View Full Version : what to look for when meeting a puppy's parents??

6th August 2008, 10:41 PM
Hi everyone

Im going to see some pups at a reputable local breeder in a couple of weeks and i know that i need to see the parents (and this was encouraged by the breeder).
However, can anyone tell me if theres anything in particular that I should be looking for in the parents, is it personality traits? Also any other tips for this stage of buying a puppy would be greatly appreciated. there are a few pups available so are there any methods of working out the best one for me? I will be getting a vet check certificate if i choose to home one of their pups by their local vet.

Thanks in advance :D

Laura x

7th August 2008, 12:48 AM
Well, very top of the list is you want to see heart clearances from a cardiologist, NOT a vet, and you want to know that both parents are at least 2.5 years old and their parents are at least 5 and all heart clear as well. This is far more important than traits in parents -- I have only ever encountered one cavalier that would have failed a temperament test and almost all will be friendly and outgoing. An overly shy parent would be a problem but really I'd rather have a shy adult than a dog dead at age 7.

I'd want this breeder to be showing, to have a few champions in the first three generations for this dog, to have proper heart clearances, to have a record for eyes, hips and patellas, and I'd personally not even consider a dog that didn't come from MRId parents where the breeder knows the SM status of the parents. The latter are harder to find but those breeders are out there in the UK.

You, looking at the parents, cannot tell if early onset heart problems or SM are in those lines -- the only way to have some sense of the heart and SM health of the dog is to know what is on the heart and MRI certificates from specialists, not from vets. There is no point in getting a puppy from what seem perfectly nice parents to have it die painfully, as many in this breed do, at age 6 or 7 from early onset MVD and congestive heart failure, old dog diseases that affect half this breed by age 5!! So please, make sure the breeder cardiologist tests at the very minimum, ask to see the certificates, make sure they follow the MVD protocol. Do NOT rely on them simply saying their dogs are 'heart tested'.

7th August 2008, 05:15 AM
I was in your shoes not long ago and strongly agree with what Karlin said. This may sound a bit crazy to you now, but I was MUCH more interested in seeing health certificates on parents, grandparents, (and as far back as possible) than I was in seeing the actual parents. In fact, I've never met Holly's dad because he is a "stud" dog who lives in another state. These certificates for hearts MUST be done by a cardiologist, absolutely no excuses acceptable. I was also interested in seeing certificates on eyes, knees and hips. It can be hard to find, but more and more breeders are MRI'ing breeding dogs to determine SM status.

It was imperative to me that my breeder be heavily involved in not only showing their dogs, but also local CKCS club and an affiliation with cavalier rescue. I wanted a show "reject," meaning that my breeder thought carefully about breeding and did so only to maintain / improve upon breed conformation and temperment.

I would also urge you to make sure your breeder is someone with whom you could see yourself developing a long-term relationship. This is going to be someone to whom you will turn with questions and concerns for the life of your dog. They should also have strict contract language regarding neutering and rehoming your dog should that unfortunate need ever arise.

As far as "picking" the puppy, I would be very honest with your breeder about your lifestyle and family dynamic. Then be open to having the breeder "match" a dog that she feels would best suit your family (and vice versa). Good luck and have fun!

7th August 2008, 12:13 PM
Thank you both for such detailed replies, I knew I could rely on you! Just so you know, I am very aware of the heart problems and SM with cavaliers, but i think knowing some of the terminology and specific questions to ask will help me to root out unscrupulous breeders. Im going on Friday afternoon so im sure if theres one im happy with, il have a pic or two in the puppy seection!!

Thanks again,
Laura xx

7th August 2008, 12:17 PM
Also take a look at how the parents move.Look at their hind legs and see if the move freely and without awkwardness.I've seen so many cow hocked supposedly IKC registered cavaliers walking around the locality.

7th August 2008, 04:50 PM
Hi everyone,
As I mentioned in my introduction, I don't know much about Cavaliers. Lucy is a foster and from used to be a puppymill breeder. Can you explain the diffrent abrations? Like MS? and the other?
I understand about trying to buy from a reputable breeder as I have done that with my Golden Retriever.
What are the congenital defects that Cavaliers can have?
Lucy seems healthy, I think she is about 3 or 4 years old.
Thank you,
Elke, ZsaZsa, Bogart and little Lucy:dogwlk:

7th August 2008, 06:32 PM
Personally before I even went to see them if both parents didn't have clear MRI's, clear hearts and clear eyes then I wouldn't even entertain it. Family history can also be spoken about as well, does the breeder have older family members that are well and healthy? are they still heart clear at an older age? You can find this much out on the telephone without even paying a visit. Just please make sure that you ask the health questions, it's important.

Once you have seen the pups it will be harder to walk away, talk first with the breeder and visit if all is well.

Don't always take someones word either, insist on seeing the certificates for yourself and read them. Don't feel rushed or pressured to buy. This puppy is going to be a part of your family for hopefully a long while so be patient in your search, it will be well worth it in the end.


7th August 2008, 10:57 PM
I might also add that Holly's mom does not "appreciate" children. Even though I have two daughters, I was not bothered by this as my breeder was concerned with matching a puppy with our family. So, the mother's personality was far outweighed by the fact that she was bred for the first time at 4 years of age, and has both parents and grandparents living heart clear -- and even two out of four great grandparents heart clear (the others have grade 1 murmurs diagnosed at ages 12 and 13). So her outstanding health background far outweighed the fact that she doesn't enjoy young children.

I would really have some serious discussions with the breeder and make sure to see health certificates BEFORE you set your eyes on those puppies. It is very hard to walk away!

Oh, and Holly has a much more outgoing personality than her mom -- she LOVES my children.