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Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Built along the lines of a small gundog, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel has expressive, large, dark round eyes set in a slightly rounded skull. This member of the Toy Group is the smallest spaniel. The Cavalier has a tapered muzzle ending in a well developed nose with wide nostrils, and a flat head with a shallow stop. The dog's long ears are well feathered. Cavaliers naturally grow a moderately long lustrous coat that should be free of curl. The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel come in four colors: Blenheim* — chestnut markings on a white background, often marked with a “Blenheim spot” of chestnut in the center of a white patch on its head; Tricolor — deep black markings on a white background; Ruby — a solid rich red color; Black and Tan — dark black with tan eyebrows, cheekbones, inside the ears, chest, legs, and under the tail. The Cavalier’s gait is unencumbered and elegant. *named for the Blenheim palace of England.

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Fast Facts

10 - 14 years
17th century
13 - 18 lb
13 - 18 lb
12 - 13"
12 - 13"
Cavaleer Kind Charles Spaniel, Cavaleir King Charles Spaniel or Cavelier King Charles Spaniel

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Photos

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Temperament

Charmingly affectionate, playful and intelligent, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is ever ready to greet his owner with endearing devotion and a wagging tail....

Developed as lap dogs, Cavaliers make terrific companions. Inherently easy going, these dogs can easily make friends with children and other animals. Cavaliers are active with strong sporting instincts that require regular exercise. Their “sporting instinct” can get them into trouble, as they tend to give chase to anything that moves. The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is friendly, outgoing and nonconfrontational. Cavaliers make fantastic therapy dogs and are a delight to those in nursing homes and healthcare centers that wait for their periodic visits to share doggy kisses and loving caresses.

Caring For a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Naturally smart and clean, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are easy to train and groom....

They are adaptable in their exercise needs and are equally happy curled up on the couch or accompanying their owner on long walks in any weather. When exercising with a Cavalier they should either be leashed or in a fenced yard because they never become “street-wise” and will chase heedlessly after dangerous targets. Nevertheless, these dogs are highly intelligent and are gentle and easy to train in all other respects. Trustworthy with children, the Cavalier needs the same loving, consistent discipline as a child. Moderately active indoors, Cavaliers make good apartment dwellers. Grooming requires a once a week brushing and occasional baths. Cavaliers are average shedders. Check the dog’s ears regularly. They do not do well when left alone for long periods, and the companionship of another dog or a cat is recommended in households where no one is home during the day. Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are house dogs – they are too small to protect themselves when alone outdoors, especially while no one is home. Known health issues include canine hip dysplasia, patellar luxation, entropion, mitral valve insufficiency, and syringomelia.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel History

A Brief History of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

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.