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(20 Posts)
Pixa Tue 16-Jun-15 08:31:45

Hello

My DH and I have finally decided to get a dog. We know it will be hard work but we are ready for it now. We have done lots of research about breed and as children are in our near future (hopefully) we have decided on a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.

We have seen an advert for a KC registered Cavalier pups, they've been health checked, DNA tested and come with first set of vaccinations and microchipped.

Do you have any advice on things to consider before dog ownership? I think we have already considered a lot but any tips from dog owners would be gratefully received!

Also, any questions I should ask the breeder?

Many thanks! grin

daisydotandgertie Tue 16-Jun-15 09:14:23

CKC spaniels need quite a few conditions testing for. What has been done for this litter?

Health checked is fairly meaningless IMO, who has been health checked? At what age and who by?

Pixa Tue 16-Jun-15 09:20:39

Thanks for the heads up. I have read a lot about the different conditions for the CKC, especially around heart, eye and digestive issues.

The ad says all dogs (assuming this is parents and not puppies) have been eye and heart checked, with pups going through a thorough vetinary check and DNA testing. They were four weeks old when listed, but not ready to leave mum for a few weeks yet.

What should I be looking out for in regards to health checks please?

Costacoffeeplease Tue 16-Jun-15 09:21:43

If you've decided on a cavalier, contact the kennel club for registered breeders and make sure that all the relevant health checks for the breed have been done, unfortunately cavaliers are prone to many problems which can be distressing for the dog, and heartbreaking and expensive for the owner.

A friend of mine has had 4, 3 had heart problems and died around 6-8 years old

SonceyD0g Tue 16-Jun-15 09:25:45

They are lovely dogs but have many health problems due to breeding for a small head. The result is their brains are now bigger than their skulls. The cavalier campaign has loads of useful information on their website.
My mil had one it was heartbreaking to see so much pain in such a beautiful dog.

tinymeteor Tue 16-Jun-15 09:46:15

Congrats on your puppy! If you are making sure it's a reputable breeder you are doing the right thing especially with that breed. My mum got one from a "home breeder" in Wales that was probably a front for puppy farming and the poor animal is a mess of issues.

Anyway, They are a very trainable breed so you should be able to bring them up as a lovely family pet.

My advice would be to ask the breeder if you have pick of the litter or at least 2nd or 3rd. When you see the pups consider choosing one with medium energy levels, so not the most bonkers one just because it stands out!

daisydotandgertie Tue 16-Jun-15 09:49:25

This is a good place to start with info about which DNA tests should be done. www.thekennelclub.org.uk/services/public/breed/health.aspx?id=6149

Don't touch a pup unless all recommended tests have been done and results verified on the Kennel Club website.

It would also be sensible to talk to the breed club too. They'll know about good litters coming up.

jesy Tue 16-Jun-15 09:56:54

See the pups interacting with the mum
We got one of ours from a home breeder but the mum was great, the pups had a brilliant set routine I saw where they . Slept ect, we went around with two minutes notice to owner so nothing could be hidden.
Ask what food the breeder has them on ? That can be an indicator of care.
Ask about health checks the parents have had

Check out breeds certain breeds have certain issues

If pedigree insure get papers there n then not to be posted on and change details immediately.

And maybe check rescue centres they have pups, just because you get a dog from a breeder doesn't mean dog won't have issues .

MrsBennetsEldest Tue 16-Jun-15 10:47:52

Questions I would ask the breeder are;
Do they offer lifetime support / return to breeder if circumstances change?
Can you see the relevant paperwork for all testing?
How many litters has the mother had and how often has she whelped.

Vet checked puppies should come with a signed, dated letter from the vet stating what checks the vet carried out. This costs the breeder extra, many don't bother, just saying the pups have been looked at is not enough.

Things a good breeder will do;

Provide a contract stating the dog is to be returned to the breeder if you can no longer provide a home for it.

Provide written feeding and care instructions, worming information etc. a list of good books re breed, training.

Ask you lots of questions about you.

Expect you to ask lots of questions.

Lastly, please check inside the pups mouth yourself. Know so many people who have pups with terrible jaws who didn't know to check.

Hope this helps.

SmartAlecMetalGit Tue 16-Jun-15 13:18:09

This site is packed with health information about the CKCS. It's US based but it is still very relevant for UK and it's a bit more honest than some of the UK websites.

At the very least you'll want to see official BVA certificates for eye tests, hip scoring and an MRI test to check for the severity of chiari malformation. There should have been DNA tests for dry eye/curly coat and episodic falling syndrome. The breeder should provide evidence of the parents being clear of heart murmurs at 2.5 years and grandparents clear at 5 years. These tests should have been done on both parents and the breeder should either be able to provide photocopies of the sire's paperwork or you can look up his results here on the KC site.

There are a number of other heritable conditions that can potentially affect CKCSs which there are no tests for (you can see a list towards the bottom of this page) so the breeder needs to know the health status of the lines they're breeding from and should be happy to talk you through it.

I would approach your regional branch of the breed club (there's a list of CKCS breed clubs here), they should be able to point you towards decent breeders who have plans to breed.

If the puppies are sent home having had their first vaccinations done it's important to check what brand of vaccine the breeder's vet uses. If the brand is different to the one your own vet uses then they will usually insist on starting the full course again.

Pixa Tue 16-Jun-15 17:52:31

I really cannot thank you all enough. All of the information that you have given is gratefully received.

I am going to read it all, and will probably be back with a few more questions. I think it is so pertinent that we pick the right breed and for a family dog, the Cavalier feels right, but it is also absolutely essential that we weigh up all the risks.

I was aware of some of the major health issues that Cavaliers had, but it's great to have the awareness of what to look for in a breeder and in parentage.

SonceyD0g Tue 16-Jun-15 22:34:47

Good luck and if you do decide on a cavalier please make sure you take up top of the range insurance. Pet plan are very good. They are lovely dogs it's such a shame.

BagelwithButter Wed 17-Jun-15 14:52:26

For all those interested in Cavs, there is a lovely one at www.fourpawsanimalrescue.org.uk called Ruby

tabulahrasa Wed 17-Jun-15 15:49:33

I would be a bit wary of them advertising 4 week old puppies, in that good breeders rarely need to advertise...where was the advert?

Baies Wed 17-Jun-15 23:33:33

They're great little family dogs and almost bomb proof with kids so a fantastic choice in that respect . I had a lovely one

As PPs have said , just make sure you don't get one from a backyard breeder and do your homework

Pixa Sun 21-Jun-15 07:49:42

Hi all,

Just wanted to pop by and any thank you for all of the advice.

We also spoke to a few vets prior to visiting our puppy and got lots of information about what we should be looking for, both with regards to the puppy & breeder.

We opted for a Cavalier crossbreed in the end, and she joins our family on the 30th. Really excited, but struggling for a name for her.

SmartAlecMetalGit Sun 21-Jun-15 12:45:01

Bear in mind that the parents still both need to be fully health tested, being a cross (or even a mongrel) is no guarantee of being free of heritable diseases.

What is she crossed with? The other breed, whatever it is, will also have health tests that need to be in place before a dog should be bred from.

Pixa Sun 21-Jun-15 13:02:58

Thanks Smart, our vet did give us of a list of things to check about; Breeder, Sire (Toy Poodle), Dam (Cavalier King Charles Spaniel) and puppy. Checks covered everything from health, to environment and return policy! I am a researcher and analyst by day, so I felt compelled to check everything. grin Also worked in audit previously, so have an eye for making sure the little details add up!

Breeder was very reputable and showed us lots of health information about the parents, saw Dam's Mum and there were no heart murmurs or issues there.

All in all we, and our vet, are happy with the outcome and look forward to welcoming our new pup. smile

SmartAlecMetalGit Sun 21-Jun-15 13:17:16

The sire should have been DNA tested for PRA, degenerative myelopathy and Von Willebrand's as an absolute minimum.

The dam should still have had all the appropriate tests (MRI, eye testing, hip scoring, heart testing and DNA tests for CC/DE and EF) and should not have been bred before being at least 2.5 years old.

Does the breeder also produce KC registered puppies of either breed? Some breeders use cross breeding to get around the limit the KC has on the number of litter it will register from a single bitch.

You're incredibly lucky if you've found a genuinely good breeder of crosses at such short notice. They're rarer than hen's teeth.

TeamSteady Sun 21-Jun-15 13:31:44

Need a like button for smart alec's post smile

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