The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, known affectionately as “Cavies,” is one of the most popular companion breeds in America. Smart, easy-going, and affectionate, these animals are excellent in a variety of situations—including travel. When it comes to air travel, this breed is one of the most reliably fit; they are small, calm, and quiet, allowing them to sit comfortably under an airplane seat for several hours. However, some Cavalier King Charles Spaniels can be very stubborn, and most are unable to spend long periods of time away from their owners. Cargo transit should be used only as a last-resort, as these small dogs may become incredibly stressed if left alone in an unfamiliar environment. Nevertheless, with proper training, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel can be an excellent travel companion.
Size and Travel Options: The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a toy breed, standing at just 12-13 inches and weighing between 13 and 18 pounds. This makes the breed an excellent candidate for in-cabin transit, as they can comfortably sit or stand while in a carrier under an airplane seat. Similarly, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel can easily ride on most forms of public transportation, including busses, trains, and subways, as well as in cars and taxis. These dogs are polite and friendly, but they need plenty of early socialization to build a confident, outgoing temperament. If you plan to travel with your Cavalier, do your best to train him as a puppy or young adult. Cavaliers can also experience extreme Separation Anxiety, so use cargo transport only as a last-resort—if at all.
Health and Physiology: Cavalier King Charles Spaniels tend to have fewer health issues than other dog breeds. They can live to be 12-15 years old, and most conditions are genetic. One of the more common conditions in Cavaliers is Mitral Valve Disease, which begins as a heart murmur. The disease only becomes life-threatening in old age, but bring your Cavalier to the vet to get tested. If he has MVD, flying may not be a great travel option. Similarly, King Charles Spaniels are prone to Brachycephalic Airway Obstruction Syndrome, which occurs in short- and snub-nosed dogs and can lead to respiratory issues. Though this is generally uncommon in Cavaliers, it is best to talk to your vet about your pet’s potential health risks. Flying is generally safe for these small, affectionate dogs, but a veterinarian’s stamp of approval is necessary.
Personality as a Travel Companion: Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are excellent companion animals. They only bark when necessary, and they are only somewhat active, not requiring an exhaustive workout every day. These animals are good with children, other dogs, and strangers, and their calm, even-tempered, and affectionate personalities make them popular pets. These characteristics coalesce to create a nearly-optimal travel companion. As mentioned, Cavalier Spaniels may experience separation anxiety, and potential health risks may make older dogs unfit for travel. However, owners must always individually assess their dogs’ personalities and health issues before deciding to fly, regardless of breed.
Overall, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel can make the perfect travel partner, but you should always keep potential health risks in mind. If your calm Cavalier gets a clean bill of health, he will make a great flight partner.