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cavalier king charles puppy - should we get one?

(21 Posts)
allag Sat 15-Oct-11 13:33:16

hi all - we are thinking of getting a cavalier puppy and I really needed advice. We have a four year old and a two year old; my elder daughter wants a "small, brown and white dog" and she is in love with the cavaliers on photos. we live in a large ground floor flat with a garden, right by a park; lots of people in our block have dogs. both myself and DH have had dogs while growing up. any words of advice or tips would be hugely appreciated. tHank you!

tellyaddict Sat 15-Oct-11 14:13:33

Well I got one 5 months ago and she's adorable, my youngest child is 3. They are sweet little dogs, generally with a good temperament and mine is a real lap dog. We'be also got a 3 month old retriever puppy and they adore each other. They can be fussy with their food, love a walk but don't get stressed if they miss the odd one. Mine refuses to go out in the rain and won't toilet on the grass if it needs cut - bit of a princess!!

Crosshair Sat 15-Oct-11 14:17:49

Make sure the parents have been health checked if you do decide on a cav.

LeBOOOf Sat 15-Oct-11 14:20:37

Yes- they are the sweetest, most affectionate dogs in the world. Be sure you go to a proper reputable breeder though- it would break my heart to think of these lovely dogs coming from a puppy farm. I'm sure people here can point you to the links for how to go about it. There is also a cavalier rescue site too, if you google. Because they are such loyal loving dogs, they are popular with the elderly as well as families, and sometimes they get left behind when somebody dies.

You will never regret it- I have had five over the years, from when I was very little, and they are amazing. They can be sporty little things too, not at all prissy.

LeBOOOf Sat 15-Oct-11 14:23:35

Oh, and you need to be strict about not giving them too many treats- easy to do because of their big brown eyes! Getting overweight causes all sorts of health problems in any dog, but cavvies do seem prone to it, because people are very soft with them!

Jaynerae Sat 15-Oct-11 23:08:27

My cavie is 21 months old, we adopted him when he was 12 months old. my cavie is totally adorable.he is a lapdog, follows me from room to room, is the most affection loving dog I have ever had, he is gentle, good natured, not bothered particularly about other dogs, we have a beagle but cavie would rather me with me than her.

He loves loves loves chasing his ball! He is nice and trim as a result, he gets lots of walks because the beagle needs them! So he gets 2x50 minute walks a day, but would be content with less.

I adore him and will definitely have more throughout my life. My DC's are 12 and 8, dd is youngest and she brings cavie training every week with me, I train beagle she trains cavie!

Adorable lovely family dogs!

allag Sun 16-Oct-11 13:22:16

thank you so much - so delighted as i really love them and it sounds as though there aren't any major concerns. Thanks for all the advice!

deste Sun 16-Oct-11 21:29:31

We have one crossed with a Bichon Frise and he is the loveliest dog ever. He is a ball of fluff and has the big eyes. (Cavachon)

alice15 Sun 16-Oct-11 22:03:48

Lovely, easy dogs, but a host of health problems, potentially, most notably heart problems (leaking valves) and syringomyelia - a malformation of the back part of the brain where it joins the spinal cord, which can cause neck pain or various neurological issues. Something like 85 % of CKCS have some degree of SM, though many/most will never show signs. Therefore, if you are getting one, I'd suggest you either get one from rescue which is a) a deserving cause in need of a good home and b) a bit more of a known quantity; or else get one from a very good breeder indeed, who is involved in breed health testing schemes for the problems mentioned above. If the breeder doesn't screen, tells you there's no need because their lines are clear, etc, then run away! As said above, it's a breed that puppy farmers are quite fond of,so you do need to be very careful indeed if you want to source a puppy. Good luck.

chickchickchicken Mon 17-Oct-11 08:53:10

i wouldnt have one because of the health issues and the cruelty that has been involved in breeding them

would second alice's suggestion of getting a rescue one if you did decide this is the breed for you

MmeLindor. Mon 17-Oct-11 09:18:53

I was a bit put off by the health problems, but we found a Cavalier Maltese mix and she is fabulous.

Very sweet natured, loves kids, loyal and affectionate.

We were told that the chances of serious health problems are lower when not a pure bred Cav.

allag Mon 17-Oct-11 11:56:23

thank you - very very useful. I would really appreciate any advice on how to find a reputable breeder as we have never done this. There is a cavalier club (found by googling....) - not sure if they would be a good place to ask?

alp Mon 17-Oct-11 19:26:52

My parents have 3 CKCS and friends rescue elderly cavs through a breed rescue.

All are such sweet natured and lovely dogs that love a run and play as much as a cuddle and a snooze.

None have any specific health problems so far perhaps as my parents dogs are still young.

The elderly ones have had heart issues as well as other things (being deaf/ overweight etc) but the owners knew what they were getting into iyswim.

alice15 Mon 17-Oct-11 21:20:06

Yes, ask the breed club. The chance of health problems may in some ways be less if not a pure bred, but the issue with a cross bred Cav/other small breed is that it will almost certainly be a "designer" puppy, produced with no health testing at all, by someone who's cashing in to the demand for such things, in a back yard breeder situation where you would have no support or comeback with problems and where the welfare of the parents may be very iffy. Personally I would only ever recommend someone get a dog either from a hobby breeder who lives and breathes the breed, knows their lines, does the health testing and barely lets them have one of their precious puppies without sixteen references, or from a reputable rescue source. Valhalla has linked before to "how to find a good breeder" sites, but basically - a good breeder will do the health testing (not tell you it's not necessary), show you the mother and other relatives, not have more than one or two breeds, be able to bore you to death about their dog's ancestry and/or show wins, will probably have a house full of trophies, pictures, cushions, models, etc of the breed, will ask you very detailed questions about your suitability, and will make you sign a contract in which, among other things, you agree to return the puppy to them if you can no longer keep it. Every good breeder I know (including me!) absolutely means it when they say they will take back, or take responsibility for, any puppy they ever bred at any time, no questions asked. The backyard breeders may offer contracts, but any takeback clause will usually have a time limit of a week or so.
Are you anywhere near London? "Discover Dogs" will be on at Earls Court - it's usually the second weekend in November - an exhibition soley for the purpose of educating the public about dogs in general and pedigree dogs in particular. It's a fun day out, with lots of activities, and every Kennel Club registered breed is represented by a stand where volunteers bring their dogs for the sole purpose of letting the public find out more about them. You could certainly meet a number of good breeders there!

frightstick Mon 17-Oct-11 21:23:10

I had one when I was younger - I loved him sad. Lovely, gorgeous thing. He also had a procession of toddlers (my sisters' kids) for about 10 years and never ever got grumpy no matter how harrassed he got.

He had eye infections a fair bit I remember, and the odd ear infection but other than that he was fine and lived until he was about 16.

ithaka Mon 17-Oct-11 21:36:05

I have a cav, I got him as a puppy and he is a lovely wee dog, if a touch neurotic. They are great family pets - totally safe with young children.

He is 10 now (where have the years gone?) and has no health problems - he still looks like a puppy, he is nice and trim.

My friend's cav came from a different breeder, she is only 8 and has a very bad heart murmer, so do be careful in your choice of breeder.

hamishmcbeth Tue 18-Oct-11 22:39:33

We had a cav and he was the most beautiful sweet dog we have ever had. But at age only 2 we found out he had heart problems (even though he was heart checked as a puppy). At 3 he started on a collect of tablets, at 4 he was on even more medication and by the time he was 6 was on 7 tablets a day costing £100 a month sad he really suffered towards the end and it totally broke my heart. He was put to sleep last July aged only 6 years and 6 months because no other medication could help and he had so much fluid on his lungs he couldn't breath.
We got him through a breeder with the kennel club (I have nothing positve to say about the KC) and when we contacted the breeder to let her know what had happened to my darling boy she didn't even reply! Personally I couldn't have another cav because I couldn't deal with this happening again but if you do decide to then think about getting good pet insurance and check they cover heart problems in cavs!
On a positve note I have 2 friends with cavs and both are fit beautiful boys thank goodness. A rescue cav would be a lovely idea...hmm perhaps one day..... Sorry if I sound a bit down its just that it still upsets me so much and I think about him every day.

allag Wed 19-Oct-11 08:44:38

sad that is so sad hamish....i am so sorry....thanks for your message, i still think about my cat who had to be put down when I was 14 so - it's heartbreaking. we spoke to one breeder (not yet in much details as her puppies are still tiny) and she said the parents and grandparents had been tested and were healthy. Does a puppy need to be tested too - and would that be done by the breeder ideally? Thanks for all the responses. I absolutely love those dogs and would love to have a puppy but we are still thinking about it and, of we go for one, would love to at least ensure as much as we can that he will be healthy. Have already thought about pet insurance - makes sense...

alice15 Wed 19-Oct-11 09:15:39

You need the parents to have been screened for mitral valve dysplasia, which the breed club organises. Some Cavaliers will have murmurs as puppies, but the majority develop them in later life, which is why you need to look at the parents. Current thinking (I heard a lecture on this yesterday!) is that there are probably 2 or more genes that control inheritance of mitral valve problems in Cavaliers, but work on this is still ongoing. So if your breeder is happy to show you evidence of lots of relatives that have been screened for good hearts, and especially if some of them have been checked later in life, when problems are more likely to have shown up, that's really as much information as you can hope for, with regard to heart problems. There's also syringomyelia to consider. Does your breeder ask you to sign a contract agreeing to return the puppy to her should you not be able to keep it in the future, allag? That is one very helpful indication of a good breeder.

The Kennel Club does try to administer and encourage health testing with one hand, but with the other it's just a registry of pedigree information; being KC registered is not a guarantee of anything, by itself.

allag Wed 19-Oct-11 09:23:29

Thanks Alice - we haven't got to the stage yet of discussing things in detail but I will definitely see if they are willing to take the puppy back later in life, as well as find out what testing has been done. I think we are to go see her in a week's time as the puppies have not yet opened their eyes - so in a very brief conversation she said the parents and grandparents had been tested. thanks for all the hepful info. She did seem very concerned, even in the initial conversation, about who we were and what we wanted the puppy for, and if we are breeders ourselves.

alice15 Wed 19-Oct-11 12:02:38

Sounds promising - if they ask you as many questions as you ask them, that's a good start!

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