Are Cavalier King Charles Spaniels Good Hunting Dogs?


Some of us are hunters and like to take dogs on hunting trips. I’m not one of those people, but some are. So, you may be wondering, “Are Cavalier King Charles Spaniels good hunting dogs?”

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels can hunt small game, though they are best kept as companion dogs and not hunting dogs. If you do plan on keeping these dogs as hunting dogs, however, you’re going to have to consider a few things when you’re taking him outside. If you’d like to learn more about Cavalier Kin Charles Spaniels hunting, I suggest you keep reading,

Considerations When Taking A Dog To Hunt

Before you go take your Cavalier hunting, you’re going to have to consider a few things.

First off, if you’re going to hunt with your dog, you’re going to have to get your dog used to gun shots. Second, fleas and ticks can be a big problem, even in the winter.

So, what are all of the considerations? Let’s find out.

Food & Water Supply

This is may be a no-brainer, but you need to always make sure you have more than enough food and water before you hunt.

The fact is, whenever you go into the wild, there is always at least a small chance that you can get lost and if you packed enough food and water, you should be fine, but if you didn’t, then you have a different story!

So, just pack more food and water than you need. It can save you a world of good!

Fleas, Ticks & Other Bugs

No matter what season or time of day it is, I’m sure you’re going to come across some fleas and ticks on your hunting journey.

Unfortunately, ticks can also cause health conditions like Lyme disease which currently has no cure.

So, the best way to deal with this? Well, one way is to simply get a tick and flea repellent.

Unfortunately, I cannot recommend any tick or flea repellents myself, but I do recommend checking out this article from PetMD as it not only talks about the risks of getting tick bites and what kinds of ticks live in the United States but also recommendations for tick and flea repellents.

Getting Him Used To Gun Shots

One very important thing you do before you let your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is getting him used to get used to gun shots.

As I’m sure you know, you will likely have to shoot a gun when you’re hunting and saying even humans have to get used to gun shots, dogs will have to as well.

The last thing you want to do is scare your dog and make him run away!

Training Them How To Hunt

The first thing you have to do is do basic obedience training. This includes stay and sit.

They won’t be able to hunt anything when they won’t even sit still when they see an animal.

Another thing you need to train your dog to do retrieve the game that they have caught.

The best way to go about this is have decoys and make them retrieve them both on land and on water.

Unfortunately, there is simply too much to talk about for this subject and I recommend reading this article from the AKC about training your dog to hunt.

What Were Cavalier King Charles Spaniels Bred For? 

Okay, Cavaliers do not make good hunting dogs, but what were they actually bred for?

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels were bred in the United Kingdom and are a mixture of a toy spaniel and Asian toy dogs (likely pugs or Japanese Chins).

The fact is, these dogs were bred to be companion dogs, not hunting dogs. Even if they were, they wouldn’t be able hunt any large game and would have to stick to squirrels and other animals around their size.

How Strong Is A Cavalier’s Prey Drive?

Another question you may ask is “How strong is a Cavalier’s prey drive?”

Cavaliers have a very strong prey drive and will run after squirrels and other animals when they see them.

Can Cavalier King Charles Spaniels Be Off-Leash?

The simple fact is no. Cavalier King Charles Spaniels should not be off-leash due to their strong prey drive.

While these dogs aren’t amazing hunting dogs, they still have a strong prey drive and will run after squirrels, rabbits, and other animals that they would like to kill.

What To Do If A Cavalier Is Running Away

Okay, now we know that Cavaliers can’t be off-leash because they will run away if they see an animal like a squirrel, but what if you make a mistake and he gets away?

Let’s find out.


The very first (and very important) step is to relax. Panicking will simply make the situation much worse.

You probably know that when you’re panicking, you rarely make good choices. This is one reason how people get into so much trouble because when they’re panicked and scared, they aren’t thinking straight.

Use Your Recall Word

If you’ve trained your dog properly, you should have taught your dog a recall word. A recall word is an emergency word so that when it is said, your dog will come to you immediately no matter what the situation is.

But, the fact is, you probably haven’t made a recall word and it’s very likely your Cavalier won’t respond to it if it’s chasing prey.

So, what do you do now? If all else fails, try the next step.

Entice Them To Come Back

If you’ve tried everything, consider enticing them to come back if you haven’t already.

Try getting a treat box or their favorite toy. Anything that will catch their attention and entice them to come to you.

If it’s a treat box, rattle it a lot and call their name. I know for a fact that my dogs love treats and I’m sure yours is too.

If it’s their favorite toy, get on the ground and play with it. You may even have to lightly toss it around to catch their attention.

If you tried everything else, you may have to try howling. I know my Chiweenie is always perked up by howling and I’m sure your dog is the same way.

How Did My Cavalier Run Away?

If your Cavalier has ran away, an obvious question you would ask is “how did my cavalier get outside?”

There are a number of reasons why. Let’s look at some.

They Dug A Hole Under The Fence

I know that my dogs almost always got out by digging a hole under the fence and it’s likely that your dog got out the same way.

Look around the fence line and look for holes that might’ve been dug. If you find one, make sure that you put a rock in it.

A Door or Fence Gate Was Open

Another way my dogs get out a lot is by going out a open door or gate.

If you think that your dog got out through an open gate or door, make extra sure that you keep all the doors and fence gates closed.

They Found An Open Place That Was Too Big

It’s also possible that your Cavalier found a hole or open area in a fence that was big enough for them to fit through.

While it’s not likely, you shouldn’t shrug the possibility off. Cavaliers are very small and can fit through small areas.

How To Prevent A Cavalier From Running Away

Lastly, how do I prevent your Cavalier my running away? The first thing to do is find out how they got out in the first place.

If they got out through a hole along the fence line, fill it up with a rock.

If they got out through an open area, you may have to put a few metal rods to prevent the dog from escaping.

If your Cavalier got out through an open door or gate, however, the only way to prevent this would be to make sure that you close all the gates and doors behind you.


So, are Cavaliers good hunting dogs? While Cavaliers have good hunting instincts, they won’t be able to hunt any big game, unfortunately.

Do you have a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel? If so, did it ever try to run away from you? Comment below!

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