Cavalier King Charles Spaniels
Origin: Great Britain
Class: toy group 5
Height: 12 to 13 inches (30-33 cm) at the withers
Exercise: 15-20 minutes a day is required
Weight: Proportionate to height between 12 and 18 lb. (5-8 kg.)
Coat: silky coat of moderate length, when they reach adulthood, cavaliers grow lengthy feathering on their ears, chest, legs, feet and tail
Blenheim (rich chestnut on pearly white background)
Tricolor (black and white with tan markings on cheeks, inside ears, on eyebrows, inside legs, and on underside of tail)
Black and Tan (black with tan markings)
Ruby (rich reddish-brown all over)
Parti-colours are the colours that include white: Blenheim and Tricolour. Whole-colours have no white: Black and Tan, and Ruby. The Blenheim is the most common colour.
Temperament: The Cavalier is a wonderful small dog, elegant yet sporting in nature and adapts well to most living environments. Cavaliers are wonderful with children as well as an excellent companion to senior citizens. They are both sweet and affectionate, intelligent, happy, outgoing, playful, and always willing to please. Though Spaniels were originally bred as hunting dogs, the Cavalier has been bred exclusively as a companion dog since the days of King Charles II. The Cavalier is seen in the show ring, in obedience competitions, agility, tracking, and he also makes an excellent Therapy dog. If you want a lovable, cuddly friend, a cavalier is the right dog for you.
History: The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel dates back to the early 1600’s and descended from the Toy Spaniels of Europe. He became virtually extinct however, during the Victorian and Edwardian eras as short-nosed breeds took the forefront. By 1923, the breed had been replaced by the English Toy Spaniel (known as the King Charles Spaniel in Britain). In 1926, an effort to revitalize the breed was started by Mr. Roswell Eldridge and the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Club was founded in 1928. The breed gained recognition by the Canadian Kennel Club in 1957 and by the United Kennel Club in 1980.
Who has them?
Many celebrities have cavalier king Charles spaniels as pets, these include:
One of the most famous Cavalier King Charles was owned by Mary Queen of Scots who was beheaded in 1587 with a black and white toy spaniel under her skirts. Her beloved companion reputedly refused to leave her side and died from grief a few days after her death. Mary’s trusted pet was probably an earlier forerunner of the Cavalier King Charles.
- King Charles I was devoted to his toy spaniel Rogue, who accompanied the king to his execution in 1649.
- King Charles II was known as the ‘Cavalier King.’ Charles is credited with having a number of little spaniels about him wherever he went, to the point where others at court complained. In Charles’ time, it was proclaimed that no public building could be designated as “off limits” to a spaniel, including Parliament.
- James II, brother of Charles II, was equally infatuated with toy spaniels. During a severe storm at sea, James is reputed to have shouted “Save the dogs and the Duke of Monmouth [the king’s son]!”
- John Churchill, the 1st Duke of Marlborough raised toy “Malborough Spaniels” at Blenheim Castle, giving rise to the term “Blenheim” used today for the chestnut and white Cavalier Spaniel puppies.
- The Duchess of Marlborough is credited with imprinting the characteristic ‘lozenge’ or thumbprint mark on the top of the Blenheim Spaniel’s head. As the story goes, she rubbed a pregnant spaniel’s head with her thumb out of worry for her husband while he was in France, leading his troups to victory against Louis XIV at the battle of Blenheim.
Dash was the name of Queen Victoria’s beloved Tricolor Cavalier. Dash’s tombstone is inscribed with the following message written by the Queen herself:“Here lies Dash, the favorite spaniel of Her Majesty Queen Victoria, by whose command this memorial was erected. He died on the 20th December 1840 in his ninth year. His attachment was without selfishness, his playfulness without malice, his fidelity without deceit. Reader, if you would live beloved and die regretted, profit by the example of Dash.”Cavalier King Charles Spaniels were clearly the model for the “Staffordshires” pottery dogs made in England from the late 1850s until the 1930s.
- Jennifer Love Hewitt owns a Blenheim Cavalier King Charles Spaniel appropriately named Charlie.
- On the TV series Sex and the City, Charlotte York (played by actress Kristin Davis) adopted a Blenheim Cavalier King Charles puppy which she renamed Elizabeth Taylor Goldenblatt.
- Country music singer Brad Paisley and his wife, actress Kimberly Williams-Paisley, own a Cavalier named “Holler.”
- Diane Sawyer, host of Good Morning America, and her husband Mike Nicols own a female tri color Cavalier King Charles Spaniel named Brinklow La Bamba Lila.
- Amanda Bynes reputedly named her Blenheim Cavalier Midge after her “What I Like About You” alter ego.
- Teri Hatcher owns both Blenheim and Tricolor Cavalier King Charles Spaniels.
- Courtney Cox and husband David Arquette own two Cavalier King Charles Spaniels named Harley and Hooper. Courtney is quoted in a June 2003 interview as saying “They bring me so much joy… It makes me so happy when I’m lying in bed and look over and see my husband, two little dogs… I don’t think I can be happier than this.”
- Liv Tyler’s Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is named Neal.
- Princess Margaret, sister of Queen Elizabeth II, is another Cavalier King Charles lover. Rowley was her Cavalier companion for many years.
- Lauren Bacall owned a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel aptly named Blenheim. Though now gone, a painting of Blenheim still graces Ms. Bacall’s living room.
- Other celebrities that have owned Cavalier King Charles Spaniels include Sylvester Stallone, Frank Sinatra, American Idol Katherine McPhee and President Ronald Reagan.
- Mickey Rooney recently summed it up for all Cavalier lovers when he was quoted as saying “We have a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Sir Digby. No matter how hectic life gets, we know when we get home our precious little companion is there with loving eyes waiting for us.”