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Cavalier King Charles Spaniels

Blenheim Tricolor Ruby Black & Tan
Black & Tan


The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel of today is the direct descendant of the small Toy Spaniels seen in so many of the pictures of the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries. Toy Spaniels were quite common as pets of the English Court ladies in Tudor times but in England 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 or more at his heels.

As time went by, and with the coming of the Dutch Court of William III, Toy Spaniels went out of fashion, being replaced in popularity by the Pug dog. We do not hear much about Toy Spaniels again until the 18th and 19th centuries. At that time the special strain of red and white Toy Spaniels bred at Blenheim Palace by the Dukes of Marlborough were well known for their sporting qualities, as well as for their claims as ladies' companions.

In the early days there were no dog shows, and no recognized standard of points, so type and size were varied. With little transport available, breeding was carried out in a haphazard fashion. In Queen Victoria's reign breeders started to hold shows and enthusiasts began to breed dogs seriously, and to a desired type. This brought a new fashion -- dogs with a shorter face gradually evolving the flat face of the modern King Charles Spaniels. There were a lot of very able breeders at that stage, and they were successful in breeding dogs of the highest quality, with flat faces, high dome, and with very long ears set low. This type is still popular and a very lovely breed.

Then Mr Roswell Eldridge, an American and a great lover of Toy Spaniels, visited England and was unpleasantly surprised to find that there were none of the little nosey Spaniels left. He immediately set about trying to right this by offering prizes at Crufts for three years (it was later extended to five years) - 25 for the best dog and best bitch, for dogs of the variety seen in King Charles II's time. The following is a quotation taken from Cruft's catalogue: "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."

The King Charles breeders did not take these classes very seriously. They had worked hard for years to do away with the long nose, so it was hardly a popular move. Gradually, as the big prizes came to an end, only a few enthusiasts were left to carry on the breeding experiment. Foremost amongst them was Mrs Hewitt Pitt. At the end of five years little had been achieved, as the English Kennel Club considered that the dogs were not sufficiently numerous or standardized to merit a separate breed registration.

In 1928 a club was founded, and the title "Cavalier King Charles Spaniel" was chosen. At the first meeting, held the second day of Cruft's Dog Show, 1928, the standard of the breed was drawn up, and it was practically the same as it is in the UK today. The live pattern on the table was Ann's Son, the property of Miss Mostyn Walker. Members brought all the reproductions of pictures of the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries that they could muster. It was agreed that as far as possible the dog should be guarded from fashion and there was to be no trimming.


For the next few years progress was slow as English Kennel Club recognition was still withheld, and with no Challenge Certificates few people were sufficiently interested to try to raise a breed with no sales value. The little band of pioneers entered their dogs in Open classes at shows, and guaranteed classes for their dogs at a few shows where the Show Secretaries were co-operative. As a rule there was no financial reward, but the dogs were presented to the public and gained in popularity. Gradually people became aware that the movement had come to stay.

In 1945 the English Kennel Club granted separate registration, and the first set of Challenge Certificates followed a year later. The first Cavalier Champion was appropriately owned by Mrs Pitt's daughter Jane. He was Ch. Daywell Roger and had been bred by Lt. Col. and Mrs Brierly. Very widely used at stud, Daywell Roger was a major contribution to the development of the breed in the middle of the Century.



The first Cavaliers came to the United States in the late 1940's from England. In the early 1950's, Mrs. W. L. Lyons Brown and her sister-in-law, Mrs. George Garvin (Trudy) Brown of Louisville, Kentucky contacted the American Kennel Club (AKC) and asked to register their Cavaliers. The AKC explained that a new breed must first become established in a country, show evidence of sufficient numbers of both dogs and owners, and begin keeping records of activity. In other words, there must be a strong and sustained interest in a new breed.

On the advice of AKC, they began to contact other Cavalier owners and in 1956 formed the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Club, USA (CKCSC, USA) as a registry organization. Trudy became the matriarch of the breed in this country. Working from English Kennel Club export pedigrees, she began keeping a studbook, issuing registration papers and keeping all records for the breed. Once this record keeping process became established, they again asked the AKC to recognize the breed, and on April 1, 1962 the AKC admitted Cavaliers to the Miscellaneous Class. This was the first step that all breeds were required to take in order for the AKC to grant full recognition.

The CKCSC, USA also began to hold shows and in 1977 began to award club championships. The CKCSC, USA is a private registry body, and has never been the Parent Club for Cavalier King Charles Spaniels in the United States. There can be no Parent Club for any breed of dogs until that breed has been recognized by the official kennel club of that country. In the United States it is the AKC.

Over the years, several votes had been taken about whether to seek full AKC recognition for the breed, and this proposal was always defeated. Cavaliers remained in the AKC Miscellaneous Class for almost three decades, even though it was a recognized breed in nearly every other country around the world.

In 1993, the American Kennel Club asked to meet with members of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Club, USA (CKCSC, USA) to discuss full AKC recognition of the breed. The AKC explained that they had been contacted by a significant number of Cavalier owners that had expressed interest in taking advantage of American Kennel Club services and numerous competitive events. CKCSC, USA declined the right to become the parent club for Cavaliers so a new club, ACKCSC was formed to become the parent club of the breed here in the United States.

On January 1, 1996, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel became AKC's 140th recognized breed -- over 40 years after Trudy Brown Albrecht and Sally Brown had first made their request -- and for the first time the Cavalier was eligible to compete as a recognized breed at AKC events.


General Appearance

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is an active, graceful, well-balanced toy spaniel, very gay and free in action; fearless and sporting in character, yet at the same time gentle and affectionate. It is this typical gay temperament, combined with true elegance and royal appearance which are of paramount importance in the breed. Natural appearance with no trimming, sculpting or artificial alteration is essential to breed type.

Size, Proportion, Substance

Size - Height 12 to 13 inches at the withers; weight proportionate to height, between 13 and 18 pounds. A small, well balanced dog within these weights is desirable, but these are ideal heights and weights and slight variations are permissible. Proportion - The body approaches squareness, yet if measured from point of shoulder to point of buttock, is slightly longer than the height at the withers. The height from the withers to the elbow is approximately equal to the height from the elbow to the ground. Substance - Bone moderate in proportion to size. Weedy and coarse specimens are to be equally penalized.


Proportionate to size of dog, appearing neither too large nor too small for the body. Expression - The sweet, gentle, melting expression is an important breed characteristic. Eyes - Large, round, but not prominent and set well apart; color a warm, very dark brown; giving a lustrous, limpid look. Rims dark. There should be cushioning under the eyes which contributes to the soft expression. Faults - small, almond-shaped, prominent, or light eyes; white surrounding ring. Ears - Set high, but not close, on top of the head. Leather long with plenty of feathering and wide enough so that when the dog is alert, the ears fan slightly forward to frame the face. Skull - Slightly rounded, but without dome or peak; it should appear flat because of the high placement of the ears. Stop is moderate, neither filled nor deep. Muzzle - Full muzzle slightly tapered. Length from base of stop to tip of nose about 1 1/2 inches. Face well filled below eyes. Any tendency towards snipiness undesirable. Nose pigment uniformly black without flesh marks and nostrils well developed. Lips well developed but not pendulous giving a clean finish. Faults - Sharp or pointed muzzles. Bite - A perfect, regular and complete scissors bite is preferred, i.e. the upper teeth closely overlapping the lower teeth and set square into the jaws. Faults - undershot bite, weak or crooked teeth, crooked jaws.

Neck, Topline, Body

Neck - Fairly long, without throatiness, well enough muscled to form a slight arch at the crest. Set smoothly into nicely sloping shoulders to give an elegant look. Topline - Level both when moving and standing. Body - Short-coupled with ribs well spring but not barrelled. Chest moderately deep, extending to elbows allowing ample heart room. Slightly less body at the flank than at the last rib, but with no tucked-up appearance. Tail - Well set on, carried happily but never much above the level of the back, and in constant characteristic motion when the dog is in action. Docking is optional. If docked, no more than one third to be removed.


Shoulders well laid back. Forelegs straight and well under the dog with elbows close to the sides. Pasterns strong and feet compact with well-cushioned pads. Dewclaws may be removed.


The hindquarters construction should come down from a good broad pelvis, moderately muscled; stifles well turned and hocks well let down. The hindlegs when viewed from the rear should parallel each other from hock to heel. Faults: cow or sickle hocks.


Of moderate length, silky, free from curl. Slight wave permissible. Feathering on ears, chest, 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. Specimens where the coat has been altered by trimming, clipping, or by artificial means shall be so severly penalized as to be effectively eliminated from competition. Hair growing between the pads on the underside of the feet may be trimmed.


Blenheim - Rich chestnut markings well broken up on a clear, pearly white ground. The ears must be chestnut and the color evenly spaced on the head and surrounding both eyes, with a white blaze between the eyes and ears, in the center of which may be the lozenge or "Blenheim spot". The lozenge is a unique and desirable, though not essential, characteristic of the Blenheim. Tricolor - Jet black markings well broken up on a clear, pearly white ground. The ears must be black and the color evenly spaced on the head and surrounding both eyes, with a white blaze between the eyes. Rich tan markings over the eyes, on cheeks, inside ears and on underside of tail. Ruby - Whole-colored rich red. Black and Tan - Jet black with rich, bright tan markings over eyes, on cheeks, inside ears, on chest, legs, and on underside of tail. Faults - Heavy ticking on Blenheims or Tricolors, white marks on Rubies or Black and Tans.


Free moving and elegant in action, with good reach in front and sound, driving rear action. When viewed from the side, the movement exhibits a good length of stride, and viewed from front and rear it is straight and true, resulting from straight-boned fronts and properly made and muscled hindquarters.


Gay, friendly, non-aggressive with no tendency towards nervousness or shyness. Bad temper, shyness, and meanness are not to be tolerated and are to be severely penalized as to effectively remove the specimen from competition.

Approved Date: January 10, 1995
Effective Date: April 30, 1995



www.cavalier-king-charles-spaniel-dogs.com -- General resource of breeders, rescues, and clubs, including a selection of pictures of Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and informational links.

Located in Maryland - just north of Washington, D.C.

Cadeau Cavaliers are founded on the finest of English imports from top-winning kennels.
Our dogs are a major part of our family and they are raised in our home and sleep in our beds.

Puppies available on occasion to approved pet homes on a spay/neuter contract - because we care about the breed and to protect our precious bloodlines. For serious inquiries please email us. PLEASE NOTE: We do not quote prices randomly over the internet.


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