History and Origins
The original Cavalier King Charles Spaniel dog breed was developed from the toy spaniels pictured in the work of 16th, 17th and 18th century painters such as Titian and Gainsborough. They were very common as a ladies' pet and were used to warm laps. King Charles II was so fond of his spaniels he could not be parted from them. By 1800, the snub-nose variety had taken over in popularity and the original spaniel was nearly lost. Only the Duke of Marlborough kept a line alive, breeding them at Blenheim castle. In 1926, an American, Roswell Eldridge, tried to re-establish the original dog of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniels by offering a prize for a dog with the appearance of the dogs in the historical portraiture. The prize was given out at Crufts for the then substantial sum of £25.