Cavalier King Charles Spaniel - Breed and Grooming Tips

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is an elegant, energetic toy breed that is compatible for city or country life. Successful in conformation shows, obedience and agility, they also make wonderful therapy dogs due to their sweet, gentle natures. The breed also became a TV star when featured on "Sex and the City" as Charlotte York’s dog. Their silky coats come in four colors – Blenheim (chestnut and white), Tricolor (black, white, and tan), Ruby (solid red) and Black and Tan.

Right Breed for You?

Friendly and easy to train, the Cavalier is a trustworthy companion for children and thrives as part of a family. The coat requires weekly brushing, but no trimming. The breed is adaptable in their need for exercise, happy with either sleeping on the couch or taking long walks.

Source:  American Kennel Club -


The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel does require regular bathing and brushing.  This affectionate little dog can be bathed as frequently as every week up to no longer than 6 weeks, depending on lifestyle, with a happy medium being somewhere in the middle.  Maintaining healthy skin and coat are of primary importance.  Correct product selection for your bathing program will help achieve the best possible end result.

First and foremost, do a preliminary bath to lift off and remove dirt, debris, oil, and environmental factors to bring the coat back to a neutral state.  Always choose the mildest shampoo that will get the job done.  The secondary bath is used to enhance the coat, whether you are wanting to hydrate the coat, enhance the color, change the texture, etc.  When you do the final rinse, try to keep the water temperature a bit cooler so you do not dehydrate the skin.  After the bath, apply a light conditioner to replace the natural oils lost during the bathing process.  A conditioner will help seal the ends preventing damage to the coat as well as help with static electricity.

The Cavalier is a wash and wear dog, but a good solid bath is of utmost importance. Getting the coat squeaky clean with each individual hair separated and divided slightly standing off the body is essential.  With this breed, the cleaner the coat, the less likely the coat is to mat, and the shedding will be a bit less as well.

Recommended Products:

Silky Show Shampoo:  A luxurious shampoo that adds silk proteins to the coat and adds elasticity to the coat to prevent breakage.

Hypoallergenic Shampoo:   A natural, tearless solution for pets with super sensitive skin that is chocked full of Aloe, Coconut, and Vitamins A, D, and E.

Flea and Tick Shampoo:  Kills fleas and ticks while cleaning and conditioning your pet’s skin and coat.  Leaves a fresh and clean fragrance.  Safe for puppies over 12 weeks.  Keep out of eyes.

Silky Show Conditioner:  A luxurious conditioner to provide the coat with an abundance of hydration leaving the coat full of luster and shine.  Improves the coat’s elasticity while transforming the coat into glowing, healthy strands of hair.

Finishing the Dog: Tools and Finish Grooming

The coat should be light, straight, and slightly stand off the body with no loose hair.  Spending extra time on the comb out is a good idea making certain that the comb can easily glide through the coat. The Cavalier should be in a “natural state”.  The only trimming should be underneath of his pads.  Some caring pet owners choose to trim the Cavaliers glamorous feathering.  Make sure you keep the trimming natural looking by using thinning shears in order to maintain correct breed type, although this is not correct according to the breed standard.

Recommended Products:

Aloe Hydrating Spray: Formulated to provide extreme hydration allowing the skin’s healthy, natural oils to permeate the skin adding luxurious shine to the coat.  The inner filet of the Aloe plant allows the skin and coat to maintain perfect hydration.

Aloe Silk! Hair Restore: Replenishes and mends the coat while working overtime to reduce breakage and increase elasticity.

High Sheen:  Add brilliant shine while conditioning and controlling fly away hair.

General Health Care

Prep work is the foundation of all grooming.  Prep work includes ear cleaning, nail trimming, trimming the pads, anal glands, and proper dental hygiene.  Mastering these skills sets the professional pet stylist apart from the rest.  Prep work should be done before every bathing and grooming appointment.  All dogs need to have their ears checked and cleaned on a regular basis.  Some need to have the hair plucked from the ear canal.  This allows the ear to have proper air circulation.  It is not necessary to remove all of the hair in the ear, as some serves as a barrier to foreign debris.  It is imperative that you are properly trained to pull ear hair before attempting this endeavor.  Proper nail care is also very important.  Long, unsightly nails are uncomfortable for the dog, as well as anyone they might jump on.  Long nails also compromise the shape of the foot.  Trimming the pads of the foot helps give the dog good traction on different surfaces, and can minimize the amount of dirt the dog tracks into the house.  It also affords the opportunity to treat and condition the paws from cracks and abrasions.  Anal glands should also be checked and expressed if they are full.  Some caring pet owners prefer to have the anal glands done by their veterinarian. Good dental hygiene is essential for a healthy pet too.

Recommended Products:

Ear Care: This ear cleaner has a blend of natural oils to remove dirt, debris, and wax.

Ear Powder: A must for removing hair from the ear canal. It will reduce slippage, while reducing odor, and contributing to drying out the ear canal.

Aloe Vera Jelly: This soothing blend relieves insect bites, mild rashes, razor, and sun burn.

Hot Spot Foam: This foam relieves itching and burning while promoting healing.

Tear Stain Wipes: Restores freshness to the facial area, while staying on top of eye drainage and any odor associated with the drainage.

Nutritional Care

In order to maintain healthy skin and coat as well as overall health, it is important to provide good nutrition to your dog through a well–balanced diet, vitamins, and healthy treats.

Recommended Products:

Icelandic Salmon Oil: Enhances the skin and coat while simultaneously supporting the immune system and joint health.

Frequently Asked Questions

1/  What products do I need if I just purchased a Cavalier puppy?

Puppy Shampoo

Luxury Remoisturizing Conditioner

Ear Care Aloe Wipes

Optisoothe Eye Wash

Puppy Aloe Wipes

2/ Do they require a lot of grooming?

Cavaliers can be a wash and wear dog. However, frequent baths are necessary.  A bath and blow out is necessary to keep the shedding and matting under control.  Keeping the skin and coat clean is the key to keeping your Cavalier in top condition.

3/ What is a common problem in Cavalier King Charles Spaniels?

As with all breeds of dogs, the Cavalier does have some breed-specific health concerns.  Mitral valve disease of the heart can be life threatening and lead to heart failure. Other health concerns are eye conditions including cataracts and retinal problems, slipped stifles, and hip dysplasia.

4/ Do Cavaliers shed or cause allergies?

Cavaliers do shed.  However, to minimize shedding frequent baths and blowouts and weekly brushing will help reduce the amount of dog hair you find in the house.

5/ Are Cavaliers good with children?

Cavaliers are good with children, but it is important to watch small children around a Cavalier to make sure they do not unintentionally hurt the puppy.

6/ What if I have a show dog?

Whether you have a show dog or a companion dog, the same basic care is given regarding nutrition, socialization, and hygiene.  The difference is the maintenance, conditioning, and training for the show ring.  It is always helpful if your breeder is willing to mentor you to lead you in the right direction upon entering the wonderful world of showing dogs.  A great place to start is with the national breed club like the American Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Club,

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