Originating in the 1600's and Named after King Charles II, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel ("CKCS" for short) is sometimes referred to as the spaniel to the Kings. These lovable dogs were a favorite of royalty and were often used a lap warmers and foot warmers in many royal homes. Owners will tell you they still believe themselves to be royalty in every way!
Despite the spaniel name Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are definitely house dogs and fall in to the toy group. According to the AKC (American Kennel Club) these dogs should weigh between 13-18 pounds and stand between 12-13 inches high. They are considered affectionate, gentle and graceful but they can also be quite fearless and easily tempted by a squirrel chase (at one time they were bred to flush small birds and prey from hiding and they still have that hunt and chase drive)!
True to their heritage, Cavaliers love both a lap and a nap. They are typically very trusting and easygoing dogs who never meet a stranger. That being said for an owner who prefers a more independent breed, the Cavalier may come across as a little on the "needy" side. Since they are eager to please their owners, Cavaliers are generally easy to train but due to their small size may take a little longer to house train than larger dogs (crate training is a must).
According to AKC show regulations, the CKCS only come in four coat colors; however, there are a few additional. Traditional coats accepted in the show arena are Blenheim, Black and Tan, Tri-Color and Ruby. In reality, there are a few other coats that occasionally appear and may be appealing to those who enjoy breaking the mold. Those include the rare solid black and chocolates (which look similar to a black and tan but are a rich brown color instead). If you're interested in showing or breeding your CKCS you need to be very careful about understanding color and coats; however, if your just looking for a great pet you should search out what most tugs at your heart and comes from the healthiest bloodline. As there are many health concerns in this breed I think proper screening and DNA testing is much more important than coat color.
If you want to continue your research of these adorable breeds, we suggest the following trustworthy sites for accurate information:
We also welcome you to learn about this breed's health issues, how to find a responsible breeder and why we support the breeding of the Cavachon and Cavapoo hybrids by reading our other blogs posts!
Most of the people we interact with are just searching for the perfect pet but on occasion they are searching for a show dog. Or, we find that people who are searching for a pet are being told they're buying a show dog when in fact they are paying show dog prices without show dog quality. For that reason, we thought it might be useful to explain what to look for in a true show quality Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.
Before doing so, please know that a "fault" as used in this post does not mean there is any health problem with your puppy (or prospective puppy). A fault is simply the show term for anything that deviates from the breed standard and will be counted against a show dog. Some faults (called minor faults) will just reduce how they score (such as heavy ticking, a little too much wave in the coat, etc.) while other faults are considered major faults and can stop the dog from entering the show at all (visible structural problems, aggressive temperament).
Now, here's what to look for if you want to consider showing your CKCS:
As a quick disclaimer, we rarely show dogs and focus much more on health and temperament then show quality. That being said, if you are searching for a showing mentor or looking for a puppy that might qualify to show, please reach out and we can point you in the right direction!
Many people never think to ask a breeder why they breed dogs. The answer can be enlightening and help identify those breeding with purpose versus those breeding solely for profit. If you would like to know why we breed dogs, here is what we want you to know.
First and foremost please know that dog breeding is a hot topic - especially in our family where so many of us have served on our local SPCA Board giving both our time and money to help animals in our local shelters. We understand that many of our fellow board members and friends have views that range from "adopt don't shop" to "breeding is unethical." I was even recently told that I am single handedly killing shelter dogs by breeding other dogs. As much as we agree with the fact that shelter dogs deserve a happy home and another chance, we can't accept the blame for our shelters being overcrowded with unwanted animals, nor will we allow those who feel that way to deter us from our "why." Puppy mills, irresponsible owners and unethical breeders who do not require the return of their dog are to blame for the existence of animals in our local shelters. Reputable breeders did not create that problem - it's what sets us apart.
We fully support our shelters and we know that for the most part, shelter dogs can make incredible companions. Our family has had several shelter dogs throughout our lives and each one was well loved. However, not every home is suitable for a shelter dog. Some may need a smaller dog, some may need a dog less prone to cause allergies and some may simply not have the knowledge or energy to cope with a dog that has been surrendered for behavioral problems. Some people simply want to know their puppies parents, meet the breeder, know that everything has been done to reduce future behavioral issues with early socialization and so on.
We are not here to compete with shelters. We believe all dogs deserve love. The people who adopt our dogs have told us time and time again that they've been looking for years in shelters and rescue but have always come up empty handed. When we find a Cavalier or Cavalier hybrid in a shelter, we make sure it gets adopted (or we rescue it). Our clients are generally empty nesters who can't physically handle a larger shelter dog or unknown behavior issues, families who have known the love of a Cavalier and can't live without them in their lives, those with the need for a less allergenic breed or those who are first time dog owners and simply need the support and resources of a reputable breeder. These families represent our "why."
Our decision to breed as a family did not come easily and we were very specific in the gap we wanted to fill. After falling in love with a Cavachon we started searching endlessly for others in rescue, shelters and re-homing sites. Years and years went by (literally), and we could not get our hands on another Cavachon. In fact, at one point my sister tried to steal my Cavachon - she was that desperate for what she deemed "the best dog ever." However, we were lucky enough to eventually welcome an awesome Cavalier in to our household. We quickly realized that the Cavalier was in large part what made the Cavachon such an incredible breed. This is how it all began.
We decided to place breeding dogs within our own family (I'm the oldest of five and also have five children) and to breed both Cavaliers and Cavachons. Even within the breeding community, we took heat for this decision (if you ever want to see something more heated than a 2020 Presidential election, bring up "hybrid breeding" at a dog show and watch the fireworks begin). We worked to identify DNA clear dogs with great bloodlines and we've committed to never overbreeding a dog. As a result, we can guarantee your dog from known defects or we will return your money - it's that easy. Since that decision, we've grown to include loving Guardian Families within our program because again, we believe every dog deserves love. Our dogs are not kenneled, they are not used, they are not forced to breed if they are unhealthy, unwilling or simply don't like being a mom (we've yet to have a male refuse - just in case you were wondering).
In conclusion, we breed because we have a sincere desire to improve the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel - to do comprehensive DNA and health screenings to reduce the health problems that plague this breed from years of inbreeding. We are not out to create the perfect show dog, we strive to create the perfect pet. We breed because we know we are offering a dog that can't be found in our shelters. We breed because we know we can offer our families a puppy they deserve - one that is socialized, healthy and ready to become the perfect pet. We breed because we can afford to - we all have separate income sources unrelated to breeding so we don't need to cut corners, skip health screens or breed dogs who candidly should be retired. We breed because we love these dogs and are willing to take the heat of those who always have something negative to say in order to share our puppies with those who we know will love them as much as we do.
This is our why.
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