Tracing their origin back to the early 1000s, small spaniel-type breeds were found in abundance around England as close companions to kings and other royalty during the Renaissance period. These toy-sized spaniels were a favorite childhood pet of King Charles II of England and remained a favorite for British aristocrats well into the 1800s. During the late 19th century, they were likely crossed with the Japanese Chin and Pug, giving them a flat-faced, domed skull appearance and received the name King Charles Spaniel (known as the English Toy Spaniel in America). Due to high demand for the appearance of the old-style spaniel before Asian breeds were incorporated, King Charles Spaniels were then crossed with the now-extinct Toy Trawler Spaniel, a predecessor of the Brittany and Cocker Spaniel, to produce longer-muzzled dogs without a domed skull, now known as the modern-day Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. In the mid-1950s, the first Cavaliers were brought to the United States and are now one of the most popular companion breeds in America.
Unlike the English Toy Spaniel, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel has a longer muzzle and mesaticephalic head shape as opposed to the flat-faced, domed skull appearance of their cousin. These toy-sized spaniels are moderately proportioned and well-balanced with a long, silky coat that can come in four distinct colors such as blenheim (red and white), ruby (solid red), tri-color (black and white with tan markings), and black & tan with feathering on the ears, chest, legs, feet, and tail. Standing at no more than 13 inches tall, the Cavalier is widely recognized for their large, dark-colored eyes, giving them a sweet and gentle expression from their sad puppy-dog face. The tail of this small spaniel is carried happily and may be straight or slightly curved.
The friendly and easy-going temperament of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel can attest to their popularity from the early 1000s to the present. The breed is always loving and sociable, making friends with everyone they meet. The Cavalier is known for being a great lap dog and family companion because of their love for human companionship, following in your footsteps throughout the day. Having a dislike for being left alone for long periods of time, this dependent-type of personality can lead to separation anxiety and are best suited for homes with stay-at-home parents or retired couples. The very intelligent Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is patient and their eagerness to please is a plus for first-time dog owners who do not have a lot of experience with training. Although they are a beloved lap dog, the breed still descended from sporting dogs and enjoy regular outdoor exercise such as short neighborhood walks and participating in a number of canine sports. They can make a great playmate for children and other dogs but can also sit quietly next to you on the couch while relaxing. Anyone who has met a Cavalier can attest to their sweet temperament, making it no surprise that they are one of the most popular companions in the United States for a variety of households.