Did you know?
Courtney Cox of “Friends” has two Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, named Hopper and Harley.
Hopper is tri-color (red, white, and black), while Harley is red and white.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Mankind’s true moral test, its fundamental test (which lies deeply buried from view), consists of its attitude towards those who are at its mercy: animals. – Milan Kundera, “The Unbearable Lightness of Being” (1984)
Named for King Charles II, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel was once a great favourite at the English court. In the early 1700s, the 1st Duke of Marlborough, John Churchill, had a kennel of red and white King Charles type hunting spaniels.The duke prized the dogs as they were able to keep up with a trotting horse. To commemorate the Duke’s victory at the Battle of Blenheim, he named his estate Blenheim and the red and white variety of the Cavalier takes his name from there. This toy Spaniel is a descendent of the King Charles Spaniel and Cocker Spaniel. He was bred to be a companion.
The Second World War was devastating to both human and dog breed populations. Breeding stock declined drastically as a result of food shortages and other wartime hardships. The Ttiweh Cavalier Kennel saw their stock of sixty dogs drop to three during the 1940s. After the war, with only six dogs left, the breeders began to rebuild the breed. Today, all Cavaliers descend from these six dogs.
The Cavalier is known for the soulful expression in his large dark eyes and appears in numerous paintings by the great Masters. Today, he retains his enormous popularity in Great Britain as a popular and much loved family pet.
Photos displayed courtesy of Kim Gibbs/Bernice Newbury, Cantebury Cavaliers, British Columbia
The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel stands up to 13 inches (33 cm) at the shoulder and weighs up to 18 pounds (8 kg). He has a long, silky coat that may have a slight wave. His has feathering on his ears, legs, and tail as well as on his feet.
His coat comes in four colour varieties. The Blenheim variety is bright chestnut red and white and carries a distinct white blaze between the eyes. The Tricolour has jet black markings on white and sports rich tan markings over the eyes, on the cheeks, ears, legs, and under the tail. There is also a distinct white blaze between the eyes. As its name suggests, the Ruby variety is solid rich red with no white marks. Finally, the Black and Tan variety is jet black with rich tan markings over the eyes, on the cheeks and muzzle, inside the ears, on throat and chest, on forelegs from knees to toes, on the inside of the hind legs and on the underside of the tail. Weekly grooming and minimal exercise make the Cavalier a fairly low maintenance dog.
Knows as the “comforter” or “Spaniel Gentle”, the Cavalier is a loving, devoted, playful, and friendly dog. He is good natured and loves children. Not a good guard dog, the Cavalier is a great companion for all ages or for the disabled as he is extremely patient. Young children must exercise some care when the Cavalier is still a puppy due to his small size.
Cheerful, lively, and sociable, he gets along well with other people and other dogs making him a good companion for an existing pet dog. However, like other Spaniels, Cavaliers have a strong hunting instinct and may go after birds and other small animals.
Naturally curious, the Cavalier is intelligent and obedient and possesses an eager to please nature. Training comes easily to him. Harsh methods should never be used or he may become fearful. The Cavalier is very adaptable and does well in almost any environment, family situation, and location be it urban or country life. Cavaliers are successful in a variety of venues including conformation shows, obedience, and agility and make wonderful therapy dogs due to their sweet, gentle natures. The breed is adaptable in their need for exercise, happy with either sleeping on the couch or taking long walks. He should, however, live in a home with a fenced backyard and be walked on leash as he will instinctively chase anything that moves, including cars. Most Cavaliers never become “street-wise”.