More Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Pictures
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Cavalier King Charles Spaniel History
Paintings by Gainsborough, Reynolds and others from the 16th through 18th centuries record Cavalier King Charles Spaniels alongside aristocratic families, who enjoyed their loyal companionship. Cavalier Spaniels were surely a luxury item, since the average person could not afford to keep and feed a dog that did not work. Toy Spaniels were common as ladies’ pets during Tudor times, but the breed would truly flourish under a Stuart, King Charles II. History notes that King Charles II was rarely seen without a few spaniels in tow. With the exception of the spaniels bred by the Dukes of Marlborough, however, time was not friendly to the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, and the breed eventually lost out to the increasingly popular Pug.
During the mid 1800s, the dog was altered to one with a domed head, long ears, a short pug-like muzzle, and large globular eyes. By 1900, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel had become what is today called the English Toy Spaniel, which bears little resemblance to the Cavalier we know today. These changes are documented in several Lanseer paintings.
The modern Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is directly modeled on its royal ancestors thanks to the efforts of an American by the name of Roswell Eldridge. In the early 1920s, Eldridge traveled to England planning to purchase two spaniels but could not find any that suited his tastes. Unable to find any of the “old type,” particularly those with the head type he desired, he offered prizes to the best male and best female of the “old type” exhibited at Crufts each year. In their attempts to win the prize, English breeders inadvertently helped to propagate the Cavalier and restore its popularity.
The first Cavalier King Charles Spaniels arrived in the US in 1952 but were slow to catch on with Americans. The American Kennel Club recognized the breed in 1995. Present day Cavaliers live much as their ancestors did — as adored companions.