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This gentle, affectionate breed won over royal hearts as early as the 17th century. Cavalier King Charles Spaniels combine the lovable traits of a companion dog with the lively sporting instincts of their ancestors and are beloved, popular pets today. Not convinced? Check out some of the things Cav owners would tell you.

Cavs Are Toy-Sized Bundles of Love

They are one of the friendliest breeds, showering affection on their family and happily getting along with other dogs, kids, cats, and total strangers. In fact, strangers are friends they haven’t met yet.

The Beautiful Large Round Eyes Are a Breed Hallmark

The warm, dark brown color of their eyes and the cushioning under the eyes create a melting, limpid look which contributes to their gentle expression.

Geoff Hardy via Getty Images

They’ve Had Many Names Over the Years

As the breed developed, they were called by many different names. In America, they were known as the English Toy Spaniel, while in the United Kingdom, they were called the King Charles Spaniel. Breed fanciers in the 1920s sought to revive “old world” spaniels. As the breed rose in popularity, they were dubbed the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels Make Great Therapy Dogs

Originally bred as companion dogs, it’s only natural that they excel as therapy dogs. If your Cav has a loving, warm temperament and you have the time and dedication to work with him, consider the AKC Therapy Dog Program.

Yes, They’re Lapdogs, But They’re Also Sporting Dogs

Cavs retain their original hunting instincts and can be off like a shot after small creatures or if they catch a scent. They may be so intent on the chase that even a well-trained dog may not come when called. Best not to let them off-leash when out and about and to have a fenced yard at home.

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The Cav is a Natural Athlete

A combination of athleticism and trainability help the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel excel at sports like agility,  rally, and obedience.

They’re Named for Royalty

Both King Charles I and his son, Charles II  were devotees of the breed. Charles II was so attached to his spaniels that they went with him everywhere. He issued a royal decree that the dogs should be allowed in all public spaces, including Parliament. The breed was even named for the monarch.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels Come in Four Colors

The patterns and colors of their coats are distinct. They include:

  • Blenheim — chestnut markings on a white ground with a white blaze between the ears and a lozenge-shaped marking in the center, called the “Blenheim spot”
  • Tricolor — black markings on a white ground; with tan markings over the eyes and on their cheeks, as well as inside their ears and on the underside of the tail
  • Ruby — a rich red all over
  • Black-and-tan — black with tan markings like the tricolor, as well as on their chest and legs

sad pure-bred dog, puppy Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, lie, close up muzzle
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Blenheim Coloring Came From Blenheim Palace

One of the first to incorporate the Blenheim coloring in Cavalier King Charles Spaniels was the Marlborough family. In the early 19th century, they bred a line of red-and-whites at Blenheim Palace, which is where the coat got its name.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels Are a Popular Breed

Since their introduction as the AKC’s 140th recognized breed in 1995, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel has consistently remained in the top 20 dog breeds. The popularity of the breed is said by fanciers to be due to their versatility, excelling with both active owners and homebodies alike.

Related article: Cavalier King Charles Spaniel History: Behind the Breed
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