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Kitty6
23rd January 2012, 11:44 AM
This really is a wonderful forum. I am so grateful for your kind thoughts and wishes about my Blenheim Sam, who passed to the rainbow Bridge on Friday.

I was a member of this group about 4/5 years ago, when much of the bad breeding practice was first coming to light and the first TV programme was aired about the awful damage that had been done to some pedigrees (I now have a new user name as I forgot all my log in details!).

After my first ruby Oliver died at a heartbreaking 5 years of age, I was determined to find a pup which had been bred following all the guidelines. Using my local Cavalier Society, I was advised by the senior person to use a breeder who was also on the committee. The sire/father was very young and the mother had no heart or SM certificate. They laughed when I asked to see one. Karlin was absolutely brilliant at the time, as these individuals (one lady in particular) were known to her, and she supported me in the decision to turn away from this litter. I located a breeder in Yorkshire who had followed all the guidelines and my little Billy, thrives and long may he x

What I would like to ask you, is how is the breed doing? I could not contemplate getting another Cavalier for a long time, but my heart is heavy at the pain Cavalier owners go through. Am I right in thinking that Cavaliers have so many health issues (most of all the high % of heart disease) because of some breeders greedy breeding practise in the past (young dogs/ flawed dogs/ too closely related dogs etc)...and then more recently some breeders blindly continued (as that TV programme showed, a winning dog who was used for breeding with SM)...are there signs that Cavaliers are living longer? Are there signs that they are less troubled with problems? I have been out of the loop and would be interested to hear your thoughts.

Are there breeders who are winning the battle...or is that a 50 year programme??

sins
23rd January 2012, 01:01 PM
I was so sorry to hear your Sam had passed away.
I lost a beautiful bitch a fortnight ago just days after her fifth birthday.
She had SM, cataract,Hip Dysplasia,spondylosis and had previously had autoimmume issues.She developed liver cancer and sadly,there was nothing we could do for her.I bought her from a local breeder who had cavaliers as a second breed.
Ironically,her heart was in excellent shape.
I have two younger ones,bought from breeders in Devon who test for SM,hearts,eyes,DE/CC and EF and the puppies are opthalmologist litter screened before being placed.The older one is 2.3 years and the younger one 13 months.To date they have not had a sick day and not cost me a cent other than booster vaccines.(fingers crossed).
I think there's some very good progress being made in the breed and it's been gathering pace recently.Truthfully,I think people who have bought from club breeders will do far better heartwise than buying from BYBs or puppy farmers.
There have been some new low cost Mri scanning venues available too over the last 18 months which makes it easier for breeders to scan closer to them and any bulk scanning days are very quickly booked up.I've been lucky to get my older bitch onto a low cost scan day and she'll be scanned under the new BVA/KC SM scheme for 260 including BVA cert.
I think breeders who have been scanning for a few years realise that this is a long term project,perhaps 20 or more years..scanning seems to be reducing the number of early onset SM cases and this may be as much as we can hope for.
There are quite a few dogs and bitches between the age of 2 and 4 who have very good scans.If many of those can retain their status over 5,I think cavaliers will be in a much stronger position breedwise,certainly to move forward with an EBV scheme.
There are new genetic tests for Dry eye/curly coat and episodic falling available.
Breeders are now having eyes tested at club days for as little as 5 so there's no excuse any more for any breeder to say they won't/don't do basic tests.Hearts likewise...
There are so many breeders now who have been very happy to test their dogs and are proud of their results.
At the end of the day,the puppy buyer has a much greater choice over the last two years.It's possible to find a breeder who meets your requirements for testing.
There have been some wonderful initiatives to support research too..Rupertsfund to pay for scans of over 5 dogs,the FTR project,cavalier collection scheme etc..
Yes,there are still breeders who breed from young untested stock.I honestly don't know what goes through people's minds when they use a very young stud dog nowadays.Usually I would think that those breeders must have available markets for their puppies and while the demand is there,then there's no reason to change.
Meanwhile the KC continue to register anything with fur and paws from puppyfarmers... I posted on another forum about a facebook group I found myself in,and a number of puppybuyers were sharing details of where to buy a puppy from.Some were recommending a great farm where they got theirs,and another bought from an even better farm..they were delighted with their purchases,thrilled to bits even.
While this is happening and will continue to happen for the forseeable future,you'd have to wonder if the various Club breeders who do their best to breed healthy,well socialised cavalier puppies of excellent breed type, will continue to keep testing and breeding, when the results and outcome are still uncertain and the support of the KC and the public is lukewarm.
A lot done,a lot more to do..
Sins

Kitty6
23rd January 2012, 01:19 PM
Hi Sins

Thanks so much for your reply. I had read the thread about your girl and I so sad for your loss. It gives me some hope that you feel that progress is being made. Several friends have said that they want a Cavalier and I am never really sure what to say; certainly you have to do your research and choose very carefully -- and even then there are no guarantees but you know in your own heart that you have done everything you can to give them a good and happy life.

I think for a long time it was thought that it was just Puppy Farms that were the baddies but I think it may be more complicated. There are some lovely breeders and some greedy breeders. Several years ago, I took Billy aged just 8 months, along to The Southern Cavalier Society and three people approached me about using him as a stud. He has a hernia and was way too young but they shrugged it off. I suppose there will always be people who look for the cash more than they look for acting responsibly and it is up to those in the know to educate those who would buy a puppy without making the correct checks. I could only say to any friend that has never had a cavalier, they take your heart, you fall in love and they are great friends. You will want them in your life as long as possible and it will hurt you to see them in pain.

The temperament of Cavaliers is the sweetest and most kind and that it why it is so important to give them the very best chance. Reading posts on the forum, I am so sad for all the lovely Mummys and Daddys who are doing their best with so many difficult problems. There is so much to read and to understand.

How do you feel about breeders who have mixed Cavaliers with Poodles, Cavapoo?...they say they live for up to 20 years? Some seem to call the 'mutts' and other who have had their heart broken think it is good to bring new elements into the pool.
I will print your messsage off to keep as it is wonderful. Thanks, Kitty x

Margaret C
23rd January 2012, 02:10 PM
This really is a wonderful forum. I am so grateful for your kind thoughts and wishes about my Blenheim Sam, who passed to the rainbow Bridge on Friday.

I am so sorry to read you have lost Sam. They leave such a gap in your life when they die.


Using my local Cavalier Society, I was advised by the senior person to use a breeder who was also on the committee. The sire/father was very young and the mother had no heart or SM certificate. They laughed when I asked to see one.

Although there is more awareness of the need to health test, do still be careful. There are still breeders, some of them committee members or even health representatives that are using very young dogs or bitches ( breeding cavaliers should be at least 2.5 years old )

Some breeders are still only paying lip service to the MVD & SM breeding recommendations. They fudge the health protocols by using a health tested stud dog on an untested bitch, or by mating together cavaliers that have the certificates but they are issued at a very young age, too early to have any real significance.


What I would like to ask you, is how is the breed doing? I could not contemplate getting another Cavalier for a long time, but my heart is heavy at the pain Cavalier owners go through. Am I right in thinking that Cavaliers have so many health issues (most of all the high % of heart disease) because of some breeders greedy breeding practise in the past (young dogs/ flawed dogs/ too closely related dogs etc)...and then more recently some breeders blindly continued (as that TV programme showed, a winning dog who was used for breeding with SM)...are there signs that Cavaliers are living longer? Are there signs that they are less troubled with problems? I have been out of the loop and would be interested to hear your thoughts.

I would love to say cavaliers are less troubled with problems, and there is certainly more research being undertaken into cavalier health issues, but most of the people actively involved in helping researchers believe that this is a very health compromised breed, and things are not getting better.


Are there breeders who are winning the battle...or is that a 50 year programme??

If the 'elite' of breeders, those belonging to breed clubs and the Kennel Club Assured Breeders Scheme, followed breeding protocols then we may have a chance of establishing a nucleus of good breeding stock, but that shows no sign of happening.

As for cavapoos, cavashons etc. unless the health tests relevant to both breeds are carried out before the mating the puppies could still inherit health problems. Certainly some crossbreeds have had SM.

The breed will almost certainly need a planned outcross, but under the guidance of geneticists who can plan a breeding programme for generations ahead.

RodRussell
23rd January 2012, 02:20 PM
... After my first ruby Oliver died at a heartbreaking 5 years of age, I was determined to find a pup which had been bred following all the guidelines. Using my local Cavalier Society, I was advised by the senior person to use a breeder who was also on the committee. The sire/father was very young and the mother had no heart or SM certificate. They laughed when I asked to see one. ...

What I would like to ask you, is how is the breed doing? ...

I think you just answered your own question.

sins
23rd January 2012, 03:32 PM
Personally,I wouldn't want a cavapoo or an elkalier. I think people who breed crosses are only doing this for cash and nothing else.They have no love for the breeds they use, and have no interest in improving any breed.
I specifically wanted a cavalier first and foremost for it's temperament.
If I didn't choose a pedigree dog,I would go to the pound and take a crossbreed from there and save a life, rather than pay and reward a lazy breeder who mates two dogs from different breeds and expects to profit from the effort.
There are two brand new champions in the Uk since the start of 2012.
Both fine cavaliers and both over 2.5 years,fully health tested and a credit to their owners and to the breed.
This is very good news and shows that top breeders don't have to sacrifice breed type for health.
I know one breeder who is having ten dogs scanned in February,all heart tested and eye tested,from previously scanned oldies to young bitches.
I'm looking forward in March to meeting people who are scanning for the first time..
Looking at the UK cavalier Club website,breeders all over Europe are scanning,Finland,Germany,Holland.
There will always be the unscrupulous opportunists who will try to use your young dog,or get away without investing a cent in health testing,but let's not tar everyone with the same brush.
There are many good people working on many levels to improve things.
Ideally,if the kennel club stopped registering puppies from breeders who won't even pay for a prefix,raised the age from which cavaliers can be bred and introduced minimum mandatory tests,insisted on microchipping before registration,things might improve from the bottom up as well as from the top down.
Sins

Brian M
23rd January 2012, 03:56 PM
Hello Sins

Where are you off to in March and who are the two new champions .?You seem fairly optimistic
for the future ,are you .?

sins
23rd January 2012, 04:23 PM
Hi Bri
www.cavaliers.co.uk (http://www.cavaliers.co.uk) keep a list of champions for each year.

I'm off to Bristol in March. I shall dress Hollyfox in a nice green Jacket and hat for St Patricks week and hope the luck of the Irish holds out.:biggrin:
and if things don't work out...we'll still love her to bits anyway.
Sins

Kitty6
23rd January 2012, 07:23 PM
Thanks for your honesty.
Rod & Margaret indicate that things are very much as they were 4-5 years ago. It is so sad.
I suspose we have to hope that Sins optimistic outlook comes true.
Kitty x