These charming dogs are well known for their silky coats and feathery chests, legs and plumbed tails. The are bred in four Cavalier King Charles color combinations.
Cavaliers whose coats have a white background with chestnut markings are referred to as Blenheim Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, a tribute to Blenheim Palace where the Duke of Marlborough raised this popular breed. The heads of these dogs are framed by chestnut colored ears. The chestnut surrounds both eyes, but the muzzle is white leading in a white blaze up the nose to top of the head. A chestnut spot at the top of the head is a traditional characteristic tied to an apocryphal story that the Duchess of Marlborough, left at home with her spaniels while the Duke went off to war, spent so much time rubbing the top of her dog’s head with her thumb that she “worried” the chestnut spot into the breed!
Black & Tan Cavaliers
Black and Tan Cavaliers have a black body with tan highlights, most notably tan eyebrows, cheeks, inside the ears, chest, legs and beneath the tail. White markings on Black & Tan Cavaliers are considered faults in show dogs, but shouldn’t make the slightest difference to the average pet owner.
Ruby Cavaliers are intended to be entirely chestnut red in color, or “wholecolor.” Can Ruby Cavaliers have a little white in their coats? Many do. It’s not really important for companion animals, though when bred for show, the coat should be completely chestnut.
Tricolor Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are a particolored mixture of white, tan and black. The ears and area surrounding the eyes will be black, separated by a splash of white from the muzzle up the forehead.
Tricolors have tan markings over their eyes, on the cheeks and beneath the tail. This color combination is the most unusual and often carries the highest price tag.
A word of caution in choosing your first Cavalier King Charles Spaniel puppy. Don’t be fooled into thinking your Cavalier Spaniel puppy’s coat will stay exactly the same as he grows. Like many other breeds, Cavalier King Charles puppies grow into their colors.
Blenheim puppies may start life with broad areas of white in their coats and develop freckles on their muzzle and chestnut-colored markings on their bodies over time.
But after all, isn’t watching your puppy grow into his adult coat really half the fun?