The correct name for a King Charles terrier is a Cavalier King Charles spaniel. This dog is a small, high-energy dog with a silky coat. Named for Britain's King Charles II, this toy breed has been among the world's most popular companion dogs for hundreds of years.
Though most Cavalier King Charles spaniels serve as loving family pets, the breed is also renowned for its obedience and agility. These lively, friendly dogs reach 12 to 13 inches tall at the shoulders and weigh 13 to 18 pounds. They come in four color combinations: chestnut and white; black, white and tan; all red; and black and tan. Their medium-length hair needs to be brushed regularly to prevent matting.
The King Charles is intelligent, cheerful and relatively simple to train. It behaves well with other pets and children, but because of its small size, it might not be safe around rambunctious kids. The dog does not require much exercise other than racing around the house and romping in the yard. However, all dogs benefit physically and psychologically from daily walks.
Originally bred to hunt game, this spaniel tends to chase anything that moves. Owners should start training early and enforce rules and boundaries consistently. Socialization with other pets and people is recommended to prevent the unpleasant or aggressive behavior sometimes seen in poorly socialized small dogs.
The King Charles can live almost anywhere; however, it is not well suited for hot weather. The breed's usual life expectancy is between nine and 14 years.