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View Full Version : Has the Appearance of Cavaliers Altered in the Last 30 Years.



Bet
27th October 2009, 01:25 PM
With Karlin's permission, could I add this New Thread.

It would be interesting to find out if others had Views on this Subject.

I have mentioned that some Lines ,

Pargeter, Kindrum ,Maxholt ,Crisdig, were different in appearance than what many of to-days Cavaliers Look Like. There will be others from years gone by, but at the moment those ones come to mind.

Karlin
27th October 2009, 02:04 PM
This table from breeder Laura Lang's interesting page on this topic is fascinating. These are heads from many dogs that became CKCSC champions in the 70s and 80s. Very very different in shape and muzzle from dogs now -- far less brachycephalic for example, less flat faced with longer, broader skulls:

http://www.roycroftinformationcenter.com/Cavalier%20Infosite/long_skulls_of_yesteryear.jpg

The table at the bottom of this page (http://www.roycroftinformationcenter.com/Cavalier%20Infosite/Cavalier%20InfoCenter%20Health%20SM%20MRI%20to%20S kull%20Comps.html), just below the pictures above, is also fascinating.

I think there have been significant changes. No breeder or judge would award those 70s/80s dogs now.

jasperpaw
27th October 2009, 02:04 PM
Bet, I am speaking as a mere pet owner so no expert. I have a book called Cavalier King Charles Spaniels Today which has pictures of both my dogs GT GT Grandparent on Sire`s side Alberto of Kindrum (which says influential stud dog) 1986 and a picture of his GT GT GT Grandparent on Dam`s side who was Naval Rating of Amantra, I personally cannot see any difference between the appearance of these dogs to my own. There are pictures in this book from the fifties and I can certainly see a difference in them from the cavaliers of today.

Yorkysue
27th October 2009, 03:08 PM
It would be surprising to find that over the years any breed had not evolved from earlier types. Cavaliers as a breed did not exist until the late 1920's taken from cast offs from KING CHARLES SPANIEL litters (so I believe) ie too long in the muzzel to be good King Charles spaniels. The breed standard stated when it was drawn ups (and still does) that the length of muzzle should be approx 1.5" Most show specimens will still have muzzles that are approx 1.5"

The breed standard asks for a small dog between the weights of 12 - 18lb. Most dogs in the show ring are at the upper limit of this (ie 16 - 18lb or even a little more) How much bigger should they be? and who is going to re-write the breed standard?

If I wanted to prove a point, I could easily take a dozen pictures of untypical cavaliers with over long muzzles even today, together with a dozen pic's of cavaliers at the other end of the spectrum with v.steep stops and short muzzles. It doesn't in itself prove anything, except there is great diversity within the breed!

Show breeders breed to the blue-print Breed standard This hasn't changed since it was drawn up all that time ago. So how can cavaliers be getting smaller - if they are within that standard?

The question on skull shape is an interesting one, again just from looking at the photographs, it is hard to tell as the quality is not very good, the angles they are take from are all different, and as I have suggested above, the pictures have possibly been chosen to prove a point. The pictures from Laura Lang's page that Karlin has posted shows the first dog (from the angle taken) with foreshortened muzzle for example. Unless one could see the dog in the flesh it would be hard to judge.

To be honest, the very best Crisdig, Homerbrent (still do), Kindrum etc dogs would grace the ring today. And Kindrum dogs were extremely pretty! If people try and compare poor specimens with the best to try and make their point, it really is a waste of time.

Margaret C
27th October 2009, 05:16 PM
There will always be extremes in type in every decade, but I certainly would agree that in general the appearance of cavaliers have changed over the years.

Most of the cavaliers seen in the show ring now would have looked exaggerated and overdone, and yes, too short legged for the judges in the 1970s & 80s.

A look at the earlier Cavalier Club Yearbooks, or even the book of CKCS Champions ( you can buy the 1928-1999 edition for 5, & the 2000-2004 for 2.50, from the pay-on-line section of the Cavalier club website ) will show that, in general, cavalier show stock did have longer legs and longer muzzles. The eyes were also smaller & the coat less profuse.
Most of them were not as glamorous as the show cavaliers nowadays.

In the 1970s I can remember that it could be difficult to breed a dog that had a muzzle as short as 1.5 ins. Now I think it would be difficult to find a show bred dog that had a muzzle that reached one inch.

Size has actually been something that breeders have struggled with for years. Reading the advertisements in the early yearbooks it would seem that there were 14-16 lb males being offered at stud, but in the 80s & 90s the males that were able to be shown in the under 18lb class at the Club Championship show were relatively few.

I do get the impression that show cavaliers have been bred smaller in the last decade but I do not think that a small cavalier is any more likely to have SM than a large one. I could see that the process of breeding to get dogs reduced in size may have had some part to play in the spread of SM.

It seems there are objections on the CavalierChat forum, to a comparison being made between the appearance of a (rather beautiful ) modern champion and winning cavaliers thirty to forty years ago.
Predictably this has caused the usual breeders to ask the usual questions about my Ch. Mareve Indiana.

The answers to those questions are that he was indeed a beautiful but big cavalier, with a perfect length of leg for his size, and a really good straight top line. I am rather technically challenged but I will try and put up a picture of him in profile.

Unfortunately Monty did have syringomyelia, as did some of his shorter nosed, shorter legged, offspring.
I thought we had established that you cannot tell if a cavalier has SM by looking at it, so I'm not sure why the nasties are dragging all this up again?

Margaret C
27th October 2009, 05:53 PM
http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2609/4050658152_2f14919164_m.jpg

Monty at thirteen months.

Karlin
27th October 2009, 05:59 PM
It would be surprising to find that over the years any breed had not evolved from earlier types.

But this is precisely the point. There has been forced evolution towards ever more narrowly defined popular breed looks. There's good evidence from paintings spanning several hundred years that there was a fairly consistent small spaniel type if dog for a long, long time. Skulls, appearance and body shape of dogs before there were artificial 'breed standards' in the Victorian era, have for many breeds changed so massively in the next 100 years that the dogs would in many cases not be functional or able to reproduce by Victorian standards (evidence for that change was given in PDE in some detail). Some breeds now require medical interventions even to be able to reproduce. Without modern medicines for heart problems cavaliers would have even briefer lifespans. Because a very common heart medications, frusemide, helps with SM symptoms it is likely too that SM would have been spotted far earlier in the breed's history, on a more widespread basis, if so many adults hadn't been on this drug in their late adult years.

There has never been an argument that breeding for a dog in the breed standard weight is alone the 'cause' of SM, or that a larger cavalier from existing stock, all else being equal, would be any less likely to avoid it. This has been stated for years now by researchers.

There is however a good argument that changing the shape of the head and skull to further shorten muzzles and compress the skull shape for a head that is considered more attractive than earlier dog heads, has caused SM to worsen considerably in the breed.

There has definitely been a tipping point in the past 30 years and head development is now almost certainly the point at which the problem begins. This is being pinpointed in the foetal tissue research and was proposed by Rusbridge/Knowler and was suggested at the SM conferences in previous years on the basis that one of the suspect gene regions that came up on the initial genome scan work was that of genes responsible for skull development.

It is known that SM resulting from CSF flow/skull malformation is exclusive to toy breeds and seems more prevalent in short nosed, flatter faced breeds as well.

So while change might be expected (and there are many breeders who insist there is absolutely no change at all from earlier dogs, which seems extraordinary going from the old yearbooks and the handbooks I have), change is not necessarily a good thing. Especially not if that change has been predicated on choosing from an ever narrower collection of related stud dogs to achieve the current 'look'.

Breeding deliberately for even tinier dogs is not likely to help the situation. The fact is that larger breeds do not get this particular type of SM. So just being a toy breed is a risk factor, as several researchers have pointed out at the conferences. Breeding more 'normality' back into the skull shape seems like one potential course of action if there's going to be any realistic attempt to save the breed. Because while longtime breeders correctly note that 'the scratching disease' was around back in the 80s, it is now increasingly becoming 'the screaming disease'. That cannot be allowed to continue and it certainly is not going to reverse of its own accord. The problem has to do with breeding. Research needs total support to find out why, and breeders must work together to breed away from pain.

The KC had the option to review the CKCS breed standard and choose to do nothing that would help address any of this, not even to change the size standard which to all intents and purposes has changed anyway. How many 14lb cavaliers win in the show ring? How many show males even fit the breed weight standard any more?

Bet
27th October 2009, 06:13 PM
Thanks Karlin for the Photos, the difference between those Cavaliers and to-day's Cavaliers can clearly be seen, also the Shape of the Skull in the other Photos mentioned by Laura Lang who have SM.

I have never said that the Cavaliers of to-day will have SM ,but has the alteration of to-day's Cavaliers, and the Alteration carried out in the 1930's to get the Flat Type Skull required for the Cavalier Breed,contributed to the Appearance of SM


I have mentioned about the Alteration for the Head Shape of Cavaliers from the Dome Shape of the King Charles Spaniels, as far back as about 10 years ago when I had this Thought Published in a UK CKCS CLUB Magazine.

Strange as it may seem ,we did go to some Shows, BECKY ,our Cherished B/T ,even won a Best in Show,for all Breeds, not bad for a B/T Cavalier, she also was at Crufts, .

It was around that time that I noticed how the appearance of Cavaliers was changing, I also worked out many of their Pedigrees ,by hand, and noticed that there was quite a bit of Half Brother to Half Sister Matings taking place.

SM appeared about the same time, so the question has to be being asked, was the change in the appearance in a number of Cavaliers, and the In-Breeding at that time a contributing factor for SM.

Margaret mentioned Monty,maybe he was quite big as Margaret has said but he was born in 1992 ,the In-Breeding I was mentioning was going on in the early 1980's, so is it not possible that Monty could have had some of those SM Genes ,even if he was big, ,that had been caused by what was happening at that time.

The Cavalier World has so much to thank Margaret and Monty for, if Margaret had tried to cover up Monty's SM Problem, the Cavalier Breed would be in much bigger mess because of SM than it is to-day.

I read so many Posts from Broken Hearted Cavalier Pet Owners who have Cavaliers suffering from SM ,well thanks to Margaret, Karlin , and Carol, for bringing the SM Problem to the Fore . I don't think that there will be hardly a day passes without a Cavalier being diagnosed now with SM, if it had'nt been for those Three Ladies would the Cavalier World been made aware about SM.

I Think Not.

Karlin
27th October 2009, 06:17 PM
Incidentally researchers have often said that it is very difficult to determine what they are seeing as the likely problematical skull shape from pictures, because the problem is subtle and interior. Nonetheless there's some agreement that breeding for flatter faces, bigger eyes, shorter noses and a certain head shape has likely had something to do with the prevalence of SM as all these things cause changes to the entire skull. It seems that one result may be the compression/loss of space in the back of the skull.

Even the 'ugliest' dog today is still closely related to dogs that were the popular sires of the past 20 years. So dogs that show up with the occasional longer muzzle or larger build with SM would be expected. The die was already cast by the point the offspring of today came along.

I would predict confidently that at some point there will be recommendations to breed back towards a different head shape more popular in previous decades coupled with choosing the crossings least likely to produce symptomatic SM based on Sarah Blott's EBVs and ideally/eventually, gEBVs.

Some researchers feel it will be faster to address the issue through careful breeding using current cavaliers then to try and rebuild the breed through outcrossing. All further food for thought.

WoodHaven
27th October 2009, 06:25 PM
"In the 1970s I can remember that it could be difficult to breed a dog that had a muzzle as short as 1.5 ins. Now I think it would be difficult to find a show bred dog that had a muzzle that reached one inch."

Ok, I feel like an idiot. I marked my finger at 1.5 inches and tried measuring my dogs' muzzles. It depends on exactly where you start and end the measuring to where 1.5 inches was.

As Rod pointed out, how to measure the muzzle is in our breed standard-- I thought I had to be doing this wrong, I only had one dog that didn't exceed 1.5 inches-- she was 1.4 inches.

Karen and Ruby
27th October 2009, 09:34 PM
I thought to start at the stop between the eyes and finish at the tip of the nose.
Rubys BTW is 1.65 inches :-)

Its strange as I know weve had discussions on here before about whether head shape depicts prevalence of SM and I think (If I recall correctly) that its the internal room and the back of the skull that has more to do with it than shape on its own.
For instance the KC standard says "skull, almost flat between the ears"- Rubes couldnt be more flat HOWEVER the actual length of the skull stops very abruptly inline with where her ears finish. To my eye it seems too short for her size although it is wide as her head is relatively large.
When I look at the domed heads being shown in todays rings it seems the KC standard is being largely ignored.
On the KC website they have started a 'breed watch' online service which is used to highlight concerns brought forward by judges and breed clubs about breed standards and health concerns.
There is currently nothing listed under the Cavalier section.

I do believe that judges should have to regroup at least once a year to make sure they are all working to the same page and that the KC should monitor prizes more closely. Who regulates these people?

Bet
28th October 2009, 09:39 AM
Champion Crisdig Buttons was mentioned on the Cavalier Chat Site as being a great specimen of a Cavalier ,

I so much agree with this Statement,she had ,in my opinion ,not the Short Legs ,Long Back ,Smaller Pretty Face as is seen in many of to-days Cavaliers,in fact her Head is Broad, Strong Looking, not Effminate .

At least my opinions have been noted ,and there is agreement that that there has been a change in the Cavalier Breed.

For a wee bit of interest of those Lovers of Cavaliers,

CH .CRISDIG BUTTONS,was Blenheim ,born 9-12-67,her Breeder/Owner ,Mrs Burgess.

Ch Crisdig Buttons lived to 14 years of age,she had a Litter.

Ch Crisdig Florida
Ch Crisdig Prospect
Crisdig M'Buttons
All Cavaliers those had clear Hearts at 12 years of age


Crisdig M'Buttons lived to 15.
I was given this information by Mrs Burgess


Ch Crisdig Button's sire

Ch,Crisdig Merry Matelot

Dam

Crisdig Trinket

The Grand- Sire of Ch Crisdig Buttons,Ch Crisdig Celebration lived to 15 years ,and Grand -Dam, Ch Vairire Charmaine of Crisdig also lived to 15.

Karlin
28th October 2009, 04:34 PM
From Dr Rusbridge's website (this would mesh with the conslusions of the foetal tissue research project, the genome scan progress so far, and some recent published papers on skull volume now linked from Dr Rusbridge's website:


What causes Chiari-like malformation (CM)?
CM is not yet fully understood. Somehow the miniaturisation process in the Cavalier went awry and unlike many other toy breeds the brain did not decrease in size in proportion with the skull. The Cavalier appears to have a brain more appropriate for a bigger dog. Studies in the Griffon Bruxellois (Rusbridge et al 2009) have suggested that CM in this breed is characterised by a short skull base. This shortening results in an compensatory increase in the size of some of the other skull bones meaning that the forebrain is adequately accommodated however there is no compensatory increase in size of the back of the skull meaning that there is not enough room for the cerebellum and brain stem.

From: http://www.veterinary-neurologist.co.uk/part1.htm#4

Bet
28th October 2009, 05:42 PM
Thank you Karlin for your Post, it sure makes up for the Bashing I have received from the Cyber Bullies in the past couple of days on the Cavalier Chat List.I won't be holding my Breath to get an Apology from them ,but it would be nice though ,if they had the decency to give me one.

I have been vindicated after all.

That with the Foetal Tissue Research Project ,The Genome Scan Progress so far, ,and some recent Published on Skull Volumn, there is information,that there HAS been Miniaturisation Process in our Cavalier Breed ,this has gone Awry ,and this is the important statement ,unlike many other Toy Breeds the Cavaliers Brain DID NOT Decrease in size in Proportion with the Cavaliers Skull,.

The Cavalier appears to have a Brain more appropriate for Bigger Dog

Now to the question that must be being asked from all the Broken Hearted Owners of Cavaliers suffering from SM, will the Cavalier Breeders Bite the Bullet and now go for Cavaliers who have not been Miniaturised, will that be a step too far for some of them, will a different appearance of Cavalier not have a chance of winning in the Show Ring.

Hopefully the Cavalier Breeders won't go down the same path as the Breeders of Rhodesian Ridge-backs, and Dalmations.

Time will tell.

Bet
29th October 2009, 10:07 AM
Could I mention I said in my previous Post, ,that in Dr C Rusbridge's Neurological Web Site,

Quote

Somehow the Miniaturisation process in the Cavalier went awry, and unlike many other Toy Breeds the Brain did not decrease in size in proportion with the Skull .

As Dr McGonnell has mentioned,in the normal situation ,if the Brain was growing too fast ,the Bone should keep up with it .

In the CKCS this relationship is lost .

About a couple of years ago, I sent Dr McGonnell photos of Present day Cavaliers and Photos of the Older type Cavalier ,just to let her see the difference in the their Heads.

I received word back from her ,thanking me for doing this.

sunshinekisses
2nd November 2009, 09:21 PM
Hopefully the Cavalier Breeders won't go down the same path as the Breeders of Rhodesian Ridge-backs, and Dalmations.

Time will tell.

Can you explain this quote...I have been reading information about the dalmation low uric acid backcross experiment...they have done a great job of limiting the problem but not changing the breed standard. You can find more info here http://www.luadalmatians.com/

From what I understand UK is ready to reinstate these "not pure" dogs into the registry. AKC has a long way to go but I think if enough money was thrown at them they would concede.

Every breed changes through the years to match what is popular at the time we can blame the judges that give the ribbons and the breeder that chase the ribbon. Health should be a great concern of any breed and the ultimate goal. IMO.

Anyway, excellent read.

WoodHaven
2nd November 2009, 09:33 PM
Can you explain this quote...I have been reading information about the dalmation low uric acid backcross experiment...they have done a great job of limiting the problem but not changing the breed standard. You can find more info here http://www.luadalmatians.com/

From what I understand UK is ready to reinstate these "not pure" dogs into the registry. AKC has a long way to go but I think if enough money was thrown at them they would concede.

Every breed changes through the years to match what is popular at the time we can blame the judges that give the ribbons and the breeder that chase the ribbon. Health should be a great concern of any breed and the ultimate goal. IMO.

Anyway, excellent read.

The DCA has to agree to it first and I was told it won't anytime in the near future. So let's not blame the AKC yet.
There are certain procedures that must be followed. A number of them weren't. When asked for the paperwork and documentation -- it was very much lacking.
The high uric acid 'can' be problematic in a dalmatian-- NOT always and they are doing a study now to determine why some live with it fine and some get stones. fwiw, Sandy

sunshinekisses
3rd November 2009, 11:42 PM
The DCA has to agree to it first and I was told it won't anytime in the near future. So let's not blame the AKC yet.
There are certain procedures that must be followed. A number of them weren't. When asked for the paperwork and documentation -- it was very much lacking.
The high uric acid 'can' be problematic in a dalmatian-- NOT always and they are doing a study now to determine why some live with it fine and some get stones. fwiw, Sandy
hmmm, interesting...well not having proper paperwork would be a problem.