A Cavalier King Charles’ ancestry

The Cavalier King Charles spaniel is an absolutely amazing breed of dog with quite an interesting ancestry. Including Royal lines that date back to the time of the English Kings and nobility! To be perfectly honest tracing the early history of the breed is a bit of a problem. Whatever is known I am happy to share with you so please keep reading to learn about this super animal’s history.

The Cavalier spaniel was a companion dog to the rich and famous, people who could and did afford to keep a dog solely for companionship purposes. In King Henry VIII’s time, royal ladies were only allowed to keep the Cavalier spaniel. Believe it or not, the dogs provided entertainment and get this – kept the ladies’ feet warm and cosy by snuggling up underneath their flowing gowns!

Named after a King and his Castle

Let us take a quick look at the evolution of the Cavalier King Charles spaniel through the centuries. In the 16th century, the English nobility were fond of a small type of spaniel mainly because they believed it kept the fleas away. Ladies kept them in their laps when riding in carriages to keep warm. The breed is very closely associated with King Charles II though King Charles I also kept a spaniel with him.

The Cavalier King Charles spaniel was named after King Charles II who was absolutely besotted with this toy breed of dog. Interbreeding over time has given us the spaniel as we see it today. High slightly bulging forehead, ear set high up and wide set eyes. Due to breeding the rather long muzzle of the dog has come to be flattened and slanting upward a bit.

When King William III was reigning the long nosed spaniel was sort of phased out due to breeding with the Pug, popular at the time in the Netherlands. While the breed became flat nosed with some Pug like features, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel as we know it today was born.  The Cavalier King Charles spaniel breed is actually the product of American breeders back in the 1920s; true heirs to the King Charles II’s royal dogs. The prefix Cavalier was given to the breed around the 1940s to help differentiate them from their ancestors.

Difference of opinion

It would appear that there are some discrepancies between what the English call the Cavalier King Charles as opposed to what the Americans believe is the Cavalier King Charles. In the UK the English Toy Spaniel is referred to as the King Charles spaniel; however, in the US, one of the Toy spaniel colours is referred to as King Charles.

Discrepancies aside, the Cavalier King Charles spaniel is one of the loveliest breeds for a companion dog. The dogs are just brimming with affection, friendliness and love.

They love the attention and enjoy being loved!

Next time we will discuss whether a Cavalier King Charles dog is right for you and your family.  Till then, bye from George ‘woof’.

Did you like this article?  Do you have any questions?  Please leave a comment below.

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  1. It was very amusing when my tricolour, Chesney, snuggled down in bed with me for the first time. I’d never known a dog like him. He always keeps my feet warm in bed indeed thinks it’s his duty and privilege to do so!! He also snuggles next to my left hip and keeps it warm when I’m sitting; why he chooses the left I don’t know except that happens to be the one that hurts after I had an accident in the past. His favourite place on a journey is on my lap… even when I’m driving. He always gives me a ‘look’ when I insist he gets in the boot. In fact he can look very disdainful at times if something doesn’t please him… Without question he is the most loyal dog I have EVER had – absolutely devoted to me and quite aloof to others. Although never aggressive, he usually totally ignores people unless he has met them several times and found them worthy of his respect. Bless!

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