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Is a cavalier King Charles spaniel a gundog at heart?

There is an inner cocker to the cavalier King Charles, says David Tomlinson

Cavalier King Charles spaniel

King Charles spaniels are trainable little dogs

I’ve always had a sneaking suspicion that inside many a cavalier King Charles spaniel there’s a cocker spaniel trying to get out.

So I wasn’t really surprised when I read the following story sent to me by Debbie Grounds in response for my request for stories of 
non-gundog breeds that have aspired 
to be proper gundogs.

Everyone laughed … but

“We recently lost Oscar, our black-and-tan cavalier King Charles spaniel,” she wrote. “Oscar had a gentle and sweet personality and had been well trained to Kennel Club gold level in obedience but had received no gundog training.

“I was living on the North York Moors during the 2011 to 2012 pheasant season and while out beating was encouraged to bring my dog along. I duly arrived the following day with Oscar, at which point everyone laughed and voiced their doubts as to his suitability as a working dog,” she revealed. “However, by the end of the first week I was complimented on his ability and training.

“He would flush pheasants from totally overgrown areas that the larger Labradors struggled to get into. He could be relied upon to return to me immediately when asked and was often sent in to flush just 
a few birds and then come back to me.

“He had to be helped over the larger stone walls and never picked-up as the pheasants were too large, but he was an amazing companion and working dog.

“I returned to beat at this shoot last year and was pleased to find that he was fondly remembered after five years: he was a truly amazing little dog.”

A rescued cavalier King Charles spaniel

Ruth Harvey sent me another heart-warming story on a similar theme. “Dune was found on the beach — a 12-week-old emaciated puppy that had been tied up in a plastic bag and abandoned. I could see every bone in his body. He was black with a large head.

“I soon fed him up and he grew into a beautiful cuddly dog looking like a Newfoundland-cross retriever, so he fitted in well with my Labrador picking-up team. He enjoyed retrieving and spent 10 happy years picking-up with me. He was a legend – so, so happy and so much loved by my family for many years.”