
There are many reasons to get a dog, for companionship, for a family pet, or to just help you get more exercise. There are many breeds of dogs, so why exactly should you get a Cavalier?
Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are well known for their good looks, they are so pretty. When they look at you with their big brown soulful eyes and their constantly wagging tail, I defy anyone to not want to pet them.
My Cavvy, Lady, can get me to do almost anything with one look, she knows how to wrap me around her little furry paw, and it’s not just on me either, she’ll do it with all members of the family.
Quite often, I will give her a morning snack, and as soon as it is gone she will potter off to her mom (my wife Sarah), and look at her sorrowful as if she has never eaten. Lady has got so good at this little charade that my wife and I have to check in with each other so’s not to overfeed her.
Cavaliers can also steal the hearts of hardened non-dog owners, it’s true, I’ve seen it happen with my own eyes on many occasions.
My mother and father-in-law (Kev and San) won’t have a dog, but for the right reasons, they feel that they wouldn’t be able to care for its needs 100% as they like to travel, and I applaud them for that. However, I have heard San say on many occasions that she would give it all up for Lady. Hands off San, she’s mine.
Cavaliers have a lovely soft velvety coat, and although they need quite a bit of brushing, around 2 to 3 times a week, they don’t have an oily coat like most dogs, and therefore need bathing less often, and also people are less likely to be allergic to them compared to other dog breeds.
Another bonus with Cavaliers is that they are not overly fond of being dirty, that being said though, they are dogs, and will quite happily walk about in a muddy puddle. So when they do need a good wash, due to their small stature, they can fit quite happily in a small bath or a shower cubicle.
Sometimes though there is no need for a full bath or shower, so we use Johnson’s Dry Foam Shampoo for spot cleaning, you just rub it on with your hand and after a few minutes you simply brush it out.
For special occasions, we use Baby Powder Dog Cologne, which makes Lady smell amazing. She doesn’t like it sprayed directly on her coat, so we spray a couple of pumps on her brush and brush it through her coat. It is very strong, so you don’t need to use it too much, and so lasts for quite a while.
Cavaliers don’t really shed their fur too often, you can expect some light shedding in the spring and fall, but as long as you brush them daily during these periods, you shouldn’t really have a problem.
When they do shed, their fur won’t leave a lining on the floor, like a carpet of hair just waiting for a flea infestation. The majority of their fur will all be caught up in the brush, which can easily be scooped up and popped in the garbage.
If you are not overly active, or not that interested in long winter walks, then the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is the dog for you, as they as not overly active dogs. One good walk or 2 smaller walks a day will suffice, but ensure it’s not too hot as Cavvys are very sensitive to the heat. If you are lucky enough to live in a warm climate, it’s probably best to have early morning or evening walks.
That being said, a Cavalier will adapt to its owners’ energy levels. When Lady and I were a lot younger, we used to go running each morning at 5 am when it was cool and there wasn’t much traffic about. We only used to run around 2 miles each day, but she would always have more energy than I did, and I’d have to stop at a nearby field for her to run off her excess energy.
Nowadays, as she is a lot older, she tends to just have very short walks, quite literally to the end of the street and back, but we will always take her to the park once a week to have a good sniff and an explore.
As Cavaliers don’t need excessive exercise, they are the ideal dog to have in an apartment, house, bedsit, anywhere really, but don’t think they can stay outdoors, Cavaliers are an indoor doggie.
As I am sitting here on the couch writing this, Lady is sitting by my side on her favorite cushion. Cavaliers are known as lapdogs, and they do exactly that, they are very happy to jump on your lap for some cuddles, as soon as you sit down.
Cavaliers are widely known for their relaxed, calm, and easy-going nature, and they don’t require lots of stimulation. They will happily sit with you when you want to be quiet and read a book, or just sit on the laptop and write, as I like to do.
They are also good family dogs and adore being around and playing with children. Their love for you and your family has no prejudice, and they love you for being you. As long as they are loved and fed properly a Cavvy will stick by you to the bitter end.
As Cavaliers love their humans so much, they want to make you happy, and so training a Cavalier to a basic standard is relatively easy.
I recently wrote an article on teaching your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel to fetch which you may find interesting if you need some tips on training your Cavalier some basic things.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are sweet, placid dogs that can at times be very stubborn. However, it has been noted that female Cavaliers are prone to being more stubborn than males, this is certainly the case with my dog Lady.
I have written another article comparing male and female Cavaliers called Is it Better to get a Male or Female Cavalier? This article delves deeper into the subject and may help you with the decision to choose a boy or a girl.
Cavaliers are also known as therapy dogs, as they will stay by your side when you are sick, and they are such comfort and make you feel so much better.
As a whole, Cavaliers don’t make a lot of noise and rarely bark, but there are some times when they do get quite vocal. Lady gets especially excited when going to her favorite park for a walk, as it is quite a distance away, and both Lady and I are no longer spring chickens, we have to drive there.
As soon as we are about a mile away, she knows exactly where we are going, and starts to bark. You can tell it’s pure excitement, and as soon as we are there the barking will stop and the exploring will begin.
Another time Cavaliers will bark is when there is a stranger at the door, but there is no aggression there, it is pure excitement as there is another human out there to pet them. As soon as the person at the door is in the house, the barking stops, the tail wags, and it’s playtime.
Lady barks when the dogs next door start to bark too, this is just a response to the other dogs, and they take it in turns to bark, I am convinced that they are talking to eat other.
If you are the traveling type, not in an airplane, I’m talking about a road trip, motorhome, an RV, or a caravan, a Cavalier will be right by your side, ready to go.
When my daughter was younger we had a caravan and used to travel all over the UK visiting many different places. Lady used to love traveling with us, although we no longer have the caravan (unfortunately my daughter grew up), she still loves jumping in the car, even if it’s a quick trip to the store.
My Final Thought
So should you get a Cavalier? The short answer is yes. However, you must not rush into things, looking after any animal is a big responsibility and there should be a great deal of consideration before making a decision. If you are slightly unsure, why not volunteer to look after a friends dog to see what it would be be like. Don’t commit until you are sure, as a dog will be devastated if you don’t love them as much as they love you.