8 Common Complaints About Cavalier King Charles Spaniels

Written by Jennifer Magid
Published: November 2, 2023
Share on:


There’s a lot to love about Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. These dogs are typically sweet and gentle, with perhaps the most soulful eyes of any breed out there. Cavaliers, as they’re called for short, make loving lap dogs who want nothing more than to snuggle with their owners. The breed gets along with nearly everyone, from children to cats to other dogs. They’re also known for being terrific therapy dogs. But sadly, this lovable breed isn’t completely perfect. They are prone to a number of problems, many of which are health-related. Here are eight common complaints about Cavalier King Charles Spaniels.

1. Separation Anxiety

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Running


Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

loves to be with its owners.

©Liudmila Bohush/Shutterstock.com

Since they’re natural lap dogs, Cavaliers don’t usually love to be left alone at home. They prefer to be with their people. Some dogs may exhibit separation anxiety, which shows up as a range of naughty behavioral problems, such as barking, peeing, and destruction in the house.

2. Couch Potatoes

why do dogs sleep so much

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels can be lazy if given the choice.

©Tatiana Gass/Shutterstock.com

Cavaliers can be very athletic, excelling at sports like agility, and using their hunting instincts to take off after a scent. But if they aren’t exercised enough, they are willing couch potatoes, happy to lay around all day. This, however, can lead to obesity in the breed.

3. Shedding

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel (Canis familiaris) - standing against white background

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels need to be groomed regularly.

©Dora Zett/Shutterstock.com

Cavaliers have beautiful, silky coats. But they do shed a fair amount for their small size and need regular grooming with trims to avoid mats and tangles.

4. Heart Disease

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel (Canis familiaris) - wind blowing ears

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are prone to heart problems.

Perhaps one of the biggest complaints about


is the myriad of health issues the breed can develop. Mitral valve disease is unfortunately a huge problem for the breed.


show that nearly half of Cavaliers develop the condition by age five. Due to their known heart problems, owners should expect to spend a good amount of money on canine cardiologists to monitor their dogs.

©Page Light Studios/Shutterstock.com

5. Syringomyelia

Happy dog on the walk

Some Cavaliers have numerous health problems.

©fotyma/iStock via Getty Images

This inherited neurological disorder may affect nearly half of all Cavaliers. Symptoms will typically show up when the dog is young, sometimes as young as six months. Symptoms include pain, trouble walking, and sensitivity to touch.

6. Eye Conditions

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Dog

Watch for eye conditions in your Cavalier.

©vxlomegav6/iStock via Getty Images

Cavaliers are known to be prone to a number of eye conditions, including cataracts, keratoconjunctivitis (also known as dry eye), and corneal dystrophy, where deposits of calcium and fats build up under the surface of the dog’s corneas.

7. Hip and Knee Problems

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Dog

Some Cavaliers develop knee and hip conditions.

©vxlomegav6/iStock via Getty Images

Luxating patellas, or loose kneecaps, are a common issue for this breed, affecting as many as 20 percent of all Cavaliers. These dogs are also prone to hip dysplasia, where the hip doesn’t develop properly during growth. It can lead to pain and early arthritis.

8. Allergies and Skin Conditions

Calmest dog - cavalier king charles spaniel in fall leaves

Skin problems can affect the breed.

©Sarune Kairyte/Shutterstock.com

The breed is known to be susceptible to a severe flaking skin condition called ichthyosis. The condition often presents very early, showing up in puppies. While Cavaliers do need regular and possibly additional veterinary care to ensure they are happy and healthy, nonetheless, their sweet temperament and cuddly appearance make them irresistible to own. 

8 Complaints About Cavalier King Charles Spaniels:

1.Separation Anxiety
2.Couch Potatoes
4.Heart Disease
6.Eye Conditions
7.Hip and Knee Problems
8.Allergies and Skin Conditions

The photo featured at the top of this post is © David Shankbone from USA, CC BY 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons – License / Original

Ready to discover the top 10 cutest dog breeds in the entire world?

How about the fastest dogs, the largest dogs and those that are -- quite frankly -- just the kindest dogs on the planet? Each day, AZ Animals sends out lists just like this to our thousands of email subscribers. And the best part? It's FREE. Join today by entering your email below.

What's the right dog for you?

Dogs are our best friends but which breed is your perfect match?


If you have kids or existing dogs select:

Other Dogs

Should they be Hypoallergenic?

How important is health?
Which dog groups do you like?
How much exercise should your dog require?
What climate?
How much seperation anxiety?
How much yappiness/barking?

How much energy should they have?

The lower energy the better.
I want a cuddle buddy!
About average energy.
I want a dog that I have to chase after constantly!
All energy levels are great -- I just love dogs!
How much should they shed?
How trainable/obedient does the dog need to be?
How intelligent does the dog need to be?
How much chewing will allow?

Share on:
About the Author

Jennifer is a writer at A-Z Animals where her primary focus is on dogs, travel, and gardening. She holds a Master's Degree in Journalism from New York University. A resident of Connecticut who has lived all over the country, Jennifer enjoys working on trick training with her standard poodle, and spending time with her family outdoors.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.