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All about Cavaliers

Colors, Temperament, Care and Training

Six Cavaliers line up on a sofa.  1 Blenheim, two Rubies, another Blenheim, a Black & Tan, and a Tricolor

A Rainbow of possibilities!

The Cavalier comes in two different colors:
BLACK & TAN or RED……and two different patterns: SOLID, or BROKEN with white, for a total of 4 different color varieties:

Ruby: a solid rich tan or red, also described as chestnut. #2 and 3 from the left, above

Black & Tan: distributed as the black and tan coloration of the Doberman Pinscher. #5 above

Blenheim: rich tan or red broken up by large white areas. The color extends over both eyes and ears, with a large blaze covering the muzzle and extending between the eyes. A small colored spot in the middle of the blaze near the back of the skull is commonly seen and desirable. #1 and 4, above

Tricolor: the black and tan pattern broken up by white in the same basic pattern as that seen in the Blenheim. #6, above.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, D. Caroline Coile, 2008 p. 17

What is the typical Cavalier Temperament?

Sometimes, you will hear a particular Cavalier described as having the “typical” or “classic” Cavalier Temperament. Here’s a great description, by the man who genuinely ‘wrote the book’:

A Cavalier should be gentle and affectionate, of a sunny disposition, eager to please and friendly to all, be they human or canine. It should be a pleasure to meet and be with, because its main role is as a companion dog. A Cavalier loves everybody, particularly its family, and is loved by all. It is especially gentle and affectionate with children. It should not be nervous but in fact be fearless so that it will happily go into any situation, but without being aggressive.

Book cover photo of The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel by Bruce Field

Bruce Field

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, 1996, p. 45

At Blue House Cavaliers, temperament is of paramount importance. Your family’s dog should have the “Classic” Cavalier attitude and personality. We achieve this by

  • Breeding Choices: Balanced breedings between dogs with complementary temperaments.
  • Socialization: All our puppies are gently exposed to new situations to learn confidence and appropriate behavior to novelty, people and other pets.
  • Training: Our puppies come with the rudiments of operant conditioning in place, so they have learned HOW to learn. They are primed for good training and your loving care.
Gorgeous female 7.5 week cavalier puppy with a perfect face.
Tansy (out of Dottie and Maui)–Sept 13, 2023

Caring for your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Cavaliers are considered a “Wash and Wear” dog. The breed standard specifies that they should be left natural, with no clipping or trimming needed to maintain their gorgeous good looks. But they do need to be washed and brushed.

I recommend that you brush your Cavalier at least once a week. This is a good time to check for any problems that might have cropped up since your last brushing session. Check inside his ears, between his toes, his teeth, and feel over his body to check for any injuries, sores or foreign objects like thorns, grass seeds (a genuine threat between the toes!) and insects.

Brushing Tips

Detangle FIRST using a good steel comb. If you have terrible matting, use a classic Furminator to thin out thick, resistant tangles. It works like a charm! Next, use a “slicker Brush” to smooth out the little knots and remove debris. The slicker will also brush out any loose hair and leave your Cavvie looking sleek. If you have a Cavalier that sheds a LOT, you might also want to use a stripping rake to help dislodge loose hairs at brushing time, instead of waiting for them to land all over your house.

Grooming is a big part of our show days!

Use a pair of manicure scissors to trim the hair on the underside of his paws, between the pads on his feet from time to time. This will keep him from slipping on your floors and will give you a chance to find any foot problems.

Either cut or grind his nails, being careful to keep them as short as possible. If you cut too far and there is bleeding, don’t worry—it looks a lot worse than it is. wikiHow has a great step-by-step tutorial with pictures.

Clean those gorgeous ears by squirting ear cleaner deep inside, and rubbing at the base of your dog’s ears to help work it in. She won’t like it much and will run away, shaking her head. That’s okay! It helps get the cleaner in there to do its job. Wipe out the excess with a cotton ball. If you use it every time you bathe your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel (and after swimming), you can avoid a lot of potential problems with ear infections.

Products mentioned above

Photo of two manicure scissors. One has slightly curved blades.

manicure scissors

Photo of Lillian Ruff Ear cleaner liquid for dogs.

Lillian ruff ear cleaner

Photo of a de-matting rake removing loose hair from a dog's coat.

Stripping rake

Anybody who doesn’t know what soap tastes like never washed a dog.

Training your family dog.

The Cavalier’s eager-to-please attitude, combined with its ability to focus on people, is not only endearing, it is also a great advantage in training. This is important, because proper training will mean a better life for you and your dog. A well-trained dog is a joy to have around, happier and more secure for understanding its place and responsibilities.

You are training your dog every moment you spend together, whether you know it or not.

Barbara GArnett-Wilson

“The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel in Fact and Fancy”, 2007, p. 112

I learn more every day about training my dogs and teaching them what they need to know. My basic approach is to never reward “pushy” or bad behavior. Any form of attention is a reward to dogs, so sometimes this is tricky. At a minimum, our job is to reward good behaviors and to not allow our dogs to practice and receive reinforcement for bad behaviors.

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Step One

We provide our puppy buyers access to a 1st class training course, “With Open Arms and a Level Head” from Puppy Culture. This prepares YOU to give your puppy a head start from their first day in your home.

Learn More
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Step Two

Once your puppy is fully vaccinated, you can sign her up for AKC S.T.A.R Puppy classes and Manners classes. Working toward getting her Canine Good Citizen award is a great way for you to establish a relationship with your dog and to ensure she is safe, well-behaved and loved her whole life.

AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy