About the Breed

Early History of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
The history and evolution of the Cavalier is a bit uncertain.  From paintings, circa 1500's, we find red and white spaniels. Toward the mid-1600th century some little spaniels were sent to France where they became very popular! Mary Queen of Scots was said to have had one was by her side when she was beheaded in 1587! 

King James I received several small toy spaniels as a gift from the emperor of Japan. His son, King Charles I, continued to enjoy these friendly little dogs and they were free to roam the castle. Yet it wasn't until his son, King Charles II, came to the throne that the monarchy really went to the dogs! He so adored the dogs that they were with him at all times. It is said that he even slept with them and allowed them to whelp puppies in his bed!  During this time these spaniels became known as King Charles Spaniels. The colors of the spaniels were mostly red and white or black and white although a solid black one was known to exist at that time too.  In the 19th century they were crossed with the Pryame to bring about the black and tan color. Later the black and tans were crossed with a Miniature Toy Trawler to create the solid ruby colored spaniels. 

As time went on the King Charles Spaniel fell out of favor with the aristocracy of England and was replaced by the Pug. As the years passed the King Charles Spaniel developed into a smaller, domed head, short muzzled breed that we call English Toy Spaniels in America. (They are called King Charles Spaniels in Europe.) None of the longer muzzled "old" spaniels seemed to survive after WWI when dog shows were shut down due to the war.  

In 1920, an American, Roswell Eldridge, traveled to England to purchase a pair of the longer-muzzled spaniels that he had seen in paintings but found they no longer existed. In 1926 he offered a prize of 25 pounds to the dog and bitch who most resembled the longer nosed spaniels from the old paintings. Unfortunately, Mr. Eldridge did not live to see the results but in 1928 the dog winner was Ann's Son. In that same year a small group of breeders at Crufts founded the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Club. This "new" breed name was chosen and thus the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel was born!   However, again due to WWII, there was a delay in recognizing the breed. It wasn't until 1946 that England's Kennel Club gave the breed it's first certificates (similar to points in the US),. The first champion was Daywell Roger. His dam had been sired by Ann's Son!! 

Finally, the Cavalier breed came to the USA around 1952. It is believed that Sally Brown received her first Cavalier from Lady Mary Forward in England. She found, however, that the AKC did not recognize the breed so she sought out other owners and formed the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Club, USA (
www.ckcsc.org), in 1954. Sally's sister-in-law Gertrude Brown, Trudy, later became the "guardian" of the breed and held many shows on her property in Kentucky. She remained highly involved in the breed in her death in 1983.

In 1995 the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel was recognized by the AKC and in January of 1996 Cavaliers began competing for AKC Championship points. Today both clubs, the American Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Club (
ACKCSC ) and the "old" club, the CKCSC, USA (see above) both register Cavaliers and provide championships within their own clubs.

French Mistress