6 Facts About Cavalier King Charles Spaniels

cavalier king charles spaniel puppies

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a loving companion breed. They’re known for their sweet face, silky coat, floppy ears, and affectionate personality. Here are a few more facts about Cavalier King Charles Spaniels:

1. They Were Bred to be Royal Companions

Toy spaniels can be traced back to at least the Renaissance, if not longer. They were the prized and favorite companions of European royals and aristocrats. What would become the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel began with King Charles I and Charles II in the 17th century.

These small, adorable dogs continued to be valued companions to the nobility, particularly British aristocrats, through the 19th century. They continue to be a popular breed today and have even been featured in several famous dog paintings throughout history.

2. Cavalier King Charles Spaniels and King Charles Spaniels are Different Breeds

Later during the 19th century, British Aristocrats started crossing toy spaniels with Asian toy breeds to create what is now known as the English Toy Spaniel. In the United Kingdom, these dogs are called King Charles Spaniels. Although they share a similar name in the UK, they are a different breed from Cavalier King Charles Spaniels.

In the 1920s, Roswell Eldridge, a wealthy American, offered a cash prize to British breeders who could bring back the “Old World-style spaniels”. Breeders in the UK took on the challenge and revived the more traditional spaniels from before they were crossed with Asian toy breeds. This line of spaniels was called the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and became the separate spaniel breed we know today.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are larger than King Charles Spaniels (or English Toy Spaniels if you’re in the United States). They also tend to have a flatter skull that is not as domed as the King Charles Spaniel’s as well as a longer muzzle and ears that are set higher. Although they tend to be less snub-nosed than King Charles Spaniels, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are still brachycephalic dogs.

3. Their Coat Comes in Four Distinct Colors

According to official breed standards, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel coat comes in four distinct colors – Ruby, Blenheim, Black and Tan, and Tricolor.


A Cavalier with a Ruby coat is entirely chestnut. Some Ruby Cavaliers may have some white in their coats, but AKC conformation show rules consider that a fault.


A Blenheim coat is a coat that is mostly pearly white with rich chestnut markings. This is in honor of Blenheim Palace, the battle of Blenheim, and, in particular, John Churchill, the 1st Duke of Marlborough.

He and his wife kept and bred King Charles Spaniels with chestnut and white markings for hunting. When he won the Battle of Blenheim, his estate was named Blenheim to honor his victory. This is why red and white coats in both King Charles Spaniels and Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are referred to as Blenheim.

Black and Tan

Black and Tan Cavaliers have black coats with tan highlights. These highlights tend to show up as eyebrows, on the cheeks, on the legs, and under the tail. This coat color is also referred to as “King Charles”.


With a tricolor coat on a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, the coat is mostly black and white with tan markings. In this case, the tan markings usually show up inside the ears, on the eyebrows, inside the legs, and on the underside of the tail. This coat color is referred to as “Prince Charles”.

4. Cavs Are Versatile and Athletic

Although they are one of the smallest dog breeds and are lap dogs that love to cuddle, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are also versatile dogs that can have jobs and compete in sports. Their affectionate, docile nature makes them a great fit for work as emotional support or therapy dogs.

These little dogs may be companions, but they are also sporting dogs. Despite their brachycephalic head and small build, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are athletic. Easy to train and athletic to an extent, these dogs tend to do well in obedience events, rally, agility, and other dog sports.

5. They Make Great Family Dogs

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are quintessential companion dogs, and they are considered one of the most affectionate dog breeds. They adore their families, are affectionate, and love to cuddle. They also have a sweet disposition and an open, friendly personality.

These small dogs tend to get along well with children, other dogs, and other pets. They thrive on attention, so are usually open to making new friends with just about anyone. This is why they are one of the great dog breeds for large families. Because of their small size, they can be easily injured by accidental falls that can happen with very young children, so you do want to supervise those interactions closely.

6. Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are a Great Option for First-Time Dog Owners

In addition to a loving and playful personality, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are also one of the best dog breeds for first-time dog owners. They are highly intelligent, eager to please, and tend to be naturally obedient. They pick up on things quickly and strive to perform for you; you just need to let them know what you expect.

A Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a true companion dog, which means they bond closely with their families and are happiest when they are receiving attention from them. Because of this, they do not like to be left alone for long periods of time. They are also known for chasing things, even cars, so they should not be let off-leash unless they are in a securely fenced area.

These are just a few facts about Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. If this dog breed sounds like the right one for you, learn more about them, and then take a look at the available Cavalier King Charles Spaniel puppies. You could end up finding your new best friend!