What are the colors of Cavalier King Charles Spaniels?

Cavaliers come in four colors – two are called “parti-colors”, and two are called “whole colors”. At Mokido, we are working toward creating better whole colors. To do that well, rules of genetics necessitate we also occasionally breed quality parti-colors. These are the four colors:

This drawing was done by our daughter, Kaitlyn.

Blenheim (a particolor)

Blenheims are the most common Cavalier. It is a white dog broken up by chestnut markings. The head of a blenheim cavalier has a white muzzle going up into a “blaze” between the eyes and onto the head. This blaze is often broken by a “blenheim kiss” or a ruby spot in the middle of the head – like an island in a sea of white. The name, Blenheim, comes from Blenheim Palace in England where the Duke of Marlborough used to fancy these dogs. Our Valentine and Doug are both Blenheims.

Tricolor (a particolor)

The Tricolor, or tri-colour for those of you who speak British, has three colors. Black, white and a few accents of the chestnut, ruby coloring. Most notably, the ruby colors appear as “eyebrows” above those adorable eyes. The neck of a tricolor is generally an unbroken white band forming a collar. The forehead of a tricolor cavalier has a white “blaze” going between the eyes and onto the head.

Ruby (a whole color)

Stud Ruby Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, New N’Golden Perle Du Sahel
Whole colors are more uncommon in the Cavalier world, with the ruby being the more common of the two colors. The ruby cavalier is a solid chestnut color. There is no black in the coat of a ruby, and there is very little white. Sometimes the chest of a ruby, or the chin of a ruby will have some white hairs, but by and large, this is a red dog.

Black and Tan (a whole color)

Black and tan cavalier king charles spaniel dog sitting
The black and tan cavalier is the most uncommon variety of cavalier king charles spaniel. This beautiful dog is all black with some chestnut or tan markings. The eyebrows are tan, giving a B&T so many expressions and making them so forgivable. They also have tan on their chest, muzzle, and feet. Our Lulu is a black and tan.


There are rumors of an elusive Chocolate cavalier. These are much like the Tri-color, however, instead of black, white and ruby, they are a deep chocolate, white and ruby color. Other varieties have been known to exist as well:

  • Chocolate and tan
  • All black
  • Black and white

None of these dogs are accepted varieties by the AKC or by the CKCSC and therefore are spayed or neutered before they can be bred.

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