History of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel For many centuries, small breeds of spaniels have been popular in the United Kingdom. Some centuries later, Toy Spaniels became popular as pets, especially as pets of the royal family. In fact, the King Charles Spaniel was so named because a Blenheim-coated spaniel was the children's pet in the household of Charles I. Such spaniels can be seen in many paintings of the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries. These early spaniels had longer, pointier snouts and thinner-boned limbs than today's.
Over time, the toy spaniels were replaced in popularity by short-snouted, dome-headed dogs of Asian descent, such as the Pug and Japanese Chin. The King Charles Spaniel was bred with these dogs, resulting in the similar-shaped head of today's English Toy Spaniel breed. The King Charles Spaniel remained popular at Blenheim Palace, home to the Dukes of Marlborough, where the brown and white version was the most popular - resulting in the name Blenheim for that color combination.
In the 1920s, an American named Roswell Eldrige offered twenty-five pounds as a prize for any King Charles Spaniel "of the old-fashioned type" with a longer nose, flat skull, and a lozenge (spot) in the middle of the crown of the head, sometimes called "the kiss of Buddha," "Blenheim Spot," "lozenge" or "Kissing Spot". So, the breed was developed by selective breeding of short-snouted Spaniels. The result was a dog that resembled the boyhood pet of Charles II of England ("Cavalier King Charles"), hence the name of the breed. In 1952, the first Cavaliers were sent to America and a national breed club was formed soon after, but because of the small numbers of Cavaliers they did not gain full breed recognition for 40 years. January 1, 1996 saw the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel enter American Kennel Club competition as the 140th recognized breed.Standard of the breed Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
General Appearance: Active, graceful and well balanced, with gentle expression.
Characteristics: Sporting, affectionate, absolutely fearless.
Temperament: Gay, friendly, non-aggressive, no tendency towards nervousness.
Head and Skull: Skull almost flat between ears. Stop shallow. Length from base of
stop to tip of nose about l½ inches. Nostrils black and well developed without flesh
marks, muzzle well tapered. Lips well developed but not pendulous. Face well filled
below eyes. Any tendency to snippiness undesirable.
Eyes: Large, dark, round but not prominent; spaced well apart. Ears: Long, set high,
with plenty of feather.
Mouth: Jaws strong, with a perfect, regular and complete scissor bite, i.e. the upper
teeth closely overlapping the lower teeth and set square to the jaws.
Neck: Moderate length, slightly arched.
Forequarters: Chest moderate, shoulders well laid back, straight legs moderately
Body: Short-coupled with good spring of rib. Level back.
Hindquarters: Legs with moderate bone; well turned stifle - no tendency to cow hock
or sickle hocks.
Feet: Compact, cushioned and well feathered.
Tail: Length of tail in balance with body, well set on, carried happily but never much
above the level of the back. Docking optional. If docked no more than one-third to be
Gait: Free moving and elegant in action, plenty of drive from behind. Fore and hind
legs move parallel when viewed from in front and behind.
Coat: Long. silky, free from curl. Slight wave permissible. Plenty of feathering.
Totally free from trimming.
Colors: Recognized colors are:-
Black and Tan: Raven black with tan markings above the eyes, on cheeks, inside ears, on
chest and legs and underside of tail. Tan should be bright. White marks undesirable.
Ruby: Whole colored rich red. White markings undesirable.
Blenheim: Rich chestnut markings well broken up, on pearly white ground. Markings
evenly divided on head, leaving room between ears for much valued lozenge mark or
spot (a unique characteristic of the breed).
Tricolor: Black and white well spaced, broken up, with tan markings over eyes,
cheeks, inside ears, inside legs, and on underside of tail.
Any other color or combination of colors most undesirable.
Weight and Size: Weight - twelve to eighteen pounds (5,5 - 8kg). A small well-balanced dog
well within these weights desirable.
Faults: Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the
seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to
its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog.