View Full Version : Are Cavaliers hard to breed?

4th May 2006, 03:20 AM
Hi. I have a gorgeous unspayed Cavalier that I was wondering if I should breed. I know all about the costs/etc. of breeding (my aunt bred seeing eye dogs). ....... I am going to have her evaluated for genetic problems and "visually" she looks perfect...... but I am having trouble finding out whether Cavaliers are harder to "birth" than other breeds. I know some breeds are usually born by cesarian section. How hard are Cavaliers to breed? Are they a very risky breed during pregnancy/birth? I would like to know all the facts before I even consider entering seriously into this.

4th May 2006, 03:42 AM
I guess I'll take that as a "no" they're not hard to breed? :) I'll look more into it but I guess since I see/read/get no warnings I'll go ahead with it. :)

4th May 2006, 05:20 AM
I'm sure others will respond to this soon. We have a few good breeders here who should be able to give you some advice.

Just wait...

4th May 2006, 10:16 AM
Hi Cavilover,

It might take a little while for anyone to reply, as the people on this board come from all over the world, and therefore access the net at different times. I don't know a thing about breeding, but I know there is lots of people here who do. It might take a day or so, but people on here are very friendly and extremely helpful. :D Welcome to the board by the way!

Maisie (ruby)

Bruce H
4th May 2006, 12:16 PM
Hi Cavilover and welcome to the board! I think you will find there are a lot of great people here with a vast amount of knowledge.

To answer your specific question first, I would say Cavaliers are not the easiest to breed, certainly not as easy as many, but they also don't need a c-section every time like some breeds. I'm sure you have read my journal; like I said there, that was probably the two easiest litters we ever had. No problems to speak of unless knee deep in puppy poop counts :lol: Thinking back over the years, I would say probably 1 out of every 3 litters has some kind of problem we have to deal with. We have had several c-sections over the years, got up every 2 hours, 24 hours a day with puppies more times than I care to think about, buried a few that died shortly after birth, and spent many hours with vets with very young puppies.

It sounds like you are going to be doing the testing, that's great and absolutely necessary. Just be sure everything is done by qualified people. For example, your vet cannot do the heart, it has to be done by a cardiologist. I can tell you that most vets can't hear a grade 1 murmer that would disqualify a dog from breeding.

Jane Anderson has a site ( http://www.learntobreed.com/ ) about breeding that is very good. Despite the name, it's actually more about preparing the newcomer to breeding for all the potential problems that can happen, all the work, all the equipment, cost, etc.

Have you spoken to your breeder about this? Unless agreed upon from the beginning, most reputable breeders sell puppies on limited registration which means they cannot be bred or any puppies registered. Your breeder would be the best one to guide you on this. Your breeder would also be the best to help determine if your girl is good enough to be bred. As they say, it takes more than just a pretty face. Your breeder can also help in selecting a good stud dog, which is as important as a good bitch. And, finally, your breeder would be the best person to mentor you as you start out.

Just a couple personal notes: There are two things that I feel strongly about; one is that you should have a mentor that breeds Cavaliers and, two, that if you are breeding, you should also be showing in conformation. I feel you absolutely need a mentor, someone who is just a phone call or short drive away. Yes, some questions can be answered on a board like this, but if a real problem develops, you need someone right there. There's no substitute for a real, live person. And start showing your girl. That's how you begin to understand what makes a dog good for breeding. A dog that may be the perfect pet may not be the best for breeding and showing in the ring will help you know the difference. It may also be the only way to geta reputable breeder to mentor you. I think Kriss and I were showing for close to 2 years before we found someone to mentor us.

I know this got a little long winded and, unfortunately, just scratched the surface. I hope this helps you in your decision. There are other excellent breeders on this site who I hope also chime in with some more insight. Good luck!

4th May 2006, 12:20 PM
There are many things you would want to be doing before you'd even consider breeding. I advise you to read through the excellent MysticKnight forum on this site, written by the very responsible breeder Bruce, on what is involved in breeding a cavalier litter.

This is the main thread:


But his comments here


are the most important and relevant, and will give you the answer all of us here would give: long, long before you make any practical move to breed, you need to be mentored by someone who shows, you need to spend time becoming familiar with the breed, you need to understand the very serious implications of the two major health issues in the breed and costs involved in trying to breed away from same -- MVD and syringomyleia, you need to know the heart history of your bitch's parents which will indicate whether she should even be considered to be bred before the age of 5 (see the heart breeding protocols in the Health section and consider that the syringomyelia protocol involces MRIing your dog at considerable cost)/); you need to know the whol rostrere of testing that needs to be done and to have yur bitch evaluated to even consider if her genes are worth passing on. Most of us have wonderful dogs but they will not contribute any valuable DNA to the future of the breed, and shouldn't be bred from. If you don;t understand genetics and know her full pedigree and the health histories of other dogs in her line, you will very likely introduce or intensify bad DNA as the breed is already so genetically restricted and limited. Every mating needs to be thoughtful and informed. I am not sure I understand how your dog is being 'genetically evaluated' but what should be done is cardiac testing of your dog and testing of both parents as an absolute minimum; parents should be at least 5; she at least 2 and a half. There are no genetic tests for either MVD or syringomyelia.

One of the reasons I was happy to have Bruce detail the complexities and deep responsibilities of breeding in this breed, was because I knew for anyone who is intelligent and truly interested in and committed to this wonderful breed, it would help steer them in the right direction and help them make the right decisions. :)

Here are Bruce's most relevant comments:

You know, before I started this journal, I really worried about this encouraging people to start breeding without having any idea what they were getting into; in fact, I came very close to not doing this for just that reason. So my hope is that this gave everyone some insight into the breeding process and that it's a lot more than throwing a couple dogs together and hoping for the best. These two litters really were, I think, the easiest litters we have ever had. And thank God they were! It could have very easily been a nightmare, especially with both litters born at exactly the same time. I can't help but think about the puppy a couple years ago that was so tiny that Kris literally slept with it and worked with it every couple hours, 24 hours a day; all we would have had to do was get a couple of those and we would have had a real problem. Nice to have a little good luck once in a while. The only bad thing we did have was when one of Star's puppies was born dead, something I really don't like to think about; but it happens.

So if anyone is thinking about getting into breeding I would say, first and foremost, find a breeder IN YOUR AREA that is willing to mentor you and help you. Secondly, be sure you have a dog that should be bred; that's where a mentor can help you out. I also very strongly believe that if a person wants to breed that they should also be showing in the conformation ring. That's really the only way a person can truly know if the dog they have is a good dog that should be bred. It's also probably the only way of getting a reputable breeder to mentor you. Kris and I were showing for close to 2 years before we found someone who was willing to help us out. And of course health testing should go without saying.

Cavaliers sadly have been very badly damaged -- indeed the breed's survival is threatened -- by the many backyard breeders and puppy mills who breed these dogs without any regard for the breed's health. That's why already 50% of this breed will have a heart murmur by age 5 -- that's like humans getting heart failure at age 30 and 40. It is an old dog's disease that causes too many of us to lose our loved dogs many years before their lives should end.

There's plenty of information on the health issues in the Health section of the Library part of this website.

Now, I am going to close this thread as I don't allow discussions of breeding (as in, advice on how to do it or whether to do it) to be discussed on this board (very general issues on breeding are fine but not with intent to breed).

What I am happy to facilitate is, if you'd like, a question in a new thread on how you go about doing what Bruce suggests, to get involved in the breed at the level any prospective breeder needs to be. :thmbsup:

4th May 2006, 12:22 PM
Bruce I see you got here first!! :lol:

Thanks for adding some additional excellent advice. :)