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History of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Breed
  • The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel of today is descended from the small Toy Spaniels seen in so many of the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth century paintings by Titian, Van Dyck, Lely, Stubbs, Gainsborough, Reynolds, and Romney. These paintings show small spaniels with flat heads, high set ears, almond eyes, and rather pointed noses. During Tudor times, Toy Spaniels were quite common as ladies' pets, but it was under the Stuarts that they were given the royal title of King Charles Spaniels.

  • King Charles II (1630-1685) was the monarch of England, Scottland and Wales. He was rarely ever seen without having spaniels near him at his feet. During this time there were no dog registries, dog shows or serious dog breeders. These spaniels though was portrayed in paintings. In fact, King Charles II made a law allowing that the King Charles Spaniel be accepted into any public building included the Houses of Parliament. By the 1850’s, England started taking dog breeding and showing very seriously. Over many decades of breeding along with a financial incentive by American Roswell Eldridge the breed of Cavalier King Charles Spaniel came to fruition in 1928.

  • Miss Mostyn Walker’s dog “Ann’s Son” was the first official Cavalier King Charles and in Crufts the club drew the standard using “Ann’s Son” and the paintings of old to create the standard breed. It wasn’t until 1945 the Kennel Club (British) recognized it as it’s own breed.

  • The breed suffered tremendous setbacks as a result of WWII. Only 6 Cavalier Kings Charles Spaniels survived the war because of food shortages and all Cavaliers today come from the same 6 Cavaliers.

  • The first recorded Cavalier living in America was in 1956 by W. Lyon Brown and Elizabeth Spalding. They started the Cavalier King Charles Club USA.

  • Early on, the CKCSC, USA applied to the AKC for Miscellaneous status, whichwas granted in the 1962. After several applications by the club to gain full recognition were rejected by the AKC, the CKCSC, USA proceeded to go about its own business. A stud book was established, a show system was developed, and a stringent code of ethics was adopted.

  • In 1992, the CKCSC, USA was invited by the AKC to become its parent club for the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, but the membership voted nine to one against accepting the AKC's invitation to affiliate. A small group of CKCSC, USA members formed the American Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Club (ACKCSC), and they applied to the AKC for parent-club status. This was granted, and in March 1995, the breed was officially recognized by the AKC. The CKCSC, USA continues to operate as an independent breed registry with its own specialty- show system, while the ACKCSC became the parent club for the breed within the AKC. Cavaliers went into competition in the Toy Group in the AKC as of January 1, 1996. The ACKCSC held its first National Specialty in May 1997.


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