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Any dog experts want to help me out?

(63 Posts)
Crannog Fri 02-Aug-13 20:08:46

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.

Crannog Fri 02-Aug-13 20:54:31


Mynewmoniker Fri 02-Aug-13 21:06:17

Hi Crannog

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. smile

Scuttlebutter Fri 02-Aug-13 21:50:17

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.

Crannog Fri 02-Aug-13 22:01:33

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

Crannog Fri 02-Aug-13 22:02:39

Thanks scuttle I do worry about that. Any alternative suggestions?

garciasangria Fri 02-Aug-13 22:05:21

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 grin

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 sad

D0oinMeCleanin Fri 02-Aug-13 22:07:04

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

MsMunch Fri 02-Aug-13 22:07:29

Cocker or springer ... Much more fun and fewer ailments and such lovely ears

saintmerryweather Fri 02-Aug-13 22:08:49

make sure you check out the parents health test results on the kc website as well

saintmerryweather Fri 02-Aug-13 22:10:07

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

MimsyBorogroves Fri 02-Aug-13 22:13:58

My staffie is all of those things (she's pretty in a square-headed kind of way!)

Crannog Fri 02-Aug-13 22:15:14

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?

D0oinMeCleanin Fri 02-Aug-13 22:16:46

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 hmm 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

ThursdayLast Fri 02-Aug-13 22:21:39

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

garciasangria Fri 02-Aug-13 22:22:06

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 grin

MillyMollyMandy78 Fri 02-Aug-13 22:29:54

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.

Wholetthedogin Fri 02-Aug-13 22:41:27

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.

Crannog Fri 02-Aug-13 23:05:08

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?

scrivette Fri 02-Aug-13 23:10:35

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)

Scuttlebutter Fri 02-Aug-13 23:37:05

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.

garciasangria Fri 02-Aug-13 23:53:13

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 grin

AliceinSlumberland Sat 03-Aug-13 00:00:17

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.

Slavetothechild Sat 03-Aug-13 00:01:49

If you are near lincolnshire i know very good breeders of cavaliers and kooikerhunds !! Pm if you want their deteils smile

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 smile

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