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Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Lifespan: How Long Will Your Dog Live?

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are popular small dogs with many fans since medieval times. But if you’re thinking about adding one to your family, there are a few things that you might want to know about your little dog. 

So, what is your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel lifespan? What factors will affect your dog’s life expectancy? Keep reading to learn the answers to these questions. 

What is the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Lifespan?

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel dogs can live between 9 and 14 years, but most dogs will live between 12 and 13 years with proper care and a healthy lifestyle. Nevertheless, some dogs can live longer. 

The dog’s lifespan depends on several factors, including the bloodline and genetics, health issues, and lifestyle. So your Cavalier Spaniel can live a happy life with proper care. 

Why Do Cavalier King Charles Spaniels Have a Long Lifespan?

Compared to bigger dogs, these British Spaniels tend to have a longer lifespan. There’s no clear information about why this happens, but scientists believe that it’s due to several factors. 

  • Larger dogs grow faster, so they’re more likely to experience abnormal cell growth or cancer, which is several dog species’ leading cause of death. 
  • The aging process tends to be slower in smaller dogs compared to bigger dogs. 
  • Bigger dog breeds are more likely to experience age-related illnesses that affect the dog’s health and lifespan. 

What Factors Affect the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Lifespan?

Although in the past, there was a common belief that one year in dog years is equal to seven years in human years, this is no longer believed to be accurate. Instead, scientists now believe that every dog’s lifespan depends on several factors that relate directly to this dog type or breed. 

It’s true that dogs and humans age at different rates, but toy breeds like King Charles Spaniel tend to age slower than bigger dogs and giant breeds. Here are some factors that affect the lifespan of your Cavalier. 


Breeding and genetics directly affect how long your Cavalier will live. For example, a dog bred from a healthy bloodline and has two healthy parents will likely have a healthy life and live for long. The parents’ lifespan directly affects your dog’s lifespan, so your dog is likely to live for 13 or 14 years if either one or both of its parents have made it to this age

A healthy genetic pool also guarantees that your dog will be free from genetic defects that manifest with age. As a result, reputable breeders usually remove unhealthy dogs from the breeding program to avoid having a sickly litter. This is why it’s essential to research before picking a breeder to get your dog. 


Picking healthy dogs for breeding is specifically essential when the breeder wants to breed Teacup Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. These are smaller than usual dogs that breeders breed from runts or dwarf dogs

Unless runts are perfectly healthy, removing them from the breeding program is essential, or the resulting litter will inherit a lot of health issues. These teacup dogs are unlikely to make it till adulthood, and they will suffer from birth defects that affect their metabolism and motion. 

Not all runts are unhealthy, but most of them are. This is why a vet should carefully examine runts before being incorporated into the breeding program. 

Some dogs are bred for dwarfism, which is mainly caused by a hormonal imbalance or a genetic abnormality. Some dogs also suffer from dwarfism because certain tumors prohibit normal growth. 

Although breeders breed these short-limbed dogs to create teacup breeds, most suffer from severe health issues that worsen as the dog ages. This includes heart issues, dental problems, weak bones, bacterial and skin infections due to weak immunity, and reproductive disorders. 


Although Cavaliers are small dogs, they’re active and athletic. This means that they need adequate food to maintain their energy levels and stay healthy. 

Choosing breed-specific food is important because these toy dogs have particular needs, so other types of food might not work for them. You should also make sure that food is free from unhealthy fillers that provide no nutritional value. 

Providing your dog with high-quality toy dog food is essential because it will contain all the nutrients that your little dog needs to stay healthy. Unfortunately, some dog owners overfeed their dogs, and this can lead to various health problems. 

Healthy Diet

Several factors affect how much food your dog needs. These include its age, size, and activity level. Because each dog is different, your Cavalier Spaniel might need between half and a full cup of food per day. But instead of giving your dog one large meal, it’s better to divide food over two or three meals per day. 

Studies show that restricting food intake decreases body fat, serum triglycerides, and insulin. As a result, these dogs will live slightly longer than dogs that their owners overfeed. 

If you’re unable to see the dog’s waist, then it’s overweight, and you should provide less food to keep it healthy. Obesity in dogs is related to severe issues, especially cancer tumors. 

On the other hand, underfed dogs will be weak and might not develop adequately. This is because dogs need access to several nutrients while they’re growing up, or their bones and joints won’t be able to develop properly. 

Your dog’s nutritional needs differ according to its age and health condition. So, you might need to find new dog food if you have a new puppy or an old dog. 

Pregnant dogs might also need some extra supplements to stay healthy. If your dog is reacting to a specific type of food, it might be allergic to one of the ingredients. In this case, you should ask your vet about a different diet to ensure that your dog stays safe and healthy. 


Getting adequate exercise is essential for your Cavalier’s health. Dogs that don’t get enough exercise tend to be overweight and weak. But Cavaliers are small dogs, and too much exercise can be harmful to them

Cavaliers are active and energetic, but they have small and weak bodies compared to larger dogs. This is why it’s best to offer your dog shorter exercise sessions, where it gets to rest whenever it needs to. 

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel has a short nose, which means it can easily suffer from heat exhaustion. It’s important not to leave this dog in the sun or allow it to exercise in a backyard with no access to shade. It loves running and playing, but it should be able to cool off and rest whenever it needs to. 

A young puppy or an old dog will have different exercise needs. So, you might want to play with it inside the house or in a playpen. Remember that Cavaliers are lap dogs and enjoy cuddling and playing with their humans inside the house. 

If you have a dog that is recovering from surgery or injuries, you should be careful while exercising it, so it doesn’t get worse. In this case, you should consult with a canine physiotherapist to pick a suitable exercise regimen for your dog. 


Studies show that neutered dogs will live longer because they’re less prone to behavioral issues and degenerative diseases. For example, unspayed dogs are less likely to engage in fights or leave the house where they can be in danger. 

This reduces the chances of violent and traumatic deaths. Moreover, they won’t suffer from reproductive cancer tumors that affect older dogs. Spayed dogs also enjoy happier lives with fewer behavioral issues and autoimmune diseases that naturally affect older dogs. 

Health Issues

Cavaliers are prone to several health conditions that affect this breed more than others. Unfortunately, these health issues can drastically affect your dog’s lifespan, especially if no health care is provided. 

Some of these health conditions are untreatable, but in some cases, you might be able to provide your dog with a happier and better life by understanding its boundaries. 

Mitral Valve Disease

MVD is a common heart disease that affects Cavaliers. Although heart disease is common in older dogs, Cavaliers tend to suffer from this condition at a slightly younger age. It slowly starts as a murmur, and it progresses until the dog suffers from complete heart failure. 

This genetically-inherited condition can’t be treated or reversed. But with proper care, you can prevent it from getting worse. 

If your dog is coughing, is intolerant to exercise, pants, and is losing weight, then it probably has MVD. A vet should examine your dog, and if it’s unhealthy, it should be removed from any future breeding programs to help control this condition in future generations. You should also be able to adjust the dog’s exercise regimen, so it doesn’t get worse. 


This condition is common in Cavalier Spaniels and ranges from mild discomfort to partial paralysis. SM results from the reduced size of the skull and affects the brain and spinal cord. This is why it’s more common in dwarf dogs or those bred from runts

This genetically-inherited disease can start to show symptoms when the dog is as young as six months old. Lifestyle changes, medical therapy, and even surgery can treat this condition. But generally speaking, infected dogs tend to live shorter than healthier dogs. 

Eye Problems

Most eye problems in Cavalier King Charles Spaniels aren’t that serious, but some of them can lead to total blindness if they’re not treated well. Blind dogs can hit different objects and obstacles they can’t see, which makes them more prone to injuries. 

Since Cavaliers are active dogs that love to play around, being unable to see and avoid hazards can kill your dog. These little dogs might put themselves in dangerous situations because they’re unable to see well, so they might fall into a hole or hit a wall. This is why you need to take your dog to the vet the minute you feel it’s unable to see well. 

Progressive retinal atrophy, or PRA, is an incurable genetic disease. It starts by having dilated pupils and suffering from night blindness, but it usually progresses to total blindness within a short period

Cavaliers usually suffer from dry eyes that shouldn’t be too dangerous. However, when the eye glands don’t produce enough tears, the eyes can become itchy and more prone to infections. These infections can cause total blindness. 

Older Cavaliers might suffer from cataracts. Although surgery can restore vision, your dog might not be eligible for one if it suffers from other health issues. Cataracts will decrease your dog’s life quality, and infected dogs shouldn’t be left outside on their own as they might hit obstacles or get into dangerous situations. 

Environmental Factors

The life you provide your dog with will significantly affect its physical and emotional health and, accordingly, its lifespan. Dogs are smaller than humans, which means they can be affected by different factors that might not represent a significant threat to humans. 

For example, plants you grow in your garden or inside the house might be toxic to your Cavalier. If your dog eats toxic leaves or roots, it will get sick or even die. 

Chemical lawn fertilizers and weed killers might not directly affect humans, but they will affect your Cavalier, especially if it spends time playing outside in the garden. This is why you should be careful about everything you choose to use on your property and ensure that it’s safe for your dog. 

Mental stimulation and emotional bonding through play sessions will keep your dog happy. Cavaliers are family dogs, and having a lovable healthy connection with their families will keep them healthy and happy. A loved dog that doesn’t feel neglected or abused will be satisfied and will live a long healthy life. 

Wrap Up

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels tend to live longer than bigger dogs, as some Cavaliers can live to be 14 years old. Several factors can help extend your dog’s lifespan and improve its quality, as it’s your responsibility as a dog owner to provide your Cavalier with a happy and healthy home.