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Linda with her dogs
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Linda as a child
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Linda Ziehm
Ortonville, MI
248-625-8330
 
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All images and content is © 2001- 2008 by Linda Ziehm
Last update: 1 /3/2008
 
Member of the AKC, ACKCSC, CKCSC USA and the Cavaliers of the Mid-West
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History

For many centuries, small breeds of spaniels have been popular in the United Kingdom. In the eleventh century, during the reign of King Canute, it was illegal to hunt with any dog that could not fit through a gauge that was eleven inches in diameter. Hence, the "birth" of the Toy Spaniel in the United Kingdom. Some centuries later, Toy Spaniels became popular as pets, especially as pets of the royal family. In fact, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel was so named because a Blenheim coated spaniel was the children's pet in the household of Charles I. King Charles II went so far as to issue a decree that a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel could not be forbidden entrance to any public place, including the Houses of Parliament. Many Cavalier King Charles Spaniels can be seen in many paintings of the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries. These early cavaliers had longer, pointier snouts and thinner-boned limbs than today's.

Over time, the toy spaniels were replaced in popularity by short-snouted, dome-headed dogs of Asian descent, such as the Pug and Japanese Chin. The King Charles Spaniel was bred with these dogs, resulting in the similar-shaped head of today's English Toy Spaniel breed. The King Charles Spaniel remained popular at Blenheim Palace, home to the Dukes of Marlborough, where the brown and white version was the most popular - resulting in the name Blenheim for that color combination.
In the 1920s, an American named Roswell Eldrige offered twenty-five pounds as a prize for any King Charles Spaniel "of the old-fashioned type" with a longer nose, flat skull, and a lozenge (spot) in the middle of the crown of the head, sometimes called "the kiss of Buddha," "Blenheim Spot," "lozenge" or "Kissing Spot". So, the breed was developed by selective breeding of short-snouted Spaniels. The result was a dog that resembled the boyhood pet of the future Charles II of England ("Cavalier King Charles"), hence the name of the breed.

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel (along with the Pug) is perhaps the largest toy breed: though clearly a lap dog, fully-grown adults tend to fill one rather amply. It is nonetheless quite small for a spaniel, when fully-grown a Cavalier King Charles Spaniels is roughly comparable in size to an adolescent of a more conventional spaniel breed. Breed standards call for a height between 29 and 33 cm (12–13 inches) with a proportionate weight between 4.5 and 8.5 kg (10 and 18 lb). Unlike most other spaniels, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel has a full-length tail well-feathered with long hair, which is typically carried aloft when walking.

Coat

The Cavalier King Charles breed naturally grows a substantial silky coat of moderate length. Breed standards call for it to be free from curl, with a slight wave permissible. In adulthood, Cavaliers grow lengthy feathering on their ears, chest, legs, feet and tail; breed standards demand this be kept long, with the feathering on the feet cited as a particularly important feature of the breed.

A Cavalier King Charles Spaniel's coat may be beautiful, but, because it can be long, it is very important to keep it well groomed. This can be done by yourself, or you can hire a professional groomer. If the coat is not properly cared for, the dog will shed quite a bit. Daily brushing is recommended to ensure that the coat does not get matted and that foreign objects, such as grass and sticks, do not become entangled in the feathering. It also should not be bathed more than twice a week otherwise it may cause skin irritation.
Color

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel breed has four recognized colors:

Blenheim (rich chestnut on pearly white background)

Tricolor (black and white with tan markings on cheeks, inside ears, resembling eyebrows, inside legs, and on underside of tail)

Black and Tan (black with tan markings)

Ruby (rich reddish-brown all over)

Parti-colors are the colors that include white: Blenheim and Tricolor. Whole-colors have no white: Black and Tan, and Ruby. The Blenheim is the most common color.

Temperment
The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is highly affectionate, and some have called the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel "the ultimate lap dog" or the "Love sponge" of dogs. Most dogs of the breed are playful, extremely patient and eager to please. As such, dogs of the breed are usually good with children and other dogs. A well-socialized Cavalier will not be shy about socializing with much larger dogs. (However, on occasion, this tendency can be dangerous, as many cavaliers will presume all other dogs to be equally friendly, and may attempt to greet and play with aggressive dogs) Cavaliers will adapt quickly to almost any environment, family, and location. Their ability to bond with larger and smaller dogs makes them ideal in houses with more than one breed of dog. Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are great with children to seniors making them a very versatile dog. The breed is most comfortable in areas with a temperature of 30-85 degrees.
Personality

The extremely social nature of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel means that they require almost constant companionship from humans or other dogs, and are not suited to spending long periods of time on their own. This breed is the friendliest of the toy group. Some Cavaliers have been known to exhibit traits in common with cats, such as perching in high places (the tops of couches, the highest pillow, etc), cleaning their own paws and can also show some birding qualities. Cavaliers have been seen to catch small birds in mid-flight that are flying too close to the ground. Such behavior is a result of their earlier use as a hunting dog, and as such, they can develop habits that predispose them to chase small animals such as chipmunks, squirrels, etc. Because of this, it is recommended that care should be taken when walking a Cavalier off-leash, as they can single-mindedly chase a butterfly or squirrel onto a busy road or other dangerous situation without regard for their own safety if not properly trained.

(Paraphrased from 'Wikipedia')