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Joanne M
26th November 2006, 09:36 PM
I first made the decision to get Tucker after a conversation with a friend who's mother got a cavalier the month before. She raved about the remarkable effect their cav had on her mother, who had been in poor health. Jack is his name, he is also a littermate to my Tucker. After hearing about Jack's personality, I did a little research online. I read about cavalier's non-aggressive and friendly personalities. However, I didn't research the breed enough to know about all the health concerns. I visited the American Kennel Club Website and got a list of breeders in my area. The only reason I was considering a pure-bred dog was to ensure that I got the characteristics that were so appealing in a Cavalier. I phoned a breeder in my area, she kept me on the phone for nearly two hours. And managed to offend me almost every other sentence out of her mouth. I could not hang up on this woman, who was obviously passionate in her beliefs. I was not expecting this kind of conversation and it was offensive and a bit overwhelming to me. I did not expect to be interviewed, asked what I considered to be very personal questions, about who lived in my household, what kind of work I did, how often I was away from my home, what kind of yard I had, etc, etc., and well, it seemed inappropriate. Now that I know more about cavaliers, and have Tucker and he is so important to me, I can better understand the breeder who had previously so turned me off. Ultimately I got Tucker from the same breeder who my friend had gotten Jack. They are healthy dogs. The do not have AKC registration papers. A fact which did not bother me at the time, but I now understand the importance of, because the health of the parents and their lines, has much to do with the health of their offspring. The people we got our dogs from were wonderful, I would not describe it as a puppy farm. They had 4 dogs of their own, all cavaliers of varying age, including Tucker and Jack's father. We received photo-copied information regarding their genealogies. They were obviously in a home where they were well loved and cared for as members of a family, but they don't have AKC papers.

Lisa_T
26th November 2006, 10:11 PM
The very fact that the breeder questioned you to the extent that she offended you is a good sign- it means she genuinely cared about where her puppies ended up and wasn't just out for a good profit.

If you're worried about the health background and you have copies of the pedigree, just check the online databases- you can find names of dogs heart clear at five plus, the names of dogs who were particularly long lived(and their lines)... all sorts of stuff.

ETA: sorry, I misread your post- I thought you had got the puppy from the breeder who gave you the third degree!

Joanne M
26th November 2006, 10:17 PM
I almost phoned that first breeder back after I'd had Tucker for a little while. I wouldn't want any dog but him because I love him so. To me he is perfect. However, you are right, she was a reputable breeder who cared more for her dogs than she did profit.

Cathy T
27th November 2006, 12:20 AM
I can completely relate! The first breeder I talked to really offended me by her questions. Now...I get it!!! Now I see that was someone I would have been very well off doing business with. Now...I get it!!

Karlin
27th November 2006, 02:02 AM
The questions can seem personal, but the information from those questions is crucial to ensure the environment any dog (or cat) is going into is not just adequate but the best you can find. :) That involves asking personal questions about how much time the buyer/adopter is at home, their house/yard, their plans for a family (as anyone in rescue knows, "having a baby" is along with moving, the very TOP reason why people leave their dogs/cats to the pound or shelter or to the vets to be put down!), plans for holidays, number and age of children, experience in owning a dog, etc. You can see what I ask on my adoption form here:

http://rescue.cavaliertalk.com/adoptionform.doc

It is pretty detailed but all these questions help me ensure the people are ready for the responsibility of a dog, and also, that a given dog goes to the right home (some should not be in homes with children, for example). I also homecheck (as my rescue owners on this board know! :lol:). Good breeders and rescues always ask a LOT of questions about prospective homes.

Lots of good info on how to recognise an ethical, responsible breeder:
http://www.premiercavalierinfosite.com/howwherewhy.htm
and
http://www.cavaliertalk.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=2757

The big problem with someone not being able to give a proper registration papers (eg pedigree) for any purebred -- meaning a recognised, not a bogus, registry (see http://www.cavaliertalk.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=216 for all the bogus registries) -- is that it means they did not bother to get dogs of very good quality to breed in the first place because if the parents have proper registration then they would be registering the puppies. Anyone unable to register their puppy litters is also very unlikely to be doing anything to ensure the health of the dogs or the breed either.

Being a responsible breeder means a lot more than raising dogs in the house -- that is just a very basic level of decent animal husbandry for dogs (and often, it isn't even the real situation -- very often the dogs are kept elsewhere or are kenneled and are brought in for when people come to collect their puppy. I know of quite a few examples of that). If the breeder doesn't understand genetics, doesn't know the health histories of the lines they bred from, didn't cardiac-cert their breeding stock and follow the heart breeding protocols (ie mom and dad must be at least 2.5 and their parents must be at least 5 and ALL heart clear), if they didn't test for hip dysplasia, patellas, eyes, (and increasingly, for many people, if they didn't MRI their breeding stock for syringomyelia), then they have disregarded the health of the litter of puppies they have bred and all the future lines that may come from people who breed their puppies in turn. :( Purebred dogs by their very nature come from very limited gene pools, so careful, fully health-tested matings are absolutely necessary to maintain breed health; and especially so with cavaliers, which have two potentially serious and prevalent health issues that don't tend to show up til the dog is *at least* age 2 (MVD or SM).

The number of very serious illnesses, and temperament problems in once-friendly breeds, runs high in backyard bred dogs (eg those not bred by careful, registered breeders). Some breeds have been devastated by such casual, indiscriminate breedings, among them labs, German sheps, dalamations, cairn terriers, westies, poodles... all these breeds are very seriously under genetic pressure from having become popular and then overbred by people who don't know how to breed. Cancer and hip dysplasia run high in GSD now, skin diseases in westies, temperament problems and hip dysplasia in labs... and in cavaliers within just 2-3 decades, MVD has cut a third off average life expectancy for the breed, even though it can be directly addressed by proper breeding programmes focused on heart health. :?

Many of us learned slowly what to look for and why, in breeders. We should all cherish the dogs we might have got in a way that wasn;t the best route, of course! But thorugh sharing information and learning more, we will know what to do the next time around -- and also, will be able to give good advice to others who may be looking for puppies.

It is just a shame that there are so many so willing to exploit the breed and its future health -- those people are the ones directly responsible for the fact that so many cavaliers will die years earlier than they should from heart disease, for example (who could knowingly inflict that on this wonderful breed? But that is what every indiscriminate breeder does). Cavaliers from good breeders can and do have heart problems too of course but the chances are much lower, and the likelihood much higher that you won't be dealing with early onset MVD). On top of that, such people charge buyers pretty much the same as someone who is actually *spending* money doing all the proper research and testing. Such people make a lot of money off others' lack of awareness. :?

judy
27th November 2006, 06:38 AM
when i was calling around or emailing, trying to find a cavalier, almost a year ago, i was volunteering all that information without being asked because i assumed the people who were selling the dogs would care about these things and as i gradually learned about the difference between reputable breeders and everyone else, i learned that there were a lot more puppy buyers than puppies from reputable breeders, so i wanted to tell them how well prepared for a dog i was.

After a while, it was me who was interviewing breeders rather than the other way around. Or, it was really a mutual interviewing thing. I was asking about health check certification and longevity of parents and grandparents, etc.

I am new to purebred dogs and always just got dogs at the pound or other simple ways, and when i wasn't able to find an older puppy from a reputable breeder, after meeting Zack at a broker and falling in love, i got him. I've learned a lot more since then, that i could only grasp intellectually at the time but now i've felt the emotional impact, of the suffering of cavaliers with MVD and SM, my understanding has grown in a way that could only happen from listening to the stories of people who have gone through the terrible illnesses and losses of their young dogs. It's so much more real now than it was when i got Zack, and more pieces of the puzzle are in place.

Before i got Zack, I had a chance for a 6 month old blenheim boy from a very reputable breeder with heart clear great grandparents and grandparents (one grandparent had a low grade murmur, everyone else clear, documented). I was so happy. But when i went to meet the puppy, he was not like any other cavallier i've met, he was very unfriendly and wouldn't even let me pet him. I'm glad i was able to meet him and didn't buy him sight unseen just based on the breeding and health criteria. but it was a kind of bizarre experience, and played a role in why i broke down and got Zack from the broker. i had already met and very much liked Zack but had passed because i didn't want to buy from other than a high standards breeder. But then, after meeting that cold unfriendly puppy, i gave in to my heart, which had fallen for zack's happy little face and sweet spirit, so opposite of the well bred puppy. That whole puppy seeking mission was quite an experience.

Maxxs_Mummy
27th November 2006, 08:01 AM
Two hours.... Is that all??????

LMAO, when we first visited Maxx, his parents and the rest of the litter (and all the other Cavaliers in the household!!!!) we were there from 5pm until 10.15pm!!!!

My breeder is such a lovely person that when we went away we knew all about each other and both were happy that Maxx was coming from and going to people who really cared :flwr:

I think I would be the same if I was the one deciding where the pups would go :flwr:

enchantingdragon
28th November 2006, 04:31 AM
Since I started looking for my first pup I have spent extensive time on the phone, at breeder's homes, and even once at a dog show for a weekend. The more I learn about this beautiful breed the more I welcome the thoroughness of the breeders. I expect the best pup I can get and in return I hope the breeder wants the best home. At times perhaps the questions seem invasive but its well worth it when you talk and learn from the people who know the breed so well.

Cathy T
28th November 2006, 04:38 AM
You are so right! So glad you are doing such extensive research. If I only knew then what I know now!! I was so offended by the questions...but now those are the same questions (and more!) that I ask when considering placing a rescue. I always explain that I'm sorry if the questions are detailed and personal but that's the way I do things and I seriously want the best for the dog. Most people understand. Those that don't...oh well.

Natalie
28th November 2006, 11:58 PM
sounds about right i thought we were taking on a million pound morgage but it's a good sign means that the breeder cares about who her pups go to. Our breeder has been in contact with us a few times making sure pup is eating ok and settling in ok. We only collected her on sunday.

Natalie
28th November 2006, 11:58 PM
sounds about right i thought we were taking on a million pound morgage but it's a good sign means that the breeder cares about who her pups go to. Our breeder has been in contact with us a few times making sure pup is eating ok and settling in ok. We only collected her on sunday.