Thinking about getting a Cav puppy...

(27 Posts)
YouNeedASpaDay Sun 06-Sep-20 07:59:22

Morning all,

As the title says, we are thinking about getting a King Charles Cavalier puppy and I'm looking for some words of wisdom from Cav owners please. I was initially put off by the mitral valve issue but having done more research in genetic testing and treatment etc, I think I feel more confident now. Are your dogs affected?
Do they still live a happy life?

OP’s posts: |
sherbetlemony Sun 06-Sep-20 08:30:12

We had a cav, he passed away a few years ago age 12 and a half.

He did have a myriad of health issues including arthritis, luxating patella and a heart murmur amongst others. He had a few operations for his legs and that solved the patella issues. He was on medication for his arthritis and skin allergies but his murmur wasn't enough to be medicated until the last year.

He lived an incredibly happy life, loved to chase a stick or a ball or a squirrel! Loved long forest walks and his food and cuddles, sleeping in our bed, following us around the house and was so affectionate and good natured.

Main advice would be go to a reputable breeder. You may need to wait a while for a puppy. We didn't know this and our cav may have had less problems had he been bred more responsibly. He had all the kennel club papers and a pedigree name and we thought that was enough.

Also, excellent life long pet insurance from day one. Our cav was a cash cow even with the insurance, if the insurance hadn't been adequate we couldn't have kept up!

Toontown Sun 06-Sep-20 08:35:07

My grandparents have had lots of Cavs. Almost all had lots of health problems.

veronicat Sun 06-Sep-20 08:41:23

I have Cavs. Always had them. Make sure they are tested for Episodic Falling Syndrome. Some Vets wrongly diagnose it as Syringomyelia /Chiari-like malformation.
Make sure you get a covered for life insurance. You'll need it.
They really are the most beautiful loving dogs.

Aurea Sun 06-Sep-20 08:43:24

Get quotes online for insurance and put in fabricated dates for puppies and adults. This may put you off!

pointlesscelebs Sun 06-Sep-20 08:45:05

Ours lived til 11, but by age 6 had a heart murmur and needed medication, had a pymoetra which needed a week in the vets where we nearly lost her, and at the end of her life had a massive golf ball growth in her armpit.

She was a fantastic dog though and very loving. They are still my favourite breed but I'm not sure I'd ever have one again, as they are so prone to horrible illnesses.

Helenluvsrob Sun 06-Sep-20 08:48:20

Do it. Get all the health checks and insure but do it !

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Bunkumum Sun 06-Sep-20 08:48:20

I suppose it’s down to good breeding and waiting for the right puppy.

I watched a horrible program about their little skulls being too small and the pressure on their already bulging eyes and being in constant pain.

Obviously this is down to poor breeding. Be prepared to wait.

Costacoffeeplease Sun 06-Sep-20 08:52:45

I’ve known about half a dozen cavaliers owned by friends and family, and sorry, but would never get one. Most died young, one aged 2, none made it past 8 and all had heart problems. They are lovely dogs but there are too many health issues

AmelieTaylor Sun 06-Sep-20 09:02:01

A good older friend has always had them, they said not more' a few years ago as they're both getting older, but (yet another one) needed to be rehomed (but too needy) so they took her in! She was absolutely gorgeous, but the health issues are heartbreaking. It's emotionally very draining (and if you don't have good insurance - incredibly expensive. After she died they said 'no more' - but who knows.

Lovely little dogs, but a lot of expense & heartbreak and I don't think breeding then should be encouraged.

3teens2cats Sun 06-Sep-20 09:16:40

We are on our second cavalier. They really are wonderful dogs. We don't see many others around and the potential health problems do put people off. We were incredibly lucky health wise with our previous dog. She did have a minor heart murmur but lived to 15. We thought long and hard before getting another one ans considered other breeds but kept coming back to the cavalier. Do your research on a potential litter and ask to see health tests for the parents. Our current dog is still young but so far very healthy. All we can do is enjoy him, keep him generally as healthy as possible and keep our fingers crossed.

GrumpyMiddleAgedWoman Sun 06-Sep-20 09:31:43

Heart problems and syringomyelia are the main health problems with Cavs: about a third of them die of heart disease and around 10% are PTS because of syringomyelia, which is agonisingly painful.

Their average life expectancy is about 10, which is shockingly low for a small dog.

They have delightful personalities, but the breed is plagued by health issues. It's such a pity, as they have so much going for them in other ways.

Pelleas Sun 06-Sep-20 09:44:29

Mine lived till 14. He had a mild heart murmur during the last few years of his life. Other than that, his only health issue was a luxated patella when he was very young, which had to be pinned (they are prone to luxating patellas).

Mine came from a breeder who health-tested extensively. We were on a waiting list for ages before getting a pup.

As others have said, Chiari malformation, episodic falling and syringomelia are sadly very common in the breed, in addition to mitral valve disease.

I miss my boy terribly, but health problems seem so rife that I would be wary of getting another.

The breeder we used has long-since retired but I still see dogs with their kennel prefix popping up on the list of long-lived Cavaliers on the breed club website.

MrsTumbletap Sun 06-Sep-20 21:03:22

What dogs don't have health problems though? What dog lives until 16-18 without anything wrong with them?

I think they are the the loveliest, friendliest most beautiful dogs there are. But I'm biased and love my cav. She has completed our family and we are all I love with her.

She is well behaved, hardly ever barks, is really gentle, loves to kiss and cuddle and hasn't got an aggressive bone in her body, which I wanted with children.

Inanutshelldaze Sun 06-Sep-20 22:28:37

Just out of interest how come the cavachons typically have less health problems & live much longer than the cavalier? Is it the bichon side of the mix?

Borderstotheleftofme Sun 06-Sep-20 23:17:52

What dogs don't have health problems though? What dog lives until 16-18 without anything wrong with them?
There’s different extents though isn’t there?
Certain breeds have a shockingly long list and others have only a few.
The problems in the cavalier are many and very serious, if a little dog often doesn’t live past 10 there’s a serious problem somewhere imo.

I think they are the the loveliest, friendliest most beautiful dogs there are
They are lovely but there surely comes a point where breeders realise it is no longer ethical to produce them?
I think we are at that point.
The Kennel club won’t entertain outcrossing which is the only solution.
They are only going to decline further the way things are going.

She is well behaved, hardly ever barks, is really gentle, loves to kiss and cuddle and hasn't got an aggressive bone in her body, which I wanted with children
I can say precisely the same about my dog who is very different to a cavalier.
There’s plenty of perfectly lovely dogs out there without the extensive, debilitating and painful list of diseases the cavalier is prone to.

Borderstotheleftofme Sun 06-Sep-20 23:23:53

Just out of interest how come the cavachons typically have less health problems & live much longer than the cavalier? Is it the bichon side of the mix?
My amateur assumption would be that the bichons and cavaliers may have recessive genes for different diseases and the puppies aren’t inheriting genes for say, mitral valve disease from both parents so they don’t develop it as adults.

Crossing two breeds together willy nilly doesn’t guarantee healthier puppies but careful, considered crossing of two or more breeds is the only way to fix breeds like the cavalier.

The gene pool is too small to fix their problems sticking to pure cavalier x cavalier matings.

LooseleafTea Sun 06-Sep-20 23:23:55

We have a really healthy cavalier and echo the value of knowledgable breeders who health test and try to minimise the risk of health issues. Ours is incredibly sporty and best of every world in also loving a quiet day at home too and so undemanding and fun and adorable.
I highly recommend them and we have insured ours with Bought by Many which came in handy when she had a grass seed down her ear once and they were great

tabulahrasa Sun 06-Sep-20 23:48:48

Inanutshelldaze

Just out of interest how come the cavachons typically have less health problems & live much longer than the cavalier? Is it the bichon side of the mix?

I have no idea whether they are actually healthier or not tbh, most cavs will be KC registered, they occasionally run research on breeds, there are breed clubs and registers there... so there are various ways to keep track of the health of them.

I don’t know that anyone is keeping track of cavachons at all - so I’ve no idea how you’d find out if they are in fact healthier.

You’d kind of assume that their heads would be a healthier shape... but that’s not always how crossing breeds works, but more likely anyway.

Hearts... again more likely to be better, but it’s not a single gene issue, so again that might not be always how it works.

Pelleas Mon 07-Sep-20 17:43:05

If you look at Cavalier Rescues, they often take in Cavalier crosses too, and unfortunately many of them seem to have similar health issues to purebred Cavaliers.

Bliss Cavalier Rescue are very active, and it's worth a look at some of the dogs they have rehomed for a sample of the sorts of health problems you get in older dogs, and the associated vet treatment needed.

Pelleas Mon 07-Sep-20 17:47:44

^

www.blisscavalierrescue.org

Their Facebook page often talks about the treatment needed by their 'Forever Fosters' - dogs that are too poorly to be rehomed. sad

Hovverry Tue 08-Sep-20 14:18:36

“Good breeding” and health testing the parents can never be sure to give you a cavalier pup who won’t have MVD or syringomyelia. All cavs are too closely related and inherited diseases are rife.
Don’t pay breeders to continue producing adorable little dogs who are doomed to a short life and massive vet bills.

Wearingpinkpjs Tue 08-Sep-20 14:25:44

We had a Cavalier King Charles, through the breed rescue. Chose the breed due to being so good with children.
Had her aged 3 years and she lived until 12. She did develop MVD heart disease, but lived a full and happy life, right until the end, when she died in my arms of a heart attack. She was totally adorable, loved everybody, but you do need pet insurance, as she was on medication for her heart from the age of 6. As much as I loved her and the breed, I was too worried about the health issues and now have a Cocker Spaniel, totally crazy and very different to a chilled out Cavalier!

Lcats Tue 08-Sep-20 20:37:08

May I suggest a Brittany spaniel? They are similar in looks to Cavaliers but bigger and more energetic and they are a very healthy working dog breed. I would guess (haven’t checked) that they have shared ancestry. You can have one as a pet, they don’t have to be a working dog. They aren’t expensive, are usually responsibly bred because they aren’t very popular in England so no danger of puppy farm breeders.
Cavaliers look like a lap dog version of Brittanys which was a good idea, but the situation with the breed now sounds horrific.

GCAcademic Wed 09-Sep-20 07:59:50

Hovverry

“Good breeding” and health testing the parents can never be sure to give you a cavalier pup who won’t have MVD or syringomyelia. All cavs are too closely related and inherited diseases are rife.
Don’t pay breeders to continue producing adorable little dogs who are doomed to a short life and massive vet bills.

Agreed. My parents had two cavaliers from a supposedly reputable breeder (i.e. well known within show circles) with all the health checks. The first ended up with MVD and the second with syringomyelia. It was really distressing seeing the pain the second dog endured.

I have actually heard this breeder say that they breed primarily for looks and that if people wanted a healthy dog they would buy a mongrel.

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