King Charles Spaniel Vs Cavalier King Charles Spaniel: 5 Differences

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Written by August Croft

Updated: September 28, 2023

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While they may look strikingly similar, there are a number of differences between the King Charles Spaniel vs Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. You no doubt have already guessed that these breeds are similar, or at least related, but in what ways do they overlap, and what features distinguish them as their own breeds?

In this article, we will compare and contrast the King Charles Spaniel and the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel in a variety of ways. We will go over their physical appearance and size differences if they have any. Additionally, we will address their ancestries and behavioral differences in case you are interested in adopting either of these two breeds.

Let’s get started!

Comparing King Charles Spaniel Vs Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

King Charles Spaniel vs Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel weighs slightly more compared to the King Charles Spaniel.
King Charles SpanielCavalier King Charles Spaniel
Size9-11 inches tall; 10-15 pounds12-13 inches tall; 15-20 pounds
AppearanceSlightly wavy coat and a proportional head, with snubbed, turned-up nose. Sometimes has a docked tailStraight coat with a long, straight muzzle and large eyes. Never has a docked tail and comes in the same colors as the King Charles Spaniel
Ancestry and OriginOriginated in England during the 1500s; also known as the English Toy SpanielSeparated from the King Charles Spaniel in the 1920s and became its own breed; breeders wanted to create a dog that looked like Charles II’s Spaniel
BehaviorEager to please and excited to learn new things. Energetic and upbeat, with plenty of personalitySame as the King Charles Spaniel, though may need a bit more exercise
Lifespan10-16 years9-14 years

Key Differences Between King Charles Spaniel Vs Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

King Charles Spaniel vs Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a much newer breed compared to the King Charles Spaniel.

©BIGANDT.COM/Shutterstock.com

There are many key differences between the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and the King Charles Spaniel. The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel weighs slightly more compared to the King Charles Spaniel. Additionally, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a much newer breed compared to the King Charles Spaniel. Finally, the King Charles Spaniel has a longer life expectancy compared to the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.

Because it can be confusing to tell the difference between the two breeds, the King Charles Spaniel is more typically referred to as the English Toy Spaniel.

Let’s go over all of these differences in more detail now.

King Charles Spaniel Vs Cavalier King Charles Spaniel: Size

King Charles Spaniel vs Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

The King Charles Spaniel reaches 9 to 11 inches in height, while the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel only ranges in height from 12 to 13 inches tall.

©BIGANDT.COM/Shutterstock.com

One of the main differences separating the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and the King Charles Spaniel is their size. For example, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel grows larger than the King Charles Spaniel, in both height and weight. But just what is the size difference between these two breeds? Let’s take a closer look at the figures now. 

The King Charles Spaniel reaches 9 to 11 inches in height, while the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel only ranges in height from 12 to 13 inches tall. Additionally, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel reaches 15 to 20 pounds in weight, while the King Charles Spaniel reaches 10 to 15 pounds only. This is a subtle difference, but it is one of the few major differences between these two breeds. 

King Charles Spaniel Vs Cavalier King Charles Spaniel: Appearance

King Charles Spaniel vs Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

The King Charles Spaniel has a signature snubbed nose that is turned up at the end, while the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel has a more elongated muzzle.

©otsphoto/Shutterstock.com

It can be very difficult to tell the difference between a King Charles Spaniel and a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel at first glance. However, there are a few distinguishing features that you can pay attention to in order to separate the two dogs from one another. They both come in the same colors and fur, but the King Charles Spaniel has a wavier coat while the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel has straight fur.

Additionally, the King Charles Spaniel has a signature snubbed nose that is turned up at the end, while the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel has a more elongated muzzle. While they both have large, rounded eyes, the King Charles Spaniel sometimes has a docked tail, while the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel never has this feature. 

King Charles Spaniel Vs Cavalier King Charles Spaniel: Ancestry And Purpose

King Charles Spaniel vs Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

As the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel began to change in appearance, it was classified as its own breed in the 1920s, fully separating it from the King Charles Spaniel that originated in the 1500s.

©iStock.com/FotoES

The King Charles Spaniel and the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel were the same exact breed for quite some time. However, as the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel began to change in appearance, it was classified as its own breed in the 1920s, fully separating it from the King Charles Spaniel that originated in the 1500s

But why exactly did these two dogs become two separate breeds in the first place? Breeders wanted a dog that closely resembled the original spaniel owned by King Charles II, and that is how the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel was born. 

King Charles Spaniel Vs Cavalier King Charles Spaniel: Behavior

King Charles Spaniel vs Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel may have a bit more energy to burn compared to the more compact King Charles Spaniel. 

©Ssilverartist/Shutterstock.com

Despite their size differences and upbringings, there are very few behavioral differences between the King Charles Spaniel and the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. Both of these dog breeds are highly entertaining and energetic, eager to please, and capable of learning a variety of tricks. However, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel may have a bit more energy to burn compared to the more compact King Charles Spaniel. 

King Charles Spaniel Vs Cavalier King Charles Spaniel: Lifespan

King Charles Spaniel vs Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Given their size differences, the King Charles Spaniel lives a longer life on average compared to the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.

©Dora Zett/Shutterstock.com

The final difference between the King Charles Spaniel and the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is their lifespans. Given their size differences, the King Charles Spaniel lives a longer life on average compared to the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. For example, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel lives an average of 9 to 14 years, while the King Charles Spaniel lives an average of 10 to 16 years, depending on breeding and overall health.

Best Companion Dogs For The King Charles Spaniel And Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Both the King Charles and the Cavalier King Charles Spaniels prefer not to be alone and can suffer from separation anxiety. They do great in pairs and if you want to get another dog, there are plenty of options. While each dog has their own temperament, there are breeds that are considered dog-friendly.

Here are the 5 most compatible small breeds that are known to get along well with Cavalier and King Spaniels:

  1. Shih Tzu: With low energy and low exercise needs, this little lap dog is extremely affectionate and gets along well with other dogs.
  2. Pugs: Pugs are loyal, loving, and affectionate and have a medium energy level. This breed doesn’t like spending time alone and is very attached to its owners.
  3. French Bulldog: Another breed that doesn’t like spending time alone, they are low energy, caring, and prefer a snuggle.
  4. Papillon: This dog, like the spaniel, is prone to separation anxiety, so having them together would work well. Generally a friendly breed, they need to be properly socialized to avoid timidity.
  5. Boston Terrier: Like many of the breeds here, the Boston Terrier also is very attached to their owners. They are relatively low-maintenance.

What are the Different Types of King Charles Cavaliers?

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel (CKCS) is a British toy dog breed with a spaniel heritage. There are four recognized coat colors. Additionally, these dogs have a smooth, silky coat and typically live for eight to twelve years.

There are four distinct types of Cavaliers:

  • Black and Tan
  • Blenheim
  • Ruby
  • Tri-Color

Among the recognized coat colors, Blenheim is the most prevalent, whereas black and tan is the least common and consequently more expensive.

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About the Author

August Croft is a writer at A-Z Animals where their primary focus is on astrology, symbolism, and gardening. August has been writing a variety of content for over 4 years and holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Theater from Southern Oregon University, which they earned in 2014. They are currently working toward a professional certification in astrology and chart reading. A resident of Oregon, August enjoys playwriting, craft beer, and cooking seasonal recipes for their friends and high school sweetheart.

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