Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.jpg
Breed Group Group 12: Companion and Toy Breeds
Sub-group 12-C: European and African Breeds
Origin Country Great Britain
Weight Males: 11-18 pounds. Females: 11-18 pounds.
Height Males: 12-13 inches. Females: 12-13 inches.
Other Name(s) Charlies
Breed Type Pure
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Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Breed Group Group 12: Companion and Toy Breeds
Sub-group 12-C: European and African Breeds
Origin Country Great Britain
Weight Males: 11-18 pounds. Females: 11-18 pounds.
Height Males: 12-13 inches. Females: 12-13 inches.
Other Name(s) Charlies
Breed Type Pure
click here for FULL BREED STANDARD

Breed Spotlight

Origins

Small Spaniels have always been common throughout England, and evidence of their initial development can be traced all the way back to 1016 CE. As with their larger relatives, their primary use was that of a hunting dog, a role they served for hundreds of years. By the 1500s the spunky little toy-sized Spaniels had climbed their way to companion roles, and served only as a lap dog to the wealthy, as only the affluent were able to keep such dogs that did not have to earn their place in the family. The breed’s predecessor, the King Charles Spaniel, was named for King Charles II, who was an avid aficionado of the small Spaniel types. Within the latter half of the nineteenth century, the toy Spaniels were crossed with Japanese Chins, which resulted in the creation of flat-faced, dome-skulled dogs called King Charles Spaniels, or “Charlies.” The King Charles Spaniel replaced the longer-muzzled, traditional miniaturized Spaniels.

In 1926, a man by the name of Roswell Eldridge offered a cash reward for anyone who could produce old-type Toy Spaniels without the domed skull. The idea of reviving the old type of Toy Spaniels caught on, and in 1928, the first Cavalier club was formed, a standard was set, and the dogs were eventually recognized as the King Charles Spaniel- Cavalier type. Along with the Charlies, breeders used other breeds, such as the now extinct Toy Trawler Spaniels, as well as ancestors of today’s Brittany and Cocker Spaniels, to produce dogs that they believed were accurate representations of the old type of Toy Spaniels: diminutive in size, longer in muzzle, flatter in skull, but still possessing the sweet and spirited disposition of the Toy Spaniels that the world had come to know and love.

World War II decimated the numbers of the Cavalier, dropping them down to the six individuals that became the building block of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel breed. Fortunately, as their numbers grew, so did their popularity. The first Cavaliers were brought to the United States in 1956, quickly becoming one of the most popular Spaniel breeds in the country. The breed still retains its popularity to this day.

Breed Characteristics

Head: The head type is mesaticephalic, as opposed to brachycephalic like their cousin the King Charles Spaniel. It should be medium in size and in proportion to the rest of the body. The topskull should be arched enough to allow ample room for the brain, and should not be so compressed or flat to contribute to syringomyelia or chiari malformation that is found in many specimens of this breed. It may appear somewhat flat to somewhat round in profile or from the front. An overly domed skull or peaked skull is incorrect.
Eyes: Large in size, round in shape, and dark brown in color. The eyes are never bulging. There should be sufficient bone in the surrounding orbital sockets to protect the eyes. The rims are tightly fitted and well-pigmented. The overall expression of the eyes is soft and gentle. Almond eyes, bulging eyes, or any exposed whites are incorrect for this breed.
Ears: The ears are set high on the skull, giving the topskull a flat appearance when brought to alert. They should be long and large in size, with inner edges hanging close to the cheeks. They should be well-feathered.
Muzzle: Shorter than the topskull, at least 1 ½ to 2 inches from stop to nose tip. The muzzle is full, deep, and broad. Upper and lower jaws have good bone substance, appearing strong and well-developed, never appearing snipey or weak.
Nose: The nose is well-pigmented and black, or self-colored according to the coat in non-standard color varieties. The nostrils are well-opened.
Neck: Moderate length allows for free range of motion and proud head carriage. The neck is well-muscled, with a slight arch. The neck tapers smoothly from the deeper and broader body toward the head. The neck is clean-cut, without excess skin, throatiness, or dewlap.
Chest: Deep and broad, but never wider than deep. The brisket extends to the point of the elbows.
Body: Compact, short-coupled, and of good substance. The body is never racy or refined. Width at forequarters is approximately equal to the width at the hindquarters.
Feet: Oval to round, compact, with well-arched toes and tough pads.
Tail: Set neither high nor low on the croup, but as a natural extension of the slightly rounded topline. The tail is thick at the base and tapering toward the tip. It is carried in accordance with the dog’s mood and energy level, often appearing level with the topline, or slightly higher when excited or alert, but never tucked. Tail may be left natural (preferred) or docked to no more than 1/3 of the natural length. Natural tails are of a medium length, with the tip of the last vertebrae extending to the hock joints when held down. The tail may be straight or gently curved.
Movement: Energetic, efficient, and effortless movement. The characteristics of healthy structure are evident: when moving away, the forelegs and rear pasterns should remain parallel to one another. When viewing movement from the front, the forelegs should remain parallel, with elbows and paws moving neither moving in nor out. From the rear, the back pads should be visible when the rear legs are extended. As speed increases, the forelimbs and hindlimbs will converge to the center line of gravity. From the side, the topline should remain firm and level. Good reach of movement in the front allows the forepaw to extend out in a line with the nose. The width between the forefeet when extended should be approximately equal to the width between the hind feet when extended, indicating balance, good reach, and good drive. Dogs that exhibit any sign of breathing or locomotive difficulty shall be disqualified from the show ring.
Temperament: As anyone who has met one can attest, the cheerful and friendly demeanor of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is contagious. They are naturally gregarious little dogs, rarely meeting a stranger. They are intelligent and excellent with people and other pets. Their high energy requires that they receive regular exercise. Their eagerness to please and be near people makes them wonderful companions. Their intelligence enables them to learn many tricks and disciplines. Any unprovoked aggressive or fearful behavior toward people is incorrect for this breed.
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Breed Standard

BREED GROUP 12: Companion and Toy Breeds

Proportions: The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a somewhat rectangular breed, with the length of the body (from point of the forechest to the point of the rump) being greater than the height at the withers, with a desired body-length-to-body-height ratio equaling 6:5. The body length measured from the point of the shoulder to the point of the rump is equal to or just slightly greater than the height at the withers, with a desired body length to height ratio equaling 1:1, or 11:10. The body is well put together. Substance is sturdy and medium boned. The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel should never appear long and low, nor leggy and square.

Head

General Appearance: The head type is mesaticephalic, as opposed to brachycephalic like their cousin the King Charles Spaniel. It should be medium in size and in proportion to the rest of the body. The topskull should be arched enough to allow ample room for the brain, and should not be so compressed or flat to contribute to syringomyelia or chiari malformation that is found in many specimens of this breed. It may appear somewhat flat to somewhat round in profile or from the front. An overly domed skull or peaked skull is incorrect.
Expression: Gentle, alert, friendly, and endearing.
Stop: The stop is definite, forming a 90-degree angle or slightly less between the topskull and muzzle.
Skull: The ideal muzzle-to-skull ratio is 1:3, with the topskull being just longer than the muzzle.
The ideal muzzle-to-skull axis is convergent.
Muzzle: Shorter than the topskull, at least 1 ½ to 2 inches from stop to nose tip. The muzzle is full, deep, and broad. Upper and lower jaws have good bone substance, appearing strong and well-developed, never appearing snipey or weak.
Lips or Flews: The lips are thick and fit somewhat loosely over the teeth and jaws. They should never appear overly loose or pendulous. They are dry and well-pigmented, giving a rounded profile to the lower portion of the muzzle. The lips should not conceal the chin.
Nose: The nose is well-pigmented and black, or self-colored according to the coat in non-standard color varieties. The nostrils are well-opened.
Cheeks: The cheeks are gently padded, never appearing chiseled or coarse.
Dentition and Bite: Forty-two strong, clean, white teeth. Bite may be level, or scissor, or reverse-scissor. Contact must be made between the top and bottom incisors.
Eyes: Large in size, round in shape, and dark brown in color. The eyes are never bulging. There should be sufficient bone in the surrounding orbital sockets to protect the eyes. The rims are tightly fitted and well-pigmented. The overall expression of the eyes is soft and gentle. Almond eyes, bulging eyes, or any exposed whites are incorrect for this breed.
Ears: The ears are set high on the skull, giving the topskull a flat appearance when brought to alert. They should be long and large in size, with inner edges hanging close to the cheeks. They should be well-feathered.

Body and Tail

General Description: Compact, short-coupled, and of good substance. The body is never racy or refined. Width at forequarters is approximately equal to the width at the hindquarters.
Neck: Moderate length allows for free range of motion and proud head carriage. The neck is well-muscled, with a slight arch. The neck tapers smoothly from the deeper and broader body toward the head. The neck is clean-cut, without excess skin, throatiness, or dewlap.
Chest: Deep and broad, but never wider than deep. The brisket extends to the point of the elbows.
Topline: Level from withers to croup. The back is broad, strongly muscled, and straight, yet supple. The loin is short, taut, flat and level, or slightly arched, yet supportive. The back is never swayed or roached.
Croup: Gently sloped.
Underline: Slight tuck may be present, or the underline may run parallel to the topline. The underline is taut and firm, without any indication of sagging or excess weight.
Ribs: Long, well-sprung, well-laid-back, and oval-shaped. Never barrel-chested or slab-sided.
Tail: Set neither high nor low on the croup, but as a natural extension of the slightly rounded topline. The tail is thick at the base and tapering toward the tip. It is carried in accordance with the dog’s mood and energy level, often appearing level with the topline, or slightly higher when excited or alert, but never tucked. Tail may be left natural (preferred) or docked to no more than 1/3 of the natural length. Natural tails are of a medium length, with the tip of the last vertebrae extending to the hock joints when held down. The tail may be straight or gently curved.

Forequarters and Hindquarters

Forequarters: Forequarters are always in balance with the hindquarters. Forequarters are well-angulated with well-laid-back shoulder blades. Shoulder blades are approximately equal in length to the upper arm and forearm.
Elbows: Elbows are close to the body. The point of the elbows is approximately half the dog’s height at the withers.
Forelegs: Frontal View: Straight, of good muscle, moderate bone, and parallel to one another.
Side View: The forelimbs appear straight with strong pasterns.
Pasterns: Never weak or broken.
Hindquarters: Upper thigh and lower thigh are equal in length, strong, sturdy, of moderate bone, and well-muscled.
Rear View: When viewed from the rear, the rear pasterns are parallel to one another.
Side View: Good angulation will allow the rear toes to align with the point of the rump or within one to two paw-lengths behind the point of the rump, with the rear pasterns remaining perpendicular to the ground and parallel to one another.
Stifle Joint: Well-angulated with a good bend to well-let-down rear pasterns.
Angulations: Angulation of hindquarters is always in balance with angulation of forequarters.
Feet: Oval to round, compact, with well-arched toes and tough pads.

Coat

Skin: Well-fitted, yet supple. The skin should never obstruct the outline of the dog.
Coat Type: Long, silky, with or without slight wave with plenty of feathering. Never curly.
Coat Color or Pattern: CKC recognizes two color varieties of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel breed: the standard color and nonstandard color variety.
Standard Color Variety: The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel comes in four standard colors.
Ruby—Solid red, ranging from orange to chestnut, to a rich mahogany.
Black and Tan—Jet black with traditional tan points.
Blenheim (Ruby bi-color)—All varieties of red are well-broken up by white. Symmetrical markings on the head are
referred, including color on the topskull. A white muzzle band and blaze interrupted by a lozenge is preferred.
Prince Charles (Tricolor)—Traditional black with tan points well-broken up by white. Symmetrical markings on the head preferred including color on the topskull. A white muzzle band and blaze interrupted by a lozenge is preferred.
Non-Standard Color Variety: Solid white dogs, asymmetrically marked individuals, as well as solid black or solid liver, both with or without tan points, both with or without white markings. Lighter shades of red may include yellow, cream, lemon, and tan. All with or without ticking.

Movement

Energetic, efficient, and effortless movement. The characteristics of healthy structure are evident: when moving away, the forelegs and rear pasterns should remain parallel to one another. When viewing movement from the front, the forelegs should remain parallel, with elbows and paws moving neither moving in nor out. From the rear, the back pads should be visible when the rear legs are extended. As speed increases, the forelimbs and hindlimbs will converge to the center line of gravity. From the side, the topline should remain firm and level. Good reach of movement in the front allows the forepaw to extend out in a line with the nose. The width between the forefeet when extended should be approximately equal to the width between the hind feet when extended, indicating balance, good reach, and good drive. Dogs that exhibit any sign of breathing or locomotive difficulty shall be disqualified from the show ring.

Temperament

As anyone who has met one can attest, the cheerful and friendly demeanor of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is contagious. They are naturally gregarious little dogs, rarely meeting a stranger. They are intelligent and excellent with people and other pets. Their high energy requires that they receive regular exercise. Their eagerness to please and be near people makes them wonderful companions. Their intelligence enables them to learn many tricks and disciplines. Any unprovoked aggressive or fearful behavior toward people is incorrect for this breed.

Faults

All dogs should be in proper healthy condition, free from disease or defect. Any departure from this description is considered a fault. Unless altered, all male dogs should have two fully descended testicles.