During the 16th century, a small type of
spaniel was popular among the nobility in England. These dogs were referred to
as the "Spaniel Gentle" or "Comforter". It is with Charles II that this breed is
closely associated and it was said of him that "His Majesty was seldom seen
without his little dogs". There is a myth that he even issued an edict that no
spaniels of this type could be denied entry to any public place.
During the early part of the 18th century,
John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough kept red and white King Charles type
spaniels for hunting. The duke recorded that they were able to keep up with a
trotting horse. His estate was named Blenheim in honour of his victory at the
Battle of Blenheim
of this influence, the red and white variety of the King Charles Spaniel and
thus the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel became known as the Blenheim.
In 1928 in the UK the first Cavalier club was
formed. The first standard was created, based on a dog named "Ann's Son" owned
by Mostyn Walker, and the Kennel Club recognised the breed as "King Charles
Spaniels, Cavalier type".
World War 11 caused a dreadful setback to the
breed, with the vast majority of breeding stock destroyed because of the
hardship. For instance, in one leading Cavalier Kennel, the population of sixty
dropped to three during the 1940s. Following the war, just six dogs would be the
starting block from which all Cavaliers descend. These dogs were Ann's Son, his
litter brother Wizbang Timothy, Carlo of Ttiweh, Duce of Braemore, Kobba of
Kuranda and Aristide of Ttiweh.
The numbers increased gradually, and in 1945
The Kennel Club first recognised the breed in its own right as the Cavalier King
The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is one of
the largest toy breeds.It is, however, small for a spaniel with fully grown
adults comparable in size to adolescents of other larger spaniel breeds. Breed
standards state that height of a Cavalier should be between 12 to 13 inches (30
to 33 cm) with a proportionate weight between 10 to 18 pounds (4.5 to 8.2
kg).The Cavalier should have a silky coat of moderate length. Standards state
that it should be free from curl, although a slight wave is allowed. Feathering
can grow on their ears, feet, legs and tail in adulthood. Standards require this
be kept long, WIth the feathering on the feet a particularly important aspect of
the breed's features.
Sadly, however, a number of modern cavalier
breeders here have presumed to take it on themselves to alter the breed standard
and have started the trend of clipping the cavalier coat especially the feet for
the show ring. Sheeplike, other breeders follow their example in droves and we
can only hope that those starting out in the breed will actually read the breed
standard and be brave enough to adhere to it.
has four recognized colours. Cavaliers which have rich chestnut markings on a
pearly white background are known as Blenheim in honour of Blenheim Palace where
the Duke of Marlborough raised the predecessors to the Cavalier breed in this
particular colour. Some dogs have the coveted lozenge or blenheim
spot in the middle of the forehead Black and Tans are glossy black with tan
highlights, particularly eyebrows, cheeks, legs and beneath the tail. Ruby
Cavaliers should be entirely rich chestnut all over. The fourth colour is known
as Tricolour, which is black and white with tan markings on cheeks, inside ears,
on eyebrows, inside legs, and on underside of tail.
Cavaliers In Australia
The first Cavalier arrived in Melbourne from
New Zealand in 1960. Her name was Soyland Begonia and she became the first
Australian breed champion.
As more and more cavaliers arrived in
Australia from England and New Zealand their popularity here increased
dramatically. In 2009, the Cavalier was the fourth most popular breed in
Australia with 3,196 registrations behind only
German Shepherd Dogs
Staffordshire Bull Terriers.
A Cavalier King
Charles Spaniel Club was formed in New South Wales in 1968 and during 1971
another club was started in Victoria. The South Australian club was started in
1990 and just a year later there was a Cavalier Club in Canberra. More recently
a Queensland club was started in 2002 and a Tasmanian Club in 2009.
There are also
national breed clubs in Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland,
France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, South Africa, Spain
The breed is highly affectionate, playful,
extremely patient and eager to please. As such, dogs of the breed are good with
children and other dogs. Cavaliers are not shy about socialising with much
larger dogs. They will adapt quickly to almost any environment, family, and
location. Their ability to bond with larger and smaller dogs make them ideal in
houses with more than one breed of dog as long as the other dog is trained. The
breed is great with people of all ages, from children to seniors, making them a
very versatile dog. Cavaliers rank 44th in
Intelligence of Dogs being of average intelligence in working or obedience.
Cavaliers are naturally curious and playful, but also enjoy simply cuddling up
on a cushion or lap.
Cavaliers are active and sporting. They have
an instinct to chase most things that move including while on busy streets, and
so most Cavaliers will never become "street-wise".As they tend to regard all
strangers as friends, members of the breed will usually never make good guard
dogs. Spaniels have a strong
instinct and may
endanger birds and small animals. However, owners have reported that through
training their Cavaliers live happily with a variety of small animals including
"He never makes it his business to inquire whether you are in the
right or wrong, never bothers as to whether you are going up or down life's
ladder, never asks whether you are rich or poor, silly or wise, sinner or saint.
You are his pal. That is enough for him."