Any dog experts want to help me out?(63 Posts)
First question is does anyone know if it's possible to buy a healthy Cavalier from breeders who have bred out heart, eye, brain problems?
Secondly, if the answer to the above is no can you recommend me a breed please?
Good with children
Good with cats
Few health issues
Happy to romp all over the moors, beach but equally content to have a lazy day if I am ill for example.
'Pretty' - I really do prefer a beautiful dog. Beautiful to me are Retrievers, springers, working cockers, Kooikerhondes, cavaliers. So silky hair, big Brown eyes and droopy ish ears.
Help please! I want to make the right and responsible decision.
A cavalier is a great choice!
Go to a Kennel Club registered breeder for a start. Your local vet may know of one.
With regard to the 'good with...' bits this 99% comes down to the owners training input. If you are not prepared to put the time in and join (and stick with) a training club I would buy a beeny baby instead.
Don't mean to be snipey but have experience of people returning/selling on dogs because they didn't realise the time/investment any dog needs if it is to become a good member of the community.
Good luck with your search.
This website lists - Dog Breed Health - lists all the relevant illnesses and genetic tests you should consider before buying any breed of pedigree dog. I've linked the Cav page here link/.
Personally, I couldn't buy a dog that is a walking collection of horrible ailments. It will cost you a fortune and probably die prematurely.
Okay I'm away to look into kc breeders.
Feel free to be snipey. If I spent half as much time training this dog as I have researching it it'll be a champ dog. We have waited years for this to be the right time for us.
Anyone else have any thoughts? L x
Thanks scuttle I do worry about that. Any alternative suggestions?
You'll not go far wrong with a cavalier, I grew up them, and have the most handsome wee black and tan 6 month old boy myself.
My own experience is that they are amazing with children, even small toddlers. My boy lights up when he sees little kids, and is so gentle.
They'll be happy running mad all day at the beach, but equally happy but if it's been raining all week so you have to stay in and watch TV cuddling on the sofa every evening.
They are usually friendly to the extent that they will happily toddle off with any stranger who stops to pet them
Now, they may not top doggie intelligence in terms of obedience and agility, but thats not to say they're not trainable.
They are a v sweet natured breed, and can be timid though this seldom leads to aggression, but they are sensitive, and don't like shoutyness!
My advice for the most important thing you can do for this breed is NEVER let them put on weight..even when doing puppy obedience training, they are so greedy, you can treat them with some food from their daily amount. They will do ANYTHING for food. Once they put on weight (which they do easily) the heart and joint problems can be more pronounced.
You do have to look after their ears (they get smelly, esp in warm weather) and their eyes can be teary. Daily eye/ear drops solves this though. Regular brushing and grooming also essential.
Also -if you're getting a puppy, make sure you can see at least the mother dog, there's been a terrible case here in N Irel where 24 of these gorgeous dogs were rescued in a terrible state from a puppy farm
There's my whiggy puppy, she fits your bill perfectly but I'm not sure you'd want her
because I might need to keep her
Cocker or springer ... Much more fun and fewer ailments and such lovely ears
make sure you check out the parents health test results on the kc website as well
you should also be able to do a bit of tracking back of bloodlines on the kc website too, to make sure they havent been line bred
My staffie is all of those things (she's pretty in a square-headed kind of way!)
I would have a working cocker or a Springer in a heart beat but they are not right for us at the moment. We are not ready for an 'exercise their mind as well as their body' kind of dog yet.
So is the concensus that, yes, a healthy blood line is possible. Now I just need to figure out how to find it.
Would a Show Cocker be too bouncy for us?
Sorry, I've just realised I hardly gave you any info on my whiggy puppy.
She is with GRACE rescue, she's a 13 month old small lurcher we think maybe whippet/iggy/something else cross. She's fawn, with brown eyes, floppy ears and good with children and cats. She can't walk on a lead yet and isn't toilet trained but that's something we will be working on with her while we're getting some weight back on her. She'll be on the website as soon as I get some pics of her but afaik she is only available to reserve because she needs to gain some weight and have some training, fleaing, vax etc before she can be rehomed.
She seems very sweet, quiet and loving but did just have a mad puppy half hour with my own whiggy who normally never plays
I took that as a sign that she needs to live with us forever
I'm with mimsyborogroves, staffies def meet all your requirements! As far as I'm aware they haven't had the bejesus bred out of/into them so no recurring health problems.
A more loyal dog you will struggle to find
crannog, i just uploaded some photos of my cavalier boy for u to see....1st one with DS was the 1st time they met when puppy was 7 wks- instant in love
Hi there, we got our gorgeous cavalier from a KC registered breeder. Mum was so healthy that vet actually recommended they consider breeding so it was mums first litter.
We did a lot of research: we spoke to their vet and saw all relevant eye and heart checcks etc. it is also a good idea to look at the family tree for signs of too much inbreeding.
None of this unfortunately brings any guarantees but does reduce the risk involved. However, whilst we would have no reservations choosing another dog from the same mum in the future, we decided that the risks were too high for getting a second cavalier. We learnt since getting our first pup that the risks of them developing heart/ brain problems is around 25%.
Sad really cos our cavalier is the sweetest dog ever, but i would be beside myself if anything happened to him.
Our second dog is a sheltie (shetland sheepdog) and she is equally lovely. Our wish list for any dog is very similar to yours so i would definately recommend checking them out - sounds like it would be perfect for you. They have hardly any major health problems as not as common or inbred. They are super pretty and fluffy, and about the same size as a cavalier. They are great with children (tho can be shy if not used to them) and we have 2 cats which ours get along with perfectly. They are extremely easy to train as in top 5 most intelligent breeds. Originally they were working dogs so have lots of energy, but equally they are happy snoozing on the sofa - they just want to be by your side. Also unlike some other more intelligent breeds they do not get destructive due to boredom/ frustration.
Honestly, just google them - they are our dog of choice for now, due to associated health probs in cavaliers. Whatever you do, if you do get a cavalier, get it from a reputable breeder. It is worth paying that little bit more because if not the risks increase to a shocking level.
Have a look at Sky Terriers and Dandy Dinmonts. Both are lovely breeds.
I have no advice about buying from a recommended breeders though. My dog is a rescue dog. She came with her own issues but has turned out to be a lovely dog.
Such a shame that all the rescue centres are full of staffies and not much else.
Garcia he is lovely. That did not help my plight! ;-)
I'm so sorry but staffies, Skye terriers and Dandies aren't my cup of tea.
Shelties look lovely but too much hair. So sorry I am beyond hope. Could someone just find me a Kooikerhonde please?
Bassett Hounds love children, are soppy and just as happy cuddling up on the sofa as they are out walking. It does take ages to walk anywhere as they want to stop and sniff everything!
They look good too, but as they get older may have problems with their weight (they love food) and therefore their back legs. They can be hard to train as they are so stubborn. (Mine lay on the sofa this evening, refusing to go for a walk as he wanted to have a cuddle with DH who was in the room)
How about a whippet or a whippety lurcher? Quite a few MNetters have them as family dogs - absolutely perfect. Healthy, quiet indoors, but happy to zoom about outside, can be trained, gentle, affectionate etc.
Crannog, nothing has 100% guarantees, but if like us, you really want a cavalier, look for a reputable breeder and get a vet checked (eyes, joints, heart) puppy. Our wee man's mummy even had scan photos
You want a cav breeder who is MRI scanning before breeding, as well as all the other checks. This is to prevent SM, the disorder where their skulls put pressure on their brains. A breeder who is MRI scanning will be doing all the other checks too for heart problems etc and would be your best bet for a healthy cav.
If you are near lincolnshire i know very good breeders of cavaliers and kooikerhunds !! Pm if you want their deteils
We have 2 cavaliers they are fantastic little dogs, friendly with everyone, good with the cat, easy to house train. They don't need lots of walking, love to be out & about but just as happy snoozing on my legs. They do need lots of attention though my boy cries - - I suspect it's mostly for attention - - when I go out without him. So far no health problems here, one is 9 the other only 1, we knew the risks with the breed but decided the pros outweighed the cons. Hope all goes well with your puppy hunt
Shelties are very furry but if you are concerned about grooming don't be! I had the same concern but they don't actually take up much time, just a quick brush once or twice a week. Also, they don't malt very much - we get loads more furr from the cats!
Whichever you decide, they will not disappoint. Both our sheltie and cavalier are simply wonderful. They are both the sweetest and loving of things... And the gorgeous big brown eyes of our cavvie would melt the hardest of hearts. I have a real soft spot for cavaliers, and spaniels in general, and i have to warn you that IMO they are the very cutest, of puppies. It sounds like you are veering towards a cavalier and the only downside i can think of is that you don't get very far on your walks without someone stopping you for a fuss!
You don't say what your home situation is but please don't consider this breed if you are out for long hours every day. They truly do adore their owners and want to be by their side. Having said that, ours does not have any seperation anxiety and can be left for the occassional full day when necessary, but i would never leave them every day for more than a few hours at a time. Happy puppy hunting, and please update with pics when you get him/ her!
I am just so smitten with the idea of a cav that I am struggling to move past it. I am a spaniel person and at the moment we need a small dog so a cav is where I naturally lean.
SAHM so no leaving pup for hours. ILs to dogsit for holidays.
I've always been a spaniel person too so understand what you mean. Our boy is the perfect dog for us as I'm sure yours would be. And they really do adore children. Whoever said her dogs face lights up when they see a child, it is completely true. Ours loves to play with kids but seems to instinctively know when to calm it down so he is super gentle and careful around little ones, and those that are a bit more nervous, he just nuzzles their hand with his nose and settles in for a cuddle... So sweet!
It sounds like you have your heart set on a Cav, and you've had good advice here on minimising the risk of health problems, so you should probably go for it!
Just to through another idea into the mix (and give me a chance to rave about my dog!) - you say you like spaniels and prefer a smaller dog, so have you considered a papillon? Also called Continental Toy Spaniel, they are slightly smaller and much finer-boned than Cavs. They also have many fewer genetic health problems. Perhaps not suitable for very young children (due to the risk of children accidentally hurting them), but known for their lovely, gentle and affectionate temperaments. Lots of energy for walks and play when offered, but also happy to snuggle for much of a lazy day. Agree with PP that tolerance of children and cats is largely down to socialisation, but papillons are temperamentally inclined to be sociable, easy-going and affectionate with everyone. I have neither cats nor children, but mine is best friends with a neighbour's cat, and amazingly sweet and gentle with kids (she is a magnet for little girls in particular, and has helped turned a friend's 4yo from dog-phobic to dog-lover!).
Good luck whatever you decide
Thanks everyone. At the moment I think I am going to continue my research into cav breeders. I'd like to get myself on a couple of waiting lists before too long.
Can I just phone my vet to ask advice about breeders? She is an excellent vet but rather severe.
no not scared of her. Oh no not me
One of DH's few stipulations was no powderpuff dogs so papillons and Pomeranians and spitz are out. This is why I think a Sheltie will be a no go.
I'll try to keep you posted.
Vets usually care little about breeders, being only concerned with health matters, and have the same prejudices about dog breeds as everyone else.
Contact the Cavalier club to find breeders. The common problems have not been bred out and won't be for many many generations. Find a breeder who pays for MRI scans but accept that any Cavalier puppy could have SM or heart disease later in life.
They are beautiful and lovable little dogs.
If you get a cav you will have health issues. A Kennel Club breeder will not ensure that the dogs they breed are sound.
A cavalier that won best in show at Crufts had the brain disease Syringomyelia, and went on to sire 26 litters.
I would not touch a cav for ethical reasons and also the heartbreak it could bring to my family as the chances of a genetic illness are still high.
Idirdog - noooooo don't come on and say ethical. It makes my conscience start up again. I agree with what you say. Gah!!!
Any suggestions for me then? See stipulations above. Closest we've come is a Sheltie but my heart doesn't leap
unless someone tells me they will herd my children for me and can fetch wine from the fridge
We have a whippy and a whippet x greyhound, plus two young boys and not enough hours in the day for a 'busy' dog. Our whippy is pretty as anything (even if he is a boy). He follows my ds's around loyally and is happy with either a small walk and time to sleep, or a long walk interspersed with zoomies. He is a big whippet at 21 inches to the shoulder (and recently described as 'stocky') - most are rather smaller.
Ours is in disgrace today though after perfuming himself in seagull poo.
[[ https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=nova+scotia+duck+tolling+retriever&client=safari&hl=en&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=VJsAUqaQIJLy0gXpo4DYDw&ved=0CDwQiR4&biw=568&bih=208&sei=lZsAUrv3JoeN0AXTgIGwBg pretty enough??]] v few health issues either
Oops messed up that link somehow!
This might not be what you want to hear, but my suggestion would be to pop along to your local rescue and see what they have in. The might have something the right size and temperament who isn't a full cav with papers and all that, but is elsewise perfect for you.
I'm not going to launch into a pro-mongrel tirade (except to say that I've always had mixed-breed dogs and they've been wonderful) but instead shall wave my rescue flag and urge you to check out that source before contributing to the breeders who continue to add to a vast overpopulation of dogs. <zips mouth>
Shelties could certainly be trained to hed your children! When we first got ours she tried to herd the cats a few times! I know what you mean about shelties not making your heart sing, but if you got one you would feel differently. I hadn't considered them before but they are adorable dogs, and super cute in a completely different way to cavs. They are so intelligent and sensitive too.
Unfortunately the ethical argument is why we will never buy another cav - i still feel pangs of guilt for getting our pup. And I didn't realise just how much we would love our dogs and the sudden pangs of fear of losing our little boy early due to a genetic condition are terrible (we don't have kids - maybe this is why it affects me so much?). It does make me sad that i will never own another cav, but for me personally the fear/ guilt is not worth it.
Basildon we have met before when had another name. You have already completely sold me on the Toller. It's just wonderful. But it's too big for us just now. It's my kids-are-teens-and-we-live-in-a-bigger-house dog.
Frettchen I am not against a rescue from a good rescue who keeps the dogs in foster homes and can therefore tell me what they are like in a home situation.
I keep my eye on many tears.
Other rescues won't re home to us as DS will only be 3.
MillyMolly you are very persuasive so I am going to read more into Shelties
and look for cute pictures to melt my heart
How about an American Cocker Spaniel. Not as big as the English Cocker and not so 'worky' either.
Can I just set the record straight on the myth I see quoted so often on here regarding rescues and children.
Many different rescues can and do rehome suitable dogs to homes with children, even young children. We have two rescue dogs. One from the RSPCA and one from dogs trust. Ds2 was 2 years old when we got DDog1 and 3 years old when we got DDog2. We also spoke to Scruples, GRWE, our local branch of RGT when looking for our dogs and not one rescue said they would refuse to home to us due to the agrees of our children. All were happy to try and find a suitable dog for us.
I do get annoyed at regularly reading the, "we can't have a rescue because they won't home to us because of our children". Most DO NOT HAVE BLANKET POLICIES and will consider a home with children if the dog is suitable to live with children.
Crannog - glad i am selling it to you! There are quite a few forums on shelties that provided me with some useful info when i was considerin getting one.
I also agree with Magrat that a good rescue home could be the answer for you. Please check out the reputation of the home first as i know someone who had a terrible experience with a dodgy adoption centre: first time dog owners and were advised to take a completely unsuitable and vicious dog.
I wouldn't get a cavilier - for all the health risks.
I do see on my walks and cab- springer cross who is lovely - was not a designer dog - just two randy neighbours......maybe you could see if you could find an accident through a rescue?
Having said all that - I would have thought a whippet would met all your requirements and have relatively few health issues.....
Scruples seems to be a very good rescue (they will say whether they are fine with cats or not), and is often recommended on here.
No I know that the local rescues don't have a blanket ban and I do keep an eye on them. The harsh reality is that the rescues near me are full of staffies and large collie crosses. A young rescue dog could be perfect (in fact I have seen one but it's so far south that 2 x trips to see it would bankrupt me just now - hence planning for the new year).
I feel so bad because a whippet just doesn't do it for me.
MillyMolly would you believe I saw a lovely sheltie today? Almost peach in colour. Not really long hair though. Almost like a puppy cut which I didn't think you could do with Shelties.
Am I A) overthinking this or B) doing thorough research? My hear is spinning.
Not only local rescues. My two were from national rescues. The other rescues I spoke to were national rescues.
Many rescues near me were full of staffies too. Don't walk into a rescue centre and expect to find your perfect cuddly dog immediately. We took 6 months to find DDog1 and about the same to find DDog2.
This is comparible with the time it would take to get a pup from a well respected breeder.
Crannog - the Sheltie you saw sounds lovely. Ours is a tricolour so mostly black with white and tan patches. Whippets would have also made the perfect dog for us, but like you, they just didn't do it for myself or my DH. We really do seem to have similar tastes in dogs!
Another thing i forgot to mention, shelties are quite reserved in nature/ shy if not socialised properly, you don't get to see their true selves when you meet one on the streets. The ones I know are very well behaved and calm on the lead, but not really interested in other people. However, once you get to know them they are anything but aloof - first time you met mine she would sniff your hand then lose interest. After a couple more visits she would run and jump to meet you, lick you to death then roll over for a belly rub! So like shy people, they need time to come out of their shell!
Yeah I've read that about Shelties which could well be a good thing though.
The thing that I've read though is that they can be very 'barky'. It's yours?
Yeah we find the reserved when outside is a good thing, cos our cav is a nutter when we take him out. We put in loads of work to train him, but he is just desperate to say hello to every person/ dog he sees - lots of jumping and pulling on the lead etc. Sweet but can be frustrating and hard work at times. Our sheltie on the other hand walked naturally to heel from her first walk! So much easier!
The barking varies a lot between individual dogs and can train them not to quite easily. When she was little she would bark a lot in the garden - we have a little yappy dog nearby that would set her off. But we taught her the quiet command quite easily and you can see now she struggles really hard not to bark back at the other dog, but she does it - she comes running to us for cuddles instead! She is one year old now and she only barks occassionally when playing with our other dog, or if someone knocks on the door. Tb we like the fact that she barks at the door cos it feels secure (she sounds like a MUCH bigger dog than she is) - if that bothered you tho sure you could stop that just as easily as other barking.
One thing you will read, which is pretty unique to the breed, is that they are talkative dogs. They make a wide variety of sounds and seem to chat to you, ours does this funny little song as she stretches! It's hard to explain cos never heard other dogs do this, but it is NOT like barking, and is actually really sweet. If you go on Youtube there are loads of clips - look up Sheltie talk.
Ok MillyMolly your wily ways are getting to me and I am becoming more enamoured with the idea of a Sheltie. Do you know if some breeders breed for fuller or less dense coats? I'd prefer a less dense coat if such a thing was possible.
I have no idea about breeding for different coats, sorry! I do know that they can vary a lot, most of the dogs i know have quite full coats, tho one has a super fine coat tho, but not sure if she was deliberately bred that way! Is your preference down to looks/ concerns about grooming? Looks - fair enough, grooming - not sure it would make a difference
Just from a looks point of view. I've been watching videos on you tube and I'm warming. They are certainly very different in the home than the ones I see out on a walk.
Yeah they are - i found that a bit tricky when doing my research cos you only see one side of them. Also, they are not a particularly common breed so you don't tend to see them out and about much.
If you are checking out videos, look on youtube for a super gorgeous video of a sheltie and crawling baby playing together. The little boy is giggling like mad and the sheltie is loving it - so cute! They are having so much fun together? I love that video!
I don't know a huge amount about dogs,but have you looked into Eurasier's?
A friend has one and she's an absolute darling. V good family dogs apparently.
a eurasier is just a bigger version of a spitz. i was looking at their stand at discover dogs at crufts and chatting to them and the bloke was saying how you have to be their 'pack leader' and how they can be dominent and bolshy...based on the outdated views the breed club has about training i probably wouldnt go for one, he made them.sound difgicult. if youre willing to consider a sheltie, what about a german spitz mittel? they are about the same size as a cocker spaniel and really friendly little dogs
Hey back for a quick update. I've found a rescue cavalier - 3 months old. Previous owners were not prepared for a puppy.
I'm so tempted.
I can see you asked about show cockers on page 1...
We have a show cocker, and she's very chilled. Other than the normal daily walks, we give her around 30 mins of exercise/training and that's enough to tire her out.
My parents have a working spaniel, and she requires loads of exercise every day, even now she's 7 years old. She's crawling on the walls if she doesn't get her daily hour or two of exercise. My parents have been dog sitting our dog, and they were amazed at the difference. They are so jealous that my dog is so much easier than theirs.
Our cocker weighs around 10 kg, and she's good with kids. She has been easy to train. The breeder had a cat, and that was fine with the dogs. She's a velcro dog, but I quite like that.
She is good at being home alone, and we have not crated her - and she's in no way destructive or causing any problems at home.
If we only go for the daily walks, and don't go training/exercising, she's fine.
We don't do shows with her, and are not too fussed about her looking like a show dog - for us, it's more important that it's practical and easy (for us and for the dog). I trim her ears so they don't get so long, and in summer, she's been getting a very short fur as you can see here: i1216.photobucket.com/albums/dd361/princesspig3/DSC_0263__zpsed536e28.jpg
Well she is just lovely. You could just give her to me and my problems would be solved!
awwwwhhhhhhhh vibbe she's lovely!
I've wanted a Cocker spaniel for such a long time (it's not good timing for us ATM,perhaps in a few years) but its great to know about the difference in temperament between the show and working breeds. So thankyou!
Cran get the cav pup....you are obviously drawn to them,and a puppy just pops up on a rescue site?!
I agree get the cav pup. Conscience is clear as you are rehoming a puppy in need. You won't regret it and the poor thing will be so sad in a rescue home. They thrive on human contact - go on... And come back with photos!
So it wasn't a rescue site. Rather word of mouth that someone had bought a cav puppy as well as 2 existing dogs (both very large) as well as 7 dogs that they look after during the day!
The mind boggles!
Anyway she wasn't settling and they didn't know what to do with her. They seemed pretty naive about the whole thing.
So anyway she's here. She's 13 weeks old and had been here 24 hours. peeing outside except 1 in her crate overnight. Poo outside today. Quite picky about the spot she would do it on. Grass only and lots of 'checking' first.
I think that's pretty good.
I've had to bath her this morning as she was so smelly but she's bundled up in a towel next to me now.
Oh lovely, sounds like it was meant to be post some pics when she's settled in
So pleased! Post pics soon!
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