It is likely that distinct Cavalier King Charles Spaniel colors were the primary factor that gave the breed special treatment during the Renaissance era.
According to rumors, King Charles II was so fond of Cavalier King Charles Spaniels that he issued a decree granting these dogs unrestricted access to all government buildings, including the House of Commons.
This is how much the breed was adored back then, and unsurprisingly, it is still well-loved today. If you’re intrigued about the different coat colors of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel breed, keep on reading!
How Many Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Colors Are There?
The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel comes in nine different coat colors. The American Kennel Club (AKC) recognizes only four, which are Blenheim, tricolor, ruby, and black and tan. The remaining five colors, chocolate, black and white, merle, tan, and white, are not AKC-recognized.
Unrecognized colors disqualify dogs from conformation shows. Fortunately, they are still equally loved by breed fanciers and pet enthusiasts.
Below is a summarized list of the nine coat colors of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel breed:
- Black and tan
- Black and white
If you want to dive a little deeper into the different coat colors of Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, continue reading. The following section will detail everything there is to know about the breed’s different colors.
9 Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Colors
This section explores the nine different Cavalier coat colors. You’ll see a picture of each one below, along with a description of their appearance. Read along to find out which one is your favorite.
Blenheim is the most common color for the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. This coat color name is derived from the Blenheim Palace, the original place where the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel was developed in the 18th century.
The base color of blenheim Cavaliers is white, and they have chestnut markings all over their body, including the face and eyes. Additionally, blenheim dogs’ muzzles, legs, and foreheads usually have white markings.
Having bred Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, the blenheim is the easiest to produce, and the demand for blenheim puppies is high due to their classic look. For many, when you say Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, they associate it with this color.
However, what is more in demand are blenheim puppies with the “blenheim spot,” a round chestnut marking right in the middle of their forehead.
This is believed to be the “thumbprint” of the Duchess of Marlborough on her spaniel for comfort during the 1704 Battle of Blenheim.
Tricolor Cavalier King Charles Spaniels have white, black, and tan colors combined together. Most of these dogs have a white base coat, but occasionally black base coats are also seen.
The coat near the eyes and the ears usually features black markings, and there is a white blaze running from the nose to the top of the head.
Also, a large patch of white extends from the chest to the neck on tricolor Spaniel dogs. Meanwhile, their tan markings are visible on their faces, on top of their heads, and under their tails, among other areas.
The ruby-colored coat variant of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a solid and rich red color with no other colors mixed in. This color is rare and is caused by a recessive gene.
However, despite its name, this shade is more of an auburn or chestnut color rather than ruby.
When it comes to coat quality, ruby Cavaliers have smooth and shiny coats that are soft to the touch, adding a fluffy appearance to their beautiful coats.
Some ruby-colored Cavalier King Charles Spaniel dogs have white markings on the chest, which the American Kennel Club does not favor.
Here’s a video about the ruby-colored Cavalier King Charles Spaniel:
4. Black and Tan
The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel’s black and tan variety is also quite uncommon but widely recognized. This shade is characterized by black body hair with tan highlights on the coat near the feet, cheeks, and eyebrows.
Sometimes black and tan Cavaliers will sport tan spots on the inside of the ears or the lower legs.
Out of the four more common colors of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, I find the black and tan to be the most difficult to produce.
I used to breed all four standard Cavalier colors, and I was only able to produce this color in my fourth year of breeding them using both black and tan parents.
As soon as I was ready to rehome them, potential fur parents quickly lined up to check them out. This showed the rarity and the high demand for black and tan Cavalier pups.
Fun Fact: The Cavalier that gained fame at the English court was a black and tan variety with white markings. Allegedly, this is also one of the reasons why black and tan Cavalier King Charles Spaniel dogs are held to a higher standard at dog competitions.
5. Black and White
The chance of having a black and white Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is quite small. While they are not the rarest kind, they still come by less often than other variants.
The face, chest, and feet of this color variation are usually covered with white fur, while the rest of its body is black. You may also find some black and white Cavaliers with minimal tan markings.
Furthermore, aside from the tan markings, minimal brown or red accents may also be seen in black and white Cavaliers. Breeders and dog owners usually place a high price tag on dogs of this color.
A Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, with a chocolate-colored coat, has a rich dark brown shade. Their coat is similar to other color variants of the breed, usually soft and silky with a wavy or curly texture, but in a unique color.
Their eyes and nose are typically dark brown or black. They may have lighter shades of chocolate covering the coat on their paws, the coat above their eyes, and around their muzzles.
Given their endearing look, chocolate Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are highly admired by many.
The merle color is not a natural coat color in the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, and most major kennel clubs do not recognize it as an acceptable color.
A mutation in a dominant gene responsible for other coat colors in dogs is the culprit for the merle pattern.
Most merle Cavalier dogs are said to have been bred by introducing a different breed in their lineage. This is likely a different small-breed dog that carries the merle gene.
Appearance-wise, merle Cavaliers sport a coat color that appears mottled or speckled. Moreover, these dogs usually have blue eyes.
Despite not being recognized, some breeders still breed merle-colored Cavaliers because there is still a market for them.
A tan-colored Cavalier King Charles Spaniel has a soft and silky coat that is typically a rich chestnut or mahogany color. These dogs share a similar shade to the tan markings present in other Cavalier color variants.
Tan Cavalier King Charles Spaniel dogs usually have dark brown eyes and a black or brown nose. They may also have tan markings in parts of their body, but because of their coat color, these can be harder to spot.
Having a white coat is a genetic abnormality in the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. White Cavalier puppies do not carry a gene that causes them to be born white. Instead, their condition is due to the lack of pigment.
More often than not, white Cavalier dogs have a genetic issue called albinism. Albinism affects not only a dog’s appearance but also other aspects of its health.
Appearance-wise, albino or white Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are generally all-white, with pinkish skin, blue or different-colored eyes, and a tendency to have a thinner coat.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Markings
Different markings can exist in different coat colors of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, giving each dog a unique look of its own.
The following are some of the most commonly seen markings in Cavalier King Charles Spaniels:
1. Piebald Markings
Piebald is a coat color marking that can appear in a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. Dogs with piebald markings feature irregular patches of white along with another color.
The white usually covers more than half of their body, and the pattern and distribution of these patches can vary widely. A combination of genetic factors causes Cavalier King Charles Spaniels to have piebald markings.
2. Blenheim Spot
The Blenheim spot is a special marking found on the Blenheim variety of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. It’s a chestnut patch typically found on the top of the head between the ears.
Breeders and enthusiasts consider this marking as an essential characteristic of a Blenheim Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. This is believed to have been a desirable feature since the breed’s early origins.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Color Genetics
The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a small breed of dog that can have different coat colors. These colors are determined by genes that control the production of these pigments.
The extension gene determines whether the color will be black or red, while the K-locus gene controls the presence of black pigment in the coat.
Blenheim is the most common color in Cavalier King Charles Spaniels and is influenced by the agouti and extension genes. Tricolor is also influenced by these genes, with the K-locus gene affecting the black patches.
The extension and K-locus genes without the agouti gene produce black and tan. Finally, ruby color is produced by the absence of the agouti gene and the presence of only the extension gene.
It’s important to know that although the genetics of coat color in Cavalier King Charles Spaniels can be predicted, the actual colors produced may still vary.
Also, breeding for certain coat colors can increase the risk of genetic disorders, so breeders need to know how to select breeding pairs correctly.
Do Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Colors Affect Behavior and Health?
The colors of Cavalier King Charles Spaniel’s coat do not directly affect their behavior or health. In fact, there is no scientific evidence that suggests that coat color affects behavior.
Instead, a range of factors influences the temperament and personality of a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. These factors include genetics, upbringing, socialization, and even gender, but not coat color.
Meanwhile, in terms of health, some studies suggest that certain coat colors may be linked to a higher risk of certain health conditions.
For example, the white color is associated with albinism, while the piebald markings can indicate an increased risk of deafness. Breeding for certain coat colors can also increase the risk of genetic disorders.
For instance, breeding for the solid black coat color can raise the risk of the episodic falling syndrome. Furthermore, breeding merle dogs may increase the risk of producing double merles, which are deemed unhealthy dogs.
Do Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Puppies Change Colors as They Grow?
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel puppies can change colors as they grow. This is especially true for those with the Blenheim coat color. Occasionally, dogs with a Blenheim color will develop a more chestnut coloring over time.
Additionally, changes in the amount of sunlight, hormonal changes, and other environmental factors can affect the color of a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel coat.
That said, however, you should watch out for sudden or drastic changes in the coat color of your dog, as this could indicate an underlying health issue.
What Color Will My Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Puppy Be?
Predicting the exact coat color of a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel puppy is challenging because of the complexity of coat color genetics. Furthermore, other extraneous factors may play a role in determining your dog’s final color.
However, breeders can make educated guesses about their puppies’ possible coat colors by examining the colors of the dams and sires as well as their ancestry.
For some color variations, puppies are likely to inherit the same coat color as their parents if both parents have the same coat color. However, this is not the case for all.
Likewise, puppies may inherit any combination if the parents have different coat colors.
Meanwhile, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel puppy can have a different coat color from both parents altogether because of recessive genes.
Genetic testing can also help determine potential coat colors, but it can be expensive and unnecessary. Remember, though, that a dog’s overall well-being is the most important factor to consider.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is the Rarest Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Color?
The rarest coat color for Cavalier King Charles Spaniels is ruby, specifically the full ruby coat. This rarity is mainly due to the difficulty of producing this variant.
For starters, it requires both parents to carry the recessive gene for a full ruby coat to show.
What Is the Most Common Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Color?
Blenheim and tricolor are the most common coat colors for Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. Blenheim is a mix of chestnut and white, while tricolor is a mix of black, white, and tan.
These two colors are dominant in the breed and are more common than the rest of the other color variations of the breed.
So which one of these colors is your favorite? Share your thoughts and questions about the different Cavalier King Charles Spaniel colors in the comment section!