The Actual Lifespan of a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Happy Cavalier King Charles Spaniel smiling on a bench

No one welcomes the thought of having a dog that will die after a short period. Every time a dog enthusiast purchases a canine, they hope their new pet stays alive for a long time.

How long a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel can live has proven to become the biggest worry amongst members of the canine community. On my own, I have done extensive research in an attempt to gather answers that will address these worries.

How long can a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel live? The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a breed that is known to live for as long as a decade. The official estimate is 9 to 14 years. This is dependent on a lot of factors such as genetics, health care, and even the environment.

In my research, I have not only depended on the same internet information that is available to you. I have gone a step further by holding consultations with Cavalier King Charles Spaniel breeders. Also, most of the information has been gathered from veterinarians, dog shelters, and official government data.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Lifespan Survey Results

There are a lot of life expectancy results on the internet, in library archives, and private research institutes. I respect the work that these organizations and individuals have put into getting the results that they have gotten.

However, I do not know under what conditions these researches were made and how the results were produced; and that adds to my slight lack of trust. I am therefore hesitant about presenting you with the results I got from online sources. So I decided to conduct my research.

Most of my data was gotten from kennel clubs, shelters, and animal non-profit organizations. I was more focused on places like this as they are known to be privy to data like the number of Cavalier Spaniel deaths and the age of death.

Furthermore, I separated this data along gender lines keeping the number of dead male Cavaliers different from that of female Cavaliers. In total, I was able to collect reliable and confirmed data on 102 Cavaliers and the breakdown is as follows.

SexNumber of Cavaliers SurveyedAverage Age at Death
Male679.5 Years
Female3511.2 Years
Total10210.4 Years

From my research, I was able to deduce that the average life expectancy of a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a little over 10 years.

This is very much within the official lifespan bracket of 9 to 14 years as earlier stated in the previous section. If you paid attention, you’d recognize that I have deliberately avoided asking for data from random persons on the internet.

While I acknowledge the legitimacy of several dog groups on the web, I cannot certify each member or participant’s information.

I could have even become a victim of pranksters who may deliberately provide false answers to the questions I may ask. This could have reduced the authenticity of the data I just shared with you.

Why Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Have a Short/Long Life Span?

Irrespective of the average lifespan statistic, it is hard to decide if a dog has had a long or a short life. Losing a dog is a painful experience, one that leaves owners in grief.

To these owners, they wish their dogs lived long enough to enjoy more years with them. There are several reasons why a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel may not stay alive until the estimated time. Here are some of the reasons:

  • Dental Problems: The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a widely notorious breed for their dental problems. This breed is more likely to have dental issues in comparison to other breeds. A build-up of tartar on the dog’s teeth is usually the start of these dental issues. This build-up then infects the gums of the teeth and, in extreme cases, its root. Not only will this result in loss of teeth, but can potentially damage internal organs like the liver, kidneys, and even the heart. Veterinary experts have estimated that these dental issues, in extreme cases, can reduce their average lifespan by up to three years.
  • Mitral Valve Disease (MVD): The Mitral Valve Disease (MVD) is another reason for a short life span for the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel breed. This is a heart defect that is a big problem amongst Cavaliers. It has been estimated that about 50% of this breed gets affected yearly. This disease is responsible for most premature deaths in Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.
  • Brachycephalic Syndrome: The Brachycephalic syndrome is also responsible for a shorter life span in Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. This syndrome is common in dogs with short noses like the Cavalier.
  • Epilepsy: Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are very prone to epileptic attacks. These seizures are mostly inherited and could last for a lifetime. These attacks are mostly partial or mild, not involving muscle rigidity and flailing usually associated with full-blown attacks. A seizure might result in life-altering injuries to the dog, which in turn could affect its lifespan.
  • Obesity: Obesity has been touted as the most significant problem a Cavalier can have. Obesity has been credited as the major root cause of several other diseases that a Cavalier can face. These can include back pain and digestive conditions. Obesity can also lead to bone and hip problems.
  • Heart Disease: Heart diseases in Cavaliers are pretty common. It has been regarded as a leading cause of reduced life span in Cavaliers. Heart failure can be caused by a weak valve that is incapable of closing tightly. This causes blood to leak, which causes a strain on the heart. If not detected early, the Cavalier may not live long with a defective heart.
  • Bladder Stones: For Cavaliers, bladder stones are just one of the factors that can affect the quality of life they live and, subsequently, the length of life. Cavaliers are very prone to bladder stones. These stones form in the kidney and can be a huge discomfort as well as a hindrance to proper organ function. As a result, the Cavalier may find it difficult to urinate, and in extreme cases, urination won’t even be possible. This is very painful and, if not treated, can be responsible for a shorter life.

Factors That Affect the Lifespan of Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

In my research on the actual lifespan of a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, I have also decided to include the factors that can affect how long your Cavalier Spaniel dog can live.

A presence of one or more of these factors can lead to a reduced quality of life for this dog. So, what are these factors? Let us have a detailed look.

Health Care

Dogs like the Cavalier Kings Charles Spaniel suffer from certain diseases. Some of these ailments and diseases can be prevented and properly managed if detected early.

This is why checkups are an important factor. Regular health checkups not only provide a chance to detect underlying symptoms, but these checkups also allow your vet to offer valuable advice to you on how to take care of your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.

The more frequent these checkups are, the more likely it is to attend to any health issues. Cavaliers with poor veterinary appointments are more at risk of living with deadly ailments that can cause a short lifespan. Just like in humans, good health increases the chances of having a longer life.


This is arguably the most important factor of them all. The level of effect nutrition can have on the lifespan of a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is huge.

Feeding your Cavalier the right amount of food is as important as feeding the Cavalier the appropriate nutrients. An underfed dog is a malnourished dog.

Malnourished dogs are very prone to diseases and poor bone and organ formation. This is poor health and it affects the lifespan of the Cavalier. Overfed dogs turn out to become obese.

Obese dogs are very prone to bone and joint problems that can massively dent the quality of life they can live. Obesity has also been linked to back pain and digestive problems. Dogs with the right amount of food are perfectly poised to live longer than underfed or overfed Cavaliers.

How to Help Your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Live a Longer Life?

I have spent the last two sections discussing the lifespan of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and the factors that may reduce their life expectancy. I think it’s also appropriate to offer you a glimmer of hope and optimism.

That is why, in this section, the focus will be on what can help improve a Cavalier King Charles’s life and, subsequently, their lifespan.

Healthy Diet

Enough emphasis cannot be laid on the need to put your dog on a healthy diet. The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel breed requires a meal balanced in fat, protein, and carbohydrates in addition to minerals and vitamins.

Ensure the diet you feed them is appropriate for the current age and increase it gradually to correspond to their increase in age and size.

Meals rich in protein like fresh fish are very necessary as they assist in the development and growth of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. Carbohydrates like rice and potato are very good options for your Cavalier. They are easy to digest and help to provide fiber.

It is recommended you keep your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel away from foods like corn. This is because they are low in carbohydrates and do not offer a lot of nutritional value.

In certain cases, they can even cause allergies, which can be harmful to your dog. Always remember to stick to a consistent diet and avoid feeding it food meant for humans.

Neutering and Spaying

When it comes to recommended procedures that can help improve a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel’s life, neutering for males or spaying for females is high up on the list.

Both are surgical processes that have been credited with reducing the likelihood of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel being at risk of cancer. This process involves removing the ovaries in females and the testicles in males.

Grooming and Health Care

We cannot overemphasize the importance of basic health care practices that can lead to a healthier life for the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and, in turn, a longer life.

These practices, in most cases, are very simple to carry out and are not time-consuming. It is vital to brush the coats and skins of Cavalier frequently. This will help prevent fleas and other parasites from settling in and damage the dog’s skin.

Cavaliers, as earlier stated, have prominent dental problems. This can be prevented by regularly brushing your dog’s teeth. It is recommended that this is done three times a week.

Cleaning its ears is a very vital step as ears retain moisture. This moisture can become breeding grounds for organisms that could affect the health of a Cavalier.


Taking a dog out on exercises is very important, and the Cavalier King Chanel Spaniel is no different. This helps to keep your dog healthy and fit, which in turn can help extend its life.

One very essential step you cannot afford to ignore is monitoring your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. It is widely accepted that preventing the disease from happening is better than finding a cure for it after it happens.

Monitoring your Cavalier regularly will help you notice on time if he begins to display symptoms that are out of place. This can help in providing timely medical care to the dog.

Spaniels are also very sensitive when it comes to temperature and can suffer from the adverse effect of increased or reduced temperature. Monitoring helps you detect on time when your Cavalier needs a change of environment.

Frequent consultations and visits to a veterinarian are highly recommended. While constantly monitoring your dog can help you identify and prevent a lot of anomalies, your lack of veterinary experience means you would need a veterinarian to identify what is wrong.

This is why scheduled visits to a clinic are necessary for your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.

The Longest Living Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

There is no exact record of the oldest Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. This may be down to the fact that most dogs change owners a couple of times throughout their lives. This can make it difficult to track, and throughout these exchanges, age may not be the concern anymore.

I have come across dog owners who claim their Spaniels have lived for close to two decades. Even though this is very possible, the only proof of that was their words. Therefore, it is hard to say who the oldest Cavalier King Charles Spaniel was. I honestly wish I knew.

Final Thoughts

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are wonderful dogs to have and one you would fall in love with. Spaniels can live for long, but if you don’t care for them carefully and diligently, you might lose your precious canine friend to the cold hands of death.

In this article, I have given reasons why a Cavalier may not live for long and ways you can increase their chances of living a longer life. While you practice the steps and heed to the advice that I have given, do not forget to always consult a veterinarian if you seem lost.

Related Questions

Does the weight of a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel have any effect on their lifespan?

Research has indicated a Spaniel’s lifespan can be adversely affected by their weight. Large Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are more likely to have shorter lives than spaniels with a more compact shape.

The amount of weight a dog can put on is dependent on many factors like ancestry and nutrition. Ancestral causes are difficult to control, but the same cannot be said of nutritional causes.

This is why feeding your Cavalier with healthy food is very essential in ensuring it maintains a healthy weight.

Is there any particular health challenge I should be aware of?

Like every other dog, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel has health issues that can affect the length and quality of life experienced. There are diseases common to the Cavalier Spaniel that you should be aware of.

Cataracts, heart diseases, ear infections, retinal problems, hip dysplasia, and the mitral valve disease are ailments that your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel might encounter. However, like all diseases, early detection and treatment can go a long way in reducing the severity of any disease.

Is daily exercise necessary for a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel?

Yes, it necessary to engage the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel in daily exercises. This will help keep the dog healthy and increase the chances of a longer life.

These exercises can be kept at a minimum of 30 minutes daily. These sessions should include lengthy slow-paced walks and light, fun games that will help keep Cavalier in shape.

In what ways can I ensure my Cavalier stay alive longer?

There are several things you can do to improve the lifespan of your dog. Although most owners ignore basic health care practices, these practices are necessary. Cleaning your dog’s ears, brushing his coat, ensuring regular health checkups are all part of what you can do.


Manda March 6, 2022 - 11:49 pm

My female KCCS is 15.5 years old! I can’t believe it. She lost her hearing about 3 years ago, and in the last few months her back legs are giving out on her on the hardwood floors. She’s spry though!

Stan April 9, 2022 - 3:42 am

Would you believe we had 2? One made it to 10 years and 6 months, while the other is 14 years and 7 months. The latter lost its hearing and the back legs gave when she first gets up. But you would never know it if a squirrel ran across.😂

Paul Scollon April 29, 2022 - 7:19 am

My King Charles is now approaching his 15th birthday and his age can be attributed to many of the things you mentioned in the article. He was neutered young, gets two walks a day without fail, eats probiotic dog food made from fish and brown rice, gets his teeth brushed regularly and is groomed often, etc. He had a stroke last year but recovered quite quickly. Yes, the back legs are quite weak and sometimes wooden floors are a challenge. He sleeps a LOT these days but can also get quite excited and be full of beans sometimes. He’s a lot of work in his old age for sure and doesn’t seem to be going anywhere any time soon, but definitely the best friend you could ever have! Tip: a raw egg in his food once a week does wonders for his health, plus it’s a great treat for him!

Leanbe May 1, 2022 - 7:35 pm

Our darling Misty who is a Caviler King Charles just passed on Thursday and she was 15. We’re absolutely heartbroken. 💔

Marlene Castaneda May 30, 2022 - 8:01 am

I have a Cavalier dog and she lived for 12 years. I just lost her today due to cancer.

Susan Scheinberg June 5, 2022 - 11:50 am

I had my Cavie, Frankie for 16 years and 1 month. He was born on May 2nd, 2006. I was his only owner and today he left us forever.

Amanda July 25, 2022 - 5:55 pm

My male King Charles is 14 years 2 months (Birthday is in May). He’s starting to show his age and is not as active as he used to be. He sleeps more but is still going.

Paul Scollon August 1, 2022 - 3:21 am

My Cav is also 15.5 years. He has perfect hearing (although he went deaf for 6 months once – ears are a constant problem with this breed) and is just slightly short-sighted. His back legs are also quite weak, mats all over the house to avoid sliding! He had a stroke last year but made a quick recovery. Loves life, no sign of him going anywhere!

Greg Danyew August 5, 2022 - 12:40 am

Thank you, John!


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