Cavalier King Charles Spaniel - General Features, Temperament, Health problems

king-charles-spaniel face

FCI # 136, Origin: Great Britain, Group 9.7 English Toy Spaniels.

Height: 12-13 in, Weight: 10-18 pounds

Grooming: Medium, Shedding: Medium, Coat: Long, silky, slightly wavy coat.

Color: black and tan, red, white with red markings, tricolor.

Ease of training: Medium, Energy level: Medium, Span of life: 10-13 years.

Breed: Today Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are successfully bred in the well-known English kennels: "Chacombe", "Amantra", "Homerbrent", "Alansmere".

Minnesingers were creating the most beautiful songs about a small, elegant and at the same time fearless dogs, colored in white and black or white and red. Later, these dogs have become darlings of the ladies at the court of English kings. But not only the lovely ladies were pleased by these graceful creatures. In the XIII and XIV centuries, aristocrats often used exactly this Toy Spaniels for hunting because of their elegant appearance.

But over time, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniels were increasingly turning into the pretty lap dogs - and finally they became an indispensable attribute of the rich living. The peak of their popularity falls on the reign of the royal Tudor and Stuart dynasties. In the literature of that period we can often meet references to the small Spaniels, and this breed is associated with many quite interesting - though not always very happy - stories. It is enough to mention that one of these dogs, black and white in color - the favorite of Mary the Queen of Scots - was accompanying her mistress to the execution.

In the XIV and XVII centuries, the representatives of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniels were often depicted by the famous artists. This dogs can be seen on the paintings of such a great masters as Titian, Antony van Dyck, Pierre Mignard, and Jean Antoine Watteau. This popularity is the best evidence of how loved and valued were this little dogs. It is worth to mention that most of the artists were not very accurately portraying dogs (from the cynological point of view: body parts were either big, or too thin, the dog's noses - too long or too short, etc).

Images of these dogs are found in ceramics. Small Spaniels were also embroidered by the maids of honor of Queen Victoria. In her casket for jewelries were kept wonderful brooches of a very delicate work, depicting her beloved dog named Desh.

English King Henry VIII Tudor (1509-1547g.g.) was a famous tyrant, nevertheless he had a weakness for the small Spaniels. By the special decree it was forbidden to keep the dogs in the palace, but there was also an exception for "a few small Spaniels for ladies." Later, during the reign of his daughter - Queen Elizabeth I - the Toy Spaniels were kept as a lap dogs, whose main task was to bring joy to their owners, and to demonstrate their wealth and high position.

Their greatest popularity, as it was already mentioned above, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniels reached during the reign of English kings of the Stuart dynasty - Charles I (1600 - 1649g.g.) and Charles II (1630-1685g.g.). According to the royal edict, for this dogs in the court there were no closed doors, hundreds of this little cute pups were living in the royal chambers and they were even allowed to enter the British House of Commons. "The Toy Spaniel is a dog, which was created by the king himself," - so spoke of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniels the contemporaries of King Charles II. Actually, it is proved that he was not directly involved in the breeding of a tiny Spaniels, but be that as it may, the breed was named after him and owes him it's continued existence. King adored small Spaniels. They were continuously inspiring many artists and writers. In particular, in one of the novels of the British writer Kathleen Windsor there is often mentioned a dog named Monsieur Dog, which was belonging to the principal mistress of King Charles II. This fact once again proves the popularity of the breed.

king-charles-spaniel dog breeds

Special achievements in breeding Toy Spaniels belongs to one more high-ranking aristocrat, the Duke of Marlborough, who lived in the ancestral castle Blenheim, in the county of Oxford. He, in particular, bred in a pure form those dogs, with clearly defined chestnut-red spots on the pearly white background. This color later became known as "Blenheim".

Along with the Spaniels of "Blenheim" color, during the reign of King Charles and James there have also been known dogs of the black and white, black and red, tricolor and completely red colors. When in England in 1886, was founded the Toy Spaniel Club, each type have got it's own name: Toy Spaniels of black and white and black and tan colors became known as King Charles, Tri-color - as Prince Charles, red and white - as Blenheim and red - as Ruby ??????Spaniels .

At the request of King Edward VII (1841-1910) all Toy Spaniels in memory of Stuart dynasty were named "The King Charles Spaniels", and this name was confirmed to them finally.

By the middle of the XIX century the fashion changed - dogs with the short muzzles became exteremely popular. This fact prompted the British breeders to make some adjustments to the exterior of the Toy Spaniels, and this was done by crossing Spaniels with Pugs.


In 1928 was developed the first standard of a Toy Spaniel. As a perfect representative of Toy Spaniels was taken a dog of a "Blenheim" color named Ann's Son from the kennel "Tive", which was owned by Miss Mostyn Walker. It is good to notice, that from this kennel came many excellent Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. The "new" old breed has received an additional title of "Cavalier", which is also associated with the famous historical events. The fact is that by the mane "Cavalier" were called the supporters of King Charles I during the civil war against Cromwell (1599-1658).

At home in England, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a very popular breed. Number of dogs, shown on the significant exhibitions is incredibly large. In 1994 on the Crafts Dog Show were registered 362 Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, in 1995 - 314, 1996 - 335. It is not at all surprising, that this charming, agile, affectionate and loyal little dogs are easily winning the hearts of dog lovers around the world.

In the late 40's Cavalier King Charles Spaniels from England were transported to America, Australia, New Zealand, which laid the great foundation for the further development of the breed.

In Europe, the era of Cavalier King Charles Spaniels began in 1954, when the Countess T. Boom brought from England ( from the "Tive" kennel) a male of a "Blenheim" color named Harmony and a pregnant bitch of the same color, named Tive Sorrel Dandy. Countess founded in her native Holland a well-known kennel "Fanfare". Dog Harmony from "Tive" was already at that time the Champion of England.

Soon Cavalier King Charles Spaniel became very popular in almost all European countries. Dogs of this breed could be found in Holland, Belgium, Luxembourg, France, Austria and Switzerland.

General Features: Modern Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is "reduced and updated edition" of a classic Spaniel - only with a larger head. This dog is active, graceful, substantial, always friendly and compliant. Very important is a form of the head of Cavalier King Charles Spaniel: between the ears the skull is almost flat, transition from forehead to the muzzle is not too deep, the snout is noticeably tapering. Eyes are large, dark and rounded, but not bulging. The coat of a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is long, silky, slightly wavy. colors are: black and tan ("King charles"),  red (Ruby), red spots on white background (Blenheim) and tricolor (Prince Charles).

king-charles-spaniel breed photo

Temperament: The Cavalier of a King Charles! Aristocrat even by the title. Elegant and graceful, affectionate and playful, courageous and obedient, which makes this little dog a perfect friend and companion in every family. He is able to share the loneliness of an elderly person and  join with pleasure the big and friendly company where is a lot of children and various animals. The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel will sleep in the same basket with the cat and share a meal with a huge Great Dane. British used to call these dogs "the great comforters" and indeed, this small Spaniels are able to relieve any stress of their owners. It is not an accident, that for more than 400 years people with highly stressful area of ??????work purchase exactly the Cavalier King Charles Spaniels as a pets. The members of the royal courts of England and Holland, keep such a lovely companions with them since childhood.

Among famous owners of this breed can be called: Ronald and Nancy Reagan, William F. Buckley, the wife of Frank Sinatra, Robert Wagner and Natalie Wood and many others.

The comfort and attenuation of stress are especially noticeable when the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel lies peacefully on your lap.

Intelligence and a good memory allow the Cavalier to understand quickly  what was wanted of him, and his desire "to fool around" a bit will certainly attract your attention and entertain you if you are having a sad moments.

A strong desire never to part with their owners makes this Toy Spaniels a great travelers.The size and nature of these dogs allow to take them to all kinds of trips. They feel fine in a private car and in a train compartments. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel quietly peeks out of the dog carriage in the cabin of the bus or subway, attracting admiring glances of the passengers.

Any child would dream about this kind of friend. While playing with the child, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel will never hurt the kid and will never cause him any harm. This dog is very patient and gentle. There is probably a need to ensure that the child will not cause injury to the dog.

Cavaliers need a balanced diet and regular exercises. Active outdoor games during his walks, which should be long enough, and a strict adherence to the diet will help your Toy Spaniel to stay healthy and physically strong.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is suited well to the apartment life and he is generally unpretentious in food. His silky coat does not require a complicated grooming. Simply wash the dog every 1-2 months and comb with the special brush - moreover, this may give an incomparable pleasure to both: you and your pet.

Health problems: The Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are prone to several diseases: eye and ear infections, heart diseases. Some dogs of this breed are also prone to hip dysplasia.

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