View Full Version : Possible Future Cavalier Owner

26th June 2008, 03:29 AM
Hi! My name is Kasey, and currently I am a guide dog puppy raiser. I've had two labrador retriever puppies in training, but my parents recently told me I couldn't raise again after my current puppy, Blitz, goes in-for-training. :eek: This is going to be very difficult for me to do.

BUT I'm not talking about that. My parents are fine with me owning a dog, but I think they didn't like the puppy raising because, although they didn't admit it, they got very attached to the puppy too.

The dog I am most interested in owning is the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, though I don't know much about them. I came here to decide whether they are the breed for me. So here's some info about my life style/personality.

I am homeschooled and am home most days all day. There are some days that I have classes, but SOMEONE is usually home. The times that there isn't anyone home the dog would stay in a crate, until he is old enough/trustworthy enough to leave out. The point is the most time we're out is a few hours. We ocassionally have day-trips to Disneyland and such, in which case I would have a neighbor come and check on him, or else leave him at the neighbors.

We have a suburban home, single story, with a fairly large backyard. We've had tons of labs throughout the years here, and they all seem fairly surprised when they get to the backyard. They usually tear around like they're in heaven for a while. So, I'm sure the dog won't be stuck inside all day. My current puppy loves staying out there and just sunbathing for hours at a time. I usually have to call him in before he wants to come in.

We have a pool, but it has a gate around it. I'm not sure if a Cavalier could fit through the poles there or not. I dogsit a Mini Schnauzer, and he is pretty close to fitting through, and my puppy could fit through until he was about 4 months old. The pool has never been a concern with our dogs, but I don't know about with a cavalier.

I have two younger brothers (6 and 3), and although I've heard that Cavalier's love kids, I'm not sure if they would get too rough on him. They love wrestling with my current puppy, who's just so big that he can't feel anything. :rolleyes:

As for me: I am fairly active, and currently take my puppy for about a 1 mile walk a day. But I only do that much because he is very mellow and would crash if I did any more. With my first pup I walked 3-4 miles a day, so I can adjust.

I have never had a small dog before. I'm very used to the big dogs, and usually opt for the bigger labs, (probably because my current pup is huge.) but I still love the small ones.

I like the active yet mellow, (active when you want it to be, but mellow around the house.) loving, non-barky kind of dog. From what I have read that's what the Cavalier is.

I will be moving out in a few years, and I will already be looking for dog-friendly quarters, so having a dog move with me wouldn't be a problem.

How much do Cavalier's shed? I have a VERY sheddy lab, and would like to go for something with a little less shedding. ;) I just spent a half hour on him with a FURminator, got about two full-sized trash bag full's, and it was still taking just as much as the beginning.

That's about all I can think of now. If you have any more questions, don't hesitate to ask! I just want to make sure I've decided on the right breed. :xfngr:

26th June 2008, 04:37 AM
I'm a new Cavalier owner. We got our first one when she was 8 weeks old. She is now 4 months old and she is wonderful! We were introduced to the breed by some friends that have 2. We have had many pets, but Maggie is just the greatest. They are great with people, children and adults alike. They get along well with other animals also. They just love everybody. They do need alot of attention and are very attached to their owners. They just want to be with you all the time. We are already looking for another one. They are very sweet dogs.

26th June 2008, 05:12 AM
Hi, You sound like you know dogs, and it doesn't sound like you'd have a problem. My cavalier had run of the house when we were home. She housetrained quickly. When we were gone, we had her limited to the kitchen with a gate, and she could always come and go freely into our fenced backyard through a powerpet automatic pet door (I highly recommend these!)It would only open for her. (she wore a transmitter on her collar)
The only worry would be the pool. Cavaliers are so fearless, they just don't think anything will hurt them...and they love the water. I am paranoid about the water danger, for I just lost our cavalier this week to dry drowning...and that happened by her inhaling some water while playing in a shallow kiddie pool. You might read my thread about Pixie and her ordeal if you search dry drowning on here.

I can certainly say that in the 9 months we got to love and enjoy Pixie, she won our hearts like no dog ever has. She was ready for whatever you wanted, whenever you wanted it. If you were ready to play, she was game. If you sat down to catch a show on T.V., she was plastered to your lap. Around here, our kids would struggle to be the last one awake so they could go "steal" her out of whoevers bed she was in and sleep with her themselves. I said many times that we needed four of her for night time! (we had intended to use a crate for bedtime, but that lasted all of an hour the first night, and from that day forward, she never slept anywhere but in bed with one of us)

When we have gotten past our hurt and are ready, we will be ready to welcome another one into our home with open hearts and minds.

26th June 2008, 06:32 AM
Thanks for the replies! It's great to hear from experienced Cavalier owners. :)

So yes, the pool...If I do end up getting a Cavalier, I will train him away from the pool. I (if I may say so myself) am a decent trainer...My current puppy won't cross into the living room, kitchen, or through any door leading outside without my permission. So...Just lots of supervision until he's trustworthy around the pool.

Wow, I'm really sorry about Pixie! What an awful way to lose a dog. :(

From your descriptions, Cavalier's sound even more like my type of dog. It will probably be at least a year until I do get one, but I sure hope I do!

Barbara Nixon
26th June 2008, 10:26 AM
Cavaliers come with no guarantee about barking. Monty and Izzy (now at the Bridge have been quiet, but Joly and especially Teddy will bark at anything. Coatwise, They do shed quite a lot and need frequent grooming, daily for ears and feathers, if you are to avoid matting.

Cavalier puppies should not have formal walks as this can damage the growth of the legs, but an adult will happily walk a couple of miles or snooze at home. Some are happy to stay home alone (my Monty) but others need the company of another dog. Izzy would never be left alone, so I got Joly, to enable me to take out Monty alone.

Although most, but not alll cavalier like children, care would need to be taken over rough and tumble with a puppy. This would also be the case with some adults, as build does vary quite a lot. Some cavaliers stay tiny and dainty, but my lot, except for Izzy, who was in between, are quite chunky.

If you want a very energetic, more robust, as a puppy, spaniel, I'd recommend springers, as I had two for 14 and 15 years.

Barbara Nixon
26th June 2008, 10:34 AM
Just to add that, if you set your heart on a particular breeder, you may have a long wait, as cavalier litters, unlike large breeds, only average 4-5, the breeder may well keep a couple to run on and will have other people interested. Good breeders only use their bitches lightly, so , also have few litters.

26th June 2008, 01:57 PM
A good place to start looking would be breed-specific clubs; here are two:

Cavalier King Charles Club of America www.ckcsc.org

American Cavalier King Charles Club www.ackcsc.org

Both have breeder referral information. Dog shows are good places as well.

Have you asked anyone at the guide dog school? The lab breeders may know good CKCS breeders (we found in our search many CKCS breeders had friends who bred labs/Goldens). The website you posted looks nice, but go visit any breeder before you make a decision. :)

We are currently waiting for our pup after a year of research (and learning so much from this and other boards), meeting a wonderful breeder, and waiting for the pups to get big enough to come home. 6 more weeks!

Good luck!

Cathy T
26th June 2008, 03:41 PM
Hi Kasey - Sounds like a Cavalier would be wonderful for you. I love that you've raised dogs from puppies for guide dog training. That's really cool and requires a huge heart.

I removed the breeder's name from your post since this board doesn't allow the naming of specific breeders. But I'm also sending you a pm about it.

As long as you're willing to wait...I think a Cavalier would be a perfect fit for you. From what you've posted it sounds like you've really done your research.

26th June 2008, 07:08 PM
Kasey, you mentioned Disneyland, are you in CA?

26th June 2008, 09:51 PM
Thank you for all the info!

Barbara, thanks...It's good to know the downside's too, so I can be prepared for the worst. I am sure I CAN live with a barky dog, I'd just rather have one that isn't. But if I get one that's barky, I know I'll still love it. And good to know not to walk it as a pup...I would've. :)

As for my brothers...They leave the Schnauzer that I dogsit alone, so I'm sure I could train them to leave my dog alone. My parents are going to still let me puppy sit the guide dog pups, so I will have the occassional lab for them to wrestle with. :)

Redhare...Thanks for the links! I'll check those out.

Nancy, yes, I am in California. I'm actually about an hour from Disneyland. I'm pretty sure that's Blitz's favorite place on earth! (Blitz is my current pup, a 15 month old lab)

26th June 2008, 09:52 PM
I know of someone re-homing a very nice blenheim boy in CA if you're interested in an adult, I think he's 4

26th June 2008, 11:44 PM

It sounds like you're really doing your research. Cavaliers are really very wonderful dogs, but they are different from the labs you're used to. Like you, I thought big dogs were the best. Then I got a cav and I realized how WONDERFULLY easy small dogs are compared to big dogs! While cavaliers do shed and require grooming, especially when fullgrown, the smaller size means less fur.

Giving baths is also easier. You can pop most cav puppies in a sink (even some adult cavs are small enough for sink baths!). With my small adult cavs, we use a multi-purpose laundry sink for baths. WAY easier than getting in the bathtub with a lab (or doing the outside-house baths!).

They eat less and, generally, drink much more neatly. Our lab/shepherd would slash and slobber all over the place!

Training a small dog is different, simply because of size. The techniques need to adjust for the dog being smaller/lower to the ground, etc. (and not growing big fast, like a lab pup!). Cavaliers are also generally less trustworthy off leash than a lab. In my experience, labs do really well with keeping tabs on their people and not straying off to much (especially if they are trained, well socialized and well exercised). Cavaliers, generally, are too easily distracted. They'll take off after a person, dog, squirrel, leaf... just about anything. They arent afraid--it's one of their most endearing (and nerve wracking!) traits!

A few things I'd be concerned about, though, given your circumstances:
--Your parents will need to be involved in this decision, as a cavalier puppy is going to be expensive

--You may decide that taking the cavalier off to college with you in a few years isn't the best idea. (I'm a college instructor, so I'm aware of how difficult college life is for students, especially the first few years.) If so, will your parents be willing to care for the dog in your absence?

--I love how you can "train" your brothers -- I did the same thing! -- but be aware that some breeders might have problems homing a puppy with you b/c your siblings are still so young. Be patient and upfront with breeders you speak with.

I think there's a cavalier in your future, even if it's years off yet. You might find that, since your little brothers are there and you plan to go off to school in few years, it might be best to wait until you're finished with school and in your own home before getting a cav. Many on the board have done that--waited and waited until the situation was just right--and I think they thought it was worth the wait.

I hope you stay here and continue to participate, even while you wait for your dog!


27th June 2008, 06:53 PM
Thanks for the replies! I'm glad I posted this thread, it's given me a lot of food for thought.

Nancy-What a beautiful boy! But I'm not ready for a dog quite yet. I want to see if my lab makes it to be a guide dog...If he does, I will probably get a Cav. But if he doesn't, I will adopt him. I won't know whether he makes it or not until december-january-february.

Thank you Movie Dust! That's exactly the info I was looking for...The differences between Labs and Cavs. It will definately be different, but that's not to say that either breed is better or worse than the other. (Although, I bet a lot of you here would say Cav's are better than Labs, lol.)

I will have to go through another obedience class if I get a Cav, if only because it'll be so different. I'm used to having a lab who's collar brushes against my hand when he's heeling.

Ooh, yes, I've heard about their fearlessness. I shouldn't have a problem with that, and will hopefully turn it into something good, by getting into therapy, agility, or even Jr. Showmanship. I will want a mentor if I get into Showmanship, and I might be able to get the breeder I'm looking at to help me.

As for college, I am planning to go to an assistance dog college, and will be having a dog with me either way, so having a cav won't be a problem. You are actually required to bring a dog to train service dog stuff, whether it be yours or someone elses, and I may use the Cav. I'm not sure if they only allow labs/goldens/big dogs like that, but if not, I will use the Cav.

I will be truthful and up-front with my concerns with the breeder, and leave it up to her if I can get one or not.

I haven't ruled out the idea of a rescue either. I've been just casually looking, and the only one that I like is in Oregon. I'll keep an eye on him and if he's still available when I'm ready for a dog, I'll inquire about him.

Lookit this guy! I love him!


This one's all the way in CO, but you gotta admit...He's cute. And his description is awesome...He sounds like a real sweetie.