- The Cavalier's ancestors were spaniels that were developed at least by the 1300s to flush birds into nets or to waiting falcons.
- Some smaller spaniels were probably bred with Oriental toy dogs such as the Japanese chin to create a lapdog version of the spaniel.
- These dogs were known as comforter spaniels and were used to serve as lap and foot warmers, surrogate hot water bottles, and for companionship.
- In the 1700s, King Charles II became an ardent fan of the little dogs, to the point that he was accused of ignoring matters of state in favor of his dogs. The dogs were dubbed King Charles spaniels in recognition of his association.
- After King Charles' death, the Duke of Marlboro became an advocate of the breed. The red and white color, which he favored, is called Blenheim after his estate.
- The King Charles spaniel remained a favorite with the upper class, but the look of the breed gradually changed until by the early 1900s, they had pushed in faces.
- In 1926, a wealthy American traveled to England in search of the old type dogs with a longer nose. Unable to find any, he offered a large cash prize to the best old type pointy-nosed dogs at the next year's shows. The challenge set breeders to reviving the old type, which then became known as the Cavalier King Charles spaniel.
- After World War II, only a handful of Cavaliers remained. Six dogs became the foundation of the modern breed.
- The Kennel Club in England recognized the Cavalier in 1945. But only when a Cavalier won Best in Show at the prestigious Crufts dog show did the breed capture the public's attention.
- Cavaliers came to America in the 1940s. Fanciers disagreed, however, over whether they wanted AKC recognition.
- The AKC recognized the Cavalier in 1996 amidst great controversy. To this day, there are two separate national Cavalier clubs, one AKC affiliated and one not.
- In the past decade, Cavaliers have had a 735 per cent increase in AKC registrations, more than any other breed.
Cavalier King Charles Behavior Concerns
- Makes a loving and entertaining companion.
- Extremely good with children.
- Very affectionate.
- Makes a good lapdog as well as fun playmate.
- A happy dog, not easily bothered by things.
- Eager to please and quick to learn.
- Does best with reward-based training involving food.
- Outgoing toward strangers.
- Gets along well with other pets and dogs.
- Enjoys retrieving.
- Usually enjoys swimming.
Cavalier King Charles Suggested Exercises
- Makes a calm housedog.
- Requires daily exercise in the form of a long walk or energetic games.
- A good candidate for dog parks, but should be kept separate from larger dogs.
- Obedience training provides mental exercise.
Cavalier King Charles Grooming
- Coat is moderately long, silky, and either flat or slightly wavy.
- The coat needs brushing and combing two to three times a week to prevent matts.
- The ears must be checked regularly for problems.
- Shedding is average.
Suggested Cavalier King Charles Nutritional Needs
- Cavaliers have a tendency to become overweight.
- Adult dogs should be fed a balanced diet, with restricted calories if the dog starts to gain too much weight.
- Puppies should be fed a balanced a puppy food.