Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Other names/Nicknames:
  • Ruby Spaniel
  • Blenheim Spaniel
Country/Date of origin:
  • England
  • 20th century
  • 12 to 13 inches
  • 13 to 18 pounds
  • A merry, upbeat personality.
  • Friendly and affectionate even to strangers.
  • Good with other pets.
  • Craves attention, to the point of being pesty.

The history of this breed and the English Toy Spaniel are inexorably intertwined.  It is thought that the original Toy Spaniel, so favored by the English kings and queens, was a long muzzled variety similar to the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.  However, in the 19th century breeders began to fancy a more pushed-in muzzle and domed head, and the old type disappeared.  In 1926, an American fancier, Roswell Eldridge, offered cash prizes for any Toy Spaniel breeders who could produce the old nosey-type dog again.  Through selective breeding, using only Toy Spaniel stock, the original dog was recreated.  It was carefully guarded and stabilized by the Cavalier Club in England and the United States.  For many years they refused to relinquish control of the stud book to the American Kennel Club (AKC). However, in 1995, the breed was included.

Body Type:
  • A small spaniel of soft demeanor.
  • Hanging ears are heavily fringed and not altered.
  • Long tail is not altered.
  • Moderately long, very thick, and wavy but not curly.
  • Ears and feet are especially heavily coated.
  • Four color variations are allowed:  Ruby—a solid, ruby red; Black and Tan—a black body with tan points; Blenheim—a white, ground coat with patches of red chestnut (a blaze of white extending up the forehead and ending in a loop, with a chestnut dot in the center, is required for this color); and Tri-color—which is a white, ground dog with black patches and tan spots over the eyes, on the muzzle, chest, and legs (the ears and vent should also be lined with tan).
  • Moderate grooming.
Health and Wellness:
  • Relatively healthy breed.
  • Hip dysplasia.
  • Diabetes mellitus.
  • Mitral insufficiency.
What you should know:
  • The most popular color is Blenheim.  Tri-colors closely rival it.
  • The Black and Tan and the Ruby varieties are hard to find.
  • Prices are high for good specimens.
  • A born again breed.  It has been restored to its original type through careful, selective breeding of English Toy Spaniels.  The breed type became fixed again in the 1930′s.
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