Since the 15th century, English royalty and aristocracy had toy spaniels as part of the household. Not only used as a small sporting dog, he became a favorite lap dog for both men and women of nobility.
The original small spaniels favored by King Charles II in the mid to late century, had a longer nose and flatter head. However in later centuries, the King Charles Spaniel acquired its pug like features, such as a more domed skull, undershot jaw and upturned nose.
During the 1800’s, the Duke of Marlborough gave the name of hisancestral home, Blenkeim, to one of the distinctive chestnut and white liveries of the cavalier breed. Later in the mid 19th century Queen Victoria continued to maintain the breed by naming her cavalier-type spaniel “Dash.” However, toward the latter part of that century the breed became more focused toward the shorter faced, domed head lineage.
Successful breeding in the late 19th century led to a diminished population of the longer nosed toy spaniel.
In 1928, a Cavalier King Charles spaniel club was formed where a distinction was made between the two similar spaniels with the “Cavalier King Charles Spaniel” standard finally registered by the Kennel club of Great Britain in 1945 as a separate breed from the “King Charles Spaniel.”
Both breeds continue to this day with their distinctive features.
The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel has become popular around the world. His distinctive face, gentle expression, and exquisitely silky coat and loving nature are key characteristics of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.
By: Linda Eastabrooks
Former AKC Breeder
Article updated 8/18/2012