View Full Version : Cavaliers Breed Standard Size/Weight

Brian M
23rd April 2012, 03:01 PM

I know the breed standard says "Weight and Size: Weight - twelve to eighteen pounds(5.50-8.20 kilo ). A small well-balanced dog well within these weights desirable"

But are we finding our Pet Cavaliers are getting generally bigger overall ,and just for my interest as my knowledge of show dogs is limited ,does a show Cavalier still have to be strictly within that size to win .

My four girls weigh Poppy 10.20 Kilo ,Daisy 8.10 Kilo ,Rosie 8.40 Kilo ,Lily 7.30 Kilo .

When we all came downstairs first thing this morning I always take them straight outside so they can go to the loo ,but this morning when outside I did a head count and one was missing .It was our Pops and there was no sign of her so I went back inside to check where she was and found she had come downstairs at the back of the gang and then when we all carried on Pops had turned left into the living room and was busy eating Luke's chicken sandwiches Dawn had left on a table ready to put in his school bag.:yikes

So what unexpected item did your Cavalier eat .?

23rd April 2012, 04:30 PM
Short answer: no they do not have to be within that weight range to win in show rings and according to show people I talk to, very few show males (at least in the UK) would weigh much under the very top of that range and many weight over it. A couple have said they would never even consider using a stud dog that falls below 17-18lbs and many would prefer over that range. Females do tend to be within breed standard. Some feel that the breed standard weight needs to be changed. My impression is that really small cavaliers at the low end of the breed standard are unlikely to win as well --tending to be too slight in build and sometimes, too short in leg. I sat nest to a couple of very critical breeders at a show once, alarmed at the very small size of a couple of entries.

In my rescue experience, probably 80% of dogs are larger than breed standard in weight and most I see in the UK on holidays would be the same. I don't mean overweight (though as Kate has said elsewhere, seems to be the case as well for about 80% of all cavaliers I see too! :yikes -- a very serious health issue that must be as equal a life shortener as MVD yet totally in owner control to prevent :( ) but that the dogs are actually larger in size even if they are at correct weight.

24th April 2012, 03:11 AM
I don't really know anything about show dogs. However this past weekend my town held an annual Cavalier party at the beach where about 200 cavaliers and their owners gathered for the day and I was so surprised at how much the different cavaliers ranged in size! There were really tiny ones and really big ones! Sonny is about 20 pounds at 10 months and he is actually pretty lanky, I am guessing he will still fill out a little bit. He seems to have one of the larger body types, but there were definitely several that were much larger than him!!! I have heard everyone on the forum talk about the big range in size, but it was interesting to see so many cavaliers in person that all looked so different, but definitely all still adorable. :)

24th April 2012, 06:11 AM
I think the 'breed standards' are probably outdated. It's sounds similar to ladies clothing sizes, where they haven't been updated in years,
so manufacturers tend to make garments to suit the figure of a 1950's housewife.
The world of showing sounds really intimidating to say the least. I certainly couldn't do it. If anyone makes a negative comment about
Jessie, I usually take it to heart, so I'd be known as the sook with the large puppy.

24th April 2012, 10:38 AM
Chloe is right at one end of the scale - she is barely 5.5 kg. As she is very small her overall look is proportionate, well at least we think she is. We attribute her weight, or lack of gaining much weight due to raw diet and plenty of walks. The chicken necks she eat tends to have very little fat, plus her treats is almost always dried liver. Unexpected item she eats - well she quite likes Weetabix mixed with some cottage cheese, and she would do anything to have cat food! We also give her chicken frame from time to time, good for her teeth. Quite hilarious to see her determination to finish it though!


Chloe the 1.5-yr-old Therapy Blenheim

24th April 2012, 10:39 AM
I can't help but have a giggle of Poppy! Silly girl...or should I say SMART girl! Ha!

Kate H
24th April 2012, 11:17 AM
I've always thought that it would make more sense for the breed standard to specify height, and give typical weights for dogs and bitches as a guideline (as the standard for Golden Retrievers does - the first breed I showed). Oliver is 14 ins at the shoulder and although at the top end of show size, did win moderately well. He has good bone and muscle and is best described as chunky, rather than some of the ethereal Cavaliers seen in the show ring today; he weighs about 10kg/22lb. I was showing him regularly about 7 or 8 years ago, and some shows put on a class for Cavaliers under 18lb, and even then there were very, very few entries for that class. The main decider of size/height/weight is genes (though obviously poor nutrition, illness etc can also be factors). So if, as Karlin related, breeders deliberately use an over the weight limit stud dog to give substance, the puppies are likely to be bigger than average as well and the size overall in the breed will slowly creep up.

One of the completely unofficial criteria for size what I would like to see followed and would be sorry to lose is that you should be able to pick a Cavalier up quite easily, tuck him/her under your arm and carry them without staggering! If they get too big they cease to be Toy dogs, and should be moved into the Gundog group with the rest of the spaniel breeds. Field Trials for Cavaliers - now there's an interesting thought! (Though I do actually know of several gun-trained Cavaliers... and Oliver would have loved it)

Kate, Oliver and Aled

24th April 2012, 12:00 PM
Kate I like the carrying code! :lol:

There actually have been lots of on-off discussions among breeders on whether cavaliers should be in another group as they are not really 'toys' in the sense that others are and are the biggest breed in that group -- with many now I think well out of even being considered a 'toy'!!!

24th April 2012, 09:51 PM
Dillon is 10 months old and weighs in at 8.3kg - he is longer and taller than my cocker spaniel, just by a little but nevertheless.. he is very lean but not boney, I'm thinking there is still some filling out to do yet though. We feed a home cooked diet - his favourite is green runner beans....!! he is very active and we walk a lot

Brian M
24th April 2012, 09:52 PM

For interest I asked a dear friend for thoughts on this ,the person who supplied the comments has been a breeder for between 30-40 years of the highest
quality of full health tested Cavaliers with a host of CC's and the person is also a national and international show judge of the highest order.

Hello Brian, Sorry for the delay but my day has been loaded... AGAIN ...

I'll answer you wearing my judges hat :o) and the answer is no. Balance is
much more important to me than size... ie... the correct length of leg to
length of back.... I just cant tolerate the 'elongated body and low to the
ground' look, because they lack the elegance our breed is known for. having
said this... if a Cavalier comes into the ring looking like it should have a
saddle and rider on its back I draw the line, but to be honest when I'm
judging I can usually find a dog of the correct size that also fits the
Breed Standard for type, so it's not an issue.

>>> in your opinion are Cavaliers generally getting bigger or is that
>>> generally just non show dogs >>>

I think this comment is on the right tracks. Mostly the showdogs we see are
typical for size and type, but many pets I meet are far too big for the
breed, and I don't just mean overweight. They have bone like a Springer,
and very often the longer nose of a Cocker. Often when I'm walking my
correct size Cavaliers I'm asked if they are puppies ?? and my answer is
usually, 'no... they are aged between 9 and 12 years old' ....

>> do you think the breed standard will ever be altered >>

I sincerely hope not.... the Standard is quite flexible and allows for
diversity in type as well as size, although the original Standard weight was
set at between TEN and eighteen pounds whereas the modern Standard has a
minimum weight of twelve pounds.

>>> and lastly how long has the breed standard been in existance >>>

The Standard was set in 1928, and the name of the breed then changed to
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. The Breed Standard was written from a live
model who was thought to be of excellent type, and this was of course 'Ann's
Son', a 12 to 13 pound Blenheim male owned by Miss Mostyn Walker. His Stud
fee was set at 3 guineas ( a little over 3) and he was virtually
unbeatable, winning the top award at Crufts for several years in succession.
He would look minute for a male in todays show ring, and rather lacking in
facial cushioning, but the Breed Standard that was submitted to the KC for
Ratification was a blue print of this one little Blenheim boy. "

24th April 2012, 11:31 PM
That's an interesting reply. Thanks Brian! Funny that she said that she is asked if her cavaliers are puppies. Elton is really small 12lbs. He is smaller boned and next to other cavaliers he just is overall tiny.

25th April 2012, 02:08 AM
I started to show amy, last december in baby's class. We had 3 shows, so far, here in Portugal.
I saw many cavs above the standard limits and wining. I know that some males had 10kg and 11 kg (22-24 lbs). And I think that they are most likely to be notested, just because they're bigger.

Amy is almost 6 kg (13lbs) and female, so that is not a very fair competition for her :) .
But she's only 9 months. However I like her small (and toy!) and I will not over feed her just to grow for shows!
She feets on my lap, but not on my mum's lap anymore! :D

In my personal opinion, if we have toy dogs, we should keep then small (to medium, in cavs, that might be the 8 kg). I bought a toy, I didn't bought a medium sized dog.

25th April 2012, 02:34 AM
Just my opinion of course, as a pet owner, who neither breeds or is a part of the show world of dogs in general.
That to me comes across as very pretentious and almost insulting. I understand that those are the breed standards, but
they will never be adapted unless someone they hold of importance raises their hand on the issue. My view may be a little
stereotypical, but for me it only affirms that the society of showing is really only for certain cliques and if your Cavalier falls on either
side of what they deem to be 'correct size', your ousted.

It's intimidating for inexperienced Cavalier owners.
I rarely find myself agitated, but I'll be stuffed If I'm going to let some stuffy, out of touch group dictate what my Cavalier should
aspire to, bugger that.

Sorry, just makes me a little agro http://www.kolobok.us/smiles/he_and_she/girl_mad.gif

25th April 2012, 10:20 AM
I think if people plan to breed cavaliers,they must always keep the breed standard in mind.It's not just about size,but about soundness,movement and temperament too.By putting a dog under a judge you can get a very useful opinion.I think most of the bitches are a very nice size,very feminine but still with good substance.
Cavaliers who are well up to size,can and do win,depending on what a judge likes.
I agree with the point made by Brian's friend.I'm not a fan of the "elongated body and low to the ground". Put that with the amount of coat that some dogs have and they seem to disappear into the grass.The dogs who win consistently, have the whole package,expression,balance,coat,movement and the temperament for the occasion.
You meet all kinds of characters in the show world,some delightfully bonkers,but also some really great people too.
I'd prefer my kids to take up a hobby like showing dogs,than holding up a street corner on a saturday morning,or with a game console in front of them for half the day.

Kate H
25th April 2012, 10:30 AM
I also get asked if my two are puppies - but usually by children, using the logic that if all small people (children) grow into big people (adults) then the same must apply to dogs: small dogs = puppies who will grow into big dogs = adults :)

It's simply one of the facts of life that show Cavaliers will be closer to the breed standard than many pet Cavaliers - that is precisely what show Cavaliers are (supposedly) carefully bred for (measuring noses to see if they are the actual 1.5 inches asked for could be an interesting exercise!). And those that don't conform to the breed standard in, for example, size, will be sold as pets. In addition, many puppy farmers and backyard breeders are breeding with no reference to the breed standard at all, and many pet owners, who constitute their clients and have no knowledge of the breed standard, actually like a slightly larger dog, and that is also going to contribute to an increase in the overall size of the pet Cavalier population. We all, show people and pet owners, just need to remember that we are dealing with a Toy Spaniel - Toy = a small dog, Spaniel = in the words of the breed standard, a sporting, fearless dog. It's a difficult balance to keep, but pet owners can help by refusing to buy a puppy, however cute, whose parents are enormous and/or who is clearly nervous. We can all help to keep the Cavalier as the breed we want; the breed standard size range will be the desirable average, with variations on both sides - as the standard says, somewhere nicely in the middle is the ideal, but given so many other characteristics that need to be bred for, differences are inevitable (think of humans!).

Kate, Oliver and Aled