From the November 2019 issue of ShowSight, The Dog Show Magazine. Click to subscribe. Pictured above: The appropriate gait for the show ring is on a loose lead—and not too fast, but with enough spirit to convey the correct gay temperament. This is clearly indicated by a tail which is in constant characteristic motion when gaiting.
In the ring, the Cavalier is to be handled naturally and with a minimum of fuss. They are normally shown on loose or semi-loose leads and are allowed to self-stack while free-baiting with their handlers standing. As our breed has become more popular, we see handlers on their knees hand stacking their dogs. This is totally unacceptable in conformation and Junior Showmanship! Judges should instruct exhibitors who make this mistake to stand while showing their Cavaliers. Nothing equals the picture of a Cavalier standing on its own, slowly wagging its tail. This is also the best time for judges to check expression.
Don’t expect Cavaliers to stand like statues in the ring. It is not in their nature to do so. They are alert, curious and interested in what is going on around them and should not be penalized
Tail holding is never practiced in the Cavalier ring, not even for pictures. The outline is quickly spoiled if the tail is held out setter-style as it gives a rather alien look to the breed.
Cavaliers are not to be raced around the ring. They are to be shown at a moderate trot. Faster is not better in the Cavalier ring. Let this be known to your exhibitors before they begin gaiting their dogs.
Cavaliers should be impeccably turned out for the ring; clean, brushed and shining. This is a naturally presented breed totally free from any trimming, sculpting or cosmetic alteration of any kind. This means no trimming of whiskers or feet, o thinning out the neck or cleaning out the throat area, no sculpting of shoulders and hindquarters. This is part of breed type and the American Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Club implores all judges to respect and enforce this part of the standard. As a rule, Cavalier exhibitors know all of these things and will respect a judge who has taken the time to learn and to enforce these correct procedures in the ring.