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8 Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Facts: History, Varieties & More

Jordyn Alger

By Jordyn Alger

White and Red Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Puppy

Whether you are thinking of bringing a Cavalier King Charles spaniel into your home or have one, you surely would like to know more about this unique breed. You might be surprised to learn that there is a lot more to this dog than just an adorable face! This gentle, graceful canine is a little breed with a lot of history. If you want to learn more about that history, as well as some other fun facts, keep scrolling below.

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The Top 8 Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Facts

1. They Are Incredibly Affectionate

If you already own a Cavalier King Charles spaniel, you certainly know how affectionate they can be. This breed is among the friendliest dog breeds, always eager to show affection to their loved ones. Cavaliers are excellent with young children, pets, and strangers. There are few people that this dog does not immediately want to shower with love.

Their sweet nature makes them a beloved dog breed, which is why it is among America’s top 20 most popular dogs.


Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Image Credit: Leah Kelley, Pexels

2. They Are Known to be Excellent Therapy Dogs

The gentle nature of the Cavalier King Charles spaniel makes them a non-threatening presence for many. This quality, combined with their desire to show plenty of affection, makes this breed an excellent therapy dog.

It makes sense that the Cavalier King Charles spaniel is such a great therapy dog, considering that it was initially bred to be a companion.

3. They Are Not Just Lapdogs

Cavalier King Charles spaniels are a toy dog breed and were bred to be companions. However, that does not mean that they are only capable of lounging around. These dogs were once used for hunting and still retain their instincts.

They are quick and keen dogs, so taking them off a leash is not a good idea unless you’re in a secure area. If their prey drive is activated, they can dart off quicker than a flash and end up in trouble. Even if well-trained, they may not heed your calls to return in favor of racing after something they consider prey.


Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Image Credit: Chris Alcock, Shutterstock

4. They Are Named After Royalty

This fact may be a bit obvious, considering the breed’s name is Cavalier King Charles spaniel, but it is so interesting that we thought we’d include it. King Charles I and King Charles II of England were enamored with the breed.

It is said that Charles II, in particular, was so devoted to his dogs that he brought them everywhere he went. Some say he even tried to allow them into parliament. So, the breed was suitably named for these two devoted monarchs.

5. They Come in Four Main Colors

Like any breed, there are plenty of color varieties that the Cavalier King Charles spaniel can display. Black and tan Cavaliers are precisely like they sound. They are primarily black with tan splotches around the eyes, cheeks, inner ears, and under the tail. They also have tan spots on their chest and legs.

Ruby Cavaliers are entirely red across their bodies. Tricolor Cavaliers have mostly white bodies with black markings along the face and parts of the body. There are also spots of tan over the eyes, the cheeks, the inner ears, and the underside of the tail.

Blenheim Cavaliers have white bodies with chestnut splotches around the face and body. There is a streak of white between the ears that is called the “Blenheim spot.”

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Image Credit: otsphoto, Shutterstock

6. An Urban Legend Was Made About These Dogs

How many breeds can say that they have an urban legend based around them? The Cavalier King Charles spaniel can!

King Charles II was notoriously devoted to his dogs and was said to love them so much that he did not want to be parted with them. According to legend, Charles II insisted that his dogs be allowed into the Houses of Parliament and even went so far as decreeing it to make it happen. However, there is no evidence that such a law ever truly existed. So, until we know for sure, it is little more than an entertaining myth.

7. The Breed Split into Two

The breed that started the Cavalier King Charles spaniel was eventually bred with other toy breeds, likely pugs, to create the English Toy Spaniel. The English toy spaniel became increasingly popular, and the original spaniel nearly faded into obscurity.

However, a determined individual sought to bring back the spaniel that King Charles so loved. American fancier Roswell Eldridge traveled to England and offered money to anyone who could produce a spaniel that closely resembled the originator. While initially, no one was interested in reviving the breed alongside Eldridge, eventually, interest grew.

While Eldridge did not live long enough to see his ambitions grow into achievements, he successfully kickstarted a movement that created the Cavalier King Charles spaniel.

Beagle & Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Mix
Photo credit: pabloasc, Pixabay

8. One of the Breed’s Color Varieties Has Historical Reference

The Blenheim Cavalier King Charles spaniel has a legend attached to it. According to the story, the Duke of Marlborough loved the Cavaliers. Many of his Cavaliers had chestnut and white coloration. One day, the duke went off to fight in a battle at Blenheim, and his wife stayed behind to watch over one of their dogs giving birth.

During the battle, the duchess would press her thumb against the dog’s forehead to comfort her pet and herself. Once the battle had been won, the litter of puppies was born with spots on their heads. Due to the circumstances, many believed that the duchess’s thumb left these marks. This spot is now referred to as a “Blenheim spot.”

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Learning new things about our beloved dogs is always a fun experience. We hope you enjoyed reading these fun facts about the Cavalier King Charles spaniel. While the Cavalier King Charles spaniel is an adorable breed, it has so much more to offer than its looks. It has a rich history, enduring athleticism, and plenty of legends surrounding its development.

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Featured Image Credit: Steshka Willems, Pexels

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