View Full Version : Opinions graciously appreciated on this puppy...

8th August 2008, 07:46 PM
I've been looking for my first Cav for several months here in Central California and was on a waiting list with a local breeder but the dam failed to get pregnant, so I starting looking elsewhere and came across this male blenheim in southern California.... here's the description with names removed so as to not violate the board rules.

removed by admin :thmbsup:

This dog will be a pet and not shown or bred. I've talked extensively with the owner of the dam who is what I would call a good backyard breeder, she owns two females, this is the second littler for the female, the other has never been bred. The owner is very knowledgeable and responsible but she does not show her dogs. I've seen her facilities and they are very clean. My biggest concern is not buying from a known kennel that shows their dogs, and also because the Dam was imported from Ireland. All the health checks for the dam are there and the sire is top notch. She says she imported her female from ireland because she wanted a show quality dog for a cheaper price...makes me wonder, I'm sure there are good breeders in ireland but we all know there are many more bad ones. But she is a member of the CKCSCSC and seems to be very up and up. It was a litter of 7 and these are the last two, I suspect the male was passed over because it has minor ticking on the white of the face, no big deal for me looking for a pet.

Any thoughts on this? I'm supposed to pick up the puppy tomorrow, I've already put a deposit down.

8th August 2008, 07:56 PM
I wouldn't buy from a breeder who offered full registration. Doesn't she care that you could breed that dog with any old mutt. The first thing that I noticed is that she mentioned the Blenheim spot, a nice thing but funny it was mentioned above health certificates.

8th August 2008, 08:06 PM
I would report her to the CKCSC -- the CKCSC is very strict and does not advocate BYB members.

I wouldn't buy from a breeder who cannot shoe you cardiac certificates as well. If the dam came from Ireland I don't see how she could be getting joint CKCSC registration for the dog. And as hardly any breeders in Ireland cardiac test, this means the dam's parents are unlikely to have any cardiac info which means she is breeding outside the MVD protocol.

Just curious why you put a deposit down if you have these concerns?

8th August 2008, 08:13 PM
I call her a backyard breeder because she does not have a kennel. I'm not using it as the derogatory term in which it is often used. I put a deposit down because the dog looked good, the sire is solid, and the dam has solid health records herself. I am assuming that as an active member of the local CKCSC chapter, she has passed some scrutiny as she has to be sponsored and attend meetings.

Interested in the feedback of others. I can still walk away from the dog.

8th August 2008, 08:14 PM
I live in California and I waited 13 months for my girl from a very reputable show breeder. (If I hadn't requested a female blenheim and been open to any color or sex it would have been sooner.) I am a bit suspect that she is advertising puppies AND that she didn't have a waiting list of approved homes. I would also be very careful regarding the information regarding OFA clearances and the Cavalier Club. Records can be easily faked, and I guarantee as soon as you go look at those puppies you won't walk away.

I think the word is starting to get out regarding what a "reputable breeder" embodies regarding health testing and registrations. I am now starting to see newspaper advertising of puppies available who are "AKC offspring of champions who are health tested/CERF/OFA heart, eyes, hips and patella. (I doubt that a broker or backyard breeder is going to spend the money and trouble to get all of this actually done on their breeding stock, as it cuts deeply into their pocket profits.)

Also, as Pauline stated, this person says she will allow intact dogs for breeding purposes to approved owners. This is a code of ethics violation right here and should be reported to the CKCSC if she is indeed a "member in good standing." (Aside of paying her dues.)

Just be REALLY careful! I know how hard it is to wait. If you decide to investigate this further, please get all of her information and check out EVERYTHING that she is telling you before you go lay eyes on those puppies. I see some red flags here. Make sure you do your homework.

8th August 2008, 08:31 PM
Backyard breeder really only has one meaning when referring to dogs. Did you ring the CKCSC and see if she is actually a member? Her line on the dogs doesn't make sense -- half the genes are coming from the dam so you want an excellent health checked dam as well. Health clearances don't mean anything unless you can see the certs especially the cardiology (not vet) clearances for hearts. The dam and sire need to be at least 2.5 years old and heart cleared by a cardio, the grandparents should all be 5 and heart clear up to age 5.

I am based in Ireland and there are excellent Irish lines but you need to know those lines and the health history behind them. Just having champions there isn't good enough -- a champion can have early onset MVD for example.

In this breed, it would be very unusual for the definition of club involvement to only be obedience.

8th August 2008, 08:38 PM
Also I am confused -- is she a member of the ACKCSC (which is AKC) or CKCSC? How are the puppies registered?

If the dogs are OFAd you should be able to see all their clearances online -- did you check that out?

How long ago were the tests done? Are they on both parents?

And I agree -- the BYBs are beginning to say all these things as they know people won;t actually ask to see the clearances or know where to check them out.

It is easy to get AKC joint registration for even the trashiest Irish dogs as it is easy to get IKC registration. This country churns out IKC registered puppy mill puppies and exports them to the US. I'd be very suspicious of a non-show breeder importing any Irish dogs as there's be little reason for anyone to do this except to get AKC registration because no reputable breeder would sell them a female and they are cheaper. What are the lines of the dam?

8th August 2008, 08:52 PM
I am concerned ---they are only AKC, and not CKCSC by the way. I think I may call the sire's owner if I were you , their info is easily obtained, and make sure everything is ok. I was shown the ad and just not sure. And I know of one recent situation where it was a nightmare for the stud owner, and one of our members uncovered a sordid tale. Did you see all recent clearances? I happen to know of some nice blenheim boys available, may be a short plane ride involved but could be worth it. PM me if you want more info.

8th August 2008, 08:54 PM
I just confirmed that she is a member of the ckcscsc (southern ca). Does that make things any better?

8th August 2008, 09:01 PM
she's not CKCSC, just AKC
these are the CA breeders, I'd still call the sire's owner, can't hurt.


8th August 2008, 09:11 PM
Does that make things any better?

Well, no. membership of a club tells you as little about the quality of a breeder as a drivers license tells you about the quality of a driver.

I'd want to see the health clearances she claims to have. If she gives you the registered name of the dam you should be able to look her and the sire up on OFA's website. I'd want to know the age of both these dogs as they should be at least 2.5. I'd want to know the health status of the grandparents and their heart clearances. Dogs bred outside the MVD protocol are at a much higher risk of early onset MVD, a miserable disease that is endemic in cavaliers. If she doesn't have the cardiologist clearances for the dam's parents, she should not be breeding her until she is aged FIVE and still heart clear. I bet she will not have those clearances and if the dam was imported (when someone's ONLY breeding cavalier comes from Ireland, it is just a major red flag.

I note she advertises quite heavily across the puppy ad sites. In one such ad she claims these two puppies are 'perfectly marked'. That claim alone would set alarm bells ringing.

I wonder why she is breeding cavaliers... from some googling, I see she also breeds another breed but she doesn't mention there that she also breeds cavaliers, which is odd. Despite stating she has a focus on health she makes the odd statement that she never 'intentionally' breeds males under a year or females under 18 months (despite noting elsewhere on her site that the recommended age is 24 months minimum for dams). Setting aside that many would feel that is very young anyway, especially for a stud, of any breed, what does 'intentionally' mean? How can a breeder not know the age of the dogs s/he breeds if they are registered? Just a lot that is odd about these ads.

8th August 2008, 09:39 PM
Here is the response to my question regarding her dam which was imported from Ireland. Names have been removed. She seems very straight up but those with more experience perhaps can tell me if this is a reasonable explanation...

Yes,------- is imported from Ireland. She is dual registered AKC/IKC. When I tried to buy a female with the breeding rights (full registration) five years ago, no one would sell me one because I do not have a kennel name and I was not going to show the dog. Ethical breeders will only sell on co-ownership a show quality dog, and he/she has to be shown and usually they require that the championship be finished before the dog can be bred. All other puppies are sold on a spay/neuter contract with limited registration which means any puppies that are born to the dog cannot be registered. I have neither the time or money to show but I wanted to breed and raise puppies. I could have bought breeding rights from some people but they wanted so much more money then I could afford for a lesser quality dog. Importing ------ was half the price (including shipping) and she came with full breeding rights. In addition she was show quality and perfectly marked with the spot on her head which was exactly what I wanted. I could never have bought such a show quality dog here in the states like -------. If I had the money to show her; I would have paid a professional handler and easily finished her. It's not so hard now days to get a breeding female as it was then, but I would still have difficulty getting show quality. Breeders tend to hang on to show quality females.

8th August 2008, 09:56 PM
6 years ago, I didn't have a kennel name either. I still talked to and convinced GOOD breeders to let me have a few nice girls.
It isn't lack of kennel name, it is what she intended to do with the female that turns good breeders off. A newbie, deciding what is the ultimate in importance to a breed they've been in for all of days. The reason to show a dog isn't for the stupid ribbons (tho hubby is quite proud of them- smile) it is to let your dog be examined against the breed standard and be judged. You can finish a nice dog in a month-- my Denali got 13 points of his championship in 3 weeks.

The blenheim spot doesn't mean squat. Most of the top blenheim dogs in the breed don't have the spot.

8th August 2008, 10:00 PM
I agree with Sandy, her reasons, while they may be true, are weak and not at all in keeping with a health emphasis. We asked if you've seen the health certs and gotten the ages the dogs were bred. I am really wondering if the stud part of the equation is the full truth as well. Also, how in the world can she say the female is show quality if she's never shown her? Because she has a SPOT?

9th August 2008, 12:20 AM
Okay...I think alot of good points have been made here. If you have done your homework, you will find that a well bred Cavalier is an exceptionally wonderful breed of dog that is extremely friendly, loving, loyal and has a cuteness factor that is off the scale.

That said, this breed has several health issues that have already been discussed, such as mitral valve disease, syringomyelia, eye, hip, and patella problems. Excellent show breeders are striving to breed only the healthiest dogs that conform to breed standards, and they are constantly striving to improve their lines by consistantly testing their breeders and monitoring generations back. Great strides have been made in reducing many of these inherited conditions, and though there is never a 100% guarantee that your dog will never have any of these problems, (at least 50% will have some sort of heart ailment by the age of 10), the odds are that he will have a much better start in life and live a longer, healthier life.

You now have the information you requested, from all of the excellent replies given, but ultimately the decision is yours to make. If you decide to go with this BYB, please buy the best pet insurance that you can possibly afford, before your dog shows any symptoms. Make sure you neuter your boy so he doesn't pass any inherited conditions on to the next generation, and hopefully he will be okay. (I always recommend buying pet insurance regardless, but ESPECIALLY when you are not dealing with a particularly reputable breeder.)

If you decide not to buy a puppy from this person, I highly recommend that you attend a local dogshow. The Jack Bradshaw circuit is a good way to go, observe the show dogs and ask questions of the breeders regarding their health certifications and breeding programs. The website is www.jbradshaw.com (http://www.jbradshaw.com) if you are in California, you can find local shows in your area. Also visit the website www.ckcscsc.com (http://www.ckcscsc.com) and go to the breeder referral site and try contacting and interviewing some of those breeders.

Good luck with your decision and let us know how it goes.

9th August 2008, 12:30 AM
Thanks for the input thus far. I sent the breeder an email asking for faxes of the heart and other health certificates and for more information on the health and heart status of the dams parents. We'll see what she has to say. Others have contacted me directly offering their input and that is greatly appreciated.

9th August 2008, 12:45 AM
Hip and patella certs also good to get as well

9th August 2008, 12:55 AM
I was in your shoes not long ago. I did an exhaustive search of cavalier breeders and waited over 7 months for my puppy. Granted, I'm smack in the middle of backyard breeder and puppymill country, but I encountered some truly outrageous situations. They looked and sounded good, but upon further investigation, what was going on was anything but good.

The worst was a situation with a breeder who both shows her dogs and is a CKCS club member (with a fancy website to boot). She billed her upcoming litter as the greatest thing since sliced bread. The stud (sire) dog was one of the top dogs in the country from an extremely respected kennel. Something just wasn't sitting right, so I investigated a bit. Turns out the bitch and the puppies NEVER lived with this "breeder," but were located in another city being cared for by another breeder taking part in this scam. The stud owners were duped as the bitches were switched at the vet's office at the time of artificial insemination. The bitch was not 2 years old, and had a mother with very poor hips. The reason for the switch was that it was a back to back litter for the bitch and her first litter had produced 8 puppies. Once the situation was revealed to the stud owners, they were of course livid. The "breeder" was also selling these puppies for top dollar and billed them as "perfectly marked" blenheims with the infamous "spot."

My point is that you just need to be really careful. There are obvious red flags here, and IMHO you should run (not walk) away. You must SEE health clearances on hearts (by a CARDIOLOGIST), eyes, knees and hips for at least parents and grandparents. Parents should be at least 2.5 and heart clear and grandparents at least 5 and heart clear. If you can find someone MRI'ing breeding dogs for SM, great.

Contact breeders who SHOW their dogs and are members of the local CKCS club. They may not all love each other in the ring, but I found that they are always happy to recommend their truly reputable peers. This goes for both sire and dam.

Please do all this BEFORE seeing the puppies. It's extremely difficult to walk away once you do.

Cathy T
9th August 2008, 12:58 AM
From the information you've given me...this is not someone I would purchase a puppy from.

9th August 2008, 01:17 AM
An update--

On your good advice I tracked down and spoke with the owner of the sire. I understand I shouldn't be using names here, so I won't, but the sire is from a very-well respected southern California Kennel and if you look at the description of the puppy it's not difficult to see who I am talking about. The owner is elderly and has been into Cavaliers both showing and judging for 30 years.

He had high praise for this breeder and her female. He stated that she bought the dam, her female, from a reputable and well-respected breeder in Ireland and that he felt, as a former judge, she looked like a good representative of the breed. He laughed when I asked if she was a back yard breeder and said that she was not. I may have misrepresented her in that way.

The sire is documented healthy and he thought that the puppies looked good when he saw them. He noted that there were two blenheim males (one I have a deposit on) and thought they would make good pets but couldn't say about showing them (irrelevant to me as I'm looking for a pet).

This is a guy that knows what he is talking about and has no vested interest in the breeder in question. It makes me think that things may not be as bad as they could be made out to be.


9th August 2008, 01:50 AM
I don't breed or show cavaliers, so take this with a grain of salt. Hopefully some of the breeders on the board can chime in too. Even with what the stud dog's breeder said, I personally would not take a puppy from a breeder who does not show her dogs. My question is -- if she's not breeding with a calculated emphasis on improving / expanding upon / maintaining the conformation and temperment of the breed standard in order to obtain a dog to show, then why is she breeding at all? In my opinion, the only answer is because she's making money from the sale of her puppies. And she makes a lot more money if she cuts corners with necessary health testing on her dog, and chooses not to show at all.

I wanted a puppy who's parents were bred in the hopes of obtaining their next show potential. I was the lucky recipient of a girl who, while missing certain qualities necessary to achieve this status, nevertheless has the benefit of carefully planned genes which support the breed standard and further healthy lines. Breeders who show their dogs are held to high standards regarding health and integrity of this breed.

Even though you don't plan to breed and show your future cavalier, I would highly recommend getting familiar with breeders in the show world. I just feel it's the safest place to find a cavalier who has the best possible chance at avoiding the serious health problems these dogs can face.

9th August 2008, 02:15 AM
Tara has an excellent point. This breeder pretty much told you she doesn't show because she doesn't want to spend the money. IMHO that is a very poor reason for not showing. I do a little breeding and a little showing, because my dogs so far are really are not cut out for the ring, we tried , but I haven't given up on it, I just want a better dog and I want to do a better job. I am frankly surprised that you had the conversation you did. While it's reassuring to hear that, it's a little disturbing that someone would stud their dog in a situation like this. I wonder if they are aware of where she is advertising. While advertising isn't forbidden, breeders are usually very selective of where they do, in fact, the Old Club has a free puppy referral service, which is wonderful. So I admire that you are asking opinions, and you're getting information overload at this point, please try to sift through all fo it and make sure you are comfortable and have paid attention to what is most important.

9th August 2008, 05:26 AM
Further update...

I spoke with the breeder and she provided me with the health screening details for the dam, who is 4 years old by the way. I confirmed OFA online that her female has tested several times for cardiac/patella/CERF, all normal, the most recent being March 2007. The heart tests were cardiologist and not vet. This tells me that the breeder is not averse to spending money for proper testing, and I'm sure the stud fee was not cheap when she could have used any mutt if it was all about making cash.

The sire, interestingly, despite being well regarded and from a reputable kennel, has not been tested or at least there is not a record online although he has been vet checked regularly. Interesting given the owner has both showed and judged for 30 years with a good reputation.

Comments welcome.

9th August 2008, 11:35 AM
Seriously, you need BOTH parents to have documented clear results on any testing, also have either mentioned SM to you or do they have any knowledge of it? have you asked? I would be running a mile in the opposite direction if this issue hadn't been brought up by now, never mind the correct markings etc, etc, etc. All health issues must be covered.

Buying from a breeder that doesn't show isn't a huge problem, why should it be. I know two Cavalier breeders that do not show, that follow all health guide lines including MRI scanning. No corners get cut, quite the opposite infact. They produce wonderful happy healthy home bred puppies that are socialised and handled and make the very best family pet dogs, and yes they are beautiful!

It's down to the persons/breeders own integrity what happens in their home and kennels regarding health and upkeep of their dogs. There are many good, some not that good, and many that shouldn't be there at all.

You obviously have concerns and your instincts tell you perhaps all in not right? listen to them and walk away if it's best. Keep looking and find a breeder that is right for you even if you have a long wait ahead.


9th August 2008, 12:42 PM
I have neither the time or money to show but I wanted to breed and raise puppies.

:yikes :yikes :yikes

That says it all right there. Classic BYB, who just wants to sell puppies for income. People like this are why 50% of cavaliers have a heart murmur by age 5!!

The breeder of the sire, who has a vested interest in giving a thumbs up to a breeder HE agreed to let use his stud, who himself isn't health testing, is heartily recommending a woman who imported a dog only so that she could get a breeding bitch to sell puppies and she doesn't care enough about the breed to be club-involved in showing or otherwise publicly exhibiting her dogs? Fabulous. And she isn't following the most basic health protocol? I am sorry, but this just gets worse and worse. It makes me furious that this kind of exploitation of puppy buyers and worse, the breed, goes on.

I am closing this thread and going back now and removing references to sire and dam as this discussion is now moving into an area that isn't acceptable as a public discussion; I don't want specific breeders and lines identified as not being tested. I also think everything that can possibly said as to why you should avoid this woman, has been said. Nothing excuses this approach to breeding. To my mind this is the worst possible type of breeding as she absolutely must know how hypocritical and disingenuous her approach is to breeding and is doing it anyway while dressing it up as responsible breeding by doing tests that look good but are, in the overall context of her 'programme', utterly pointless. This is cluelessness at its worst. I far prefer the really stupid people who obviously just breed any two old dogs for cash and are not even trying to be deceptive. How anyone who has spent 5 minutes looking into the breed can believe they are above the MVD protocol, I do not know. But this kind of breeding is morally and ethically empty and both breeders should know that.

I will simply stress again that you need BOTH dam and sire to have been properly tested for hearts and they also need to be used within the MVD protocol itself -- simply testing the hearts isn't good enough! The dam MUST have cardiac clearances on both HER parents or she is still TOO YOUNG TO BE BRED TO BE CONSIDERED SAFE according to decade old MVD protocol. I would not go near a breeder who isn't following the MVD protocol. She very clearly is not if she is using an untested stud, and doubly so if her female remains underaged and she doesn't have those grandparents certs. A responsible breeder -- indeed anyone who takes five minutes to read the MVD protocol, which is very brief -- will know exactly what they should be doing and this breeder MUST know she is breeding outside the single most important health protocol in the breed!

And as I said, the things she says in her ads alone raise some red flags. Advertising pet quality dogs as having 'perfect markings' is classic BYB stuff. No reputable breeder says things like that, knowing it is a ridiculous statement simply meant to sell dogs to people who want to think they have a show quality puppy. :mad:

What you do is of course your choice, but people have pointed out some serious issues with this woman over and over -- what you decide is important to you is of course up to you but by buying from a person like this you line the pockets of the breed exploiters and contribute to the very serious health issues facing this breed right now from exactly this type of shallow breeding approach. This isn't a breeder that is breeding within long established health guidelines and that doesn't change even if she has a dozen OFA certs. She is simply getting the basic tests done seemingly as a selling point as she is not actually using them for a proper, health-focused breeding programme. :sl*p: The MVD protocol is a thousand times more crucial than patellas, hips and eyes and she isn't following it on either side of this mating.

I don't think a breeder has to show, but to my mind, except in very exceptional circumstances of someone well connected enough to get superb sires or dams from other very established health focused breeders, they do need to be club-active in some way or they have absolutely NO WAY to set their dogs against others being bred and are unlikely in my mind to get similarly health cleared dogs for their breeding program. Not many would allow their dogs to be used by people totally outside any kind of structured dog activity. Health to me is a primary consideration but I also want a cavalier that looks like a cavalier, and has the right temperament, and has good lines in both directions.

And finally as for breeders and 'good reputations' -- well, there are breeders who have good reputations and prominent names, and there are breeders who have good heath focused breeding programs. Many of the prominent names have very large scale breeding operations where you'd wonder how kennelled dogs would ever have, say the often subtle symptoms of SM noticed. I only noticed my own SM-dog's initial symptoms because he slept in my room and his scratching, at night only, woke me up. Many of the prominent names and those with good reputations in the show world are not people whose judgement or breeding programs I would go near with a 10 foot pole. Some are actually considered to be highly questionable by many others in the breed as well. That is why finding a breeder takes time and requires talking to a lot of people and understanding not just what tests are required but why they are reuired and how they fit into actual health protocols -- stand alone tests mean very little in the case of either hearts or syringomyelia (see www.smcavalier.com for more info).

Most of the breeders I most admire have smaller operations, lesser known names, but are focused on proper testing for MVD and increasingly SM as well as other issues. To me theres no point in having a dog that looks nice in the show ring or goes to a nice family, then dies a slow painful death from MVD or SM. Breeders should be the guardians -- not the exploiters -- of their chosen breed. :x