Cavalier Breed Standard

Breed Standard

A Breed Standard is the guideline which describes the ideal characteristics, temperament and appearance of a breed and ensures that the breed is fit for function. Absolute soundness is essential. Breeders and judges should at all times be careful to avoid obvious conditions or exaggerations which would be detrimental in any way to the health, welfare or soundness of this breed. From time to time certain conditions or exaggerations may be considered to have the potential to affect dogs in some breeds adversely, and judges and breeders are requested to refer to the Kennel Club website for details of any such current issues. If a feature or quality is desirable it should only be present in the right measure. However if a dog possesses a feature, characteristic or colour described as undesirable or highly undesirable it is strongly recommended that it should not be rewarded in the ring.


General Appearance

Active, graceful and well balanced, with gentle expression.


Sporting, affectionate, absolutely fearless.


Gay, friendly, non-aggressive; no tendency to nervousness.

Head and Skull

Skull almost flat between ears. Stop shallow. Length from base of stop to tip of nose about 3.8 cms (1½ ins). Nostrils black and well developed without flesh marks, muzzle well tapered. Lips well developed but not pendulous. Face well filled below eyes. Any tendency to snippiness undesirable.


Large, dark, round but not prominent; spaced well apart.


Jaws strong, with a perfect, regular and complete scissor bite, i.e. upper teeth closely overlapping lower teeth and set square to the jaws.


Moderate length, slightly arched.


Chest moderate, shoulders well laid back; straight legs moderately boned.


Short-coupled with good spring of rib. Level back.


Legs with moderate bone; well turned stifle – no tendency to cow-hocks or sickle-hocks.


Compact, cushioned and well feathered.


Length of tail in balance with body, well set on, carried happily but never much above the level of the back. Docking previously optional when no more than one-third was to be removed.

Gait/ Movement

Free-moving and elegant in action, plenty of drive from behind. Forelegs and hind legs move parallel when viewed from in front and behind.


Long, silky, free from curl. Slight wave permissible. Plenty of feathering. Totally free from trimming.


Recognised colours are:

Black and Tan

Raven black with tan markings above the eyes, on cheeks, inside ears, on chest and legs and underside of tail. Tan should be bright. White marks undesirable.


Whole coloured rich red. White markings undesirable.


Rich chestnut markings well broken up, on pearly white ground. Markings evenly divided on head, leaving room between ears for much valued lozenge mark or spot (a unique characteristic of the breed)


Black and white well spaced, broken up, with tan markings over eyes, cheeks, insid ears, inside legs, and on underside of tail.

Any other colour or combination of colours highly undesirable.



5.4 – 8.2 kgs (12 – 18 lbs). A small, well balanced dog well within these weights desirable.

Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog and on the dog's ability to perform its traditional work.

Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.

The Kennel Club Ltd. Reprinted with their permission