Can you train Cavalier King Charles Spaniels as Bird Dogs?
Thank you for visiting Euro Puppy and for your query. Concerning Cavalier King Charles Spaniels as bird dogs…let me explain a few things, before I can answer your question...
The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is an interesting breed since it is first and foremost a companion dog. Even the FCI registers it in the 9th group, which is designated for companion dogs. All the other spaniels belong to 8th group as designated by the FCI. This group is for the spaniels that are more hunting / bird dogs. A Cavalier, however is in its element if it is around people and family members. Therefore it is a companion dog. However, like all Spaniels, the Cavalier also has a genetic background of being a hunting dog…or a gun dog /bird dog since it was used to retrieve birds and game.
Of all the Spaniel breeds, the original Cavalier is the only one that developed into a lap dog and therefore its hunting instincts have quite drastically been hindered. The other Spaniels, like the Springer Spaniel or an American Cocker Spaniel are also great family dogs, but their hunting, bird dog instincts are far greater, since they are still today used for such activities. Cavaliers, however have been known to catch small birds in mid-flight that fly too close to the ground. Such behavior is a result of their earlier use as a hunting dog, and as such, they can develop habits that predispose them to chase small animals such as chipmunks, squirrels, etc. Because of this, it is recommended that care should be taken when walking a Cavalier off-leash, as they can single-mindedly chase a butterfly or squirrel onto a busy road or other dangerous situations without regard for their own safety if not properly trained.