Breed Introduction: King Charles Spaniel
The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a small spaniel classed as a toy dog by The Kennel Club and the American Kennel Club. It originated in the United Kingdom and is one of the more popular breeds in many countries. It is one of the largest toy breeds, often regarded as athletic as a true sporting breed and enjoys hiking, running on the beach, and dog sports such as agility, fly ball and rally. They are a domesticated dog and will never thrive in an environment, where they are relegated to the backyard or otherwise ignored. When it comes to training, the breed is generally intelligent and willing to try whatever it is you would like them to do. Food rewards and positive reinforcement help ensure that training goes smoothly.
The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a relatively new breed that was recreated less than a century ago. The toy spaniel has existed for centuries as a companion to royalty and nobility. In the 1920s, an American named Roswell Eldridge started searching in England for toy spaniels that resembled those in the old paintings. He searched for more than five years, even taking his search to the Crufts Dog Show, where he persuaded the Kennel Club (England’s equivalent to the American Kennel Club) to allow him to offer 25 pounds sterling — a huge sum at the time — for the best dog and best bitch of the type seen in King Charles II’s reign. He offered this prize for five years.
The Kennel Club was reluctant to recognize the new breed, but finally, in 1945, after years of work by the breeders, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel was recognized as a separate breed. In 1992, the AKC invited the CKCSC, USA to become the parent club for the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. The membership refused. A small group of CKCSC, USA members formed the American Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Club (ACKCSC) and applied to the AKC for parent-club status. This was granted, and the AKC officially recognized the breed was in March 1995.
This small but sturdy dog stands 12 to 13 inches at the shoulder and weighs 13 to 18 pounds.
Their size and generally quiet nature make Cavalier King Charles Spaniels good candidates for apartment or condo living. They are moderately active indoors, and a small yard is adequate for their exercise needs.
The breed is adorned with medium-length coats that are silky to the touch and may be slightly wavy. Adult Cavaliers have feathering on their ears, chest, legs, feet and tail.
The breed can be great playmates for kids who will enjoy throwing a ball for them, teaching them tricks, participating in dog sports, or simply having them on a lap while they read or watch television. Because of their small size, however, they should be supervised when playing with small children who might injure them accidentally.
Cavaliers may bark when someone comes to your door, but because of their friendly nature, they are not good guard dogs.
Because it has a spaniel at heart, it may try to chase birds, rabbits and other small prey if it isn’t kept on leash.