Dog Review: Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

If you ever wondered what dog would make the perfect lap dog, look no further than this article.  The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is one of the smallest of the spaniel classes.  It is classified as a toy dog by the AKC.  This dog originated in the United Kingdom and is one of the most popular breeds in that country.  Since 2000, This popularity of this dog has grown immensely in the United Stated and is now the 18th most popular breed among pet owners.

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The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel weighs in at around 13-18 pounds and stands at 12-13 inches tall.  It has a silky, smooth coat and commonly has a smooth undocked tail. The breed standard recognizes four colors: Blenheim (chestnut and white), Tricolor (black/white/tan), Black and Tan, and Ruby.  The cavalier, unfortunately, only has an expected lifespan of less than 10 years.  This is do to a variety of reasons that stem from the way the Cavalier was bred.  The two main reasons for the short lifespan are mitral valve disease, and syringomyelia. Mitral valve disease is a condition that affects and deteriorates the mitral valve, which connects the left ventricle to the left atrium in the heart and prevents it from working.  This is common in dogs that have undersized hearts, which many Cavaliers have.  Syringomyelia affects the longitudinal cavities form in the cervical region of the spinal cord. This characteristically results in wasting of the muscles in the hands and a loss of sensation.

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The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel was specifically bred to be a lap dog for King Charles II of England.  This is where most of the health problems with this breed started as the breeders looked for dogs who were docile and quiet.  The types of dogs that fit this mold were those with undersized hearts (which leads to mitral valve disease) because they have less energy and les likely to move, and those who had syringomyelia or early symptoms of that because they would not move from the lack of sensation in their extremities.  The breeders made the mistake of inbreeding the original King Charles Spaniel, which made these problems a regular occurrence.  Unfortunately, in the early 1920s, Roswell Eldridge offered a prize that more closely represented the long-snouted, flat-skulled dog that was shown in the paintings of King Charles II.  This lead to more inbreeding to achieve the desired shape, which lead to an increase in the occurrence of the diseases, and that breed is now known as the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.

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The Cavalier has  a very friendly personality. The breed is highly affectionate, extremely patient, and eager to please. As such, dogs of the breed are good with children and other dogs.  Cavaliers are not shy about socializing with much larger dogs.  They will adapt quickly to almost any environment, family, and location and suit city and country life, but they do require a lot of human interaction.  Their nature also makes them suited for older people who are interested in owning a dog.  Overall the King Charles Spaniel is a great dog that will sure to be a hit among family and friends alike, but you could end up paying a lot for in health bills.  That is the only negative aspect about this breed so I would recommend this dog to anyone who is seeking a small, easy-going companion.

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