Koairley Cavaliers and Tibetan Spaniels

All About Cavaliers

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Living with a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel 

Cavalier's are a pure joy to live with.  They are sometimes referred to as the 'love-bug' breed, and are very devoted to those they love.  Although they are known as a Toy breed, and are famous for thier love of laps, many modern day Cavaliers still possess some of the sporting instincts of thier ancestors.   The Cavalier is one of the biggest of the Toy group, and in other countries they are not shown in this group.  Cavies are highly affectionate, playful, but above all eager to please.  They would not make a good watch or guard dog, because they would simply lick the intruder to death.  

Most Cavaliers, are not street-wise, and despite thier size can jump suprisingly high fences, so it is vital to have adequately high fencing and a safe, secure yard is when considering a Cavalier.  Due to thier devoted and social nature, Cavaliers are not suited to spending long periods of time on thier own, and can become quite distressed, and sometimes destructive if left on thier own to become bored. They are highly intelligent, and although they may not need lots of excercise they do appreciate plenty of stimualtion and time with thier owners.  Cavaliers are brilliant with children, but as with any dog, young children need to be always supervised when playing with them, and educated about the appropriate ways to safely play with animals.   

If you are looking for a dog that will love you to bits, follow you intently throughout your home, play gleefully, keep you warm in bed or on the lounge on a cold night, and lick you all over in appreciation you can't go past a CKCS.  


Cavaliers have a long fine silky coat that covers thier body, with long delicate fringings on the ears, legs, bib or chest, feet and tail.  These fringings, especially the ears, need a daily comb/brush as they become easily tangled, and can soon become matted.  If you have more than one dog, the ears seem to be magnet for them to play with, and this does not help with keeping them knot free.    Cavaliers are an easy to care for breed, with minimal brushing required to keep thier coat in top condition.    Bathing is easy, but you do need to teach your Cavalier from a young age to stay in the bath tub, standing still while you tend to them.   If our dogs are not going to a show they are bathed about once a month.

Because thier ears are long, air does not often get to the inner ear of the Cavalier, so the actual inner ear needs cleaning 2 or 3 times per month with a tissue or cotton bud to avoid wax build up and ear infections. 

For the show ring Cavaliers are an untrimmed breed, it even states in the standard, that trimming in the show ring is such an offense that it can warrant disqualification.  The only part of the Cavalier to be trimmed is on the underside of the feet, between the pads.   If you are keeping your Cavalier for just a pet they can be trimmed off, so that caring for the featherings is easier.


Grooming Products we use for our Cavaliers

An Aloe Vera based, soothing and conditioning shampoo for ‘normal’ washes.

A blue whitening shampoo for ‘show washes’. Blenheim (Chestnut and White) and Tri-Colour Cavaliers can get staining, and the whitening shampoo helps to keep thier whites nice and bright.

If there is a lot of time between ‘show washes’, we also use a conditioner to help the coat keep top condition, and not go dry and frizzy

A good brush…. For everyday brushes we use a soft pin and bristle brush, we also use a ‘polishing brush’ for show grooms, as well as a metal comb for feathering and ears. A good brush, is a vital investment to keep the coat in great condition and protect the coat. A metal comb with two width's on each side is helpful when dealing with the 'feathered' coat.

A Conditioning Grooming Spray which helps to preserve the coat during regular brushing. Brushing can damage the coat, so you need to protect it, much like you would do with your hair.

We don’t use a blow-dryer after bathing, but many Cavalier people find this a useful tool, and to help smooth the coat and stop waves when new coat is growing.

Cavaliers have beautiful long ears, and this is a hallmark of the breed. These ears can get dirty and stained during meals, and to protect the coat, and to prevent knotting, ‘snoods’ are quite popular. We only use snoods before a show, but some Cavalier owners use them more often. They need to be trained to accept them from an early age.

We also use a ‘dry-cleaning’ spray, an anti-static spray, and sometimes a Dry Shampoo for those times when you’re Cavalier gets dirty in between regular baths, which sometimes they do.

Some Cavaliers suffer from ‘tear staining’, that is marking around the eye from fluid leaking out the eye itself. There are many methods which people use to help prevent this, but we find that with daily wiping, and cleaning thoroughly at Bath times help to reduce the symptoms. Be careful with ‘tear staining’ products that can actually cause the colour in the coat to run. 

Because Blenheim and Tri-Colour Cavaliers have white legs and featherings, they can become stained easily. Some Male Cavaliers often ‘miss’ when going to the toilet and this can cause yellowing on the leg featherings. We have found a stain remover like ‘Laser Lites’ is incredibly successful with this.

Cavaliers are an UNTRIMMED breed when showed, but even then you need to cut the fur that grows on the underside of the pad, and between the toes. You will need to use blunt-nosed scissors to do this, to prevent knicking the soft skin with the sharp points on regular scissors.


 Blair, quite enjoying his grooming time.  


 Koda modelling a very pretty pink 'snood'.  Snoods are used to protect the Cavalier's delicate ear feathering.                    


        Silk, Wendy & Koda after a bath



Training a Cavalier, is relatively easy due to thier biddable and devoted nature.  Some Cavaliers even partake in the sports of Obedience and Agility, which requires a high level of training.  If you are fair, even and consistent when training your CKCS, you will find that due to thier eagerness to please you they will pick up very quickly. 

It is worthwhile to note, that while they are highly biddable, they are also highly intelligent, and if they do not see a valid reason to do something, they will sometimes 'argue the point'. Cavaliers also tend to have no 'road sense' and when out and about can be easily distracted, by things like birds, probably due to thier often ignored heritage as sporting spaniels,  and therefore will sometimes totally ignore calls to come (recall). Because of this we rarely if ever allow our dogs 'off lead' when out of the home, and ensure the yard is alway secured.

Training any dog takes paitence, and it is no different with a Cavalier.  We have heard some people say that they are 'so easy to train because they are so loving', and we have found that they are no easier or no harder than other dog breeds.