The Cavaton owes their personality and appearance to their popular and good-looking parent breeds, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and the Coton de Tulear dog.
The Coton de Tulear originated in Madagascar and is related to the Bischon Frise and the Maltese. They came to Madagascar several hundred years ago although no definite date can be sourced. The little white dogs were said to have accompanied ladies on long sea voyages, while some say that they were used as ratters on the ships.
Some of the Coton de Tulear dogs became pets in the royal court and wealthy Madagascar households while others were street dogs. In the 1970s a Frenchman who was visiting the island brought some Cotons back to France and established them as a breed. They also were taken to North America around the same time.
The Coton is still found in his native home, but his sweet loving personality has secured his place as a favourite throughout the world. He is registered with the American Kennel Club's Foundation Stock Service.
The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a descendent of the King Charles Spaniel. In the late 1600s, the King Charles Spaniel was interbred with the Pug. This cross mix produced a smaller dog that had an upturned face, flatter nose, and large protruding eyes. They became the standard for the King Charles Spaniel.
However, in 1920, an American named Rosewell Eldridge was keen to see dogs that were like the Van Dyck’s paintings of King Charles ll and his spaniels. Those dogs were without the Pug dog influence, so he offered prize money in the Crufts Dog Show in London to anyone who exhibited a King Charles dog with the long nose. Miss M. Walker won, but unfortunately, Eldridge had died and he was not there to award the prize personally.
But thanks to other American breeders who embraced the idea they are responsible for the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel that we know today. From the royal houses to the American breeders, the Cavalier is a true heir of the royal Spaniels. In the 1940s, they were classified as a separate breed on their own, and were given the prefix Cavalier to differentiate them from their forebears. With such a colourful and romantic past the Cavaton could not be anything but the special little dog that it is today.