Cavalier King Charles Spaniels - The Ultimate Companion!
Appearance | Grooming | Health | History

Appearance

Size: Height 12-13 inches | Weight 13-18 pounds 

Expression: Sweet, gentle, melting expressions

Skull & Muzzle: Slightly rounded skull with slightly tapered muzzle (not sharp or pointed)

 

Colors: 4 (we currently offer Blenheim & Tri)

Blenheim - Rich chestnut markings with a pearly white ground. Ears chestnut & colors evenly spaced. Center of skull may have the "Blenheim spot" which is unique & desirable, though not essential. 

Blenheim spot is also know as the mark of the "Duchess Thumb Print". According to legend, during the Battle of Blenheim Sarah Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough, worried while the Duke was away fighting. She sat in the garden with her Cavalier & pressed the head of the pregnant dam with her thumb. Puppies were born & all had a chestnut "imprint" of the Duchess's thumb in the middle of their forehead!

Tri - Jet black markings with a pearly white ground. Rich tan markings over the eyes, on cheeks, inside ears & underside of tail.

Occasionally you may see a black "Blenheim spot" type marking on puppies however, the marking usually grows out to ears over time.

Ruby - Entirely a rich red. There should be no white markings.

Black & Tan - Jet black with rich, bright tan markings over eyes, on cheeks, inside ears, on chest, legs & underside of tail. There should be no white markings.

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Grooming

Lets start off addressing a question we are often asked - Yes, a Cavalier King Charles will shed! 

Their long, silky & beautiful coat is a big reason you are attracted to them, right?!

Brushing & Trimming

You can reduce the amount of shedding by keeping your pup brushed. In fact, a Cavalier needs to be brushed often due to their lengthy hair. Some will say you should brush daily while others say weekly. We suggest at least 1-2 times a week.

As a puppy we start with a slicker brush. As their hair lengthens we switch to a comb & occasionally a deshedder when they heavily begin to loose their puppy fuzz. 

Mats are quick to collect behind the ears, on the rear & under their arms.

Trimming is not necessary. It is actually a requirement that show dogs not be trimmed at all. While some shave their Cavalier, we knew what we were in for when we chose the breed. We love their long coats & only trim enough around their feet to help prevent tracking in dirt & debris.

 

Bathing

Cavalier skin can easily become dry. Purchase a mild & moisturizing shampoo. We have used Burt's Bees & Vet's+Best. These are very reasonably priced. Tip - if your dog gets itchy, try adding a tiny bit of coconut oil in their food bowl.

Bath every 3-4 weeks. Between baths you can use deodorizing bath wipes. It's understandable you may need to bath more often through the puppy stages. While puppies are with us they may even get a bath multiple times a week, or at least once weekly. We use Burt's Bees Tearless Puppy Shampoo with Buttermilk.

 

Here's something not mentioned often - Cavalier faces will grow bacteria due to their eye tearing. We also purchase eye/face wipes. You may want to wipe faces as often as every day. They get a bit of an unpleasant smell.

Nails & Ears

Toenails can be trimmed once monthly or as needed to keep them tidy. If you trim nails yourself, be very careful not to cut the vein that runs through the nail. Keep some doggy styptic powder on hand in the event mild bleeding occurs.

 

Those long, gorgeous ears have a downside - they can easily get infected! Use ear wipes to clean ears weekly. We clean the ears when we brush.

Health

Retinal problems & cataracts

Mitral valve heart disease

Patella luxation

Hip dysplasia

Middle ear infections

Neurological condition - Syringomyelia

History

The King Charles Spaniel earliest recorded appearance was in a portrait of Mary Queen of Scots & King Phillip. The portrait was done by Hans Eworth in 1558.

Royalty continued to make the breed popular over the centuries where they appeared in numerous portraits. They also had many names, starting with Toy Spaniel, & appearances (such as all white, longer snouts) over time.

 

Charles II of England is credited with causing an increase in popularity due to his immense fondness. This is why the breed carries his name. It is reported his dogs were allowed to roam freely at Whitehall Palace, even during state occasions. In a diary entry by Samuel Pepys' (a member of parliament) he wrote, "All I observed there was the silliness of the King, playing with his dog all the while and not minding the business."

The Duke of Marlborough was reported to use the dogs (colors red & white) for hunting. The Duke's residence was Blenheim Palace which gave us the Blenheim Spaniel.

The first Cavaliers were sent to US in 1952. The American Cavalier Kings Charles Spaniel Club was established in 1993 & remains the parent club in the US.

 

AKC fully recognized the breed in 1996 as the 140th AKC breed.