10 Incredible Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Facts

Calmest dog - cavalier king charles spaniel dogs sitting together
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Written by Janet F. Murray

Updated: August 26, 2023

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Cavalier King Charles spaniel facts are fascinating. These dogs are a toy sporting breed and descendants of the popular lap dogs of the royal courts in France. Many royals doted on their spaniels, pampering them shamelessly, with this trend continuing among pet lovers today. But, there are some incredible Cavalier King Charles spaniel facts that you may not be aware of besides their royal history. For example, their heads are a round apple shape with relatively short noses. These features ensure a delicate appearance. Additionally, their long fluffy ears and luxurious coats increase their inherent charm. But other facts about this large toy breed make them even more alluring for dog lovers.

King Charles II of England proclaimed that all dogs were welcome in public spaces, from the Royal Court to Parliament.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel standing in the grass

Cavalier King Charles spaniel fun facts include almost becoming extinct but being rescued by Roswell Eldridge and a prize of 25 sterling silver pounds.

1. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Facts – A Breed With Ancient Roots

Cavalier King Charles spaniels were developed from breeds dating back to the 1600s.

Breeders developed the Cavalier from the original English toy spaniel and Asia toy breeds in the 1600s. However, by the 20th century, their look had changed drastically. Consequently, wealthy American dog lover, Roswell Eldridge, stepped in to save the day. Eldridge offered a prize of 25 sterling silver pounds to anyone who could breed a dog that looked the most like the original King Charles spaniels. Various breeders took up the challenge, and a sturdy dog emerged in 1945. This breed became known as the Cavalier King Charles spaniel, now popular in England and North America.

2. Dogs in Parliament – Another Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Fun Fact

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel playing in the grass

Breeders developed the Cavalier from the original English toy spaniel and Asia toy breeds in the 1600s.

King Charles II of England lived from 1630 to 1685. During his life, he was well-known for being a dog lover. For this reason, Charles always wanted a spaniel by his side. In support of his passion for this breed, he even proclaimed that all dogs were welcome in public spaces, from the Royal Court to Parliament. However, parliamentary members suggested an amendment to this motion in March 1991. Instead of allowing all dogs in parliament, the new motion changed to enable the removal of dogs that were a nuisance.

3. A Queen’s Favorite Pet

Calmest dog - cavalier king charles spaniel dogs sitting together

King Charles II passed a parliamentary motion allowing all dogs in public places and parliament, including the Cavalier King Charles spaniel.

Queen Victoria was born in 1819 and was monarch of the British Realm from 1837 until she died in 1901. Her love for animals, especially dogs, was well known. Queen Victoria owned a Cavalier King Charles spaniel named Dash. Sir John Stanley presented her with the gift of this Cavalier spaniel in 1833. This canine became one of her favorite companions, with the queen taking Dash with her when visiting friends. Unfortunately, Dash died in 1840, leaving her heartbroken. Following the death of her beloved Dash, many of her subjects gifted Queen Victoria with porcelain figurines and paintings of the Cavalier spaniel.

4. A Natural Flea Repellant During the Bubonic Plague

Historians believe the lapdogs helped significantly in preventing fleas from biting their owners, limiting the spread of the disease to some extent.

Ancestors used the Cavalier King Charles spaniels to attract fleas. During the Bubonic Plague, many believed fleas were responsible for spreading the disease. Consequently, they hatched a plan to use the dogs to attract the pests and stop the spread of the Plague. Historians believe the lapdogs helped significantly in preventing fleas from biting their owners, limiting the spread of the disease to some extent.

5. A Fascinating Legend – The Blenheim Spot

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel (Canis familiaris) - wind blowing ears

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are smart and attentive dogs.

Most Cavalier King Charles spaniels share a unique trait – the Blenheim spot. This spot is usually in the middle of their foreheads and is chestnut-colored. The legend behind this mark is both fascinating and romantic. The Duke of Marlborough fought the battle of Blenheim on August 13, 1704, and won. Many people report that his wife, Sarah, comforted herself by stroking her pregnant Cavalier’s forehead. Then, the dog went into labor just as the news of the victory broke. Coincidentally or not, all the puppies were born with a russet-colored spot on their foreheads. This mark became known as the Blenheim spot.

6. Intelligence Ranking – 44 Out of 131

Calmest dog - cavalier king charles spaniel in fall leaves

The Cavalier King Charles spaniels typically obeyed the first command 50% of the time.

Stanley Coren tested 131 dog breeds for his 1994 book, The Intelligence of Dogs. The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel ranked 44th in these tests, two of which included working and obedience. The outcome was that the Cavalier King Charles spaniels typically obeyed the first command 50% of the time. In comparison, a more intelligent breed responds to a first command 95% of the time. This rating does not necessarily mean that the Cavalier is a stupid dog. However, it may take longer for owners to train them. Regardless of what they lack in smarts, they make up for in their eagerness to please their owners. Exercise patience, and you will enjoy the rewards.

7. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Facts Continued – The 140th Breed

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel (Canis familiaris) - running with stick in mouth

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels love to run and play.

S.E. Shirley and 12 other dog breed club representatives founded the American Kennel Club in 1884. Consequently, it is one of the oldest organizations in the world. In addition, the American Kennel Club is one of the most important to hold a dog to breed standards. In 1995 the American Kennel Club officially recognized the Cavalier King Charles spaniel as a breed. As a result, these little dogs became the 140th breed to be added to this list. This rank puts them in the distinguished company of English Bulldogs, German Shepherds, and others.

8. Largest of the Toy Breeds

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Cavalier King Charles spaniels weigh between 15 and 20 pounds, grow to heights of 12 to 13 inches, and live from 9 to 14 years.

Cavalier King Charles spaniels are the biggest of the toy breeds. These friendly sporting dogs can grow to 13 inches tall and weigh up to 20 pounds. Cavaliers are also bigger than their cousins, the King Charles spaniel, which can reach 11 inches and weigh between ten and 15 pounds. In addition, Cavaliers grow to a ripe old age, and it isn’t uncommon for them to live 14 years or longer.

9. Health Issues – Sad Facts About Cavalier King Charles Spaniels

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Running

The Cavalier King Charles spaniel is a beloved breed for its loving and gentle personality but has quite a few health issues.

Unfortunately, Cavalier King Charles spaniels have a reputation as among the most inbred species. This inbreeding has led to multiple health issues. Heart murmurs, deafness, seizures, and canine hip dysplasia are only a few of the many serious diseases that may afflict Cavaliers. While these are several of the more common diseases, Cavaliers can suffer from many others. Studies show that Cavaliers carry many mutations linked to severe health conditions.

10. Famous People and Their Cavaliers

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Puppy

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel’s are very small dogs. As adults they typically weigh less than 13 pounds.

It shouldn’t be surprising that Cavalier King Charles spaniels are popular dogs. With their huge eyes and fluffy ears, they easily steal your heart. Even celebrities and the world’s rich and famous aren’t immune to their charms. For instance, President Ronald Reagan and his wife Nancy had a beloved Cavalier named Rex. Rex finds himself in the distinguished company of Harley and Hooper, the cherished Cavaliers of actress Courtney Cox. Jennifer Love Hewitt, Brad Paisley, Jaclyn Smith, Tom Selleck, Sylvester Stallone, Frank Sinatra, and Lauren Bacall have in the past or now own Cavaliers. So you’re in good company if you have one of these dogs as a pet.

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About the Author

I'm a freelance writer with more than eight years of content creation experience. My content writing covers diverse genres, and I have a business degree. I am also the proud author of my memoir, My Sub-Lyme Life. This work details the effects of living with undiagnosed infections like rickettsia (like Lyme). By sharing this story, I wish to give others hope and courage in overcoming their life challenges. In my downtime, I value spending time with friends and family.

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