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Golden Cavalier Or Golden Retriever Cavalier King Spaniel Mix: Your Complete Guide

Photo of Tamsin De La Harpe

Written by Tamsin De La Harpe

Golden Cavalier

The Golden Cavalier is a designer dog breed originating from crossing the Golden Retriever and Cavalier King Spaniel. This mix is all the Golden Retriever traits that make them the quintessential dog in a small adorable package.

These dogs may be short in stature, but their personalities are larger than life. Their fantastic reputation of being gentle and easygoing will yank at your heart’s strings from the moment you encounter them.

Follow along as we cover all you need to know about the Golden Retriever Cavalier King Spaniel mix. Breed information like temperament, health, and trainability is paramount when choosing your dog.

This is not an AKC-recognized breed, but it is recognized by designer dog breed kennel clubs.

History of the Golden Cavalier

This specialty crossbreed emerged from the rise of designer dogs in the late eighties. Those who favor smaller dogs but are still drawn to larger, popular dogs like Goldens get the best of both worlds with designer breeds. Others can opt for a larger version, as in the case of Golden Mountain mixes.

While Mini Goldens are often Poodles or Cocker Spaniels mixes, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel can achieve the same result. The dams must be the larger Goldens, and the sires are the smaller Cavaliers for the safety of the female dog. 

Both parent breeds have a long and elaborate history alongside humans since the 19th century. Learning these histories helps you predict how the mix looks and acts depending on the parents’ initial purpose.

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel was developed from the English Toy Spaniel (King Charles Spaniel) in the early 1900s. The English Toy Spaniel came about in the 1600s but had changed so much in appearance by the early 20th century. 

A wealthy fancier offered a premium for the dog that most closely resembled the earliest King Charles Spaniel with their longer muzzles. This way, larger, longer-muzzled Cavaliers emerged in efforts to preserve the old-style looks of ancient English Toy Spaniels. 

As you can guess from the name, the mellow Golden Retriever was developed to retrieve. This breed was developed in Scotland in 1868 by Sir Dudley Marjoribanks. Present-day Goldens originated by mixing yellow-colored, flat-coated Retrievers with Tweed Water Spaniels and some other British breeds.

The sweet and sensible dogs were created for gundog use and as water retrievers for assisting hunters in retrieving birds. It wasn’t long before they took the dog community by storm due to their mellow, puppy-like natures. They were so loved that they found their way into the heart of President Gerald Ford.

Golden Cavalier Physical Features

Golden Cavalier Physical Features
  • Height: 15 to 20 inches (38 to 50 cm)
  • Weight: 35 to 45 pounds (15 to 19 kg)
  • Lifespan: 12 to 16 years
  • Coat: Golden, yellow, cream, white with colored markings, fawn, ruby red, chestnut
  • Nose: Black 
  • Eyes: Dark brown

Golden Cavaliers typically look like small-bodied Golden Retrievers, although some can remind you more of a Cavalier. The mixes are similar to the miniature Golden Retriever and mostly have a solid Golden color. However, the Cavalier can introduce color varieties making the mix occasionally yellow, cream, and ruby red. They are also often Blenheim, the typical white muzzle and blaze with red ears that you see in the Cavalier.

Very rarely, they may be black or black and tan. 

They have shorter muzzles than standard Goldens, and most have the long Cavalier ears that are often feathered. They have dome-shaped heads and huge, brown, expressive eyes found in their Cavalier parents. 

Their coats are medium to long and are luscious and silky. They have short legs, but their bodies are nice and compact, even with their small size. Even if your mix has stronger Cavalier genes, there will always be something in their looks that reminds you of a Golden.

General Maintenance of a Golden Cavalier 

General Maintenance of a Golden Cavalier 
  • Hypoallergenic: No, since they shed daily
  • Shedding: Moderate shedding that increases during spring and fall
  • Exercise: 60 minutes of daily exercise 
  • Temperament: Lively, outgoing, eager to please, loyal, affectionate
  • Training: Easy to train due to their intelligence

Energy Levels

You can describe a Golden Cavalier as an active dog with an off switch. They love to play a lot, even with moderate energy levels. These dogs can lounge with you peacefully at home or accompany you on adventures, depending on the day. The Golden ramps up the energy even if Cavaliers are considered pretty low-energy compared to other breeds.

Housing Needs

They do best in apartments because their size and energy levels allow them, and they need to be around loved ones. Even when your pup settles into city life, daily walks and exercise are paramount to prevent boredom and being overweight. 

Exercise Requirements 

60-minute daily walks, broken down into two sessions, is best for these playful pups. Physical exercise is vital even if your mix is small-sized instead of medium. This prevents behaviors like barking, digging, and chewing on your furniture for entertainment. These dogs also thrive on regular daily playtime, training, and activities. They also love to swim!

Food & Diet Requirements 

Golden Cavaliers need special attention to their diets, and it is worth consulting a certified dog nutritionist for these dogs. The reason for this is that they are prone to many genetic health conditions that are affected by nutrition. For instance, a study found that Golden retrievers who ate a red-meat-based diet had more incidences of cancer than those that ate a white-meat-based diet.

The Golden Retriever parents are notorious for developing Dilated Cardiomyopathy because they can’t help but have big hearts, even literally. This is often connected to a deficiency in an amino acid called taurine. Dogs are supposed to make taurine themselves, so it is not seen as an essential amino acid, but since Golden Retrievers often have a deficiency, it’s best to make sure a Golden Cavalier has a diet high in taurine and L-carnitine. Equally important is high levels of the omega-3 fatty acids, EPA & DHA, and pure MCT oil for dogs, which can help support heart health.

For this reason, we recommend steering far from “grain-free” diets as these are linked to decreased taurine production, increasing DCM risk. Besides that, your vet will advise you on the right diet if your Golden Cavalier has any medical issues. 

Heart issues from the Cavalier parent are also a problem, as nearly all American-Bred Cavalier Spaniels develop another heart disease, MMVD. So providing the correct diet for this designer breed from puppyhood is particularly important.

Grooming Needs

Grooming a Golden Cavalier is relatively straightforward, as the coat needs to be brushed at least three times a week to prevent matting and to ensure the oils in the coat are spread evenly. 

You also need a dog nail trimmer to clip the nails every month and an ear-cleaning solution to maintain nail and ear health as they are prone to ear infections. Their eyes are round and prone to tearing, so have eye wipes to clean away tear stains and keep them hygienic to avoid infections. 

They need baths every 3 to 4 weeks to avoid stripping their luscious coats of natural essential oils. Above all, do not neglect these dogs’ teeth! Common issues like dental disease and gingivitis can cause heart issues, which is a massive danger to the Golden Cavalier. So use a dental rinse in their water and brush their teeth daily.

The Health of a Golden Retriever Cavalier Spaniel Mix

As mixed breeds, these dogs are often healthier than their Golden or Cavalier parents due to “hybrid vigor.” They are still at risk of medical issues present in their parent breeds. 

These conditions include hip dysplasia, even if they’re a small breed, and syringomyelia, a neurological condition. Cancer is also very common in Golden Retrievers (affecting about 60%) and may pass on to the mixed breed. One major issue that affects the Golden Cavalier is heart issues. Up to 90% or more of the American line of Cavalier King Charles Spaniels will develop myxomatous mitral valve disease (MMVD) in their lifetime.

Similarly, Golden Retrievers are extremely prone to dilated cardiomyopathy, often related to deficiencies in taurine. These heart conditions are genetic, but make sure to see some of our notes above on dietary requirements for the Golden Cavalier to help avoid these fatal conditions.

Other medical issues based on severity include:

Severe Medical Problems

  • Heart diseases like degenerative mitral valve disease (DMVD) and Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM);
  • Cancer;
  • Hip and elbow dysplasia; 
  • Luxating patella (shifting kneecaps);
  • Eye conditions like progressive retinal atrophy, Entropion, and ectropion; 
  • Syringomyelia (fluid filled cysts in spine);
  • Cancer like dog lymphoma; and
  • Hypothyroidism.

Mild to Moderate Health Problems

  • Allergies;
  • Skin problems;
  • Gastritis; and
  • Dental issues. 

Occasional or Rare Conditions

  • Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome (in those that inherit abnormally short noses); and 
  • Obesity.

Temperament and Trainability of a Cavalier Goldie 

Golden Cavaliers are the epitome of good-naturedness with their sunny and mellow personalities. They are outgoing, gentle, affectionate, friendly, happy-go-lucky dogs with the ability to befriend anyone. Coming from two extremely friendly dogs, many of them are extroverts who love strangers. However, due to their innate sensitivity, you may get a more sensitive and withdrawn one. 

Be sure to work with them early to build their confidence and avoid situations like dog parks while they are young. Being bullied by another dog off-leash could lead to anxiety and reactivity, so make sure all early socialization is carefully managed. Most of these dogs are extremely empathetic and make fantastic emotional support companions. But the flip side of this sensitivity is that you may encounter some anxiety issues in some of them (certainly not all).

These dogs love their families so much that they can develop separation anxiety, so leaving them alone for too long is inadvisable. Despite naturally having a very even-tempered disposition, training and socialization is essential. Read this article to avoid separation anxiety becoming a problem.

These intelligent dogs are eager to please, making them easy to train. Start training and socialization early when they’re still malleable, and use treats to motivate them. According to Dr. Stanley Coren, the Golden Retriever is the 4th most intelligent dog in the world. While the Cavalier is only 44th, it’s essential to remember the Cavalier excels in emotional intelligence as the perfect companion breed. 

Put this together in the Golden Cavalier, and you have an extremely emotionally attuned dog that loves training, so long as it is full of treats and praise.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is the Golden Cavalier Good With Kids And Other Animals?

These sometimes charming dogs make the ideal family dog and are usually great around children. However, you must monitor dog-child interactions to avoid accidents. They are typically good with other animals, but the Goldie hunting instincts can kick in around smaller pets. 

Early socialization and training are crucial for any dog. This is not an aggressive dog, but some individuals may be sensitive or prone to anxiety, so be sure to build their confidence from a young age.

What is a good home for a Golden Retriever Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Mix?

Here are some points to check to make sure you are a good fit for this dog:

– Preferably, you have at least a small yard (or can exercise your dog regularly if you live in a small space)
– As an adaptable dog, this dog is appropriate both for single adults and for families, provided someone is at home most of the time as these are not dogs that should be left at home for long periods.
– Young children are fine but always supervise your dog and children together. 
– This dog can adapt well to households with other pets but provide socialization nevertheless.
– This is not a hypoallergenic breed, so nobody in the home should have pet allergies.
– Regular grooming is essential.
– The household should be moderately active and enjoy long walks, playing in the park, or games of fetch. Activities like the occasional hike or a sport like agility are great for physical fitness and bonding.

How Much Does a Cavalier Golden Puppy Cost?

Many official sites price their Golden Cavalier Puppies at around $3000, but you can pay even $1000 if you’re lucky. The high costs are because of this mix’s rarity and all that goes into breeding them. It’s possible to find some in shelters where you can give a dog a second chance at life. 

Be careful with breeders and ensure parents are properly health tested for heart and hip issues. Always adopt where this is an option.

What is the rarest color of a Golden Cavalier?

The majority of Golden Cavaliers will be a light or dark golden color, or cream. Some may be Blenheim, a standard Cavalier King Charles Spaniel color with red or chestnut ears and a white blaze from the nose to over the head. The rarest color is black or black and tan.

How long does the Golden Cavalier Live?

A Golden Cavalier will live for 12 to 16 years if you take proper care medically and diet-wise. Ill-bred mixes will have a shorter lifespan. 

Final Thoughts

Golden Cavaliers are a great addition to your family. Their small size and even temperament make them go along with just about anyone, no matter how small the space. They have few medical conditions, provided you purchase them from responsible breeders who do all the background checks. 

Meet Your Experts

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Tamsin De La Harpe


Tamsin de la Harpe has nearly two decades of experience with dogs in rescue, training, and behavior modification with fearful and aggressive dogs. She has worked closely with veterinarians and various kennels, building up extensive medical knowledge and an understanding of canine health and physiology. She also spent two years in the animal sciences as a canine nutrition researcher, focusing on longevity and holistic healthcare for our four-legged companions. Tamsin currently keeps a busy homestead with an assortment of rescue dogs and three Bullmastiffs.

Tamsin de la Harpe has nearly two decades of experience with dogs in rescue, training, and behavior modification with fearful and aggressive dogs. She has worked closely with veterinarians and various kennels, building up extensive medical knowledge and an understanding of canine health and physiology. She also spent two years in the animal sciences as a canine nutrition researcher, focusing on longevity and holistic healthcare for our four-legged companions. Tamsin currently keeps a busy homestead with an assortment of rescue dogs and three Bullmastiffs.