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Are Cavalier King Charles Spaniels Smart?

People believe that all dog breeds are intelligent simply because they are dogs. However, that is not so. Although canines are considered the most intelligent animals, there are certain breeds that learn faster and better understand orders than others.

Many people wonder how intelligent Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are. It is important to keep in mind that there are factors to know how smart an animal of this type can be. This breed is characterized by being an excellent companion for its owners. The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel loves spending time with loved ones and receiving love from them.

Are Cavalier King Charles Spaniels Smart

These dogs basically just love to play and spend several hours together with their human family members. That might cause us to doubt a bit about their intelligence.

What Place Does the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Occupy Among the Smartest Breeds?

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels rank 73rd of the world’s most intelligent dog breeds for obedience and functional IQ. As we can see, they are not the most intelligent dogs in this aspect.

However, there are several types of intelligence, and these canines stand out for their ability to understand people’s emotions. Not all dogs do as well in this regard as Cavalier King Charles Spaniels.

According to Stanley Coren, a series of criteria are required to determine the intelligence of a canine in terms of obedience and functional intelligence. The main criteria are:

  • The number of repetitions a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel needs to learn a command. That is, the fewer repetitions a dog needs to know a new order, the more intelligent it will be.

    Therefore, we can conclude that the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel has specific learning difficulties since there are 72 dogs ahead of it that learn with fewer repetitions. This canine needs between 25 and 40 repetitions to learn a command.
  • Another vital criterion is the ability of a canine to obey a known order on the first try. Since Cavalier King Charles Spaniels have average intelligence, they obviously won’t obey a command on the first try. According to studies, this canine has a success rate of 50% or more when it comes to following a known command on the first try.

Many people might think that these results are not enough for a canine, but actually having an average intelligence is a very good thing. Although it is not the most intelligent dog, it will undoubtedly learn everything you teach it, especially since it is the type of dog that creates a strong bond of trust with you.

It is illogical to want our Cavalier King Charles Spaniel to learn a new command in less than 5 attempts since only 10 of 138 dog breeds have achieved this according to the ranking. In fact, some of the most intelligent breeds are also among the most popular. Some of them are:

  • Doberman
  • German Shepherd
  • Golden Retriever
  • Labrador
  • Poodle
  • Rottweiler

Intelligence Types of a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Obedience and working intelligence are not the only measures to determine a dog’s intelligence. The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel stands out for having two types of intelligence:

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Instinctive Intelligence

It is the ability acquired by a canine thanks to a specific training to fulfil a specific task. Some breeds were bred as herding dogs, while others were bred as hunters. That is because each dog has an instinctive intelligence directed towards a particular activity.

Many breeds in the 19th century were renowned for their instinctive intelligence, displaying the ability to interpret people’s feelings. In this case, although a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel was not bred as a hunting or herding dog, it is one of the best breeds to understand the emotions of its owners and please them according to their needs.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Adaptive Intelligence

This type of intelligence refers to the ability of a canine to learn something on its own without much training.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels have the ability to teach themselves whenever something goes wrong. It’s kind of like trial and error. For example, if such a dog is in a fenced yard, it will try every possible way until it finds a way out.

Simply put, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is capable of learning from its past experiences to find solutions or act differently to change the outcome.


Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are not among the most intelligent dogs when it comes to obedience and working intelligence, but they still have an average level that is sufficient for most owners of these dogs.

In addition, the potential of its intelligence is exploited by being an excellent lapdog and having the ability to learn on its own depending on what it observes around it and its past experiences.