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Daisy's Mom
3rd August 2007, 11:49 PM
We went to a Cavalier specialty show in Indianapolis a couple of weeks ago. Boy, those dogs were gorgeous! I learned a couple of things -- 1) Daisy is waaaayyyy too big to be shown, and 2) show breeders know how to groom the dogs' faces to make them look so soft and precious.

I hope I'm not asking for any deep dark secrets or anything, but how in the world do you make a Cavalier's face look so soft and perfect? I did notice that the show dogs did not have the long white whiskers, but is that the only difference?

I try to have Daisy looking as good as possible because I think she's so pretty and I guess I'm vain about her. I don't get her hair clipped, I brush her daily, use show-quality brushes, shampoos, conditioners, etc.. Her coat in general looks very good, but her face just doesn't have that soft, velvety look to it. Anyone willing to give me some tricks? Daisy is spayed and I'm not planning on going into the show ring in the next decade, so I promise a non-compete clause!

Cathryn
4th August 2007, 12:39 AM
Hi!

First of all not every-one trims the whiskers off as they actually are an important sensory part of how dogs communicate with each other, HOWEVER I must admit that it gives a dogs face a "cleaner" look to them, personnally I take the "antenea's" over the top of the eye's off to stop them curling over and growing back towards the eye.

As for actually grooming the face, I generally use a natural bristle brush and spray my coat conditioner ONTO the brush itself, NEVER onto the dogs face and very gently brush over the dogs face with that, only a very light mist mind, then brush onto one side, mist the brush again then brush onto the other side, this will leave the coat slighlty damp, then brush gently until the coat is dry, for a final polish use a piece of raw silk cloth if you can find a piece, this leaves a lovely soft polished look to the coat.

Spray in conditioners that I use and recommend are "Ice-On-Ice" by Chris Christerson and also a watered down version of my bathtime conditioner in a spray bottle, currently using Groomers Avacado and Cucumber or Plush Puppy's Silk Protein (on drier coats).

Last of all I must mention that the softer heads and expressions often seen on show dogs are the culmination of many years hard work and thoughtful and careful breeding too!

Hope this is of help?

Karlin
4th August 2007, 01:39 AM
I have to agree with the last point as well! :)

At the moment I have three dogs and a foster... and out of those only the two from a show breeder have that really soft velvety fur on their faces and only Leo has the correct plushy look around the eyes etc. My mother's cavalier Lucy does as well. But these are both dogs with good heads from breeders who have decades of careful breeding behind those dogs (so does Jaspar but not all dogs end up with that really desireable look). Lily, my little scruffball rescue, has a totally different feel to her fur on her face and doesn't have that really soft expression of a good show dog and correct cavalier head.

But as you recognise yourself, you have a lovely dog regardless of whether it has these show qualities. :flwr: Lily is my scruffy one and no one would ever confuse her with a show dog, but she is nonetheless a cute little stinker and I like her just the way she is. :cool:

PS The first Barbara Garnett Wilson book (of the two that are now a set) has a great chapter on grooming for a show look. :)

Cathy T
4th August 2007, 02:15 AM
I think I could use every grooming trick in the book and still not get Jake to have the coveted Cavalier soft expression. That's definitely something that comes from dedicated breeding experience.

Sounds like you're doing everything right for your girl though. I don't show either of mine but I sure groom them like I do! :D They get brushed and conditioned and pampered like crazy.

You just keep doing what you're doing and I'm sure she'll look smashing!!

Daisy's Mom
4th August 2007, 04:50 AM
Thanks, everyone!

I actually do have and use the Chris Christenson Ice-on-Ice, but I have never used it in that way. I'll definitely try it, plus the silk.

You're right in that she is beautiful to me, and that's obviously what counts since I have no delusions of grandeur in the show ring. In fact, whenever I look at her, especially right after I brush her, I just kind of well up with pride because I think she's so beautiful. (Is that wrong?)

Daisy has the right cushioning around the eyes, but I think she is a little too jowly and her eyes may be too low-set on her face. Her dad was a champion who actually won best in show at at least one Cavalier specialty show, plus lots of other wins. He is owned by one of the big name show breeders in the U.S. Her mom is a tri-color and I don't know how much she was shown, if any, but her breeder does show dogs regularly. I just think Daisy came out bigger than would have been predicted. Both her mom and dad are around 15-16 pounds, but she is a whopping 22.9 pounds according to her last weigh-in at the vets'!!! And she's not fat -- she's just very long and solid.

I am very happy with her and we get lots of compliments on how pretty she is wherever we go, but it just took me by surprise at how soft and velvety those dogs' faces were when I saw them all together there in person. I thought maybe there was something I could be doing that would produce that look. I have never trimmed her long white whiskers and I probably won't, but I wondered if that was the major reason for the difference in their faces. I did trim some very weird tufty whiskers off both sides of her cheeks recently though. It was very weird-looking and not very pretty. She was starting to look like the doorman in the Wizard of Oz! (You know the one I mean?)

Anyway, I'll try all the tips -- Thanks!

JeanKC
4th August 2007, 06:23 AM
I thought there were rules against ANY clipping. Are whiskers exempt? It seems like this would be an 'easy catch' for a judge...

KC

lb0024
8th August 2007, 09:53 PM
I am not a "show dog" person... I just have pet dogs. :D I picked a Cavalier because I fell in love with their cute, cute faces ("soft" or not) and sweet temperaments.

So, after reading this thread, I'm curious. For the uninitiated, does anyone have a photo of a cavalier with this "soft" face you are referring to? And one that doesn't have it?? (Although I can get the idea from the comparison to the doorman in the Wizard of Oz!)

I just think they are all so darned cute... they're all show dogs in my eyes!! :rah:

-laura

WoodHaven
8th August 2007, 10:01 PM
My daughter calls that hair (wizard of oz) mutton chops. The only time I've seen it in my dogs is after they are altered. And yes, after they were speutered, we decided to trim it. :o

*Pauline*
8th August 2007, 10:42 PM
Yes, whiskers can be cut off for show even with the no trimming rule. When I went on holiday and Dylan was left at his breeders, she passed him to the groomer and as her dogs have their whiskers trimmed, Dylan's were too. I was very upset, it was one of the last things I said, "Please don't cut off his whiskers and leave his feet!" but she forgot to tell the girl and both were trimmed. They have grown back now :winkct:

I don't really know what the soft face look is you mention, they all look soft to me, but I'm going to try the leave in conditioner and silk.

Cathryn
8th August 2007, 10:47 PM
hi!

Yes whiskers can be removed, personnally I tend to only take off any that are growing upwards towards the eye's and the "Antennae" eyebrows can also grow forwards into the eye's too!! So from a health point of view these are taken off. The "rule" only really applies when it is OBVIOUS a dog has been trimmed, most breed specialist judges I know in this country will penalise an otherwise good example of the breed if it has obviously been trimmed!

danalynn
9th August 2007, 07:00 AM
About those mutton chops... Teddy had them and they were getting really long (he was only 5 months old and not neutered yet), to the point I was going to cut them if they got much longer! I was at a cavalier play day and one of the breeders in our area told me it was dead hair that some cavaliers tend to keep and that you could just gently pull at it and it comes right out. I was truly skeptical and was afraid I would hurt him.

One night when Teddy was sleeping I gently, but firmly tried to pulled it out with just my finger tips when he was sleeping... It all came out, effortlessly without even Teddy waking up. He didn't even stir!!!! It did take a bit of time though because he had thick mutton chops !!

Since then it has only come in a little bit (3 months later) and I did the same thing, though this time with him awake and it didn't bother him at all. Teddy is a big baby when I clip nails or trim the bottom of his feet, so I know he would let me know if it bothered him. No more mutton chops here :)

Caraline
12th August 2007, 03:50 AM
Oh nice tips there Cathryn. Though I don't show my boys, it is nice to have them looking all handsome. You know, this is a bit embarrasing, but it has never occurred to me to brush their faces. :o I must try it. :D

Pavane
23rd September 2007, 07:54 PM
What do some people trim to keep their cav neat and tidy. We do the bottoms of Barkliegh's paws so he doesn't slide around so much, a bit under the tail for hygiene, and sometimes clip really tangled hair behind his ears. He his extremely long, lush ears, but they do get dirty and tangled the quickest. We comb them almost daily. A groomer suggested we do a "breed groom" behind his ears, but I am reluctant. What about the feathers. Do these keep growing. His are so long a stunning...but are they ever trimmed?

Cathryn
23rd September 2007, 08:16 PM
Now that my stud dog is retired from the ring I take all of his foot feathering away, both underside and top side, this prevents slipping and sliding on the tile kitchen floor, also prevents him from getting clumps of mud stuck between his toes and pads that would be uncomfortable for him. I also do a "hygiene" trim just in front of his "pupice" (I'll leave that to the imagination!) and also trim his front leg feathers to lessen the smell from his slightly poor aim! :lol: Yes it does all grow back again! this same dog was very badly snared up in brambles and I had to chop some 3 inches of his tail off in order to free him, I was crying doing it as I had just entered him for Crufts!! But now he has his full pennant of a tail again (12 months on) and this was done when he was 5 years old!!

Pavane
23rd September 2007, 08:44 PM
Thanks! Just is just what I want to do. Anybody trim around the ears at all? Or inside a bit? I do snip a little of the boy-hairs, when they are directing the stream the wrong way.

Cathryn
23rd September 2007, 08:51 PM
Hi!

I also trim around the insides of the ears (where the canal is) this allows more airflow around the inner ear and lessens the chance of ear infections and canker.

With young male puppies I take the "tassle" away and it seldom grows back! I have a distinct memory of doing well at a show and the judge commenting in her write up (although NOT about my boy) about "tassles" being untrimmed and how unattractive she found it, I had had some pics taken at that show and when I got them back, BOOM! Tassle in full view, I soon remedied that I can tell you!! :lol: :lol:

Karlin
23rd September 2007, 10:39 PM
On dogs with the plushy soft look and those that don't, I tried to find a couple of pics. Any of the breeders here have dogs with the correct soft expression of course! If you deal with a lot of rescue dogs and see a lot of dogs from backyard breeders/pet shops/puppy farms, you see a lot of dogs that have pretty poor conformation and even look like they have some other breed mixed in (they often do as casual breeders and puppy farmers often pay little attention to how they mix their dogs and fail to notice their females are in heat -- Ginger, who just had lab cross puppies, being a perfect example! :)

Note that saying a dog is a poor example of a cavalier or has poor conformation does NOT imply the dog isn't a perfectly lovely cavalier to be cherished on his or her own terms!! It is simply a comment on how closely the dog actually looks like an ideal cavalier. Good breeders get poorly conforming dogs sometimes too -- and most puppies they breed will not be excellent examples of the breed or they would have hung on to them for showing/bettering their lines. Thank goodness they are NOT all show quality or we pet owners wuld never get a single dog away from them! :lol: My Jaspar for example has too-skinny legs and a so-so head -- and that's according to his own breeder. Do I care? No: he will likely be my once-in-a-lifetime dog, the very special one you value above all else. We have a very special bond.

For a couple of pics. The breeders here could make much better comments that I on these dogs! But I think you can see the difference in faces:

This rescue dog from a puppy farm would be pretty typical of a dog of really poor conformation. Nose is way too long (aka 'snipy'); head is narrow; ears set really low on the head; eyes are small and almondy and thee's no soft plushy 'cushioning' around the eyes; head looks more like some other breed is mixed in:
http://webzoom.freewebs.com/manytearsrescue/Gil-Cav-15-09-07.jpg

Likewise this puppy farm girl (very much like my Lily!) has a narrow pointy muzzle, not a full soft, wide cavalier muzzle; smallish eyes, kind of a harsh face for a cavalier; not much softness in her expression:
http://webzoom.freewebs.com/manytearsrescue/Rhoda-cav20-9-07.jpg

They are both perfectly lovely dogs :) but they are not great examples of cavaliers, especially that top fellow, bless him!

Now some champion breeder dogs -- they have a really soft 'melting' expression, soft cushioning around the eyes, soft full muzzle, big eyes...
http://www.canyoncrestcavalierspaniels.com/images/cavaliers%20glory%20tri.JPG

http://roycroftcavaliers.com/dinahheadmay282004a.jpg

http://www.laughingcavaliers.com/images/liz-oval-lores.jpg

Our breeders here could post some examples and explain heads a lot better than me. :)

Cathy T
23rd September 2007, 10:53 PM
Perfect examples Karlin. I used to get offended when I heard "poorly bred" or "poor example" til I realized they weren't talking about the dog in particular but how it measured up to breed standard. I remind everyone....if they all came out perfect us pet owners wouldn't have our pets!! :) We benefit from the breeder's loss.

I used to wonder "why do I think that dog is so pretty" until all of the individual characteristics were pointed out that added up to a gorgeous dog.

Karlin
23rd September 2007, 11:12 PM
I think you have to see a lot of dogs, in the show ring, in books, pets, everything, to start to see the differences. Like anything in life, you learn by getting more experience. I wouldn't have a clue what to watch for in the ring! A mentor is invaluable to learn all that craft from.

But boy when you see a proper show or breeding dog you can sure see the difference in just everything -- the way they move, personality, face, build... it is the way all those correct things combine. :) They just have something above and beyond.

Cathryn
23rd September 2007, 11:21 PM
Hmm,

Okay, I'll take the bull by the horns so to speak! :lol:

This is my pride and joy, Logan AKA Ttenneb Daydream Believer, sire of some of my prettiest girls to date (Pauline would kill for his daughter Tilly who lives with my parents!) a total softie and the absolute apple of my eye, also Crufts qualified for life!!

http://i148.photobucket.com/albums/s17/Cathryn_017/Babyanddogpicscirca2003140.jpg

You will see that when his ears are up there is a near straight line across the top of his skull? You will also see that he has a LARGE ROUND dark eye that is neither too much nor too small for his overall head shape? His "stop" the distance from the back of the bridge of his nose to the uppermost part of his skull is minimal? He has a lot of "cushioning" below his eye's? His lips whilst being well pronounced are not too fleshy? His eye colour is rich and deep? His nose pigment is deep black? His throat whilst pronounced is not TOO jowly? Nothing about his head is over exagerated? Nothing is under exagerated? His Blaze is slightly off centre but his overall head shape is such that you really don't notice it?
I have NEVER gotten away from this lad's head, there is much about him I would correct, and in all honesty heaven help any-one else who would critise him, I reserve that particular right! However, he is an honest dog, with a fantastic amount of good points about him including his fantastic front and movement which he has passed on, these were well documented when he was being shown.

Most important of all is this lad's totally laid back attitude to life, he takes everything in his stride, tells strangers in the house the rules "It's mine!" and is the softest, cuddliest boy I have ever had the pleasure to own!

I will try and get some pics of Darcy for you, at 9 months the future is yet his, his head has yet to "break" but he too has the same wonderful laid back, almost "Village Idiot" take on life that I so adore and seek in a Cavalier!!

I hope this is what you were looking for Karlin? Because for me, this boy is just so my "cup of tea" head wise, type is just soooooooo hard to define, it is something you have to "see"???

AT
24th September 2007, 09:06 AM
"there is much about him I would correct, and in all honesty heaven help any-one else who would critise him, I reserve that particular right! "

My dogs breeder once said " what are his faults "
I thought She wanted an honest evaluation on my boy, Big mistake ,lol The answer she actually wanted was "he doesnt have any"
I will keep my mouth zipped in future ,lol

Karlin
24th September 2007, 10:48 AM
Thanks Cathryn; that explains a lot of the terms about heads! But also underlines why it takes experience to really be able to analyse a head -- it takes an expert to know what - 'enough but not too much' of something means. :lol: Of course the wide range of looks in winning dogs indicates there's plenty of flexibility in interpreting what makes a winning dog, too (once they conform within the breed standard), and I have heard tastes can vary by country -- I have often heard that there's a British look and a US look for example. In some breeds those preferences have diverged so much so as to create two completely different breeds (as in cockers for example; the US generally seems to opt for more extreme looks in dogs and especially in purebred cats!). It seems to me a lot of the US show dogs have far shorter muzzles than the UK or Irish dogs for example?.

For those interested:

US CKCSC breed standard: http://board.cavaliertalk.com/showthread.php?t=8703 (at least 1.5 inch muzzle)
US AKC standard: http://board.cavaliertalk.com/showthread.php?t=8702 ('about' 1.5 inch muzzle)
UK breed standard: http://board.cavaliertalk.com/showthread.php?t=10137 ('about' 1.5 inch muzzle)

AT
24th September 2007, 11:38 AM
I have often heard that there's a British look and a US look for example. In some breeds those preferences have diverged so much so as to create two completely different breeds (as in cockers for example; the US generally seems to opt for more extreme looks in dogs and especially in purebred cats!). It seems to me a lot of the US show dogs have far shorter muzzles than the UK or Irish dogs for example?.

)


Thats is a big problem when I make my dog sculptures. I once sold some welsh springer models to a club , she said they were ok as they were of puppies but US & UK adult springers are very different in type.
usually I just choose the type I like

Cathryn
24th September 2007, 12:02 PM
My dogs breeder once said " what are his faults "
I thought She wanted an honest evaluation on my boy, Big mistake ,lol The answer she actually wanted was "he doesnt have any"
I will keep my mouth zipped in future ,lol


No! Don't! She asked for an opinion and should be able to deal with the response she gets!! No dog alive is perfect (although we all like to think they are! :luv: ) I will happily show you Logan and tell you what I feel his weak area's are! Any breeder should be able to do this, to look at their dogs without the rose tinted specs and see the weak area's along with the strong area's otherwise how will they improve their line? A breeder who thinks all of their dogs are perfect is either VERY lucky or suffers what we call "Kennel blindness"!! There are breeders out there who sell wonderful pups to other people because they quite simply are too critical of their own stock on the other hand, I know of one lady who has sold many gorgeous dogs she has bred who go on to do very well for their new owners yet she never shows her own breeding! You will see her in the ring with dogs other people have bred and she has bought in yet she lacks the confidence in her ability to judge her own puppies!!

Cathryn
24th September 2007, 12:09 PM
Thanks Cathryn; that explains a lot of the terms about heads! But also underlines why it takes experience to really be able to analyse a head -- it takes an expert to know what - 'enough but not too much' of something means. :lol: Of course the wide range of looks in winning dogs indicates there's plenty of flexibility in interpreting what makes a winning dog, too (once they conform within the breed standard), and I have heard tastes can vary by country -- I have often heard that there's a British look and a US look for example. In some breeds those preferences have diverged so much so as to create two completely different breeds (as in cockers for example; the US generally seems to opt for more extreme looks in dogs and especially in purebred cats!). It seems to me a lot of the US show dogs have far shorter muzzles than the UK or Irish dogs for example?.

For those interested:

US CKCSC breed standard: http://board.cavaliertalk.com/showthread.php?t=8703 (at least 1.5 inch muzzle)
US AKC standard: http://board.cavaliertalk.com/showthread.php?t=8702 ('about' 1.5 inch muzzle)
UK breed standard: http://board.cavaliertalk.com/showthread.php?t=10137 ('about' 1.5 inch muzzle)

Anytime Karlin!!

This is so difficult to explain really as every-one reads the breed standard and gets their own mental picture of the perfect Cavalier, this is why there are so many "types" around!!

Interestingly if you look at all 3 of the standards you have linked to you will see that both the U.S standards penalise a dog who is showing white of eye, yet the UK standard does not? This is an area that I feel needs to be dealt with carefully as if you try to breed out the white showing in the eye, and it is a common fault, then you will end up reducing the size of the eye and ruining the wonderful soft expression that the breed is so famous for, I am seeing only too often these days judge's write ups where the judge asks "Where have the large eye's gone?" this is a major area of concern for me and an area I am working to improve on within my own line!

Ruth
27th September 2007, 08:05 PM
I am becoming increasingly alarmed at the length of back of some of the dogs I see in the ring.

WoodHaven
27th September 2007, 08:11 PM
I am becoming increasingly alarmed at the length of back of some of the dogs I see in the ring.

Ironically, many wholecolors in the states are too long in the back (especially the loin) and their legs are short. Were you stating that the dogs you've seen were too long or too short of back? I was just curious as to what people are seeing in other areas? Sandy

Pavane
27th September 2007, 08:15 PM
What are the current standards (UK and US) for Male and Female weights and lengths?

How much does a lozenge count for, if anything?

What about height?

WoodHaven
27th September 2007, 08:23 PM
What are the current standards (UK and US) for Male and Female weights and lengths?

How much does a lozenge count for, if anything?

What about height?


13 -18 pounds - 12-13 inches at the whithers - height and weight proportionate, a well balanced dog (ACKCSC and CKCSC USA)

IF everything about two dogs was exactly equal-- IT might sway a judge to pick the one with the cute lozenge. But I doubt it has ever truly been a deciding factor. They seem much more likely to be able to pick something else (usually handling or ring behavior) as a deciding factor. jmo

Ruth
27th September 2007, 10:15 PM
Ironically, many wholecolors in the states are too long in the back (especially the loin) and their legs are short. Were you stating that the dogs you've seen were too long or too short of back? I was just curious as to what people are seeing in other areas? Sandy

I'm seeing the same as you Sandy, long backs and short legs. Some dogs are so long it just hits you between the eyes, they could pass for dachshunds and it worries me greatly that these dogs are being placed at shows.
Ruth