Where Are Cavalier King Charles Spaniels From?
Tapestries and paintings as far back as the 1400s have depicted small, spaniel-like canines. The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is modeled after these ancient spaniels and is thought to have originated from the larger King Charles Spaniel.
This dog was a favorite of the aristocracy, but upon the fall of the House of Stuart, the popularity of the breed rapidly declined. They were associated with luxury and wealth and seemed to have no purpose but as companions. At that time, the middle class could not afford to feed and care for a dog that didn’t work. In addition, William and Mary, rulers at that time, preferred the Pug, so association with the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel was thought by some to be a political liability.
The breed’s fortunes improved during the reign of Queen Victoria. However, during her breeding and promoting of the small spaniel, the appearance of the dog was altered. The head became more domed and the dog was eventually renamed the English Toy Spaniel. This resulted in a near extinction of the flatter-headed Cavalier. In the 1920s, in an effort to restore the breed back to its original appearance, an American named Roswell Eldridge offered a financial prize for the best dog or bitch of the “old type.” He offered this prize for 5 years.
Thanks to his offer, the breed was restored to its original form. By 1928, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Club was founded in England and the breed was recognized by the English Kennel Club in 1944. By the middle of the 20th century, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel was one of the most popular breeds in England. By 1996, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel was recognized by the American Kennel Club as a member of the Toy Group.