I think Rod's answer will surprise many.....I would love another, but we have an aging non Cav who has cancer, diabetes and glaucoma, and it was enough to get Claire (it was before the cancer dx).I think if you could find a dog walker, or someone who could assist with the dogs, you might consider it. I am able to keep my senior and Claire apart when we are gone, which is better for my senior. I'm not sure hubby will be ready for another once my senior is gone, as he's been a tremendous amount of work with quite a schedule these days. But I would love to get a companion for Claire. The cat thinks he is one, but it's not the same, lol!
On balance, I would say that now would not be the best time to get a second cavalier, particularly a puppy. Given your work situation and the long hours away, your current dogs health problems & disposition towards other dogs it would probably be unfair on the puppy and Sammy to introduce a new dog at this time. It is probably not the aswer you want to hear, but getting another dog on the basis of 'puppy fever' is shaky ground to start with. I speak from experience on this. About 15 years ago, we had one cavalier, and when he was two we introduced a second puppy. Like you, we worked long hours, and thought a companion would help -I should point out our first dog was healthy, so we didnt have that complication.
Introducing a second dog can be hard work -it can see behavioural issues manifest themselves in the first dog where none previously existed -it certainly did in our case. Of course they are adorable together, but it is a much bigger commitment -unless you can dedicate the time towards training them, everything from walking the dogs to feeding them can present new challenges. We have a very well behaved, beautiful cavalier now, and though I am tempted to get a second every time I see some of the puppy pictures on this forum (!) and would not be leaving them for long hours now, I just remember the issues when we had two and realise how lucky we are with our current cavalier.
I am sure there are lots of people on this forum that have multiple cavaliers and will have nothing but positive things to say, but it is not all plain sailing and CAN be difficult. If you were there with them for most of the day, I would say it would be possible, as you would have the time and energy to dedicate towards training them. And if you travel a lot -getting someone to mind one dog can be hard -getting someone to mind two can be really, really difficult, without resorting to the kennels option. I suppose you really have to think about it from Sammys perspective -given that he is sickly, an energetic, lively puppy may not be the best thing for him or it could have a positive effect -you should know best from his interractions with other dogs.
If you do decide to get a puppy, please take the advice offered on this forum and make sure you get one from a reputable breeder who can produce the necessary proof that screening for all the common cavalier issues has taken place - the difficulties of raising two dogs will multiply if you get another cavalier with major health issues. I wish you the best of luck with Sammy regardless.
I guess this is an answer in two parts: most pertains to a situation if Sammy had no problems at all.
The caveat is Sammy's problems. It sounds like he perhaps does not find other dogs very pleasant additions and a puppy would nag him CONSTANTLY to play, steal his toys and food, etc. If you cannot be there to manage that activity, he could seriously harm or even kill a puppy. Overall, sounds to me like he would be distressed by a puppy, maybe even most other dogs -- *maybe* an older quieter adult would suit better that didn;t want to play. So in relation to what is said below -- it really relates more to the general situation. How has he been around puppies? Does he show any pleasure at all in other dogs' company? Could you (as would really need to be the case) keep them separate from each other but together in the same area (eg keep the puppy walled off behind a playpen...).
If all else were equal -- I would say this for anyone considering whether it is possible to add a puppy to a work situation...I think if you have 6 weeks to dedicate to starting on housetraining, that might get you started but really for many reasons you'd do better with an older puppy. You could just reconcile yourself to working with either a litter box (in which case opt for a female) or pee pads. Housetraining will perhaps be a permanent issue if you can only get your puppy (barely) started with 6 weeks training. Of course you will have weekends then too. But a young dog cannot hold itself for 8 hours -- really only adults have that ability and it still isn't really ideal even for adults every day, but to be fair, again, lots would manage their dogs in this way.
Bottom line: I do think a companion would be a great addition for your singleton dog EXCEPT you have this special case of a health issue which does not make this easy. And yes: dogs mostly sleep all day but you would want some good toys etc (I think most Nina Ottenson ones are interactive with owners, however, and cannot be left alone with a dog though maybe there are some that are great for solo playtime -- kongs etc are good busy toys). If you can give them a good 30 minutes of walks/activity at least each morning and then when you get back from work that will be a good approach-- these are the activity times for dogs -- most dogs unless taken out, will simply sleep most of the day. I work from home and my dogs sleep 95% of that time (though we go out midday for a brief walk and they get about 4 walks a day). The big issue is really housetraining and lack of human interaction with a puppy but if you can give that much time while on your holiday -- frankly I'd say that is a better start than 75% of homes gives their new puppies. Most people I know who ask me for advice about getting a new dog or pup (of any sort) are people who work all day. I honestly do not think this is necessarily an issue IF you can set up a situation to manage and IF you recognise there will be some real difficulties and the problem may be more on your personal side -- the exasperation of a poorly housetrained dog and a lifetime of management and/or a very, very long housetraining period. But you know what? I have that already with two of mine -- an elderly dog (when they often have incontinence issues) and Tansy who was ex-puppy farm and is about 80% reliable but needs to be left when I go out in the kitchen where it doesn't matter if she pees on the floor (as she often does). It is not the end of the world and for me is only a minor inconvenience-- but for some people this would alone be a reason to give up a dog a d people regularly post to this board saying they or their spouse are ready to rehome their dog because of indoor accidents/inability to housetrain/etc.
I think you need to assess your home setup and what Sammy honestly needs/wants/, then of you truly think an addition would be a *benefit* to him, potentially talk to a breeder about potential litters and ages and the possibility of an older puppy perhaps that they have run on to show but have decided not to keep (this is common for breeders), consider if someone could come in midday for a walk... you would need to have an arrangement for the puppy to be returned if things are clearly not OK for Sammy and be committed to doing this if needed.
You can of course potentially make it work :) but just don't let the thought of a cute new puppy (which even in the best situation, is always exhausting work!) cause you to idealise the situation or underestimate the serious challenges or the possible heartbreak of having to return a puppy after a few short weeks, which could be very hard for you.
I do think your priority has to be responsibility to Sammy's needs rather than what you would wish you could have under more normal circumstances. But I don't really know what he is like with other dogs and only you honestly know the situation.
I think 8 hours a day is just too long for a pup to be home alone. Also - I think that with your older dogs health issues it just wouldn't be fair to him either.
I get puppy fever too. But my dog has CM/SM and doesn't care for others too much. (if another cav on the street gives me a kiss she gets so jealous and starts whining to pick her up) But because of her health issues I wouldnt add anything else but a cat to our family. It's just not fair to her. They don't need the company as bad as we sometimes thing. They dont always wanna share.
I am sorry about your current boy with all his problems.
I guess I am in the minority...IMO dogs are social animals and would always benefit from another dog. You can work with a breeder to get a laid back puppy that will enjoy spending quiet times with your boy. I would lean toward a female puppy rather than male, that way you will never have to worry about any same sex conflicts. And of course do homework and find a breeder that has healthy dogs. Good luck either way. And haven't you earned the right to enjoy a healthy dog?
As others have said- a puppy may not be the best thing for a dog in poor health lke Sammy
I had the same arguement with myself with my dog Ruby when I wanted to find her a companion. At the time she was approaching 3 years and had been diagnosed with SM 7 months earlier and was struggling TBH
I knew that a pupp would be too much jumping round her head and pouncing around her so I decided to start looking for a rescue boy that would suit her.
As much as I wanted another dog, her needs had to come first and eventually I found a 9 month old boy who was taken in to foster care when his owners were evicted fro their home and left their dogs behind to end for themselves.
We went to meet him and he was perfect, Ruby seemed to like him and her adored her- she told him off when he was too much for her and a week later he came home for good.
They are a very good match personality wise- both quite full of themselves but actually very cowardly deep down!
A few months after Charlie came home I became a single mum and although I agree with others with the fact that dogs sleep for the majority of their day I still have a walker that comes in to take them out, If Ruby isn't feeling up for her walk then she takes Charlie out and then lets Ruby wander the garden for a while!
Thanks for all the replies! Reading them was like following my own train of thought back and forward through pluses and minuses :)
I think for me it all comes down to whether Sammy will like a companion or not. Like I said, other dogs can worry him (would never kill a pup though, he's much too timid and gentle. Plus he has a 2cm overbite and can't get a grip...) but he also has the potential to be really smitten. My friend's Laphund is the love of his life; one day my friend came over without her and Sammy spent the whole time crying at the door and the window trying to find her. I thought then that I NEED to get him a companion. On the other hand, the same friend just recently got a very energetic new puppy and Sammy doesn't like her at all. She is already bigger than him and loves to tease him. I think he's getting used to her though...
Unless I see a perfect solution (e.g. adult female cavalier with a quiet nature who needs a home) within the coming couple of weeks, I think I'll give it another year and aim for next summer instead.