#1 Challenge - Choosing a Breeder
Once the decision to obtain a Cavalier has been made, the first and most important step is identifying and locating a reputable breeder. With modern mass communication and the number of Cavaliers skyrocketing in the United States, finding a trustworthy breeder is becoming increasingly perilous. Internet websites and magazine/newspaper ads are sometimes extremely misleading. The Internet, especially, teems with ads – many with information quite false.
During your research, make sure that a breeder’s dam and sire are shown in the AKC circuit, DNA tested, heart certified by a cardiologist and eye certified by a member of the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists yearly. Ensure that the Cavaliers are provided proper nutrition and health care. Ensure that lineage and health records are made available to clients. Finally, be sure that you can go to the breeder’s home and see the dam and sire. You’ll find Pamela Lovett Cavaliers meets all these criteria, and then some.
#2 Challenge - Choosing A Boy or Girl Puppy
How can you decide which is best for you? You may find that gender doesn’t really matter because a Cavalier is a Cavalier is a Cavalier…
You can’t go wrong! Boys are “in love” with you and girls “love” you. What exactly does that mean? Well, the boys won’t leave your side for anything. The girls get love and then go off to find a favorite toy and come back to lie at your feet or at the other end of the couch. But, they still never let you out of their sight.
Now as far as attitudes go, both are very loving and always ready to please, just as a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel should be. Keep an open mind when selecting your puppy, don’t close the door on a puppy because of preconceived notions of its gender, because you may be missing out on the best companion that you could have ever had. Either way you go male or female, if it is a Cavalier you can’t go wrong.
Just keep in mind every dog, male or female has its’ own personality & is unique in every way. The differences that you see should not be based on the gender, male or female. The differences that you should be looking at should be based on the litter as a whole.
When looking at the litter you may see one puppy in a litter that is more outgoing, the 1st one to check out a new situation & the 1st one to figure things out. Then in the same litter you may see one that may be a bit more reserved & tends to be more cautious when checking out a new situation. Sometimes this is very hard for a common person to look at the litter & be able to tell the personality developing, that is where the breeder comes in, it is very important to accept any advice that the breeder is giving you & weigh all aspects.
Let’s face it, who knows the puppies best besides their mother? Yes, it is us, the breeders. Our babies all live in the house with us and the puppies are born in our bedroom. We are with them every day and know temperament and personalities of our babies.
Important Puppy Health Information
Consult your vet to ensure completion of the vaccination program and ensure correct dosage.
Puppies start getting their 42 permanent teeth between 16 and 30 weeks. Check regularly to ensure each baby tooth is replaced with an adult one. Do not feed cooked meat bones and never chicken or pork but use raw beef marrow bones.
Pet dental kits can be purchased with the proper tools to clean your pets teeth. Consult your vet about cleanings.
Cavaliers often need their anal glands emptied some more frequently than others. A good indication is when they are regularly ‘ scooting ‘ their rear end on the floor.
Check the inside of the dogs ears regularly and if the dog frequently shakes it’s head and scratches it’s ears then investigate for an infection, wax buildup or earmites. In summer it could be a grass seed which can be dangerous if ignored. Cavaliers may occasionally need the hair inside their ears trimmed.
Clean any stained fur in the eye area with cotton wool and warm water. At the first sign of any eye infection contact a Vet. Weeping eyes in the Cavalier is normal and generally outgrown. This condition is greatly reduced by Nuvet Plus supplements.
This is a Cavalier characteristic especially when excited and not a cause for great alarm. It is a sudden breath intake accompanied by a snorting noise. It can usually be stopped by placing the hand over the nostrils momentarily to restrict the intake of air. Sometimes it is accompanied by a flipped palate and here you can hold the dog in your arms and a quick flick of its head should flip the palate back.
On the whole Cavaliers are a healthy breed however like all breeds there can be possible health problems and inheritable genetic defects. This does not mean that all dogs are affected and with a proper diet and exercise a Cavalier usually leads a long healthy life.
Some of the breed problems are:
Get the heart checked at annual vaccination. The Cavalier Club is actively involved in heart research publishing a list of dogs and bitches aged five years and older that are free of Mitral Valve Disease. This assists breeders wishing to improve the health of the breed. Forms are completed by your Vet or Cardiologist, held on a central database and statistics made available to those engaged in researching the problem of heart murmurs in Cavaliers.
Can only be diagnosed by a veterinary ophthalmologist who will certify dogs that have been examined under the KC/BVA Eye Scheme. Cavaliers can suffer from Hereditary Cataract or more likely Multifocal Retinal Dysplasia.
This occurs in the back leg and the knee cap slips causing the dog discomfort. The condition is usually surgically correctable.
Being a small breed this is not a common problem and then not usually till old age. No indication of this disease is evident in young dogs and can only be diagnosed by x-rays of the hip joints normally after the age of two.
It is important to understand than even if the sire and dam have been screened and found clear of any health problems, no breeder can guarantee that your puppy will never develop a problem during its life time. Screening lessens the chance and questioning breeders on health issues should not anger them. Not all breeders believe in all testing, or of having tests certified, they should not object to providing copies of any testing that has been done and will be pleased that you care about the health of your puppy.