Breeds 101: The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel (Photo by Chris Weeks/Getty Images)
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel (Photo by Chris Weeks/Getty Images) /

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is next on our Breeds 101 introduction this week.

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is next on the Dog O’Day list for our Breeds 101 series of dog breeds introductions.

Coming in fairly high at 18th out of 196 breeds in the American Kennel Club‘s latest rankings of the most popular dog breeds, Cavaliers are a smallish member of the Toy Group in dog shows.

Fairly large for a Toy Group breed, they’re still on the small side, as they stand about 12 or 13 inches at the withers (shoulders) and weigh about 13 to 18 pounds.

They live a long time, with an average lifespan of 12 to 15 years.

According to its Breed Standard, the ideal Cavalier King Charles Spaniel “is an active, graceful, well-balanced toy spaniel, very gay [happy] and free in action; fearless and sporting in character, yet at the same time gentle and affectionate.”

The Toy Spaniel (known in England as the King Charles Spaniel) evolved from the dogs preferred by King Charles II, who reigned from 1660 to 1685, which began about 20 years after the English Civil War and during the time of the Great Fire of London.

Over time, the Toy Spaniel became less and less like King Charles’ Spaniels, and so by the early 1920s efforts had begun to breed them back (as far as possible) to their earliest designs.

Their eyes are enormous (for their facial size) and adorable, much like Lady from Lady and the Tramp, and their ears are long and silky, much like Cocker Spaniels, and their coat is somewhat fluffy. It can come in four colors: red and white (called Blenheim), black and tan, red (called Ruby) and brown and white.

The Kennel Club of England recognized the breed in 1945 and the AKC recognized Cavaliers fifty years later.

“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,” the AKC website states.

While great family dogs who are usually good with other pets as well, Cavaliers are prone to genetic health problems that can lead to heart failure.

David Frei‘s Angel was a Cavalier, and she pops up frequently in his book Angel on a Leash, doing therapy dog work for the organization of the same name.

Other Cavalier-loving celebrities have included Lauren Bacall, Tom Selleck and Frank Sinatra.

Next. The most popular British dog breeds of 2019. dark

Please be sure to follow Dog O’Day on Facebook (listed at Daily Dog) and on Instagram (at the handle @DogODayFS).