King Charles Spaniels expected to rise in popularity
Following on from last week’s blog post, where we celebrated the Queen’s beloved Corgis and explained why more people should consider owning one of these loyal and affectionate dogs, this week we are looking at another pooch that has featured on the Kennel Club’s Vulnerable Native Breeds list and why they are suddenly expected to rise in popularity.
The Kennel Club's Vulnerable Native Breeds list consists of KC-Registered Pedigree British and Irish dog breeds which have fewer that 300 registrations a year. They also have an ‘at watch’ list of native breeds with between 300 and 450 registrations per year. Ranking surprisingly high on this list is the King Charles Spaniel, a breed which has been gradually dwindling in popularity over the past few years. The amount of registered pups born reduced by half between 2017 to 2020: from 112 to just 56. Thankfully last year the amount registered rose again, to 91 recorded pups and now according to the Mirror, due to sharing their name with our new monarch, they are expected to experience a new surge in popularity as people take a new found interest in the breed. So what’s it like to own one of these little dogs?
Tricolour King Charles Spaniel Photo by Austin Kirk on Unsplash
The King Charles breed
King Charles Spaniels are classed as a toy breed, combining the lively sporting instincts of their athletic ancestors with a lovely affectionate nature that makes them ideal family pets.
Originally bred as lap dogs in the 16th century, the breed were popular with both Charles I and his son Charles II. They also look rather similar to their namesake King Charles who had fabulous long curly hair, not dissimilar to the King Charles spaniel’s long curly ears. Charles the II was reportedly one of our most popular Kings and he was very fond of his dogs. He took them everywhere with him and issued a royal decree that they should be allowed in all public spaces, including Parliament!
Blenheim Cavalier King Charles Spaniel by Steshka Willems on Pexels
King Charles Spaniels traditionally come in four colours – chestnut and white (referred to as ‘Blenheim’), Tricolor, rich red (Ruby) and black and tan. Their fantastic temperament makes them ideal for use as therapy dogs and it really is a little bit of a mystery why their popularity has waned considering that they make such fantastic pets.
Since the 1940s the King Charles Spaniel has been recognised as a distinct breed from its close cousin, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. Cavaliers tend to have longer muzzles than regular King Charles Spaniels who are also slightly smaller with a dome-shaped skull. The Cavaliers have become more popular and are not on the vulnerable breed list so if you think you’ve seen a lot of King Charles Spaniels about and are surprised to hear they are endangered, you’ve probably seen a Cavalier out and about.
Tricolor Cavalier King Charles Spaniel by Radovan Zierik on Pexels
King Charles and his dogs
But what does the new King Charles make of all this? A monarch is allowed to call themselves by any name and it was initially believed that Charles was going to call himself King George VII – partly because he didn’t want to share his name with King Charles I - the only member of the monarchy to be tried and executed for treason - and his son, Charles II, who was known for his legendary love life and ruled during some particularly troubled times including the plague and the Great Fire of London. It is also said that he didn’t want to share his name with a dog breed, but despite all this, following the sad passing of HM the Queen on the 8th of September, the Prime Minister announced that he would be known as King Charles III.
Is King Charles likely to get a namesake spaniel of his own? As we reported in last week’s blog post, Charles and Camilla are not going to be taking on the Queen’s remaining 2 Corgis, Muick and Sandy how have gone to live with Prince Andrew. The King and Queen Consort already have two Jack Russel Terriers named Beth and Bluebell whom they adopted from Battersea Dogs and Cats home in 2017. So only time will tell if they add ay more pups to their pack!
Do you own a King Charles Spaniel. We’d love to hear your experience of owning one of these fabulous little dogs and we’ll also be keeping a close eye on the Vulnerable Native Breeds list next year to see if they are still rare!
Main photo by Courtney Mihaka on Unsplash