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About Cavaliers

  • Temperament:Affectionate, Gentle, Graceful

  • AKC Breed Popularity: Ranks 18 of 197

  • Height: 12-13 inches

  • Weight: 13-18 pounds

  • Life Expectancy: 12-15 years

  • Group: Toy Group


Breed History

Often called the dog of landed gentry and movie stars, this Spaniel was the favorite of England's King Charles II in the 1700's. He was often accused of spending more time with his beloved Spaniels than on affairs of state. Even today, they maintain a royal status (by Royal Decree) as the only breed allowed in all public places. They were often called little comforters, curing illness and keeping laps warm in the cold drafty castles. They were depicted in the paintings of many old masters including Gainesborough, Titian and Lancier. It was a Cavalier, faithful to the end, found under the skirts of Mary, Queen of Scots after she was beheaded.

The Cavalier is a highly intelligent and good natured little dog. They average 12-18 pounds and 12-13 inches high. Their personality is much like a Golden Retriever; loving, devoted, quick to learn and eager to please. They travel well and are a perfect companion for both active and sedentary lifestyles. They love children and other pets and are NEVER cross or snappy. They make good watchdogs as they will bark to alert, but do not keep on yapping like many smaller breeds are known to do.

They require no professional grooming and have a soft, lustrous odor-free coat. They do shed, but not excessively. They housebreak quite easily and are very clean natured, making them the perfect house pet. They are a hardy, healthy breed with few genetic problems. Unfortunately, like many small breeds, they can develop heart murmurs due to valve disease. The CKCS Club and our members are actively working to eliminate this problem in the breed. Some bloodlines seems to be clear of it and others more prone to it. By selective breeding, it may someday be eliminated. Average life span is 12-14 years.

Cavaliers can be extremely silly and comical. They bring joy and laughter to many households. They love to snuggle and are the ultimate huggable lapdog. They are NOT an independent breed and they do require companionship. They should never be left outside in kennels and must be treated as a family member. They prefer to sleep in their master's bed and be by his side most of the time. Those dark Spaniel eyes can melt anyone's heart.

About the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel


The Cavalier’s all-around beauty, regal grace, and even temper mark him as one of dogdom’s noblemen. A toy spaniel no more than 13 inches high, the Cavalier draws you in with his face: The sweet, gentle, melting expression emanating from large, round eyes is a breed hallmark. Another is the silky, richly-colored coat that can be one of four distinct varieties.

Cavaliers may be aristocrats, but they gladly descend from their royal high horse for a backyard frolic or a squirrel chase. They get along nicely with children and other dogs. Adaptable Cavaliers do equally well with active owners and homebodies—they can be upbeat athletes or shameless couch potatoes, depending on an owner’s lifestyle.

General Appearance

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is an active, graceful, well-balanced toy spaniel, very gay and free in action; fearless and sporting in character, yet at the same time gentle and affectionate. It is this typical gay temperament, combined with true elegance and royal appearance which are of paramount importance in the breed. Natural appearance with no trimming, sculpting or artificial alteration is essential to breed type.

Size, Proportion, Substance: Size - Height 12 to 13 inches at the withers; weight proportionate to height, between 13 and 18 pounds. A small, well balanced dog within these weights is desirable, but these are ideal heights and weights and slight variations are
permissible. Proportion - The body approaches squareness, yet if measured from point of shoulder to point of buttock, is slightly longer than the height at the withers. The height from the withers to the elbow is approximately equal to the height from the elbow to the

ground. Substance - Bone moderate in proportion to size. Weedy and coarse specimens are to be equally penalized.


Head: Proportionate to size of dog, appearing neither too large nor too small for the
body. Expression - The sweet, gentle, melting expression is an important breed

characteristic. Eyes - Large, round, but not prominent and set well apart; color a warm, very dark brown; giving a lustrous, limpid look. Rims dark. There should be cushioning under the eyes which contributes to the soft expression. Faults - small, almond-shaped, prominent, or light eyes; white surrounding ring. 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. Skull - Slightly rounded, but without dome or peak; it should appear flat because of the high placement of the ears. Stop is moderate, neither filled nor deep. Muzzle - Full muzzle slightly tapered. Length from base of stop to tip of nose about 11⁄2 inches. Face well filled below eyes. Any tendency towards snipiness undesirable. Nose pigment uniformly black without flesh marks and nostrils well developed. Lips well developed but not pendulous giving a clean finish. Faults - Sharp or pointed muzzles. Bite - A perfect, regular and complete scissors bite is preferred, i.e. the upper teeth closely overlapping the lower teeth and set square into the jaws. Faults - undershot bite, weak or crooked teeth, crooked jaws.


Neck, Topline, Body: Neck - Fairly long, without throatiness, well enough muscled to form a slight arch at the crest. Set smoothly into nicely sloping shoulders to give an elegant
look. Topline - Level both when moving and standing. Body - Short-coupled with ribs well sprung but not barrelled. Chest moderately deep, extending to elbows allowing ample heart room. Slightly less body at the flank than at the last rib, but with no tucked-up appearance. Tail - Well set on, carried happily but never much above the level of the back, and in constant characteristic motion when the dog is in action. Docking is optional. If docked, no more than one third to be removed.

Forequarters: Shoulders well laid back. Forelegs straight and well under the dog with elbows close to the sides. Pasterns strong and feet compact with well-cushioned pads. Dewclaws may be removed.

Hindquarters: The hindquarters construction should come down from a good broad pelvis, moderately muscled; stifles well turned and hocks well let down. The hindlegs when viewed from the rear should parallel each other from hock to heel. Faults - Cow or sickle hocks.


Coat: Of moderate length, silky, free from curl. Slight wave permissible. Feathering on ears, chest, legs and tail should be long, and the feathering on the feet is a feature of the breed. No trimming of the dog is permitted. Specimens where the coat has been altered by trimming, clipping, or by artificial means shall be so severely penalized as to be effectively eliminated from competition. Hair growing between the pads on the underside of the feet may be trimmed.


Color: Blenheim - Rich chestnut markings well broken up on a clear, pearly white ground. The ears must be chestnut and the color evenly spaced on the head and surrounding both eyes, with a white blaze between the eyes and ears, in the center of which may be the lozenge or "Blenheim spot." The lozenge is a unique and desirable, though not essential, characteristic of the
Blenheim. Tricolor - Jet black markings well broken up on a clear, pearly white ground. The ears must be black and the color evenly spaced on the head and surrounding both eyes, with a white blaze between the eyes. Rich tan markings over the eyes, on cheeks, inside ears and on underside of tail. Ruby - Whole-colored rich red. Black and Tan - Jet black with rich, bright tan markings over eyes, on cheeks, inside ears, on chest, legs, and on underside of tail. Faults - Heavy ticking on Blenheims or Tricolors, white marks on Rubies or Black and Tans.

Gait: Free moving and elegant in action, with good reach in front and sound, driving rear action. When viewed from the side, the movement exhibits a good length of stride, and viewed from front and rear it is straight and true, resulting from straight-boned fronts and properly made and muscled hindquarters.


Temperament: Gay, friendly, non-aggressive with no tendency towards nervousness or shyness. Bad temper, shyness, and meanness are not to be tolerated and are to be severely penalized as to effectively remove the specimen from competition.

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