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Are Cavalier King Charles Spaniels High or Low Maintenance (How to Groom, Trim, Cut, Shave, and Bath)?

With their regal looks and lustrous, glossy coat, Cavaliers are a sight to behold. But a lot goes into maintaining their beauty.
Groom, Trim, Cut, Shave, and Bath?

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Cavalier King Charles Spaniels need grooming more than other breeds. Brushing their beautiful coat should be part of their daily routine.

To some people, this may be too much so they seek the help of a professional groomer. But since they need a lot done, would this mean that the cost is expensive? Some may even wonder if professional help is needed.

These are only some of the grooming questions for the lovely Cavalier. If you are seeking answers to these, the answers are all in this article.

Should You Groom a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel?

Like other hairy dog breeds, Cavaliers need frequent grooming too. Known for their regal looks, Cavaliers need regular care to maintain this.

With this breed, there is an emphasis on coat care. Their medium to long coat can be tricky to maintain as they have a double coat. Daily brushing will help keep their lustrous coat silky and shiny.

Other than that, you should also pay attention to their ear care. Your Cavalier’s ears are floppy and cute, but these do not get enough ventilation. This can lead to infections, so you should check their ears at least once a week for cleaning.

Your Cavalier’s eyes also need attention as this can be problematic. Their eyes collect a lot of dirt since they cannot close their eyelids properly. With this, they are also prone to eye stains.

What Kind of Grooming Does a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Need?

The general grooming needs of your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel include the following:

  • Regular Brushing
  • Frequent Baths
  • Nail Trimming
  • Hair Trimming
  • Oral Cleaning
  • Ear Cleaning
  • Eye Cleaning

While these are the grooming basics of most dogs, you need to cater these to your Cavalier’s special needs. Brushing, for example, should be a daily routine for them. Ear cleaning is also more tedious with Cavaliers than with other dogs.

So other than knowing what care they need, you also have to know how to do this correctly. Also, you should know how often to do these to maintain their beautiful looks.

How Often Do You Need to Groom a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel?

If you want to take your Cavalier to a professional groomer, you can do this every 4 to 6 weeks. But you still need to groom them at home between visits. Daily brushing is crucial, whether you see a professional or groom them at home.

But if seeing a professional is not for you, here is how often you should groom your Cavalier:

  • Brushing: Every day
  • Bathing: Every 1 to 6 weeks
  • Nail Trimming: Every 3 to 4 weeks
  • Oral Cleaning: Every day
  • Ear Cleaning: Every day or every week

How to Groom a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Keeping your Cavalier looking regal and pristine takes quite some effort from you. If you are feeling lost, do not worry. Below are some tips on how you can do this.


Cavaliers have a double coat that can get unruly if left alone. They have long hair to protect them from dirt, and a wavy undercoat that is prone to tangles. So other than preventing knots, it is hard to distribute their natural oils.

Daily brushing can do wonders for your Cavalier’s lustrous coat. Use a medium bristle brush to go through their hair daily. Experts recommend allotting 10 minutes each day for this.

The areas you need to focus on are their legs, tail, and feet. These spots are most prone to matting, so take your time brushing these. Other than that, be cautious when brushing their ears as this area is very sensitive.


Cavaliers need shampooing twice to get them clean. The first one is for lifting and removing dirt from their fur. The second bath is for enhancing their coat.

Their fur is water-resistant, so you should take time rinsing your Cavalier. Use lukewarm water and a mild shampoo to bathe them. Make sure to massage their skin to get rid of all the trapped debris.

After this, apply conditioner to their coat. This helps to bring back moisture into their skin since bathing gets rid of their natural oil.

Once done, dry your Cavalier with a towel. You can also use a dog hair dryer and brush their coat as you blow-dry them. The latter makes their coat fluffier and helps in avoiding tangles.

Oral Cleaning

If your Cavalier is new to having their teeth brushed, you can introduce this routine to them slowly. Start by using dog-safe flavored toothpaste. Put this on your finger and let them lick it.

Keep doing this until you can rub their teeth with the toothpaste. This will help them get used to the sensation of having their teeth and mouth handled.

You can then move on to wrapping a cloth around your finger to mimic a toothbrush. Wipe their teeth with these like a toothbrush with their mouth closed.

Once you have seen success with this, you can use a toothbrush. Place a flavored toothpaste on their toothbrush so that they are more open to using it. Brush with a 45-degree angle to their tooth and in circular motions.

Make sure to scrub the crevices of their gums too. This is where bacteria and odor build up, leading to infections.

Eye Cleaning

Your Cavalier’s eyes are prone to getting dirty. This is because their eyelids usually do not close correctly.

To clean their eyes, use a gentle baby sponge. Have a tub of clean warm water with you, soak the sponge, and flood their eyes with the water as you squeeze this sponge. You can wipe around their eye area too after you do this.

How Do You Groom a Cavalier King Charles Spaniels Ears?

Since it is hard for air to enter their ears, Cavaliers are prone to ear infections. Keeping the hair inside their ears short will help with the ventilation.

With this, regular ear checks are necessary for this regal breed. If their ears are dirty, use a cotton cloth that is damp with water to wipe their ears. Do not go into their ear canal with any object as you may pierce their eardrums.

Are Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Easy to Groom?

It can be challenging to groom your Cavalier. A lot of work goes into making their coat look glossy and tangle-free. With this, keeping up with a regular grooming routine may not be easy for everyone.

How Do You Groom a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel at Home?

As a Cavalier owner, much of your focus goes into caring for their long, silky coat. The main issues to avoid are mats and tangles.

To do this, you need to brush them daily to distribute their natural oils and make their hair shiny. This will also help in separating their hairs to prevent tangles.

Other than that, brushing helps to remove dead hair and loose hair. With a long-haired breed like Cavaliers, shedding can be an issue. Keeping a regular combing routine will help to lessen the unwanted hairs on your couch.

When talking about their hair, what you use for bathing them is also important. Since they need two rounds of shampooing, the first one should focus on cleansing. A mild shampoo will do to remove debris and excess oil from their fur.

In the second round, you can focus on enhancing their coat. The shampoo you use at this stage depends on your goal. Whether it is for hydrating their coat, changing the texture, or others, there is a shampoo fit for it.

Another special consideration for Cavaliers is their ears. Their floppy, fluffy ears do not have enough ventilation so it is prone to infections. Daily ear checks are great, but doing this weekly is also okay.

To clean their ears, wipe them with a damp cotton cloth. You should not clean their inner ear canal with cotton swabs. There is a risk of piercing their eardrums when they move around during cleaning.

How Much Does It Cost to Groom a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel?

Depending on where you live, the grooming cost for Cavaliers is around $30 to $90 per session. Your Cavalier may need a few sessions each year, though. But the more you get them professionally groomed, the less care they will need each visit.

While this breed does need more maintenance, this does not make them very expensive to groom. Their trip to a professional groomer does not take that long thanks to their smaller size.

Do You Have to Groom Cavalier King Charles Spaniels?

With their long hair, Cavaliers need grooming, much more than other breeds. Brushing them is nonnegotiable care, especially on their legs, tails, and feet. The hairs on these areas grow longer than the rest of their body, making them prone to knots, tangles, and mats.

If your Cavalier gets these, they can be in pain. In severe cases, these can cause irritated skin, broken skin, hot spots, and infections. Matts can also attract fleas and parasites, causing a foul odor.

Other than that, matting prevents air from reaching your Cavalier’s skin. This makes it harder for your furry companion to keep themselves cool.

Trying to take out these mats is also not a pleasant experience. Detangling their hair can also pull out living and healthy hair in the process. This further adds pain and stress to your already suffering Cavalier.

With this, grooming is essential in avoiding this painful condition for your Cavalier. So take a few minutes of your time each day to give them proper care.

Should You Trim a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel?

You should trim the hairs between your Cavalier’s paw pads occasionally. The hairs on their feet grow so long that they can form knots, making walking difficult for them. But if you want to trim their fur from other body parts, there is something you should consider —

If you have a show dog Cavalier, trimming or altering their fur is not allowed. Registries such as the AKC penalize this, disqualifying you from the competition. They will only allow you to trim the hair on their paw pads.

But if you do not plan to enter your Cavalier into a competition, you can trim their hair. A puppy cut does very well for them, cutting out an inch or two of their beautiful coat. This will help you in maintaining their hair and helps to keep them cool during the summertime.

How Do You Trim a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel?

Trimming your Cavalier is a great way to keep them cool during warmer months. But before you do this, you need the proper tools with you first. So, here is what you will need:

  • Comb and Slicker Brush
  • Animal Clippers
  • Thinning Scissors

Now that you have these, here is how you can trim your Cavalier’s beautiful hair.

First, you need to brush them to remove loose hair, tangles, and knots. This step is necessary to make trimming easier for you.

Then, with your clippers, start trimming them in a downward direction. You can start from their back, stopping halfway down their body, tail, and between their front legs. After that, trim from the top of their head, also in a downward fashion.

Use the bull-nosed scissors to trim their back, belly, tail, and hind legs. A good practice is to take off a little fur at a time. You can always cut more, but you can never put their fur back!

Once done, use your thinning scissors to tidy them up. Cut a few times in an upward direction, combing their fur after each section.

How to Trim Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Ears

To trim your Cavalier’s ears, you need your clippers with a snap-on comb, scissors, and a slicker brush. Not all Cavaliers like their ears handled, so you need to be patient with this.

First, start by trimming their ears using your clippers with a snap-on comb attached. Their ears can get very fluffy, so it will be hard for you to see their ear flaps. This step takes gets rid of excess hair, giving you a better visual.

Trim their ear hair in the direction of their hair growth. Use your other hand to support their ear as you trim away. Be extra careful with their inner ear, your snap-on comb can get snagged on their ear flap.

Now that you have taken away a chunk of their hair, you should see more of their ear anatomy. Watch out for areas that you need to stay away from, such as an ear flap.

Keep on trimming using a 10-blade clipper, this time, without the snap-on comb. Use the same trimming method in the first step. What you are doing now is taking off more hair that is closer to your Cavalier’s skin.

After this, use your scissors to trim the excess hair. Cut the hair on the perimeter of their ears too, as short as you want them to be.

Then, brush through their hair using your slicker comb. If you see any wispy hair on their ear perimeter, go in and cut with your scissors again.

If you are not satisfied with the length, you can keep going back to your clippers until their ears are tidy enough.

How to Trim Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Feet

There are two ways you can trim your Cavalier’s feet fur. One way is to use clippers, while the other is to use bull-nosed scissors. Both are a great way to clean up their furry feet, so this will boil down to your preference.

To help you figure out which one you like more, below you will see how to do both methods.

Trimming With Clippers

First, get your Cavalier into position. You can have them stand up, but they may have trouble balancing on three feet at a time. So it may be best to have them lie on their side for this.

Next, have your clippers ready. Take one paw and start trimming the hair on their paw pads. Use a scooping motion to trim, especially between their pads.

You can trim down to their ankles, making sure you only touch their hair. This will depend though on how short you want their trim to be.

Now, you can move on to the top of their paw. With your fingers, comb through the hair going against its growth. This will lift their fur so that it is easier for you to cut these.

Keep trimming around their paw until you are happy with the look.

Trimming With Scissors

Like the method above, prepare your Cavalier into position. It is up to you whether you make them stand or lie down on their side.

Prepare your scissors in one hand and hold their paw in your other hand. With their paw facing down, bend it upwards to expose the fur between their pads.

Start cutting the excess fur slowly, with the scissors parallel to their paws. Do this around their paws until you are happy. Next, you can use thinning scissors to groom the top of their feet.

How to Trim Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Nails

Cutting your Cavalier’s nails is an essential part of grooming them. To do this, you must first pick the appropriate nail clippers for them. Whether you like the guillotine or scissor nail clippers, the important thing is the size.

Cavaliers are a smaller breed, so it is only right to get them smaller clippers too. This will make it easier for you to cut their nails, avoiding accidents. In case you do cut into their “quick” have your styptic powder with you before you start.

With this, here is how you can cut your sweet Cavalier’s nails!

If you have someone to help you, have the other person hold you Cavalier. Otherwise, you can put them on your lap, with their behind facing you.

Next, push back the fur on their nails so you can see their nails better. Cut their nails at a 45-degree angle, trimming bit by bit to avoid the quick.

The closer you get to the quick, the center of the nail will look black. As soon as you see that the center is pink, stop cutting. If you continue, you will cut the quick and this is very painful for your Cavalier.

If you cut too short and their nail begins to bleed, use your styptic powder. Press your Cavalier’s nails against the powder for a few minutes. This should help to stop the bleeding.

Do Cavalier King Charles Spaniels Need Haircuts?

There is no cut-and-dry answer for this, as it will depend on you. Some Cavalier owners leave their dog’s hair natural, while others will give them a haircut. But trimming the hair on their paw pads is essential as this may affect how they walk.

During the summer, it may be uncomfortable for your Cavalier to have a lot of hair. This is when some people will give their Cavaliers a summer cut. But this usually only involves trimming, no shaving.

If you cut their coat too short, you are increasing their risk for sunburn and overheating. Which is the opposite of what you want to do.

What is important is that you brush your Cavalier’s coat more during warmer months. You can also rake their undercoat using a de-shedding tool to keep them cool. With this in mind, you can keep them comfortable without the need for a haircut.

How to Clip a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

When clipping your Cavalier, always do it in a downward direction, never upward. Clip halfway down their body and tail, taking off small bits at a time. Make sure to check if the blades are too hot, this can burn their skin without you knowing.

Once you reach the lower half of their body (especially their chest and belly), it is best to switch to scissors. The skin on these areas is loose, which makes using a clipper tricky.

Can You Shave Cavalier King Charles Spaniel?

You can shave your Cavalier’s coat only when needed. This can be due to a medical procedure or when they have a skin condition. With these, your vet must give you the go signal before you do.

Or if your Cavalier has severe matting, sometimes, shaving is the only option. But keep in mind that when you shave them, you may damage their coat.

Is It Okay to Shave a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel?

Other than for medical reasons or severe matting, avoid shaving your Cavalier. Many Cavalier owners notice that their dog’s coat becomes curlier and thicker after shaving. The reason behind this is that their topcoat grows slower than their undercoat.

If you remember, the top coat or guard hairs are silkier and smoother. While the undercoat is curlier and denser. When their hair grows back, you are mostly seeing their undercoat.

This is not the look that the regal Cavaliers are popular for. If this is a big issue for you, stick with trimming, raking, and brushing instead.

Should I Shave My Cavalier King Charles Spaniel?

You may think that shaving your Cavalier for the summer is best, but it is not. Other than changing how their coat looks, shaving can damage your Cavalier’s skin.

Your Cavalier’s topcoat is what protects them from the sun’s harsh rays. By removing this, they become susceptible to sunburn and overheating. This may be what you are trying to avoid in the first place.

So unless there is a medical need for it, do not shave your Cavalier. Daily brushing and undercoat raking will already help them a lot during summertime. Other than that, make sure that your Cavalier can rest in a cool area of your home too.

Do Cavalier King Charles Spaniels Smell?

A clean and healthy Cavalier should not have an unpleasant smell. Of course, they smell like dogs, so do not expect them to smell like flowers. So if your Cavalier smells funky, there is something wrong that you need to address.

To help you out, here are the common reasons that make Cavaliers smelly.

Dirt in Their Fur

This is the most common cause of a dog’s bad odor. If your Cavalier rolls in the dirt outside, the dirt can get trapped in its coat. The natural oils in their skin will cling to dirt and will develop a foul odor over time.

Ear Problems

Your Cavalier’s ears need a lot of attention. The lack of ventilation in this area causes a lot of problems for them.

Neglecting ear care can lead to wax buildup, emitting a smelly odor. A Cavalier who swims a lot, too, is susceptible to ear issues. If their ears do not dry completely, they develop ear infections.

Other than these, your Cavalier’s inner ear hair can be an issue too. These hairs can get wet easily through swimming or sweat. Their damp ears are a great breeding ground for bacteria and yeast infections.

Dental Problems

Bad breath is usually caused by bad oral hygiene. Smaller breeds like Cavaliers are prone to oral issues. This is because their teeth get crammed into a small jaw.

With that, they are prone to getting food debris and dirt stuck in their mouth’s crevices. This is why you need to brush your Cavalier’s teeth daily. Otherwise, they will get plaque and tartar buildup, which can lead to gum disease.

Oral tumors, GI tract problems, and respiratory issues can also cause bad breath.

Not Enough Baths

Cavaliers need frequent baths, at 1 to 6 weeks apart. Waiting any longer than this can make them smell unpleasant.

Damp Fur

The long, lustrous coats of Cavaliers are waterproof. But this can be a problem if they cannot dry completely.

There are yeast and bacteria present in their fur, but this is normal. These microorganisms do not bother you unless your Cavalier is wet. When wet, the “feces” of these bacteria or yeast break down, giving off an unpleasant smell.

Anal Gland Issue

Dogs have anal sacs that produce a smell unique to each when they poop. Without any issue, their anal sacs should not bother you.

But Cavaliers are prone to anal sac disease and this causes them to stink. If you notice that their foul smell comes from their butt area, you need to get them checked by your vet.

Do Cavalier King Charles Spaniels Like Baths?

Some Cavaliers like baths, while others do not. This will depend on how you introduce bathing to your Cavalier at a young age.

The important thing is to show them that bath time is not scary. Keep calm, talk to them through the process and give them lots of praises and treats. In time, your intelligent Cavalier will learn to like baths!

How Often Should You Bathe a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel?

Your Cavalier’s bathing frequency mainly depends on their diet. If they eat kibbles, you can bathe them every 2 to 3 weeks. But if they are on a raw diet, a bath every 5 to 6 weeks will do.

Cavalier show dogs often get bathed weekly, though. Unless your Cavalier is a show dog, you should not bathe them a lot. This can strip off the natural oils in their skin, causing irritation and allergies.

How to Bathe a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

A good rinse with lukewarm water is the first step in bathing your Cavalier. This is necessary to loosen any dirt and mats in their fur. Take your time with rinsing, since their coats are waterproof.

Once your Cavalier’s entire body is wet, use a good quality shampoo. Give them a good scrub, getting into their skin to release any debris.

Avoid getting their eyes and ears wet as this can be uncomfortable for your Cavalier. You can also place cotton balls in their ears during bath time to keep them dry.

When cleaning their face, you can use a damp washcloth instead. Wipe their face, focusing on their snout and eye area.

After this, rinse your Cavalier thoroughly, making sure to get rid of all the shampoo residue.

Some people give their Cavaliers their second round of shampooing. This is to enhance their coat even further, like using a special shampoo to make their coat whiter. But this step is optional.

When drying your Cavalier, use a towel to get as much water out as possible. You can air dry them, but this may take time and you may get water all over your floor.

Instead, you can choose to blow-dry them to cut the waiting time. Brushing their coat during this process helps to make their coat look fluffier.

How to Clean a Cavalier King Charles Spaniels Ears

Ear care is important for your Cavalier, as their floppy ears are prone to issues. To clean their ears, you need an ear cleaning solution or cotton balls or pads.

Once you have these ready, get your Cavalier into position. You can place them between your legs while you kneel on the floor while facing away from you.

Gently pull their ears back along with their hair. Put a few drops of the ear cleaning solution into their ear canal then massage the base of their ears after. This will help to loosen any ear wax or debris in their ears.

After massaging, use a cotton ball to wipe their outer ear, removing the dirt. Keep wiping until the cotton ball comes back clean.

You can also dampen the cotton ball with the solution and use this to wipe the inside of their ear. But do not use a cotton swab for this, you can go too deep and poke their eardrums.

How to Take Care of a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Puppy

When caring for a Cavalier puppy, you need to provide all their essentials. Other than that, this affectionate breed loves its humans a lot. So give them lots of love and attention too!

Before your Cavalier pup arrives, make sure to puppy-proof your home. This means keeping everything that can be harmful to them out of reach. Toxins, electrical wires, and more should not be accessible to them.

Make sure to have their items ready too. The basics include the following:

  • Leash
  • Collar
  • Food and Water Bowl
  • Various Toys
  • Dog Bed

A Cavalier puppy’s diet is important to ensure that they grow up healthy and happy. To pick the best one, you need to consult your vet. Make sure that their food is appropriate for their age.

With food, you can go with wet food, dry food, a raw diet, or a mixture of all these. It will depend on your preference and also your budget.

And while you are at the vet, make sure to give your new Cavalier puppy a general exam. This is to check where their health is at. Use this opportunity too to get your Cavalier’s vaccines.

It is a good practice to ask your vet about any potential health problems with your pup. This will help you prepare for the future. And it will also help you know what preventative measures to take.

With this, consider getting your Cavalier pup their health insurance. This will be very useful in the long run as your pup ages and becomes prone to health issues.

Part of caring for your Cavalier is helping them adjust to their new home. This includes introducing them to their designated potty area. Start potty training them young so that they can become independent earlier.

Along with this, begin their leash and obedience training while young too. Teach them basic commands like sit, stay, and quiet. This can make your Cavalier puppy well-behaved as they grow older.

Speaking of being well-behaved, socialization is important for them at this stage too. This will help them interact appropriately with strangers, kids, and other dogs. Otherwise, they may become aggressive or too fearful of them as adults.

Another crucial thing to keep in mind is their exercise. Cavaliers are lap dogs, but they do need to stay active. This helps them stay at a healthy weight and keeps them stimulated.

Mental and physical stimulation is necessary to prevent unwanted behaviors in Cavaliers. But other factors, like separation anxiety, can also cause this.

As lapdogs, Cavaliers have a great devotion to you. If they feel that they do not get enough attention, they can become very anxious in your absence.

When you are not around, they can poop or pee everywhere, bark excessively, and more. To avoid this, keep your Cavalier happy by giving them lots of love and attention.

Also, you should not leave them alone a lot too. This is one of the main causes of separation anxiety.