How Long do Cavalier King Charles Spaniels Live?

September 10, 2022

Bringing a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel into your family is an exciting time.

All that energy just bouncing around the house and their incredibly inquisitive and affectionate natures make Cavaliers brilliant companion dogs, but at some point, you will naturally wonder just how long King Charles Spaniels live.

The short answer is a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel will live between 12 and 15 years. But that is quite a wide age range.

There are quite a few factors which can influence where your Cavalier will sit on this scale. And that is what we will be getting into in this article. If you want to learn how to help your King Charles Spaniel live a longer and healthier life read on.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Life Expectancy

The average life expectancy of a King Charles Spaniel is between 12 and 15 years old. This is the average lifespan of a Cavalier, some have been known to live far longer!

Most will live to at least 12 years old though providing they are well taken care of.

Female King Charles Spaniels do on average live an extra 1.7 years than males do. This may be something that factors into your decision when getting a new Cavalier puppy if you are concerned about their life expectancy.

What is the Oldest Cavalier King Charles Spaniel?

While the top end of the expected range is 15 years old there have been many instances of Cavaliers smashing through that upper barrier and living an active and healthy life for years past it.

The oldest King Charles Cavalier was named Tuppence and lived to a very impressive age of 19 years and four months. That is 92 years old in human years, a grand age that we can all hope for!

One thread on Quora even suggested that a King Charles Spaniel had lived to a very impressive age of 18! It was a male Cavalier too. This shows that it is definitely possible for Cavaliers to beat the breed age range if well cared for and with a little luck!

What Can Affect a Cavalier King Charles Spaniels Lifespan?

So, what can cause your King Charles Spaniel to land on the lower side of their life expectancy range? Quite a few things could play a role. For example, mistakes with your dog's diet, exercise regime, or health problems cropping up can all negatively impact your Cavalier's lifespan.

The good news is that most of these factors are within our influence.

Let's take a look at each in turn.

Health Problems

As a breed, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are prone to quite a few health problems. There are quite a few issues that can affect your Cavalier, however, while you can't stop your dog from getting ill you can still keep an eye out for signs or see your vet.

This is not a full list of the health issues that Cavalier King Charles Spaniel are prone to just those which are more likely to shorter their lives.

Heart Problems

Heart failure is quite prevalent in this Spaniel breed compared to the other illnesses they contend with. Usually, the problem that occurs is the weakening of a valve which is called mitral valve disease.

Roughly half of all Cavaliers will deal with some form of heart problem in their lives. This also just includes heart murmurs though.

Sometimes this problem can be passed down by some Cavalier breeders ignoring MVD Protocol and trying to make a payday on this popular breed. Make sure you quiz the breeder about the Cavalier's parents hearts when getting a dog!

Dental Problems

King Charles Spaniels are also prone to dental problems, especially if their teeth are not looked after. Tartar builds and teeth get damaged over time. This will not only end up with your dog losing their teeth but can result in organ damage and a short lifespan.

Kidney or Bladder Stones

These stones are another potentially lift-shortening problem that could impact how long your Cavalier lives. Your vet will be able to deal with this. It only becomes very serious if there is blood when your dog is trying to pee.

Poor Diet

Feeding your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel a solid diet is an important step in making sure they have everything needed at each stage of their life cycle.

There are many bad dog foods on the market packed with cheap-to-produce and low-quality ingredients which offer very little nutritional value to your Cavalier.

Overdoing it on table scraps and treats can also do your dog no favours.

We will run through how to make sure you are feeding your canine companion a proper diet in the next section.

Lack of Exercise

Exercise is an important component of every dog's life. If your Cavalier is not getting enough it can trigger a plethora of health problems. For example, your dog can become overweight which leads to joint problems, arthritis, or obesity.

It can also lead to Cavalier's developing mental health issues.

How Can I Help my King Charles Spaniel Live Longer?

Now you know the factors that can reduce the life span of your King Charles Spaniel let's take a look at what you can do about it, as previously mentioned, there is quite a lot you can do.

Regular Vet Visits

Okay, that long list of pretty serious health issues might look quite scary.

The good news is there is a very easy way to stay ahead on this one. It is to make sure you regularly take your Cavalier to the vet for check-ups. Problems found early are almost always treatable or manageable at least.

While you may have to deal with some of these it is very unlikely you will have to tackle many of them. I've had a Spaniel for seven years and not experienced any serious health issues, though I may have just been lucky!

Regular checks by the vet might play a role there though.


As already talked about exercise is vital for keeping your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel physically and mentally healthy.

Keeping your King Charles Spaniel in good physical health helps avoid a wide range of health problems noted above such as obesity and joint problems.

Cavaliers need around 1 hour a day of exercise to stay in shape. There are many ways you can offer this, all that really matters is that you offer it daily. You can even split it into two separate walks if that fits easier in your day.

If you want to learn more about Cavalier's exercise needs we have a detailed guide on it.

Good Diet

Ensuring sure your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel has everything they need nutritionally will make a big difference to your dog's overall health.

And the best part is it's actually not that hard to do!

There are many ways to do this with dry, wet, or raw food diets to choose from but the one I tend to stick with is just high-quality dry food. Just look for "complete and balanced" on the label. This means it has everything your dog needs to be healthy. Simple!


This is another way to keep your dog healthier for longer. Data from Caring Hands Vet Hospital actually found that spaying or neutering a dog will make it live on average 1.5 years longer!

This is particularly the case if you have a female Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and spay her before she has a season. Doing so will eliminate the chance of mammary cancer. The chances rise by year until spayed.

If you are not planning to have puppies make the decision early to reap as much benefit as possible.

Most Common Reason Cavalier King Charles Spaniels Die

The most common reason for Cavalier King Charles Spaniels dying is heart disease. Most of the time this is caused by mitral valve disease which is the weakening of the valve in the heart.

Often one of the first signs of mitral valve disease is a heart murmur. This can indicate more serious problems are a possibility.

Your vet will be the one to speak to if you have concerns. And make sure that you have your Cavalier checked over regularly so you get ahead of it. Manageable conditions are far better than illnesses caught late in progressed stages.


Now you know all about how long a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel should live.

While the average life expectancy for the breed is between 12 and 15 years there are quite a few factors which can play a role in how your dog fares on that scale.

With the advice set out above in hand, you are well equipped to make sure your King Charles Spaniel remains healthy far longer than even the upper limits of the AKC age range.

Hopefully, you have found this article to be helpful, and you never know your Spaniel might even set a new record for the oldest King Charles!

Allan  Noble
Hi, my name is Allan! I am the owner of Spaniel Advisor and I've got over seven years experience of owning Spaniels.  
I hope this article was helpful for you! 
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