Named for King Charles II, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is descended from the King Charles Spaniel. In the late 1600's the King Charles Spaniels were interbred with Pugs, which resulted in a smaller dog with flatter noses, upturned faces, rounded heads and protruding eyes. The consequence of this breeding is what we know today as the English Toy Spaniel.
In the 1920's an American named Roswell Eldridge, offered prize money during a Cruft's Dog Show in London, to any person exhibiting King Charles Spaniels with long noses. He was looking for dogs similar to those appearing in Van Dyck's paintings of King Charles II and his spaniels, before the Pug was bred in. A dog called Ann's Son, owned by Miss Mostyn Walker, won the Eldridge prize, however Eldridge, had died a month before the show opened and was not there to present the award.
The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel breed, as we know it today is the true heir of the royal spaniels of King Charles II. By the 1940's these dogs were classified as a separate breed and were given the prefix Cavalier, to differentiate them from their forebears.
The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a well-proportioned little dog. The head is slightly rounded, the muzzle full, tapering a little with a shallow stop. The nose is black. The teeth meet in a scissors bite. The dark brown eyes are round and set well apart with dark eye rims. The long ears are set-high with abundant feathering. The top line is level. The tail is sometimes docked by 1/3 but is usually left natural. Dewclaws may be removed. The silky coat is medium in length with feathering on the ears, chest, legs and the tail. Colours include prince Charles (tricolour), ruby (rich mahogany red), king Charles (black and tan) and Blenheim (red and white). Blenheim dogs, a chestnut-red spot on top of the head between the ears is preferred by breeders, but not critical..
The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is an eager, affectionate and happy dog always seeming to be wagging their tails. Outgoing and sportive these fearless lively little dogs are eager and willing to please. They are intelligent enough to understand what you want and therefore are usually easy to train and respond well to gentle obedience training.
They are said to be naturally well behaved and get along well with other dogs and house hold pets. Cavalier's love people, enjoy companionship, and need rules to follow and limits to what they are allowed to do. They are not suited to kennel life and should not be left alone all day. If you do need to leave them, be sure to take them for a long walk before you leave to put them in a natural rest mode.
Due to their hunting background they have an instinct to chase. Do not allow this sweet dog to develop human induced behaviours, where the dog thinks he is the alpha to the humans. This can cause a varying degree of issues and related behavioural problems which are not Cavalier traits, but behaviours brought on by the way they are being treated.
They are recommended with older considerate children; simply because most small dogs are treated in such a way they start to believe they rule the home. In addition to being the dog's leader, introduce them to other dogs and people to avoid them being reserved with strangers. The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a pleasant companion dog. They have remarkable eyes sight and sense of smell and can be used in short hunts in open country. They do well in competitive obedience.