Cavaliers as Companions
February / March 2019
Edited by Dennis & Tina Homes

Going To The Dogs
We found this old postcard while browsing through an antique shop. The photo was taken in the early 1920s.


Two new blockbuster films have recently been released to great acclaim. The first is ‘Mary Queen of Scots’ starring Saoirse Ronan as Queen Mary and Margot Robbie as Queen Elizabeth I. The second is ‘The Favourite’ starring Olivia Coleman as Queen Anne and Rachel Weisz as Sarah Churchill, the 1st Duchess of Marlborough. ‘The Favourite’ has already won a Golden Globe award and ‘Mary Queen of Scots’ has been nominated for several BAFTA awards. ‘The Favourite’ has been nominated in ten different Oscar categories.

Why are we highlighting these films in Cavaliers as Companions? Although not mentioned in either film both Queen Mary and Queen Anne had a strong connection with small toy spaniels. When Mary Queen of Scots was beheaded in the year 1587 she had a black and white toy spaniel hidden under her skirt. Her beloved companion reputedly refused to leave her side and died from grief a few days after her death. Mary’s trusted pet was probably an earlier forerunner of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.

A scene from the film Mary Queen of Scots
A scene from the film Mary Queen of Scots

Queen Anne ascended the thrones of England, Scotland and Ireland in 1702 and it was during her reign in 1707 that two of her realms, England and Scotland were united as a single sovereign state. Her father was James II of England and VII of Scotland who was the younger brother of King Charles II and was also an owner and great lover of small toy spaniels. This tradition was carried on by Queen Anne who also kept small spaniels which were all descended from those owned by Charles II. James II was a catholic and was deposed during the "Glorious Revolution" of 1688 and Anne’s protestant sister Mary became joint monarch with her husband William III. After Mary’s death in 1694, William continued as sole monarch until his own death and Anne’s accession in 1702. Despite seventeen pregnancies, Anne died without surviving children and was the last monarch of the House of Stuart.

Queen Ann with one of her toy spaniels
Queen Ann with one of her toy spaniels.

Olivia Coleman as Queen Ann in the film The Favourite
Olivia Coleman as Queen Ann in the film The Favourite

Anne was known as a very difficult person with a bad temper and argued with everyone. She suffered bad health and became very overweight and often quite breathless that porters often had to sometimes carry her on engagements. For many years while waiting to ascend to the throne the only person that she was close to and could confide in was her best friend and lady-in-waiting Sarah Churchill. However, when Anne finally became Queen her close relationship with Sarah soon began to sour. By then Sarah had become the Duchess of Marlborough and strong political differences began to emerge between the two ladies. Anne favored the Tories while Sarah tirelessly campaigned on behalf of the Whigs. Sarah was fiery and very strong willed and it was through her that her husband rose first to the Captain-General of British forces then to a dukedom.

The 1st Duke of Marlborough is known to have founded the line of Marlborough Spaniels bred at Blenheim Palace from where the name "Blenheim" spaniel came from. He was a very keen huntsman and owned many dogs but there is no documented evidence on how he first became involved with these small toy spaniels. There is the famous story that when the Duke was fighting with his troops at the Battle of Blenheim his wife Sarah was at home nursing a pregnant bitch and was continually rubbing her thumb on the bitch’s head and when the pups were born they all had thumb marks on their heads and this is where the "blenheim lozenge" originated. Although this story is complete fantasy it does suggest that Sarah was involved in breeding these small toy spaniels. Although we have no proof of this, it is my own belief that the Duke’s line of spaniels came from his wife Sarah who in turn had received them as gifts from Queen Anne. If this is the case then the Marlborough Spaniels would be direct decedents from dogs owned by Charles II.


Many people consider that the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is essentially a British dog. But is that true? The Scots may say that it is a Scottish breed as Mary Queen of Scots brought one over from France and the breed was favoured by the House of Stuart. The English will of course maintain that it is definitely an English breed. Although the breed was first established here in Britain its origin goes far wider.

Experts had always believed that the domestic dog (Canis lupus familiaris) had evolved from the Grey Wolf (Canis lupus) probably around 15,000 years ago. However, in recent years fossil studies and archaeological remains have shown that domestication could have been as early as 30,000 years ago. There are also theories that both the Grey Wolf and the domestic dog could have both evolved separately from an earlier wolf species. It is also now believed that domestic dogs evolved from a wolf type ancestor in various parts of the world at separate times. It was the wolf’s inquisitive nature to scavenge around early human settlements that led to domestication by humans. Young cubs that were less ferocious and more approachable were probably kept and used as guards which enabled the process of domestication to begin. So, in many different parts of the world domestic dogs evolved but despite their many shapes and sizes were all the same species. There is no other animal that varies so much in shape and size as the dog. From a Chihuahua to a Great Dane they are all the same species and not a sub species.

It wasn’t until the nineteenth century that breeds were firmly classified. Up until then dogs were bred together mainly for their working abilities such as herding, guarding, catching vermin, etc. Over the centuries dogs from many parts of the world were bred together but with the Cavalier there appears to be two strong links; small oriental dogs and spaniel type dogs. From the time of Marco Polo in the 11th and 12th century Venetian merchants would travel to China and the Far East bringing back spices and other merchandize. They also brought back small dogs that were popular in the Orient and these small dogs became very popular in the courts of Italy. It is believed that the origin of spaniel breeds such as Cockers, Springers, etc came from Spain. When the Carthagians landed in that country they found that rabbits were endemic everywhere. Their word for rabbit was ‘Span’ and the land became known as Hispania, or land of the rabbits. The dogs that evolved in this land became known as Spaniels and their main purpose was to hunt rabbits. It is likely that both these spaniel type dogs and the small oriental type that were in Italy eventually bred together to produce the forerunner of the toy spaniel which eventually evolved into our wonderful Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.


Crufts Dog Show will be held this year from 7th to 10th March and Cavaliers will be on the last day. Throughout all four days the Midland Cavalier Club will be running the Cavalier stand in the Discover Dogs Section. Even if you are not exhibiting it is still worthwhile visiting Crufts. As well as the various breed classes there are other dog activities to entertain; everything from Flyball, Agility, Obedience, Rally and Heelwork to music. There are also Gundog working teams and Gamekeepers classes. This dog extravaganza is heralded as the biggest dog show in the world, and it is the one show that so many dog breeders and exhibitors aim to attend.

The very first dog show that was organised as such was primarily for Gundog breeds and an entry of 60 was made up of Pointers and Setters in the Town Hall in Newcastle-on-Tyne on the 28th and 29th June 1859. There was at that time only one class for each breed, but the show proved popular and continued for ten years holding twice yearly shows. In 1870 a National Dog club was formed, as it was thought that dog shows should have a controlling body. It was in this same year that the Crystal Palace show was held and the then member for Parliament for Ettingham a Mr S E Shirley called together twelve gentlemen to form a committee and founded the Kennel Club.

The Kennel Club today is the governing body of the world of dogs; much like the Jockey Club is the ruling body in the horse racing circles. All pedigree dogs are registered with the Kennel Club and this administration goes further to deal with licensing of dog shows of all types. Stud book records date from 1859 and once these were set up no two dogs in any breed will ever have the same name, and that is why breeders have to register their own affix to preserve the names of any dogs bred by them.

With the setting up of these registers more shows were held up and down the country. Shows became bigger and more and more classes were held for separate breeds. It was Charles Cruft who gave his name to the large dog shows that were held yearly in London. After his death in 1937 his wife sold the name and rights to the Kennel Club. Crufts then became the name for the Kennel Club show that we know today. During the war years from 1939 to 1945 the shows were cancelled.

In 1950 the show was moved from the Agricultural Hall, Islington to the Grand Halls at Olympia. These shows were always held in February, this was felt to be the best time so that the Gundog group could be shown having spent the winter months on shoots. By 1960 the numbers of dogs and breeds grew more and more and there were 7,892 dogs of 117 different breeds. Anyone who owned a recognised breed could enter and try their luck.

The Kennel club introduced a qualifier that would mean that only dogs that had won a first through to a third in certain classes at a championship show the previous year would be allowed to show at Crufts. Still the numbers kept rising in 1976 nearly 9,000 dogs were exhibited. Crufts was later moved from Olympia to the nearby Earls Court.

The Kennel Club and its famous dog show was soon to outgrow its London venue and in the early 1990’s transferred to the NEC which is adjacent to Birmingham airport. Today there are still qualifying classes at Breed and all Breed Championship shows and still the numbers are rising year on year. It is estimated that there will be in excess of 23,000 dogs exhibited for this year’s show with quite a substantial number coming from overseas.

If you are going by road the NEC is located off junction 6 of the M42 or junction 4 off the M6. If you are feeling like a VIP you can always take the train which takes you straight to the NEC at Birmingham International Station. If you are a shopaholic, we dare you not to go home empty handed. With literally hundreds of stands and traders there will certainly be something that takes your eye and you will be taking your purse out for an airing more than once. With a genuine love of all things canine and our favourite breeds of dogs to see, Crufts is a day for all the family. With so much to see and huge exhibition halls to wander through a stout pair of walking shoes is a must!


Some people are none too keen on crate training a puppy, but if used correctly it can be a great tool to aid house training. It is important that the crate should be big enough for the puppy to stand up, turn around, and lay down comfortably, but not too big that he can go and sit in a corner away from any potential mess. You should never, ever use the crate as a punishment. The puppy should be able to regard the crate as his own special place where he can rest and feel a sense of security and comfort. When first introduced you should put in a comfortable blanket, some favourite toys and a few special treats. He must always have access to water and the type of drinking bowl that clips on to the side of the crate is idea as it avoids spillages.

The crate can be used to keep your dog confined when you are not able to supervise him. Since most dogs will not mess in the same place they sleep, your dog will most likely try to hold it when he is confined to his crate. This prevents him from getting in the bad habit of having accidents in your home. However, you must regularly take the puppy out of the cage and let him go outside to relieve himself and then praise him when he has done his business. This way a puppy will quickly learn where to go to the toilet. Once the puppy becomes used to the crate you will find that by leaving the door of the crate open the puppy will return to it of his own accord whenever he feels that he needs to rest. A crate is probably the safest way to transport a dog when travelling in a motor vehicle.


When a dog lifts its leg in act of scent marking it is not necessarily a toilet training issue but more of an instinctive way of marking its territory and making known his status. When out walking a dog, if he lifts his leg at a lamp post or tree trunk people tend to ignore it and simply regard it as doggy behaviour. However, if he starts to do it around the home then this is when it does become a problem. Dogs use urine marking as either a sign of dominance or simply to lay claim to an area that they regard as their own. They lift their leg to mark as high as possible so that their scent stays there for longer. Some bitches will scent mark, but usually this is when they are with other bitches and one will try to be the alpha bitch and urinate over the spot where another has urinated to show that she is the top ranking one.

Quite often vets advise having a dog castrated if he is a persistent marker around the house. Sometimes this does work, but unfortunately if the dog has already formed a habit of marking then castration may not necessarily solve the problem. In the wild it’s the highest ranking alpha wolf that marks the territory to define to the other members of the pack that he is in charge. With domesticated dogs this instinct is still prevalent but in the home environment some dogs are confused as to who is pack leader and they therefore try to establish their status by scent marking around the house. It is for this reason that firm ground rules must be established whenever a new puppy is introduced into your home. They must know that you are the pack leader. When you first start taking a puppy out for walks do not allow him to pull as letting him lead the way enforces the belief that he is pack leader. It is important that a puppy knows the hierarchy within the home environment, and in many ways if he knows that you are the pack leader and not him he becomes more secure and this can prevent a whole range of behavioural problems. Any dog that is left for a long time will need to relieve himself by urinating, but this is different from scent marking. With marking he doesn’t really need to pee, he just leaves a small amount of urine at strategic points. If you do have a dog that starts to scent mark it is important to act promptly. You will need to keep him confined to restricted areas and try to observe him as much as possible and give a firm "No" if he tries to mark an area indoors where it is not allowed. During this period it may be advisable to keep him in a crate or small pen when you are unable to watch him as they do not like to urinate in confined spaces. Then take him outside into your garden and then praise him when he urinates in an area that is OK. If he does mark somewhere indoors it is important that you clean that area straight away and if possible spray with some kind of deodorizer to get rid of any smell or else he may keep returning to this spot a re-mark it


That’s the way to fish!
"That’s the way to fish!"

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What do you get if you cross a cocker spaniel, a poodle and a rooster?

What do you get when you cross a Pitbull with a Collie?
A dog who bites you, and then goes for help!

What animal keeps the best time?
A watch dog!

Why don’t dogs make good dancers?
Because they have two left feet!

When is a black dog not a black dog?
When it’s a greyhound!

What did the dog say when he sat on sandpaper?

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Don’t forget Valentine’s Day

Happy Valentine Day


"I have found that when you are deeply troubled, there are things you get from the silent devoted companionship of a dog that you can get from no other source."
Doris Day

For further online Cavalier news and stories don’t forget to read some truly inspirational articles by logging on to the Pawz and Pray page at


If you have any questions about owning a Cavalier then click on the envelope to email Dennis and Tina who will only be too pleased to try and help you.

However please remember that we are not Vets or Lawyers so questions on these topics should be addressed to the professionals for advice.

Questions and answers that are of interest to other owners may be published on this page.

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