Height: 12-13 in
Weight: 13-18 lbs
Life Span: 10-14 yrs
Coloring: Blenheim (red and white), tri-color, bi-color, solid color in the following: Black, red, brown, tan, white (pure white does not occur)
Area of Origin: United Kingdom
Similar Breeds: English Cocker Spaniel, English Springer Spaniel, English Toy Spaniel, Pug
History and Origin:
A symbol of wealth and nobility, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is the largest of the toy breeds and perhaps one of the oldest non-sporting dogs. Beloved by Kings Charles I and Charles II of the seventeenth century, the King Charles Spaniel (progenitor of the Cavalier type) was intentionally bred to be a companion dog for the British aristocracy. After Charles II died, the spaniel that bore his name went out of favor with the wealthy, and exotic breeds such as the Pug became in vogue. Eventually, the Pug was bred with the King Charles Spaniel, which developed a smaller dog with a domed head and short nose. Through the following centuries, the product of the Pug and King Charles Spaniel became more and more Pug-like, with large, bulbous eyes and a shorter and shorter nose. It wasn’t until the 192o’s that an American began searching in England for the older type spaniels seen in seventeenth century artwork, and when he couldn’t find any, he began to recreate it. Eventually, good specimens were found, and a new name was given to the classic-style spaniel the Cavalier King Charles. This differentiated it from what the King Charles Spaniel (now known as the English Toy Spaniel) had become.
Personality and Temperament:
Loving, patient, and kind, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a true lap dog, and is fantastic with children and the elderly. It prefers neither the city nor the country, and is suitable for either a house with a yard or an apartment. The Cavalier tends to be very curious, and may instinctively chase smaller animals and even cars, if given the chance. As such, it is essential for the dog to be kept safe at all times, as it is not equipped to navigate the world outside of its home turf. It is a very social dog, and needs lots of attention from its owner. Due to its easy nature, it is an appropriate dog for a nervous or new dog owner, and is fantastic as a therapy dog for the sick and elderly.
Exercise & Training:
The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel needs an average amount of exercise and attention to remain happy and healthy. Unlike its sportier spaniel cousins (such as the Springer Spaniel) it does not need constant stimulation although it does perform well in obedience classes. The Cavalier is just as happy to curl up beside its owner as it is going for a run; it simply loves to be around its people at all times. It aims to please and is a fairly easy dog to train.
The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a medium shedder with a medium coat that requires no professional grooming if it is maintained. It needs to be brushed a few times a week to keep the fur tangle-free; its ears need particular attention as the curly fur tends to get matted if not regularly de-tangled. Bathe only when necessary.
The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel was the result of breeding the old-type King Charles Spaniel with the Pug. It shares ancestry with working spaniels, such as the Cocker and the Springer, and their shared hunting qualities are occasionally displayed by the Cavalier. It is much more true to the old King Charles Spaniel than the King Charles Spaniel (English Toy Spaniel) of today is, which had much more toy-breed influence than the Cavalier throughout the centuries.
Interesting Facts about the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel:
1. While the breed has been active in North America since the 1950s, it did not gain status in the American Kennel Club until 1996.
2. The interest to find the royal-type of King Charles Spaniel by American Roswell Eldrige influenced enough breeders to develop the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Club in 1928 in England.
3. King Charles I and his son, Charles II, instituted laws that allowed Cavalier King Charles Spaniels access to all public spaces. It is rumored that this law is still in effect, although long forgotten.
4. After the Stuart House (of which Charles I + II were a part) fell to the Tudors for rule over Britain, associating with the Cavalier became an unwise choice in the political realm. The Pug was preferred by the Tudors.
5. The color pattern Blenheim (ruby and white) of the old-type King Charles Spaniel honors the first Duke of Marlborough, whose property was known as Blenheim. He kept and bred red and white King Charles Spaniels.