breed profile

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel: the little bundle of endless joy

An active, graceful, well-balanced dog, very gay and free in action, fearless and sporting in character, yet at the same time gentle and affectionate…that’s how a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is. Come fall in love with this wonderful breed.

A royal heritage…

“History tells us that King Charles II was seldom seen without two or three spaniels at his heels. So fond wasbreed profile King Charles II of his little dogs, he wrote a decree that the King Charles Spaniel should be accepted in any public place, even in the Houses of Parliament where animals were not usually allowed. This decree is still in existence today in England. As time went by, and with the coming of the Dutch Court, Toy Spaniels went out of fashion and were replaced in popularity by the Pug. One exception was the strain of red and white Toy Spaniels that was bred at Blenheim Palace by various Dukes of Marlborough. This Spaniel was later known as the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and this particular colour, which is still very popular and common, was named after the Blenheim Palace and is called the Blenheim colour. These dogs were also very common with the French ladies and were used as lap warmers,” told Dinkar.

Loving and lovable…

“The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a delightfully affectionate, playful, intelligent little dog who repays his owner’s care and attention with an endearing devotion,” told Dinkar. Cavaliers are not kennel dogs and do not like to be left alone. Because of four hundred years of close contact with their owners and their development as lap dogs, they make wonderful companions. They are happy, outgoing, loving little dogs who want to love you and be loved, to run and play in a safe place, and to sleep in a soft bed – preferably their owners, but they’re willing to negotiate on that point! They get along well with children, cats, and other dogs.

Physical attributes…

The skull is slightly rounded, but without a dome or peak. It should appear flat because of the high placement of the ears. Eyes are large, round and set well apart. The colour is very dark brown, giving a lustrous, limpid look. There is a slight cushioning under the eyes, which contributes much to the sweet, gentle expression characteristic of the breed. The muzzle is well tapered, well covering the mouth level and lips. Ears are set high, but not close, on top of the head. They are long, with plenty of silky feathering, and wide enough so that when the dog is alert, the ears fan slightly forward to frame the face. His long and silky coat is very soft to the touch and is free from curl, though a slight wave is permissible. Feathering on ears, legs and tail is long, and the feathering on the feet is a feature of the breed. Their height is around 12 to 13 inches at the withers and the weight, proportionate to height, between 13 and 18 pounds.

They are available in four colours – Blenheim (rich chestnut markings well broken up on a pearly white ground), tricolour (jet black markings well-broken up on a pearly white ground), whole-coloured rich red and jet black with rich tan markings over the eyes, on cheeks, inside ears, on chest, legs, and underside of tail.

Bundle of energy…

Cavaliers are active and sporting little dogs who require regular exercise. They have an instinct to give chase to just about anything that moves, and should either be on a leash or in a fenced yard in which to run. They should get a minimum of two good walks each day (in addition to potty walks). If their owners want walking companions, Cavaliers can build up over time to much longer walks. Regular exercise is recommended. “But, if you are a couch potato, they will share that with delight and if you like to walk for miles on end, they will equally delightedly do that,” told Gabriele G Pollmeier.

Living with children…

Cavaliers love to interact with their owners and enjoy activity and play, making them especially close friends and confidants for children. They are excellent with children, but the age of the children is an important factor in choosing a puppy. Because Cavalier puppies are so small, it is better to get a young puppy only if the family has children above the age of five. An older puppy or adult dog will be more suitable for such families. All children, of course, need supervision to ensure they do not hurt the pup/dog.

Taking care of puppy…

Just like any other puppy or small animal, feed excellent food only, keep lots of fresh clean water available, play with the puppy when he is awake, and let him sleep when tired and do not disturb when he sleeps. Give him plenty of attention and training. Do not scold or punish him, added Gabriele.

Living with other pets…

Cavaliers are the ultimate groupies and are usually delighted to have the company of cats and dogs of any size. If you have a large dog, you will need to watch your Cavalier puppy carefully while he is small. Because Cavaliers are spaniels with a strong sporting instinct, they should be watched closely around birds and other small animals as well. In households where no one is home during the day, the companionship of another dog or a cat is highly recommended.

Groom me beautiful…

The Cavalier does require regular grooming. A great deal of time and effort is not necessary if the dog is brushed and combed thoroughly at least once a week. Knots and tangles are kept to a minimum if the Cavalier is free of parasites and combed regularly. Ears need particular attention and should be checked and given a quick combing every few days and daily in shedding season.

Cavaliers do shed, particularly in spring and fall. They also shed a little all the time. Their nails should be clipped and the hair between their pads trimmed once a month. Cavaliers are naturally clean dogs.

Health…

All dog breeds have their own set of health problems that they may have, so does this breed. Some of them are Heart Murmurs, Mitral Valve Disease and Syringomyelia (SM) is rapidly emerging as a severe inherited condition in Cavaliers. It is a progressive neurological disease that varies in severity. Hence it is important that one buys a pup from a reputed breeder.

On a concluding note…

“They do very well as therapy dogs as well as dogs for handicapped people. They are excellent dogs for the elderly and for young children,” told Gabriele. “I personally feel this breed is perfect for most types of people except for the extreme outdoor person. They adapt really well to apartment living and love being with people. Unlike most small dogs, they are not snappy, protective and that noisy,” concluded Dinkar.

(With inputs from Dinkar Singh, he has recently introduced the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel for the first time in India and Gabriele G Pollmeier, AnGa’s Star Kennels & Eulenburg Cavalier King Charles Spaniels; www.angasstar.com).

My loving Cavaliers – always like puppies
My two-year-old son just adores our first Cavalier King Charles Spaniel who came to us when she was barely two months old. They love playing together, but we take care that he does not hug her too tight! Our male Cavalier is more sensible and just backs away when he sees that our son wants to hug and kiss him. They are totally house and lap dogs and just love to sleep with us in the bed. The female likes to sleep on our pillows and inside the quilt where as the male loves to sleep behind the pillow with his head on the pillow. They are very gentle dogs in a small very manageable size and look so sweet like puppies even now when both of them are more or less adults.

– Dinkar Singh

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