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nkj240
15th February 2012, 06:00 PM
Hi All -

I'm wondering if the cavalier is really for us? We are going to meet a cavalier tomorrow and I've done a lot of research but thought it might be time to talk to people who actually own them.

I've got a 4 almost 5yr old son, I only work 20hours per week 8:30am-2:30pm and am mainly home the rest of the time. In the warmer months we hike some, go fishing, boating, camping and do a lot of outdoorsy active stuff - Stuff I'd expect a dog to be able to keep up with. We don't do LONG trails or anything, but can be busy quite a bit of a day!! I also walk almost nightly sometimes even in a little drizzle/snow. I'm open to a lap dog or some over energy in the house is fine to, This cav I am looking at is 10months old and I expect him not to be settled down from his puppy craziness for quite a while.
I definitely want a dog I can take everywhere with me, rather it be to pick up my son from daycare/school or run some quick errands or a long "dog friendly" hotel trip!
And what about those days when you can only offer very limited exercise? How do they do? I'm reading they are a pretty laid back breed all around and their main goal is to be with you 24/7 which is what makes them happy..

Does all the stuff we do sound like to much for a Cav? Are they known to really be that great with children? I'm a little worried with this dog we are going to meet tomorrow because he hasn't had much experience with children and the only reason his mom is giving him up because her work hours are going on to 16hour days and she knows he needs to go to a better home. So, he's spent a ton of time Alone and that worries me. We will of course take things slow and supervision 100% of the time, but it still has me a little concerned.

Should I be thinking about anything else here? I know all about good food, training, etc,.. Just need some breed info itself.

I'd appreciate it, Thanks! :)

Kate H
15th February 2012, 11:35 PM
In my experience, as long as Cavaliers are with you, they adapt to what you want from them. My two will love a 5-mile walk - or even 10 miles when we're on holiday - but if they don't get a walk for a couple of days for some reason, they settle happily on the settee and snooze instead of tearing up the house with boredom. We go camping in a tent for our holidays, but if we visit friends, they will curl up in their travelling crate overnight in a strange place without a murmur. We travel all over our area by bus and train, competing in obedience shows, and when I go to an outdoor craft fair to sell my homemade mustard (which pays for their food!), they often come with me and enjoy greeting my customers. Oliver is also a Pets as Therapy dog; Aled is a rescue who after three years with us is a pleasure to live with. I find Cavaliers easy to live with and great to do things with.

BUT they do need plenty of human company. If someone complains to me that their Cavalier is over-excited, barks when left on its own, and goes wild when they come home from work, I usually find that they are out at work all day, come home for a couple of hours and then go out again for the evening - the poor dog is simply trying desperately to get their - or anybody's - attention. The other big BUT, which you've probably discovered already from this forum, is that Cavaliers can have serious health problems. You need to choose your breeder or the source of your Cavalier with care, and insurance is essential. Having said that, my Oliver is nearly 11, has syringomyelia and a low level heart murmur but still loves life and does all the things I've listed above.

If you get a Cavalier, you'll have the best of company in everything you do.

Kate, Oliver and Aled

Kate H
15th February 2012, 11:44 PM
Forgor to add that although I don't have children, both my Cavaliers are very good with them - gentle and patient. Oliver has been used by child psychologists to help 2 children overcome their fear of dogs. Aled spent the first 18 months of his life shut in a kennel and is a little more cautious, but still the typical Cavalier temperament shines through. I hope yours works out - Cavaliers are such fun to live with!

Kate, Oliver and Aled

Karen and Ruby
15th February 2012, 11:47 PM
Hi there- I have 2 Cavaliers- one I got as an 8 week old puppy and the other I rescued at 9 months. He had never seen the outside world until he was in foster and certainly had no experience of Children. My sister has young children although I have none and I worried about how Charlie would react to them. Well I needent have- he was super!!! I was so very proud of him and It goes to show how wonderful this breed are.

However they do have a dark side and that is their health, to take one on is to take on a very high possiblilty it will have serious health problems. I think we are all to nicey nicey about the downside of this breed because the truth is, they are an extremely unhealthy breed. If it isnt heart problems its SM, if not there is Hip and Patella problems or Dry Eye, Epilepsy and Eposodic Falling...the list goes on!

Its a lottery and I think that should be more of a consideration than anything else!

Mindysmom
16th February 2012, 01:39 PM
My experience has been the same as Kate's. My guys hike, swim, camp, travel in the car with us, do pretty much everything we do. If the weather is really lousy and they don't get out for their walks for a couple of days they adapt really well - I do have to make sure to exercise their brains at least on those days or they don't sleep well at night. Max loves everyone - he sees everyone as a lap or a potential treat dispenser. Rylie is more cautious but he would quickly realize that a five year old has far more energy than us and would probably be willing to throw the ball for him for longer;). In Rylie's world that's the way to his heart. Even though he is cautious I would never worry about him with children - just supervise. When he gets nervous he tries to hide behind me.

We got our Mindy at 8 months old - my youngest was 6. We had no problems. The only issue I had was that I found it a bit more difficult house training an older dog than a puppy (maybe because I was told she WAS housetrained and expected that so we did have accidents which always lead to more accidents) but it wasn't THAT onerous once I realized that I had to start as if she was a puppy.

Others have already covered the health problems so just be sure you are aware.