The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is one of the most loving and gentle of dogs and offers his/her master companionship, devotion, and love beyond measure. Their quintessential temperament is that of a happy, carefree, tail-wagging spaniel whose sole purpose in life is ‘to please’. At KilbridesPride Cavaliers in Sioux Falls, we take great pride in breeding these amazing and affectionate dogs.
HistoryThe toy spaniel was a part of court life in Europe as early as the 1400’s. They have been referred to as ‘comforter’ spaniels because they snuggled and nuzzled their masters. Van Dyck, the Dutch Master, immortalized these toy dogs forever in his paintings. Other period painters also tucked these spaniels within their canvases as both background and subject. “Their association with the royal families of England has irrevocably linked their evolution to ‘that sceptered isle’ (from the American Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Club website). Well known names such as Mary Queen of Scots, Charles I, Charles II, and the Duke and Duchess of Marlborough all helped to popularize the breed.
In spite of the breed's popularity, during the late 1600’s pug-faced dogs came into fashion and King Charles Spaniels were interbred with flat-nosed breeds. As a result, the original King Charles Spaniel breed faced near extinction, supplanted by the separate breed of shorter muzzled, domed-headed King Charles Spaniels. In 1925, Roswell Eldridge, an American who appreciated the art of the old Masters, became intrigued by the old Cavalier type and offered £25 at Crufts Dog Show in the United Kingdom for the successful reintroduction of the Cavalier classes. Because of the generosity and concern of Mr. Eldridge, the Cavalier was saved for posterity. The United Kingdom Cavalier King Charles Club was founded amidst this effort in 1928.
During World War II, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels did not fare well. By the end of the war there were only six surviving members of the breed—Ann’s Son and his littermate Wizbang Timothy, Carlo of Ttiweh, Aristide of Ttiweh, Duce of Baemore, and Kobba of Kuranda. All current Cavalier King Charles Spaniels have descended from these six Cavaliers.
Health ConcernsHealth-conscious puppy breeders should have a sire and dam tested for inherited eye defects (juvenile cataracts among them) and cardiac mitral valve (MVD). However, in spite of the abilities to test for potential health problems, Mother Nature is not entirely predictable. As Cavaliers age, they are subjected to health concerns similar to humans.
A heart murmur detected by a veterinary cardiac specialist warrants investigation to rule out potentially serious consequences for your dog. Any “clouding” or whiteness in the pupil of the eye, or any irritation of the eye, may warrant medication and treatment. The ACKCSC notes that “Juvenile cataracts (an inherited disease) and ‘dry eye’ are known to afflict the breed on occasion.” Slipping patellas (knee bone) may be a problem which is correctable with surgery. Of course, Cavaliers are not immune to cancers. Any sudden change in the behavior of your Cavalier should be noted and brought to the attention of your veterinarian.