Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are known for their silky coats and feathery chests, legs and plumbed tails. The breed offers four color combinations – all of which may be found in a single litter of pups!
The most common of the four color combinations is Blenheim – a Cavalier King Charles Spaniels with chestnut markings on a white background. The name is 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 coloring 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 of Blenheim Cavaliers. Supposedly, Sarah Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough, was left at home in Blenheim Palace with her spaniels while the Duke went off to war. In her loneliness, she “worried” a chestnut thumbprint onto the top of her dog’s head, that became “Duchess Thumb Print” characteristic of Blenheim spaniels.
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 “whole color.” Can Ruby Cavaliers have a little white in their coats? Many do. It’s not really important for companion animals, but the coat should be completely chestnut on show dogs.
Tricolor Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are a party-colored 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.
Puppies grow into their coats
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?