The small spaniel type dogs have existed for centuries and the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel has made its place in history. They have been painted by the masters and woven in tapestries for centuries together with the aristocratic families of Europe who enjoyed their loyal companionship. Cavaliers were obviously a luxury item, for the average person could not afford to keep and feed a dog that did not work.
Today the Cavalier is directly modeled on its royal ancestors but this did not happen without the effort of an American fancier, Roswell Eldridge. Mr. Eldridge traveled to England in the early 1920's hoping to buy two spaniels. He was unsuccessful, finding a diversity of type and none of the "old type", particularly the head type he desired. Employing Yankee ingenuity and determination, Roswell offered prizes of twenty-five pounds to the best male and best female of the "old type" exhibited at Crufts each year. The motivator worked; interest was generated among breeders to revive the original spaniel. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, breed of toy dog descended from the King Charles spaniel popular in Great Britain under King Charles I and King Charles II in the early 17th century. Attempts in the 1940s to restore the old breed resulted in the development of this toy breed, named for knights of the Middle Ages.
The first Cavaliers were sent to America in 1952 and a national breed club was formed soon after, but because of the small numbers of Cavaliers they did not gain full breed recognition for 40 years. January 1, 1996 saw the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel enter American Kennel Club competition as the 140th recognized breed.
The Cavalier King Charles spaniel has a small, graceful body. The dog stands about about 12 to 13 inches high at the shoulders, and weighs about 13 to 18 lb. The front legs are straight and the back legs are heavily muscled. The chest is moderately deep. Sloped shoulders support the long, slightly arched neck. The skull appears flat, but the dog’s head actually has a gentle curve over the top. A full muzzle tapers slightly and is cone-shaped. The face fills out below large, round, dark-brown eyes, which are set wide apart. Long, high-set ears hang straight down, falling forward to frame the face when the dog is alert. The tail is carried level with the back and is usually in motion. The dog moves with a powerful, free-moving walk that adds to its regal appearance.
The long, silky fur of the Cavalier King Charles spaniel is generally straight but may show a small wave. Long feathered hair grows on the ears, chest, legs, and tail. The feathered feet distinguishes this breed. The long coat requires regular brushing yet is easy to maintain.
The Cavalier King Charles spaniel has a kind and gentle disposition. It is most comfortable in the lap and enjoys walks with its owner. Its unconditional love and dedication makes it the most perfect of all breeds. Whether you live in the country or in the city, this breed is comfortable and confident with its surrounding.