Consider the Wholecolors!!!

A Beautiful Wholecolor Head



As the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel moves into the new millennium show
ring, a trend is becoming quite apparent in the United States: the
parti-colors ( blenheims and tricolors) are ruling the Cavalier ring with
the wholecolors taking a back seat.  There are several reasons for this:
wholecolors are not as numerous; it is tough to breed a good one or buy a
good one to show; it is tough to even find a good one as a foundation for
breeding as breeders cling to the good ones; and finally it is difficult to
compete against the flashier parti-colors. When I started in Cavaliers, all
I could see were the blenheims.  Then I acquired my first tricolor, Ch.
Werrington Buoyancy of Rattlebridge, and fell madly in love with tricolors.
I didnt pay much attention to the wholecolors until I visited  several of
the top wholecolor kennels in England and Europe and found myself becoming
totally besotted with black and tans and rubies.   Again, it is easier, of
course, to win with a parti-color than a wholecolor the world over, but good
wholecolors deserve the recognition and consideration in the ring that they
are often denied. Although in the past, many wholecolors were second
citizens in type, this is no longer the case.  Wholecolors have improved the
world over:  England, Australia, New Zealand and the Continent boast many
wholecolors that can hold their own with any parti-color and many of these
dogs have formed the basis for a solid gene pool in the States with
beautiful wholecolors resulting.

A good wholecolor can be absolutely stunning with expression to melt ones
heart. However, one must really look at a wholecolor to see the expression
as the coloring makes it more difficult; wholecolors are an acquired taste
for most--non breeder judges in particular.  A wholecolor must be really
good to catch the judges eye.  As Lucy Koster, from the famous Harana
kennel in England and breeder of the ruby Crufts winner,  Ch. Harana Too
Darn Hot, puts it:  "I think a wholecolor should be everything a parti-color
is and that little bit more. A wholecolor like that it is pretty unbeatable.
There is nothing nicer than seeing a ruby in full coat gleaming in the
sunshine. Lucy believes that expression is the most important thing in a
wholecolor.  They must have soft expression; many wholecolors have hard
expressions untypical of the Cavalier. Just because they are wholecolors,
you cannot excuse a smaller eye or longer face and foreign expression as was
done ten or fifteen years ago.  The standard has now been raised  and a lot
of wholecolors have typical parti-color head and expression as so they

Lucy continued, "Although I think that head and expression are most
important in a wholecolor or for that matter, a parti-color, I also think
that construction is equally important. Well, they don't walk on their
heads, do they?"

The head of good wholecolor should be the same shape as a good parti-color.
Longer muzzles with little cushioning, knobby brows giving the planet of the
ape look, undershot mouths, and untypical eyes are as incorrect on a
wholecolor as on a parti-color. The coat should be straight  and silky on a
ruby or black and tan. Wholecolors should be free from any white markings;
however, a few white hairs on the chest, the toes, or under the chin should
not be heavily penalized in an otherwise good Cavalier.  Some of the best
wholecolors result form parti color to wholecolor breedings, with breeders
risking mismarks in order to get correct type and structure. The
parti-colors can improve wholecolors in head and body type if necessary.
Some wholecolors may have a tendency to be a bit long and low; breeding to a
good parti-color can improve the body of the resulting wholecolors. If a
wholecolor is a bit long, the topline should be level at all times and the
tail carriage not much above the line of the back.  Movement should be sound
no matter what the color.

While the blenheim is certainly the most common color, no real preference
should be given to color in judging Cavaliers.  In fact, since really good
tricolors and wholecolors are so difficult to come by, a judge should pay
careful attention when a good one enters the ring and give it full
consideration. As stated above, the coloration and the markings of the
tricolors and the wholecolors often make the typical sweet expression a
little more difficult to see so judges must take a close look so as not to
miss the melting expression in the large, beautiful round eyes of a Cavalier
of any color.  The silhouette of a correct Cavalier should be the same in
all four colors;  type in all four colors is far more standardized now then
it was a few years ago especially in England and on the Continent, but good
breeding is taking place in the States so that the wholecolors will
eventually win the hearts of  judges who will recognize the quality of a
good one and, hopefully, reward it accordingly.

By Meredith Johnson-Snyder

Rattlebridge Cavalier King Charles Spaniels

reprinted, Top Notch Toys, Sept.2000