What Colors And Patterns Does A Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Come In?

I love the silky, non-curly, and sometimes slightly wavy coat of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. Which is why I’m bringing one home next week. But I feel kind of limited in color choice and I’ve not yet decided which one to go for.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels come in only four official colors. The Blenheim is the most common while black & tan is the rarest and thus more costly. But from as much as we can gather, Cavaliers can also be found in 5 other non-official colors and patterns like tan, black & white, and merle.

In this article, we’ll tell you everything about the 4 official colors of the Cavalier as well as 5 other colors and patterns of the Cavalier coat that you can choose from.

9. White Markings

Image from Majestic Pet Products

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel dogs are, in the majority of cases heterozygous for the Piebald gene (sp) which is what creates the parti colors on Cavalier coats. This means that most Cavalier parents produce dogs with differing amounts of white color and markings.

White markings on a Cavalier are often found on the face, back, toes, chest, and tail. In Cavaliers though, any white markings that don’t fit into the official Blenheim and Tricolors are considered mismarkings or faults.

8. Merle

Image from Roverlund

As with all dogs with the merle coat, merle Cavaliers have a coat pattern characterized by irregular patches of diluted color in both solid color and parti coat types. The pattern is caused by the Merle gene (M-locus) which is an inherited autosomal partially dominant gene.

The merle gene also causes blue eyes in the affected dogs (like the featured Cavalier) or sometimes odd eye colors.  Research has indicated that merle dogs also exhibit varied severe eye defects.

7. Tricolor Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Image from PetHonesty

According to the AKC breed standard, tricolor coats of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is defined by black markings on a pearly white background. These markings must be well defined.

The ears of a tricolor Cavalier must be black and uniformly spaced on the head and around the eyes. A white blaze should be visible between the eyes. Tan color marks are found over the eyes, inside the ears, on the underside of the tail, and the cheeks.

6. Blenheim Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Image from Pet Plate

The Blenheim Cavalier has well-defined dark-chestnut marks on a pearly white background. The chestnut color should also be on the ears and the color well-distributed on the head and around the eyes.

At the center of the face may be the legendary Blenheim spot (Lozenge) attributed to Sarah Churchill, a historical Duchess of Marlborough.

Even though the Blenheim mark is desirable for this official Cavalier color, it is not a compulsory mark for recognition.

5. Tan Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Image from Instagram:@copperdogge

In dogs, tan color is considered a shade of the red pigment, Pheomelanin. Following the interaction of genes that determines the intensity of the pigment, a tan Cavalier represents a fairly diluted red with a weaker color intensity than the Ruby.

Tan is only a hair color in dogs, which means it is not reflected in a dog’s spots (eye, nose, muzzle, or nails). The black pigment, Eumelanin controls the color of the spots.

4. Ruby Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Image from Pet Plate

Ruby is one of the official colors of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. Its unique presentation is in a rich-red chestnut color throughout the body and without any marks. Sometimes Ruby Cavaliers have a few white hairs, but these are officially undesirable.

Ruby is also one of the rare colors of the Cavalier. This rarity is attributed to less focus by breeders on this color variant. Most Cavalier owners prefer breeding the more expressive and favored Blenheim and tricolor variants.

3. White Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Image from Instagram:@threedesertcavs

Too much white on a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel’s coat is officially considered a fault. It is, therefore, obvious that an all-white Cavalier will not be considered purebred.

For Cavaliers as for all dog breeds, a solid white coat is explained by the absence of the pigment cells. But pigmentation usually occurs on the nose, muzzle, eyes, and toes of a white dog. As such, when pigmentation is lacking completely, then the dog is albino, which is quite rare.

2. Black & White Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Image from Instagram:@wishpool_cavaliers

Black & white is an unofficial color of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. Unlike the official tricolor where black markings sit on a white background, black & white Cavaliers have more black color with white mismarkings on the chest, face, and feet.

Most black and white Cavaliers have some tan markings. It is extremely rare to find a black & white Cavalier without the signature tan spots also found on the Blenheim, black & tan, and the tricolors.

1. Black & Tan Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Image from Pet Plate

The AKC describes the Black & tan Cavalier coat as one with jet black color that has tan markings on the chest, legs, over the eyes, inside the ears, on the underside of the tail, and the cheeks.

Together with the Ruby color, black & tan makes the second of the ‘whole color’ variants and is one of the rarest Cavalier colors.

Black & and tan Cavaliers are said to have a complex gene combination with the possibility of producing all four colors when bred with a Blenheim, as well as the possibility of having puppies with mismarkings.

Related Questions

What Is The Rarest Color For Cavalier King Charles Spaniels? The rarest official color of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is the Black & Turn. Ruby is considered second in rarity. These two are the whole colors of the Cavalier coat. But they are also associated with less quality on the ring, which is why they are less bred and so less common.

What Is The Most Popular Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Color? Blenheim is both the most popular and the most common color of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. Together with the tricolors, Blenheim Cavaliers are popular on the ring. They are also considered lovely family pets due to their expressive sheen. But the Blenheim’s popularity is also linked to the “Blenheim spot” attributed to the onetime Duchess of Marlborough, Sarah Churchill.

What Color Of The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Should I Get? All four official Cavalier colors are beautiful. Blenheim and Tricolors are bright while the Ruby and black & tan are duller. You should get the color of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel that most appeals to you. You can also consider one of the non-official colors such as tan, black & white, or the merle pattern.

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Pete Decker