Breed Standard

Conformation of the Cavalier

The Cavalier should be a graceful, well-balanced spaniel. It has a free action that has the appearance of being happy and gay at all times. It is fearless in character, and at the same time gentle and loving. The Cavalier also shows a true elegance and royal appearance that is natural with no trimming, sculpting or artificial alteration necessary. The temperament is a gay, non-aggressive and friendly, with no tendency towards nervousness or shyness. Bad temperament and meanness are not to be tolerated.

They are from 12 to 13 inches at the withers, and between 13 and 18 lbs. While these are the ideal size and weight, there are variations, and the appearance of a small, well- balanced dog is what is desirable.

The body should be look about square, but if measured, should be slightly longer from the point of the shoulder to the buttock, then the height at the withers. The leg should be about the same from the withers to the elbow, and from the elbow to the ground. The dog should not be coarsely made, nor too spindly or weedy.

The expression should be the sweet, gentle, melting expression that is the stand out of the breed. Large round eyes, without being “bug eyed”, with a warm, very dark brown color. The eyes should have a soft expression.

The ears are set high on the head, but not close together. They should be long with plenty of feathering. They should be placed so that when alert, the ears frame the face. The top of the head between the ears should be relatively flat, definitely not pointed or domed.

The face should be clean looking with well filled cheeks. The muzzle should be 1 ½ inches from the tip of nose to the base of the stop and slightly tapered. The bite should be a perfect, regular and complete scissor bite (the upper teeth closely overlapping the lower teeth and set squarely into the jaws).

The neckline should be fairly long, without throatiness, and well muscled, set smoothly into nicely sloped shoulders, giving an elegant look. The back, or top line should be straight and level. The tail is carried happily, but never much above the level of the back and almost always in motion with the dog is in action. They can be docked, but no more then 1/3 is to be removed.

The coat needs to me on moderate length, silky and can have a slight wave. Feathering on the ears, chest, legs and tail will be long as well as the long feathering on the feet that is a feature of the breed. No trimming of the dog is permitted other then the growth between the pads on the underside of the feet.

Cavaliers in Color

The Cavalier comes with three basic colors and two pattern groups, the solids and the broken color. No color or pattern is better, or more valued than another. It is strictly a matter of choice and preference, but the one feature that all Cavalier Lovers seem to value in the broken color group, is the QUEEN ANNE’S THUMBPRINT. A thumb sized colored marking in the center of the forehead, between the ears. This is more often seen in the Blenheim color, but is becoming more common in the Tri-colors as well.

The SOLIDS include:

THE RUBY: A solid coated rich red color with NO white at all on the coat. They are born a light shade of sandy red, and turn ruby within the first year.

THE BLACK AND TAN: A jet black dog with rich bright tan markings at the eyes, ears, cheeks, chest, legs and underside of the tail. There should be NO white at all on the coat.

(Any white markings on the Ruby or Black and Tan, such as a blaze, or white chest or even white toes is considered a miss-marked puppy. These puppies are less valuable and should NEVER be bred. They DO NOT conform to breed standards. As a pet quality pet, the miss marked puppies can be strikingly beautiful, and remember, they are STILL Cavalier with all the wonderful attributes of a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.)


THE BLENHEIM: A rich chestnut or red and pearly white. The dog should have red surrounding the eyes and ears, normally with white legs and a mix of white and red markings on the body. The body can be primarily white with red markings, red with white markings, or an even mix of the two. They are born a light tan and white, and the red will darken usually within the first few months, ending up a brilliant red by the time they are a year old.

THE TRI-COLOR: The tri color is normally a jet black and pearly white with rich tan/red “trim”. The tan or red is usually on the eyebrows and around the eyes and muzzle or cheeks, and on the underside of the ears and tail. The TRI should have a nice white blaze between the eyes. They appears to come in two basic types, what I call the “saddleback”(which is what River is), and the “broken pattern”, more like the Blenheim. Normally the underbelly is white, and all four legs should be white. The tail will be black at the base with white starting usually about ½ way down. In the “saddleback” version, you should have a white collar around the neck, leading to the white throat and chest. Many times there seems to be commonly a small white spot about ¾ of the way down the spine and maybe another near the base of the tail.

(An all dark face or forehead, while pretty, and quite captivating, is also usually considered a miss-mark. Again, making no difference in the quality of a pet, but should NOT be bred. Also while tan or black “spots” will occur, and get more so as the dog ages, heavy “ticking” is a fault on either Blenheim or Tri-color.)

Leave a Reply