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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.

MillyMollyMandy78 Sat 03-Aug-13 10:52:19

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!

Crannog Sat 03-Aug-13 11:43:38

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.

MillyMollyMandy78 Sat 03-Aug-13 23:05:22

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!

SyraCusa Sun 04-Aug-13 05:04:15

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 smile

Crannog Sun 04-Aug-13 09:17:20

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.

portraitoftheartist Sun 04-Aug-13 21:38:57

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.

idirdog Sun 04-Aug-13 21:52:37

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.

Crannog Mon 05-Aug-13 23:00:21

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

MagratGarlik Tue 06-Aug-13 00:06:35

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.

basildonbond Tue 06-Aug-13 07:47:18

[[ pretty enough??]] v few health issues either

basildonbond Tue 06-Aug-13 07:47:54

Oops messed up that link somehow!

Frettchen Tue 06-Aug-13 10:01:47

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>

MillyMollyMandy78 Tue 06-Aug-13 10:58:19

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.

Crannog Tue 06-Aug-13 12:19:59

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.

Crannog Tue 06-Aug-13 12:21:56

MillyMolly you are very persuasive so I am going to read more into Shelties and look for cute pictures to melt my heart

PuddinAforeDinner Tue 06-Aug-13 16:40:04

How about an American Cocker Spaniel. Not as big as the English Cocker and not so 'worky' either.

MagratGarlik Tue 06-Aug-13 17:15:19

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.

MillyMollyMandy78 Tue 06-Aug-13 18:32:51

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.

mrslaughan Tue 06-Aug-13 19:05:49

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.

Crannog Tue 06-Aug-13 23:30:23

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.

MagratGarlik Wed 07-Aug-13 00:31:43

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.

MillyMollyMandy78 Wed 07-Aug-13 01:13:37

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!

Crannog Wed 07-Aug-13 05:37:21

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?

MillyMollyMandy78 Wed 07-Aug-13 10:41:10

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.

Crannog Wed 07-Aug-13 11:02:56

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.

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