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About Cavaliers

Our featured dog in the header is NZ Ch, Aust Grand Ch, Neuter Ch, Winaway Political Genius. Photo courtesy Lyn Costello

History & Breed Characteristics

Ch.Winaway Comic Genius

As the name suggests, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel proudly traces its ancestry back to the royal courts of England and to Blenheim Palace.  Charles the Second, was devoted to his dogs. 

Cavaliers usually live from between 10 to 15 years of age.

Energetic, active and loving, the Cavalier King Charles’ training makes him the perfect family pet; They must be kept with people, not left alone or outside as they thrive on human contact. 

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is easy to keep. Ideal as a family dog or as a companion for “empty nesters,” the Cavalier loves to cuddle and has been described as the perfect lap dog. Although these dogs have a proclivity for noisy greetings, Cavaliers generally are not protective. Regular grooming is key to keeping the Cavalier’s coat lustrous and knot free. Little more than a thorough weekly brushing is required, in addition to routine bathing and professional trimming as desired.
(Note: The show standard states that the coat should be “totally free from trimming”).
Light shedding, which occurs in the spring and fall, generally arouses little notice.

Prince Charles II with his Cavaliers (Van Dyke)

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is the descendant of a small toy spaniel depicted in many 16th, 17th and 18th Century paintings of northern Europe. This dog was originally bred to warm laps in drafty castles and on chilly carriage rides. A prescription written in Olde English for the Queen of England directs her to keep this “comforte dog” on her lap to treat a cold. The Cavalier’s other job was to attract fleas and thereby spare their masters the flea-transmitted bubonic plague.

During Tudor times, toy spaniels were common as ladies’ pets and, under the Stuarts, they were given the royal title of King Charles Spaniel. King Charles II was seldom seen without two or three Cavaliers at his heels and, as legend would have it, he wrote a decree that his namesake spaniel be accepted in any public place, including the Houses of Parliament, which were generally off-limits to animals.

In the early days, breed standards were not recognized, although toy spaniels generally had flat heads, pointed muzzles and high-set ears. By the mid-19th century, the English fashioned a new look for the toy spaniel and standardized its appearance. These modern King Charles Spaniels, also known as “Charlies,” had flatter faces, undershot jaws and domed skulls. In the early 1900s breeders attempted to recreate the earlier version of the breed; they were largely successful and so was born the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. Breeding of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel in the United States took hold on a limited basis in the 1950s, but the breed was not fully recognized by the American Kennel Club until 1996 and now, in Australia, are very popular in the show ring as well as at home on your lap.

Much of this information is supplied courtesy of Hills Science Diet

Below, you can see just how much you can teach your dog when using the clicker – and they usually love it! Check the video page for many more examples of just how intelligent a dog can be when clicker trained and how they learn to think for themselves and work problems out, without you having to constantly tell them.