A noble-looking, compact dog, the King Charles Spaniel has a short, sturdy build and a long, silky coat that is straight or slightly waved. The coat comes in black and tan; tricolour (black, white and tan); Blenheim (white with red); and ruby. Adult King Charles Spaniels stand at approximately 30-33cm and weigh 3.6-6.3kg.
Originating from working gundogs, the Toy Spaniel dog was miniaturized to be the companion dog of aristocratic ladies and it is from this centuries-old type that the King Charles Spaniel dog breed descends. Crossed with Oriental toy breeds, such as the Pug and Japanese Chin, he has the large eyes, domed skull and flattened face that was popular with toy dogs from the Far East. His most famous fan, of course, was King Charles II, after whom he takes his name.
A gentle, happy and loving dog, the King Charles Spaniel is a rewarding companion dog. He can be reserved with those he doesn't know, but with friends and family, he is most affectionate. He gets along with other dogs and pets, and enjoys the company of old and young alike, but children must be careful around him, as his size makes him vulnerable to accidental injury.
Syringomyelia, a serious, painful neurological condition, has been reported in some King Charles Spaniels. In common with many small breeds, the King Charles Spaniel may suffer slipping kneecap(s), and those with a very flat face may also experience respiratory problems.
A small breed, the King Charles doesn't need very much exercise and will be happy with half an hour's daily walking, though he will accept more if you can offer it. They enjoy games with their owners, and they are clever dogs who also enjoy training.
Toy dogs have a fast metabolism, meaning they burn energy at a high rate, although their small stomachs mean that they must eat little and often. Small-breed foods are specifically designed with appropriate levels of key nutrients and smaller kibble sizes to suit smaller mouths. This also encourages chewing and improves digestion.
The medium/long silky coat will need grooming two or three times a week, paying particular attention to the feathering (longer hair) on the ears, legs and tail, which will tangle if neglected.