A toy breed, they have a natural coat which needs no trimming, long silky ears, and large soulful eyes. More than one person has described them as looking like a Cocker Spaniel puppy all their lives. The tail is often left natural. The standard makes tail docking optional, but two thirds of the tail must be left intact. Dew claws are removed as they are thought to be a hazard to the prominent eyes.
They come in four color combinations: Blenheim (Red and White, with a red mask and ears, and red patches on a white body); Tricolor (Black and White with Tan Points), Ruby (Solid Red), and Black and Tan (without white).
In addition to being a fine companion, one of the jobs the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel was originally bred to do was to warm laps in drafty castles and on chilly carriage rides (the other job was to attract fleas & thereby spare their masters in the days of the Plague). While so many other breeds of dog no longer perform the tasks for which they were bred (pulling milk carts, herding sheep, hunting lions, for example), Cavaliers still take their responsibility quite seriously. A prescription written in Olde English for the Queen of England directs her to keep a "comforte dog" (now known as the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel) on her lap to treat a cold. It is almost as if the breed's motto is "so many laps, so little time." Cavaliers take cuddling so seriously that "If you want your pillow you must get there first" is often heard when Cavalier owners gather.
Yes, an article appeared in Town and Country Magazine a few years ago. The title referred to the attitude of owners, not the Cavaliers. It was mentioned that Monarchs, Presidents, Captains of Industry and Movie Stars own Cavaliers. Further the fact that the CKCSC-USA shunned AKC recognition for many years, keeping its own registry, and that puppies are sometimes hard to find contributed to the title. Further, prospective puppy buyers are often surprised by the "third-degree" administered by breeders trying to determine their suitability to owning a Cavalier.What people do well with a Cavalier?
The Cavalier has been the companion of choice to high stress people for 400 years. Every crowned head of England had one as a companion as a child, as did many in the Dutch court. More recent celebrities who own or have owned Cavaliers are Ronald and Nancy Reagan, William F. Buckley, Ms. Frank Sinatra, Candice Bergen, Robert Wagner & Natalie Wood and many others. The Cavalier has a calming effect on many people. Stress reduction/relaxation can be noticeably felt when a Cavalier curls up peacefully on a lap.Are they good with kids?
The Cavalier is excellent with children. Their tendency to interact with their owners makes them an especially close friend and confidant for a child. They enjoy playtime and activity. Children, of course, need supervision to be certain that the child does not hurt the dog.Are they good with seniors?
Retirees, or "empty nesters," find the companionship, temperament, small size and easy maintenance ideal. More than one woman has mentioned that a Cavalier resting on her lap or in the crook of her arm is almost as peaceful as holding a (human) sleeping infant. More than one active senior with a Cavalier has experienced the receipt of two invitations for a Cocktail Party/Get Together-one addressed to the Senior and one to the Cavalier.Are they good guard dogs?
No. While the Cavalier will alert his owner to an arrival of someone new, they seem to regard all strangers as friends they haven't met yet. Although a noisy greeting may be enough to ward off a prowler, it would be difficult picturing anyone being scared off by a Cavalier.Do they travel well?
People who travel often find it easy and pleasant to take the Cavalier along. Their strong desire to be with their owners makes them willing travelers. Their size and personality contribute to their welcome at "dogs allowed" hotels, marinas & campgrounds.Are they an AKC breed?
As of January 1996, the Cavaliers have full recognition by the AKC. This has resulted in two national breed clubs, the original CKCSC-USA and the AKC-recognized ACKCSC. It remains to be seen what the long-term results will be.Can I find one in a pet store?
They have full recognition by the British Kennel Club and the CanadianKC does not recognize Cavaliers registered with the CKCSC-USA, but does recognize those registered with the AKC.
Hopefully, NEVER! Every attempt has been made by the CKCSC-USA to prevent Cavaliers from falling into the hands of puppy mills or anyone who would resell the dog. The Cavalier breeders adhere to the Code of Ethics (see that section of this FAQ) which specifically excludes providing any puppies for resale. Responsible Cavalier breeders do their best to screen any prospective puppy buyer and often refuse to sell to a less than "ideal" home.What medical problems do Cavaliers have?
For the most part Cavaliers are quite healthy dogs. There are a few problems which are known to appear in the breed: heart murmurs, cataracts, and Subluxating Patellas. Mitral Valve Heart Disease is something to ask the breeder about, as well.What kind of grooming is necessary for Cavaliers?
The Cavalier does require regular grooming. A great deal of time and effort is not necessary if the dog is brushed and combed thoroughly at least once a week. Cavaliers do shed, particularly in spring and fall, but a little all the time. Nails should be clipped and the hair between the pads trimmed once a month. No other trimming is necessary (or allowed) in the show ring. The ideal brushes to use are the softer slicker brushes or a pin brush (not nylon or plastic) and a metal comb. Knots and tangles are kept to a minimum if the Cavalier is free of parasites and is combed regularly. Brush out all knots and tangles before bathing.
Cavaliers are naturally clean dogs. Too much bathing dries out the skin and haircoat so certainly do not bathe more than once a week. Don't use human shampoo on dogs. Rinse thoroughly. A human blow dryer (not on hot) and brushing at the same time works well for drying. Keep blower moving so any one spot does not get overheated.
Commercial preparations are made that will help remove tear stains under the eyes. Keep eyes clean and dry. Vaseline applied to the dog's nose occasionally will keep it from getting dry and rough. A vet should be consulted if the condition becomes severe.
In the early days, there were no dog shows and no recognized breed standard, so both type and size varied. With little transport available, one can readily believe that breeding was carried out in a most haphazard way. By the mid-nineteenth century, England took up dog breeding and dog showing seriously. Many breeds were developed and others altered. This brought a new fashion to the Toy Spaniel - dogs with the completely flat face, undershot jaw, domed skull with long, low set ears and large, round frontal eyes of the modern King Charles Spaniel, also called "Charlies," known in the USA today as the English Toy Spaniel. Due to this "new" fashion, the King Charles Spaniel of the "old type" as seen in the early paintings was almost extinct.
It was at this stage that an American, Roswell Eldridge began to search for foundation stock in England for Toy Spaniels that resembled those in the old paintings, including the painting by Sir Edwin Landseer, "The Cavalier's Dogs," but all he could find were the short faced "Charlies." He persisted, persuading the Kennel Club in 1926 to allow him to offer prizes for five years at Crufts Dog Show -- 25 pounds sterling for the best dog and 25 pounds sterling for the best bitch -- for the dogs of the Blenheim variety as seen in King Charles II's reign. The following is a quotation taken from Cruft's catalog: "As shown in the pictures of King Charles II's time, long face no stop, flat skull, not inclined to be domed and with the spot in the center of the skull" and the prizes to go to the nearest to the type described. No one among the King Charles breeders took this challenge very seriously as they had worked hard for years to do away with the long nose. Gradually, as the big prizes came to an end, only people really interested in reviving the dogs as they once had been, were left to carry on the breeding experiment. At the end of five years, little had been achieved and the Kennel Club was of the opinion that the dogs were not in sufficient numbers, nor of a single type, to merit a separate breed registration from the "Charlies."
In 1928 a dog owned by Miss Mostyn Walker, "Ann's Son" was awarded the prize but unfortunately Roswell Eldridge died at age 70, only a month before Crufts in 1928, so he never saw the results of his challenge prizes. It was in the same year that a Club was founded and the title "Cavalier King Charles Spaniel" was chosen. It was very important that the association with the name King Charles Spaniel be kept as most breeders bred back to the original type by way of the long faced throwouts from the kennels of the short faced variety breeders. Some of the stock threw back to the long faced variety very quickly and pioneers were often accused of using outcrosses to other suitable breeds to get the long faces, but this was not true and crossing to other breeds was not recommended by the Club.
At the first meeting, held the second day of Crufts in 1928, the standard of the breed was drawn up and it was practically the same as it is today. Ann's Son was placed on the table as the live example and members brought all the reproductions of pictures of the 16th, 17th and 18th Centuries that they could muster. As this was a new and tremendous opportunity to achieve a really worthwhile breed, it was agreed that as far as possible, the Cavalier should be guarded from fashion, and there was to be no trimming. A perfectly natural dog was desired and was not to be spoiled to suit individual tastes, or as the saying goes, "carved into shape." Kennel Club recognition was still withheld and progress was slow, but gradually people became aware that the movement toward the "old type" King Charles Spaniel had come to stay. In 1945 the Kennel Club granted separate registration and awarded Challenge Certificates to allow the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel to gain their Championships.
Meanwhile, in the USA, Mrs. W. L. Lyons Brown of Kentucky brought a Cavalier home from England. She found others in America who owned Cavaliers and organized the CKCSC-USA in 1956 with the idea of keeping a Stud Book and getting together with other American Cavalier Fanciers. At the beginning of the 1960's, friends gathered at "Sutherland" in Prospect, Kentucky, for the first Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Specialty Show in America. By then 118 dogs had been registered, 68 of them born in the USA of 24 litters. To this day, the CKCSC-USA keeps complete and accurate records of litters, imported Cavaliers, the Stud Books, etc. in addition to organizing Specialty Shows (for Cavaliers only) around the country so that Cavalier owners have the opportunity for an objective evaluation of their dogs by knowledgeable judges and so that their dogs can compete for a Championship in the USA. The Club's stringent Code of Ethics, applying to all Club Members, makes the Cavalier in the USA a protected breed. This means that the Club expects its members to act responsibly with regard to the welfare and breeding of Cavaliers. It is hoped that the Code of Ethics would also help keep the Cavalier out of unethical hands which might turn the dogs over to puppy mills or pet shops. In 1985 the CKCSC-USA held a Silver Jubilee Show in Prospect, Kentucky, marking the 25th consecutive CKCSC-USA Specialty show.
In 1995, under increasing pressure by the AKC to move out of the Miscellaneous class, the Cavalier fancy split into two national breed clubs, and the Cavalier was fully recognized by the AKC in January of 1996. The original CKCSC-USA has repeatedly voted against recognition by the AKC and declined the offer to be the AKC recognized national breed club. The American Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Club was subsequently formed, recognized by the AKC and wrote the current AKC Standard.
You should quiz the breeder about the steps they are taking to avoid MVD in their lines. Remember that this is a relatively new problem to be recognized in the breed and no firm or consistent policies have been set as data is still being collected. It appears that color doppler ultrasound exams are the best for picking up evidence of MVD, but auscultation exams are also often done. In addition, the evidence appears to be mouinting that puppies bred from parents who show clear of MVD at older ages (3-5 years) are more likely to be clear themselves or to develop the less severe form of MVD.
Request to SEE the documentation for the dam. You should also be able to see copies for the stud dog even if he doesn't live with the breeder.
Head: The skull is slightly rounded, but without dome or peak; it should appear flat because of the high placement of the ears.
Eyes: Large, round and set well apart; color a warm, very dark brown, giving a lustrous, limpid look. There should be slight cushioning under the eyes, which contributes much to the sweet, gentle expression characteristic of the breed. Faults: Small, almond-shaped, prominent or light eyes; white surrounding ring.
Nose: There should be a shallow stop and the length from the base of stop to tip of nose should be at least 1 1/2 inches. Nostrils should be well developed and the pigment uniformly black. Putty, or "dudley" noses and white patches on the nose are serious faults, as are small, pinched nostrils.
Muzzle: Well tapered; mouth level; lips well covering. Faults: Sharp, pointed or snipey muzzle. Full or pendulous lips. Flesh marks, i.e. patches of pink pigment showing through hair on muzzle.
Teeth: Strong and even, preferably meeting in a scissors bite, although a level bite is permitted. Undershot mouths are greatly to be discouraged; it should be emphasized, however, that a slightly undershot bite in an otherwise well-balanced head with the correct, sweet expression should not be penalized in favor of a level mouth with a plain or hard expression. Faults: Weak or crooked teeth, crooked jaws.
Ears: Set high, but not close, on top of the head. Leather long with plenty of feathering and wide enough so that when the dog is alert, the ears fan slightly forward to frame the face.
Neck: Fairly long, without throatiness, well enough muscled to form a slight arch at the crest. Set smoothly into nicely sloping shoulders.
Shoulders: Sloping back gently with moderate angulation, to give the characteristic look of top class and elegance.
Body: Short coupled with ribs well sprung but not barrelled. Chest moderately deep, leaving ample heart room. Back level leading into strong, muscular hindquarters. Slightly less body at the flank than at the rib, but with no tucked-up appearance.
Legs: Forelegs straight and well under the dog, bone moderate, elbows close to the sides. Hindlegs moderately muscled; stifles well-turned; hocks well let down. The hindlegs, viewed from the rear, should parallel each other from hock to heel. Pasterns strong and feet compact with well-cushioned pads. The dog stands level on all four feet. Faults: loose elbows; crooked legs; stifles turned in or out; cow hocks; stilted action; weak pasterns; open feet.
Tail: Set so as to be carried level with the back. Tail should be in constant characteristic motion when the dog is in action.
Docking: Docking is optional, but whether or not the tail is docked, it must balance the body. If docked, tail must not be cut too short; 2/3 is the absolute minimum to be left on the body, and the tails of broken-colored dogs should always be docked to leave a white tip.
Coat: Long and silky and very soft to the touch; free from curl, though a slight wave is permissible. Feathering on ears, legs and tail should be long, and the feathering on the feet is a feature of the breed.
Trimming: NO trimming of the dog is permitted. However, it is permissible and often desirable to remove the hair growing between the pads on the underside of the foot.
Size: Height 12 to 13 inches at the withers; weight, proportionate to height, between 13 and 18 lbs. These are ideal heights and weights; slight variations are permissible, and a dog should be penalized only in comparison with one of equal general appearance, type and quality. The weedy specimen is as much to be penalized as the oversized one.
Colors: The following colors are the only colors acceptable:
It is important to remember that a dog can have one or more of the faults listed in the Standard, in moderation, and still be an overall typical, gay, elegant Cavalier. On the other hand, bad temper or meanness are not to be tolerated and shall be considered disqualifying faults. It is the typical gay temperament, combined with true elegance and "royal" appearance which are of paramount importance to the breed.
In championship point shows professional handling is not permitted in CKCSC,USA shows, so everyone is an amateur. A Cavalier must be registered with, and the owner must be a current member in good standing of, the CKCSC,USA in order to enter. The Cavalier cannot be restricted from showing (this would be noted on the CKCSC,USA registration papers).
There are two categories: Conformation (this is to show breed type and soundness), and Obedience. Both require going to class to learn the proper procedure. Most Sunday papers will give the names of local kennel clubs and these clubs will advise as to what classes are available in the area or ask your breeder.
There are several things a Cavalier should know before entering a show: a) should be leash trained; b) should be used to standing on a table for examination; c) should be used to having his/her teeth looked at; d) in the case of males, should be used to being checked for two descended testicles.
The 1992 CKCSC-USA Championship Point System is as follows:
To become a Champion today, a dog or bitch must accumulate ten points at CKCSC sponsored or CKCSC Regional Club sponsored shows held under CKCSC rules. Those ten points must include two major wins (3 points or better) under two different judges in two different shows, in addition to at least one extra point under a third judge. (There is no separate class for Champions, which may compete in any class for which they qualify.)
BEST IN SHOW (BIS) One point more than the highest number of points available to either sex based on the Major Points from the Scale of Points-below.
RESERVE BEST IN SHOW (RBIS) One point less than Best in Show.
WINNERS DOG AND BITCH (WD & WB) Highest number of points available in sex based on the Major Points from the Scale of Points below.
RESERVE WINNERS DOG & BITCH (RWD & RWB) One point less than Winners Dog or Winners Bitch.
At any given show, the dogs chosen BIS and RBIS shall only retain the points for that win.
It sponsors the newsletter "The Bulletin" to keep members informed of club matters and upcoming activities, in addition to an annual yearbook and the National Championship Show. The CKCSC, USA has a very active Cavalier rescue service. Individuals finding themselves unable to care for their Cavalier may contact the rescue service for help in rehousing. Acceptance of membership in the CKCSC, USA requires members to abide by the club's code of ethics (which is included below) and which should be read and understood by all members.
The CKCSC, USA sponsors four regional clubs. All four regional clubs welcome new members and sponsor championship point shows, fun matches and other activities. In addition to the national bulletin, all four regional clubs also produce their own informative bulletins that provide an additional perspective on local activities. The only requirement for membership in a regional club is membership in the CKCSC, USA.
Cavaliers Of The Northeast
Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Vermont, West Virginia. For membership information contact Lou Dell'Aquila, 412-714-1164.
Cavaliers Of The South
Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia. For membership information contact David Frederick, 205-536-0245.
Cavaliers Of The Midwest
Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas, Wisconsin. For membership information contact Ted Eubank, 214-350-2527.
Cavaliers Of The West
Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada, Montana, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, Wyoming. For membership information contact Chuck Slemaker, 310-375-4858.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Club of Mid-Western Canada
Contact the Clubs Secretary, Brenda Meyers, PO Box 51, Teulon MB R0C 3B0 - (204) - 886-2504 OR Gloria Watkins, 411,Waterloo Street, Winnipeg MB R3N 0S9 -(204) - 488-8763.