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Cavalier King Charles(54 Posts)
I am looking for some advice from owners of these lovely dogs.
I lost my beloved cocker spaniel 8 years ago and its taken me a very long time to contemplate owning a dog again.
We now live in a house with a very small garden (but lots of nice walks near by) and feel a cocker or springer might be a bit too high energy for me now.
I have been reading extensively about the breed and on paper they seem very suitable for us. However I have heard a lot of negative things about their health issues, even when buying from a scrutinised breeder.
We work from home and are really looking for something that's a bit of a lap dog and easy-going. I couldn't get something large like a rescue greyhound as my garden is far too small.
Generally are they as gentle and loving as I have heard they are? I have no personal experience of the breed, having had cockers and labradors previously.
Lovely temperament, horrendous health issues.
Bichon frise might be a good choice for you.
Beautiful dogs awful issues we have Maltese now lovely dogs
Love our cavalier and he is very friendly. But he is friendly to everyone rather than loyal if you know what I mean. It can make it hard on walks as he would follow anyone friendly! He has had health problems and has a heart murmur already at age 7. Pet insurance is so expensive for this breed. It gets more and more expensive each year until you end up having to self insure.
Our second dog is a mixed breed (a cocker cross) from a rescue and she has been so lovely and much easier to train than our naughty, lazy cavalier who is not the brightest! Except where food is involved.
Honestly I wouldn't have one again as much as he is gorgeous, just for the health problems. And we choose the breeder very carefully - Kennel club assured etc parents tested etc.
Also grooming for cavaliers is a pain - they don't really suit being clipped and they have a lot of fur to deal with. Not good if you like a muddy country walk with a cavalier who likes to roll in smelly things!
Thanks a lot for the replies, its as I feared about the health issues.
Things like grooming don't bother me as I'm used to having show cockers in the past, whose favourite places were muddy puddles, naturally.
My DS (12) is desperate for a golden retriever, and while I love the breed I feel its just too big for my tiny garden, fence on one side might be too low as well.
I'm struggling to find the right breed. Other family members have had maltese and I don't think I would consider them tbh. Have also considered re-homing but I really would like my son to have the experience of having a puppy to help raise.
Might have a look at Bichons then, I had the impression they were very much on the yappy side though, am I wrong?
Our rescue came to us at 8/9 weeks. From Many tears rescue. Obviously its a risk as you don't know exactly how big they will grow but you can make an educated guess. Many tears use foster care whenever possible and although they are in wales foster homes are all over the country so they may have dogs close to where you are.
My mum had 4 of these. All ended up having horrendous heart issues and needing expensive heart medication (£50-70 a month ordered online after obtaining vets prescription- through vets would be even more expensive) and eventually they all needed to be put down due to health issues. They weren’t from the same breeder either, all different.
Have you looked at a papillon? They’re very bright little dogs and great fun.
Thank you for the link Tealady. I will take a look.
Maitlandgirl, a friend of mine has two papillons, lovely dogs, but not really lapdogs (at least hers aren't), we have considered the breed though, as they are very cute.
I am happy to wait a long time for the right dog, fortunately so giving a lot of thought and research to breeds and health conditions etc.
My friend has a Havanese and it is lovely.
Exactly what everyone else has said. Cavs are absolutely wonderful little dogs and it truly pains me to say this, but because of their horrendous health issues, I do not think it is morally right to breed them anymore and therefore would never buy a Cav pup.
it breaks my heart what poor breeding practices have done to such sweet dogs.
Fantastic family dog. Very friendly.
Hello! We've had 5 cavaliers in my life and really wouldn't have another breed! They have all made it to 14, 4 from breeders (different breeders) and one rescue. Yes they develop heart murmurs but I've never had one that needed any medication until much later in life (say their last year only) however we do feed them raw which is super easy (nature's menu - frozen nuggets)
They are very loving family dogs who love a walk but equally happy sat on your lap. Real lap dogs
I've grown up with cavaliers and they are gorgeous dogs. We lost our last one at around 15yr old, which is a really good innings. The previous one we lost a 6yr old because of heart problems. This loss was horrendous as we weren't expecting it, although she did have a heart murmur. When choosing the next pup, we made sure there were no obvious heart problems.x
I love my Cavvie - he has changed my life and is adorable. But yes there are health issues - however I think that is one reason to get one for a good breeder who has done ALL the tests (incl MRI) - to encourage better breeding that will breed out the health issues.
See that's the thing, I know how painful it is to lose a beloved dog before its time, that's what happened with our beloved cocker, its taken me so long to get over it.
My DS has Aspergers, one of the reasons cavaliers seem to be a good breed its their gentle nature and love of just being on their human's laps. My DS bonded with a neighbour's goldie before lockdown and it made realise how much benefit a dog would be to him overall. Just so much to think about. I have looked at Cav breeders on champ dogs and the Kennel Club, so thank you for the tip on getting one who does an MRI.
Also thank you for the tips re other breeds to look at, its much appreciated.
Cavaliers - it was a great breed thirty years ago. Good luck finding a healthy, robust example now. They should not have heart murmurs, or dodgy kidneys. They should be living healthy lives to 12+ years and not suffering catastrophic organ failure at 6 or 7. But people that claim to love the breed seem to accept these breed failures that have only become prevalent in the last twenty years. If any breeder truly loved the bred they'd throw out the KC breed standard and introduce some fresh blood lines to get the breed back to where it was.
Traditionally two breeds are consistently reliable as family pets with children, one is the KC Cavalier (with the failings already mentioned) and the other is the Staffordshire Bull Terrier. Either would suit your circumstance, the Staffy having the fewer health issues as a breed.
(as a family we've had four KCCs over the last thirty years and no one in the family would have another given the current state of the breed. I'm now converted to the Staffy as a family breed)
I’m in a very similar position (had a cocker who passed away Prematurely 3 years ago and would love another dog, but slightly less high energy!) we’ve been considering a border terrier and I wondered if that might fit your bill?
Claire Rusbridge is a vet who specialises in Cavaliers (at the Supersets!) - she may be a good contact to get advice on where to find a good breeder. Cavalier matters is a good website too.
I really really hope that effective efforts are made to save the breed.
re the heart issues - whilst obv ideally they should not be there in the first place - they can now do an operation which fixes the mitral valve problems that is the common problem in a quite straightforward way. They're doing at the Royal Vet hospital in London now and I think it will become relatively routine. But there are other problems besides heart.
There are also some good cavalier Facebook pages who will be able to help with breeding protocols etc
My beautiful CKC spaniel had a heart murmur diagnosed within 6 weeks of being born. She lived 13 years. Don't give up. If I was to get another dog, I would get exactly the same breed. My lovely little dog was just like Lady in Lady & The Tramp. Beautiful temperament. She also had very, very little health issues and although I paid insurance from the word go, I never had to claim on it.
I've had 3. 2 died at 13 and 14. Now have a 2 year old. Utterly wonderful breed. No heart problems in any of them.
Thank you, they are cute when they are older too (in my opinion). There are so many puppies I adore when they are little but I'm not keen on them when they are older. But I think these are cute all ages.
I think if you do want a cavalier, maybe have in your mind that they may not be one of those breeds you may have for over 10 years. Great if you do, but not a guarantee. The love they give when they are here makes up for it though.
Really research your breeder and ask a lot of questions. There are a few really working to save the breed, who do all the tests and who breed very carefully to avoid the awful health issues, and can show you their track record. I was so lucky and fell across one of those breeders by accident.
Having said that, he was supposed to be a sweet, laid back couch potato, calmer than my previous beloved cocker. He is in matter of fact a noisy little bird chasing thug who likes more exercise than the cocker did, is very smart, very playful, very wilful, incredibly sociable and a complete cuddle monster. I wouldn't be without him, he is a fabulous companion dog and he's wonderful, but for the first eighteen months of his life I wasn't sure the both of us were going to survive his puppyhood, and that was after raising a cocker puppy! Apparently this is what you get when you go back to the older bloodlines.
Couch potato he is really not.