The King Charles breeders did not take this challenge very seriously as they had worked hard for years to do away with the long nose. Gradually, as the big prizes came to an end, only people really interested in reviving the dogs as they once had been were left to carry on the breeding experiment. Little had been achieved after five years. The Kennel Club was of the opinion that the dogs were not sufficient in number, nor of a single type, to merit a breed registration separate from the Charlies.
The prize was awarded to Miss Mostyn Walker’s dog, “Ann’s Son”, in 1928. (Unfortunately, Mr. Eldridge died in 1928 at age 70, only a month before Crufts, so he never saw the results of his challenge prizes.) It was in the same year that a breed club was founded, and the name Cavalier King Charles Spaniel was chosen. It was very important that the association with the name King Charles Spaniel be kept as most breeders bred back to the original type by way of the tang-faced throwouts from the kennels of the short-faced variety breeders. Some of the stock threw back to the long-faced variety very quickly. Pioneers were often accused of using outcrosses to other suitable breeds to get the long faces, but this was not true, and crossing to other breeds was not recommended by the club.
Today’s Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is descended from the small Toy Spaniels depicted in so many sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth century paintings. These paintings show small spaniels with flat heads, high set ears, almond eyes, and rather pointed noses. During Tudor times, Toy Spaniels were quite common as ladies' pets, but it was under the Stuarts that they were given the royal title of King Charles Spaniels.
King Charles II was seldom seen without 2 or 3 spaniels at his heels. He was so fond of his little dogs, that he wrote a decree that the King Charles Spaniel should be accepted in any public place, even in the Houses of Parliament. (This decree is still in existence today in
A whimsical tale ...The Duke and Duchess of
Long ago, there were no dog shows and no recognized breed standard, so both type and size varied. By the mid-nineteenth century,
In 1926, the Kennel Club was persuaded to allow a rich American to offer prizes for the best bitch or dogs of the Blenheim variety as seen in King Charles II's reign, after he had exhasted his search throughout in England. He was looking for foundation stock to breed Toy Spaniels that resembled those in the old paintings, including Sir Edwin Landseer's "The Cavalier's Pets".
All he could find were the short-faced "Charlies".
The following is a quotation taken from Crufts' catalog: "As shown in the pictures of King Charles II's time, long face no stop, flat skull, not inclined to be domed and with the spot in the center of the skull."