View Full Version : The Cavie "Spot"

16th March 2007, 07:11 PM
I read somewhere that having one spot in the middle of the tops of their heads makes them "pure breed". Is that true? I was just curious because Frodo has that spot. Do some of the pups not have the spot because of cross breeding? Do they cost more if they have the spot?

Just some things I've been wondering about icon_whistling icon_nwunsure

16th March 2007, 09:32 PM
No that isn't true.

Some have a lozenge and some don't. Even from the same litter they can be different.
Rubys' and Black/Tans never have them and they are still "pure breed" like you say.

The lozenge is still always desirable though on a Blenheim, but many don't have them and are just as beautiful without.


16th March 2007, 10:02 PM
The spot is called the Marlborough spot, after the duke of Marlborough. The legend say that John Churchill, the first duke of Marlborough brought a Cavalier when he 1704 conquer the french in the a battle in Blenheim.
His wife Sarah where at home very anxious to hear the news from the battle. She had her Cavalier in her knee, and the dog was pregnant. The duchess was not aware of that she had pressed her thumb on the top of the head on the dog. A short time after that the puppys came, all with a spot on the head just the size of the Duchess thumb.

A cute story. But not true. :thmbsup:

16th March 2007, 10:54 PM
It is purely a cosmetic variation in coat pattern and has nothing to do with the quality of the dog or whether it is purebred, or the cost (or it shouldn't -- if a breeder is charging more for something like this on a pet quality dog then beware of the breeder). It also doesn't matter at all whether blenheims have the mark or not though it is termed 'desireable'. Curiously it doesn't seem to ever be mentioned with tricolours though presumably they can get them too; probably because the blenheim story is connected to blenheims which are named for the Duke of Marlborough's home, which in turn is named for a famous battle that he won -- read more on that here:

So overall, it is considered nice for them to have one, more for the connection to the myth, I suppose, as there are champion show blenheims that don't have a blenheim spot. Jaspar doesn't have one but my mom's cavalier has a small one. Structure and movement are far more important than coat patterns and even small mismarkings are tolerated in show dogs if they otherwise have excellent features.

Particolours can also have a 'lucky elbow' where the solid colour covers the elbow of one front leg -- Jaspar and Leo both have this. Again this isn't something that matters at all but is or was at one time considered a nice feature at least in the UK/Ireland.

From UK breed standard:

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

CKCSC standard:

Blenheim - Rich chestnut markings well broken up on a pearly white ground. The ears must be red and the color evenly spaced on the head, with a wide white blaze between the ears, in the center of which is the much valued lozenge (diamond), or "Blenheim Spot". The lozenge is a unique and highly desirable, though not essential, characteristic of the Blenheim.

AKC standard:

Blenheim - Rich chestnut markings well broken up on a clear, pearly white ground. The ears must be chestnut and the color evenly spaced on the head and surrounding both eyes, with a white blaze between the eyes and ears, in the center of which may be the lozenge or "Blenheim spot". The lozenge is a unique and desirable, though not essential, characteristic of the Blenheim.

17th March 2007, 02:49 AM
Very interesting! I've always loved that little spot, but I had no idea how much myth was behind it!

Thanks for the detailed responses! :thnx:

I also love love love the indent between his eyes. just too cute!

2nd April 2007, 10:10 AM
I had one with a spot. What about freckles??? What is that all about???

2nd April 2007, 11:14 AM
Here is a little light hearted mythology about the blenheim spot (lozenge)

From http://www.prairiemeadowfarms.com/history.html

Supposedly, while the duke was away fighting in the battle of Blenheim, his wife was at home worrying about her husband and soothing a whelping bitch. The distraught duchess comforted both herself and the prospective mother by repeatedly pressing the bitch’s forehead with her thumb. When the news came that the battle had been won, the puppies were born, and all bore a red “thumbmark” in the middle of their forehead, said to have resulted from pressing the dam’s forehead! Of course, such markings are due to genes, but at the time it was a popular explanation. The name Blenheim was applied to the red and white dogs with the characteristic “Blenheim spot.” Generations of Dukes of Marlborough continued to breed their Blenheim strain until the early 1900s.

2nd April 2007, 11:18 AM
Interestingly Blenheims before that time also had the lozenge mark :lol:

but it's a lovely story anyway :D

The freckles are just another cosmetic pattern - frowned upon in the show ring, but can be cute on a pet!!! Our Fillipa had freckles and we thought they were sweet.

If you look back at old photos of Cavaliers, they had freckles and ticking, and the freckles today are from that. Many King Charles have a lot more ticking than Cavaliers - you might notice when you bath a Blen or Tri that you can see the pigmentation on their skin, but the coat covers it.

4th April 2007, 10:08 AM
Maddy has a double spot! She also has freckles!
So, one desirable, one not.