View Full Version : Cavalier/Rat Crosses

21st December 2010, 12:42 AM
Now that I have your attention..........

I've wanted to ask lately if others are seeing as many "Cavalier/Rat" crosses as I see these days. Seeing those photos of Flash's parents and seeing many other photos, especially listed with the rescue groups, makes me think there are more of this "type" in the general Cavalier population than in past years. I even see one of these "crosses" sleeping in my bed with me every night!

Let me describe what I mean - these are tiny, skinny, weedy Cavaliers with more domed heads, less coat, not enough bone, bulgy eyes, more pointy muzzles and little cushioning. I am seeing them more and more.

My own was found on the streets near my home last April. I told Holly (member here and local rescue rep) that I would hold her for TWO days but that Holly must pick her up upon her return from an out of town trip. The rest, as they say, is history. I presume that my girl is a puppy mill/pet store product, but of course I have no history.

Lissie is 2-3 years old and weighs 8 lbs., plus 8-10 ounces. She is smaller than my cat. When I first saw her, I presumed she either had a liver shunt or juvenile renal dysplasia or had been starved or had some other very serious disease. She was as thin as those photos of Flash's sire. Took her to my vet who ran full blood chemistry profile, full exam, etc. Vet and tests say she is fine; my vet says it is just her "body type." Vet actually is not at all worried and says ultra-thin is more healthy, esp. as she has grade 1 luxated patella.

Eight months have gone by - Lissie eats a high quality, high calorie dog food. She eats more than twice as much as my 17 lb. Cavalier (plus a different food, much higher calorie). She was spayed in July. She has gained just a few ounces and still weighs under 9 lbs. Her coat is sleek, and she looks great (for a rat). She is a super high energy dog - she plays constantly with my cat and as much as she can with the other three dogs (older and much lower energy) plus runs around the house and yard constantly playing. Everyone tells me that she is "adorable" but I still think she looks like a cross between a Cavalier and a rat! I am embarrassed for anyone to think that I believe she is a typical Cavalier, and I always point to her "brother," a drop-dead gorgeous retired (UK bred) show dog, as my "real" Cavalier. Lissie is my 12th Cavalier in 20 plus years, and, as I said, I've never had such a high-energy Cavalier. She does make me laugh, and she is probably the smartest Cavalier I've ever owned. She won me over within days, and I do love her dearly, but I would never have sought her out as having a desirable appearance.

How about others on both sides of the pond - are you seeing this type more often these days? Is this the result of disreputable breeders purposefully breeding for "teacup" size Cavaliers?


21st December 2010, 07:30 AM
Hmm, it's interesting. In my non-expert opinion I think you are linking 2 different trends, and they may tend to travel together.

On the one hand, "purse" dogs are all the rage right now, so unethical breeders are breeding dogs to that market niche. They don't care whether or not their dogs are good specimens, so a small, weedy dog is good enough.

On the other hand, there is no skill required to start breeding dogs, that doesn't mean that even a well-meaning breeder will be able to select dogs to breed who will complement each other genetically. Unrefined looking pups are an inevitable result of many of these crosses. There are some breeders who have the experience/knowledge/luck to get the right look, most will struggle.

So I think there are 2 things: breeders who are in it for the money, and breeders who mean well but just aren't able to get beautiful pups.

Kate H
21st December 2010, 11:32 AM
When I saw the first photos of Flash's parents, I was reminded of my B/T Rowley, who was never more than 15 lb and was, I am pretty sure, an accidental cross between one of his (well-known) breeder's Cavaliers and one of her King Charles, though she never admitted it (nor would she ever give me a pedigree for him, despite repeated requests). He was tiny, had a domed head, and took ages to grow a decent coat (when he was small, someone thought he was a chihuahua!). Fortunately, health-wise he was as tough as old boots and virtually never ill until he had a sudden onset 3 months of congestive heart failure and died at 10.5. So perhaps there's a cross with another breed there (chihuahua rather than rat?!). Though having said that, my first Cavalier had impeccable breeding and an atrocious head and was always very skinny - even the most careful breeders can occasionally produce ducklings rather than swans!

Kate, Oliver and Aled

21st December 2010, 12:09 PM
To be honest..No...
I'm not seeing that many ratzos in Ireland.
Cavaliers are very common here, and apart from the occasional weedy little critter you'd see at the beach,nothing that you'd say was fragile or grossly underweight.

21st December 2010, 05:24 PM
Just saw this thread... One thing that I have been wondering about....

Flash is a good inch or two taller then both of his parents.. He skull is not as domed shaped and his muzzle is obviously longer. His eyes are not as bulgy. He does not "Snort" or "Honk as they do.

Now it could just be that he is only an 8 month old pup.. but he is strikingly different in body type. His markings from his neck down are VERY similar to his mom but other then that they are different.

Besides proper care and nutrition why would he be so drastically different in body type?

Also I noticed the mom looks a little more like a cross breed then the dad. She is VERY short with a long body. Almost looks like a dachshund crossed into the Cavalier. LOL

22nd December 2010, 03:24 PM
"Her coat is sleek, and she looks great (for a rat)."

You crack me up, Pat!!! Whatever her ancestry may be, she sure got lucky when she found you. :)

And, I do agree with you. In the Atlanta area, anyway, we see lots of weedy little things that come from pet stores or BYBs. That seems to be the majority of what ends up coming into Rescue, as well.