Top Notch Toys June 2017

JUDGING THE CAVALIER KING CHARLES SPANIEL by DR. JOHN V. IOIA

sporting character of its larger cous- ins. The natural silky coat must never appear trimmed or sculpted. The correct Cavalier is a small well- balanced dog of 13-18 lbs. and 12"-13" height that approached squareness, but the measurement from point of shoulder to point of buttock is slight- ly longer than the height at the with- ers. Also, the distance from withers to elbow equals that from elbow to ground. Substance and bone are mod- erate and in proportion to size. A proper Cavalier should not be weedy, coarse, too large or too small. Be aware of size. There’s a tendency toward big- ger dogs, which will make the correct size dog appear small but in all things quality is the bottom line. Correct head type is an essential ele- ment of this breed and makes its first impression. Here is where knowledge of breed history and origin is important. The short nose, deep stop and globular head of the English Toy Spaniel is the antithesis of the Cavalier. The Cavalier must have a soft melting expression and this is the result of a flat appearing skull, the frontal placement of large round eyes with slight cushioning and framed by high-set ears. The eyes must be large, round, dark brown, lustrous and wel- coming. Light eyes, prominent eyes or eyes surrounded by white are a serious fault as they detract from the expres- sion. “All of the trust and gentleness of the Cavalier’s soul is communicated through its lustrous, limpid eyes.” Ears and ear set are very important and often misjudged. Ears should be set high and not too close together with

Kavalor’s Just Jack of Bar-Jon CGC, RN, RA, APDT1 Jack visits nursing facilities and hospitals and we are working on his TDX—the people just love him. While he didn’t work out for conformation, he is my BFF and goes everywhere with me, including the beach and kayaking.

I had the great fortune to be a guest at the first Cavalier King Charles Spaniel National Specialty. It was hosted by the ACKCSC in Plym- outh Meeting, Pennsylvania on May 2, 1997. The entry of 188 held many exceptional specimens but what capti- vated me was the demeanor of the dogs. Particularly in the Specials Class, all the exhibits seemed to be wagging in unison. I had never experienced such a happy breed of dog. This simple trait of a “Tail in constant motion” gives ample indication why the Cavalier is such a joy to own, breed, show and judge. A judge will often be met by a sniff, a lick,

dancing front paws or even a bit of chat- ter. We ask new judges not to dismiss this as amateur handling but to under- stand it as a trait that breeders treasure and encourage. There are many excellent articles on judging this Royal Breed. I struggled over what new approach to take. The Cavalier is defined by its beautiful head and its gentle, welcoming and affection- ate personality. Otherwise, it’s a fairly generic dog. The Cavalier should give a first impression of grace and elegance, gay temperament with royal dignity and yet maintain the same fearlessness and

68 • T op N otch T oys , J une 2017

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