King Charles Spaniel

Last updated Feb 2020

A breed standard is the guideline which describes the ideal characteristics, temperament and appearance including the correct colour 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 Breed Watch information related to this breed 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 highly undesirable, it must not be rewarded in the show ring.

General appearance

Refined, compact and cobby.


Happy, intelligent, toy spaniel, with distinctive domed head.


Reserved, gentle and affectionate.

Head and skull

Skull moderately large in comparison to size, well domed, full over eyes. Nose black with large, wide-open nostrils, short and turned up. Stop between skull and nose well defined. Muzzle square, wide and deep, well turned up, lower jaw wide, lips exactly meeting, giving nice finish. Cheeks not falling away under eyes, but well cushioned.


Relatively large and dark, set wide apart, eyelids block square to face line, pleasing expression.


Set on low, hanging quite flat to cheeks, very long and well feathered.


Bite should be slightly undershot. Protruding tongue highly undesirable.


Of medium length; arched giving proud carriage of head.


Legs short, straight. Shoulders well laid back, elbows close to rib cage, turning neither in nor out.


Chest wide and deep, back short and level.


Sufficient muscle to give positive driving movement, stifles well bent, hocks well let down and defined. Straight when viewed from behind, turning neither in nor out.


Compact, well padded and feathered, toes well knuckled, round cat-shaped foot, well cushioned, pasterns firm.


Docking previously optional.

Docked: Well feathered, not carried over or above level of back.

Undocked: Well feathered, not carried over or above level of back. In overall balance with the rest of the dog.

Natural short tail (bobtail) and kinked tail tolerated.


Free, active and elegant, driving from behind. Sound movement highly desirable.


Long, silky and straight, slight wave allowed, never curly. Legs, ears and tail profusely feathered.


Black and Tan: rich glossy black, with bright mahogany-tan markings on muzzle, legs, chest, linings of ears, under tail and spots over eyes. White patch on chest undesirable.

Tricolour: ground pearly white, with well-distributed black patches, brilliant tan markings on cheeks, linings of ears, under tail and spots over eyes. Wide white blaze between eyes and up forehead.

Blenheim: ground pearly white, with well-distributed chestnut-red patches. Wide, clear blaze with the 'spot' in centre of skull, should be a clear chestnut red mark about the size of a penny.

Ruby: whole coloured, rich chestnut red. White patch on chest highly undesirable.


Weight: 3.6-6.3 kgs (8-14 lbs).


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.

*Note for prospective puppy buyers

Size – The Kennel Club breed standard is a guide and description of the ideal for the breed; the size as described does not imply that a dog will match the measurements given (height or weight). A dog might be larger or smaller than the size measurements stated in the breed standard.