Monday, April 16, 2007

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

History of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel of today is descended from the small Toy Spaniels seen in so many of the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth century paintings by Titian, Van Dyck, Lely, Stubbs, Gainsborough, Reynolds, and Romney. These paintings show small spaniels with flat heads, high set ears, almond eyes, and rather pointed noses. During Tudor times, Toy Spaniels were quite common as ladies' pets, but it was under the Stuarts that they were given the royal title of King Charles Spaniels.

History tells us that King Charles II was seldom seen without two or three spaniels at his heels. So fond was King Charles II of his little dogs, he wrote a decree that the King Charles Spaniel should be accepted in any public place, even in the Houses of Parliament where animals were not usually allowed. This decree is still in existence today in England. As time went by, and with the coming of the Dutch Court, Toy Spaniels went out of fashion and were replaced in popularity by the Pug. One exception was the strain of red and white Toy Spaniels that was bred at Blenheim Palace by various Dukes of Marlborough.

In the early days, there were no dog shows and no recognized breed standard, so both type and size varied. With little transport available, one can readily believe that breeding was carried out in a most haphazard way. By the mid-nineteenth century, England took up dog breeding and dog showing seriously. Many breeds were developed and others altered. This brought a new fashion to the Toy Spaniel - dogs with the completely flat face, undershot jaw, domed skull with long, low set ears and large, round frontal eyes of the modern King Charles Spaniel (also called "Charlies" and known in the United States today as the English Toy Spaniel). As a result of this new fashion, the King Charles Spaniel of the type seen in the early paintings became almost extinct.It was at this stage that an American, Roswell Eldridge, began to search in England for foundation stock for Toy Spaniels that resembled those in the old paintings, including Sir Edwin Landseer’s "The Cavalier's Pets." All he could find were the short-faced Charlies. Eldridge persisted, persuading the Kennel Club in 1926 to allow him to offer prizes for five years at Crufts Dog Show - twenty-five pounds sterling for the best dog and twenty-five pounds sterling for the best bitch -- for the dogs of the Blenheim variety as seen in King Charles II's reign. The following is a quotation taken from Crufts’catalog:

"As shown in the pictures of King Charles II's time, long face no stop, flat skull, not inclined to be domed and with the spot in the center of the skull" and the prizes to go to the nearest to the type described.

No one among the King Charles breeders took this challenge very seriously as they had worked hard for years to do away with the long nose. Gradually, as the big prizes came to an end, only people really interested in reviving the dogs as they once had been were left to carry on the breeding experiment. At the end of five years little had been achieved, and the Kennel Club was of the opinion that the dogs were not in sufficient numbers, nor of a single type, to merit a breed registration separate from the Charlies.In 1928 a dog owned by Miss Mostyn Walker, Ann's Son, was awarded the prize. (Unfortunately Roswell Eldridge died in 1928 at age 70, only a month before Crufts, so he never saw the results of his challenge prizes.) It was in the same year that a breed club was founded, and the name Cavalier King Charles Spaniel was chosen. It was very important that the association with the name King Charles Spaniel be kept as most breeders bred back to the original type by way of the long-faced throwouts from the kennels of the short-faced variety breeders. Some of the stock threw back to the long-faced variety very quickly. Pioneers were often accused of using outcrosses to other suitable breeds to get the long faces, but this was not true, and crossing to other breeds was not recommended by the club.

At the first meeting of the club, held the second day of Crufts in 1928, the standard of the breed was drawn up; it was practically the same as it is today. Ann's Son was placed on the table as the live example, and club members brought all the reproductions of pictures of the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries they could muster. As this was a new and tremendous opportunity to achieve a really worthwhile breed, it was agreed that as far as possible, the Cavalier should be guarded from fashion, and there was to be no trimming. A perfectly natural dog was desired and was not to be spoiled to suit individual tastes, or as the saying goes, "carved into shape." Kennel Club recognition was still withheld, and progress was slow, but gradually people became aware that the movement toward the "old type" King Charles Spaniel had come to stay. In 1945 the Kennel Club granted separate registration and awarded Challenge Certificates to allow the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel to gain their championships.


The breed is highly affectionate, and some have called the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel "the ultimate lap dog". Most dogs of the breed are playful, extremely patient and eager to please. As such, dogs of the breed are usually good with children, other animals and other dogs. A well-socialized Cavalier will not be shy about socializing with much larger dogs. (However, on occasion, this tendency can be dangerous, as many cavaliers will presume all other dogs to be equally friendly, and may attempt to greet and play with aggressive dogs).

However, the extremely social nature of the Cavalier KC Spaniel means that they require almost constant companionship from humans or other dogs, and are not suited to spending long periods of time on their own. They are descended from hunting dogs and love to romp in the great outdoors. It has a noteworthy sense of smell and vision and can be used in short hunts in open country. This breed sometimes displays a chasing instinct and should be kept well enclosed or leashed so he does not get lost or run over by a car! This breed is the friendliest of the toy group.

Offical Standard (as per AKC)


An active, graceful, well-balanced dog, very gay and free in action; Appearance: fearless and sporting in character, yet at the same time gentle and affectionate.


The skull is lightly rounded, but without a dome or peak; it should appear flat because of the high placement of the ears.


Large, round and set well apart; color a warm, very dark brown, giving a lustrous, limpid look. There should be slight cushioning under the eyes, which contributes much to the sweet, gentle expression characteristic of the breed. Faults: Small, almond shaped, prominent, or light eyes; white surrounding ring.


There should be a shallow stop, and the length from the base of the stop to tip of nose should be at least 1 1/2 inches. Nostrils should be well developed and the pigment uniformly black. Putty, or "dudley" noses, and white patches on the nose are serious faults, as are small, pinched nostrils.


Well tapered; mouth level; lips well covering. Faults: Sharp, pointed or snipey muzzle. Full or pendulous lips. Flesh marks, i.e. patches of pink pigment showing through hair on muzzle.


Strong and even, preferably meeting in a scissor bite, although a level bite is permitted. Undershot mouths are greatly to be discouraged; it should be emphasized, however, that a slightly undershot bite in an otherwise well-balanced head with the correct sweet expression should not be penalized in favor of a level mouth with a plain or hard expression. Faults: Weak or crooked teeth; crooked jaws.


Set high, but not close, on top of the head. Leather long, with plenty of silky feathering, and wide enough so that when the dog is alert, the ears fan slightly forward to frame the face.


Fairly long, without throatiness, well enough muscled to form a slight arch at the crest. Set smoothly into nicely sloping shoulders.


Sloping back gently with moderate angulation, to give the characteristic look of top class and presence.


Short-coupled with ribs well sprung but not barrelled. Chest moderately deep, leaving ample heart room. Back level, leading into strong, muscular hind quarters. Slightly less body at the flank than at the last rib, but with no tucked-up appearance.


Forelegs straight and well under the dog, bone moderate, elbows close to the sides. Hind legs moderately muscled; stifles well turned; hocks well let down. The hind legs viewed from the rear, should parallel each other from the hock to the heel. Pastern strong and feet compact with well cushioned pads. The dog stands level on all four feet. Faults: Loose elbow, crooked legs; stifles turned in or out; cow hocks; stiltedaction; weak pasterns; open feet.


Set so as to be carried level with the back. Tail should be in constant, characteristic motion when dog is in action.


Docking is optional, but whether or not the tail is docked, it must balance the body. If docked, the tail must not be cut too short; two-thirds is the absolute minimum to be left on the body, and the tails of broken-colored dogs should always be docked to leave a white tip.


Long and silky and very soft to the touch; free from curl, though slight wave is permissible. Feathering on the ears, legs and tail should be long, and the feathering on the feet is a feature of the breed.


NO trimming of the dog is permitted. However, it is permissible, often desirable, to remove the hair growing between the pads and the underside of the foot.


Height 12 to 13 inches at the withers; weight, proportionate to height, between 13 and 18 pounds. These are ideal heights and weights; slight variations are permissible and a dog should not be penalized only in comparison with one of equal general appearance, type and quality. The weedy specimen is as much to be penalized as the oversized one.


The following colors are the only ones acceptable:


Rich chestnut markings well broken up on a pearly white ground. The ears must be red and the color evenly spaced on the head, with a wide white blaze between the ears, in the center of which is the much desired lozenge (diamond), or "Blenheim Spot". The lozenge is a unique and highly desirable, though not essential, characteristic of the Blenheim.


Jet black markings broken up on a pearly white ground; with rich tan markings over the eyes, on the cheeks and on underside of tail.


Whole-colored rich red.


Jet black with rich tan markings over the eyes, on cheeks, inside ears, on chest, legs, and underside of tail.

First Official Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Champion

The first Cavalier Champion was owned by Mrs Pitts daughter, Jane Bowdler. This dog was called Ch. Daywell Roger. He was bred by Lt. Col. And Mrs Brierly. Daywell Roger was a widely used stud dog.


Comb or brush with a firm bristle brush, and bathe. The feathered hair on the ears is prone to tangling and matting, so this dog should be thoroughly groomed often. The hair between the pads on the feet should be kept trimmed and the ears should be cleaned regularly. Always make sure the dog is thoroughly dry and warm after a bath. Check the eyes carefully for any signs of infection. This breed is an average shedder.

Living Conditions

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are good for apartment life. They are moderately active indoors and a small yard will be sufficient.


Whatever exercise you can provide will be just fine with this adaptable dog, as they will adapt to your family's circumstances. However, they greatly enjoy a good romp in the park.

Celebrity Pictured with their Pet Dog

Liv Tyler with her dog Neal

Disclaimer: Reading materials in this site are obtained from its respective website and it is for information purposes only. It is not Puppy Cottage Sdn. Bhd. view and it is not to be used against Puppy Cottage Sdn. Bhd.

No comments: