Cavalier King Charles Spaniel owners go absolutely crazy over the breed, and if they don’t have the space or time to care for more than one Cavalier, they will dream of owning more. But when people are restricted to owning only one, what color Cavalier will they get, and what is the most popular color?
There are 4 different Cavalier King Charles Spaniel colors, but the most popular of all four is the Blenheim Cavalier, which has chestnut and white colors in its coat.
But why is the Blenheim the most favorite color of all four colors, and why on earth is a chestnut and white Cavalier called a Blenheim, what does that even mean? We like to know everything we can about Cavaliers on mycavvy.com so that we can give you the best information, so we dug deeper for more details.
The Four Colors
As stated earlier there are 4 colors of Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, these are Blenheim, Tri-Color, Black & Tan, and Ruby. According to the UK and American Kennel Club breed standards, there are specific requirements for the markings on their coats to be classed as an official Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. Here are the details for each color:
Rich chestnut markings well broken up on a clear, pearly white ground. The ears must be chestnut and the color evenly spaced on the head and surrounding both eyes, with a white blaze between the eyes and ears, in the center of which may be the lozenge or “Blenheim spot.” The lozenge is a unique and desirable, though not essential, characteristic of the Blenheim.
Jet black markings well broken up on a clear, pearly white ground. The ears must be black and the color evenly spaced on the head and surrounding both eyes, with a white blaze between the eyes. Rich tan markings over the eyes, on cheeks, inside ears, and on the underside of the tail.
Whole-colored rich red. White markings are undesirable.
Black and Tan
Jet black with rich, bright tan markings over the eyes, on cheeks, inside ears, on chest, legs, and on the underside of the tail. Tan should be bright. White marks are undesirable.
According to the American and UK kennel club, any other color or combination of colors is highly undesirable.
Where did the name Blenheim come from?
This is my gorgeous girl, her name is Lady and was around 5 to 6 months old in this picture.
She is a Blenheim Cavalier, and I didn’t understand why this color was not just called White and Tan to fit in with the other 3 color groups until one day it got the better of me and I needed to know why.
The name Blenheim comes from Blenheim Palace which is a country house that resides in Oxfordshire, England. The palace is named after the Battle of Blenheim in 1704 and was intended to be a reward to John Churchill, the Duke of Marlborough.
The Duke of Marlborough used to have dogs to help with the hunt, and these dogs were the predecessors of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. They too had chestnut and white markings on their coats, and so this colored coat became known as the Blenheim.
Although the American and UK Kennel Clubs only recognize four official colors, there are Cavaliers out there that have completely different colors.
Like in all animals, although very rare, you may find a Cavalier that has no pigmentation whatsoever, and would therefore be classed as an ‘Albino Cavalier’. The result would be a Cavalier with a completely white coat.
Although there are so many differences in a Cavaliers’ coat color, they are all created by two basic pigments, eumelanin (black) and phaeomelanin (red). These two pigments are forms of melanin, and all different variations of colors are created by them.
The color variations are created by the Cavaliers’ genes, and this is how experts in the field create some beautiful colored Cavvy’s.
During my research, I came across a website that absolutely bowled me over. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw a completely black Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.
This beautiful doggie is owned by a lady named Laura who breeds all the Cavalier colors including solid black, black and white, and chocolate.
Believe it or not, this black beauty is actually a Blenheim, and both parents are AKC registered with their DNA on file.
Laura is a biology teacher and therefore finds the genetics of colors very easy to understand. I think you’ll agree that she is one clever lady.
Some of my eagle-eyed readers may have seen chocolate-colored Cavaliers in some historic paintings of Cavaliers, but none have been seen for many years.
As far as Laura is aware, the gorgeous pup on the left and her brother are the first solid chocolate Cavaliers in modern times.
Laura’s Cavaliers are also therapy dogs, and she has her own website called ‘Peaceful Garden Therapeutic Cavaliers’.
I urge you to take a look at her website here. Even if you don’t need therapy, there are so many beautiful pictures for you to take a look at.
Although the most popular color is the Blenheim Cavalier and there are only 4 ‘official’ recognized colors, you can have whatever color you wish to have unless, that is, you wish to have a show dog. Then you will need to adhere to the Kennel Club standards.
But if you are like me and what to give a beautiful Cavalier a loving home, who cares what color they are.