I did a google search on this and found a link to a page of comments from the public about the 2005 Crufts show. Apparently some members of the public believe umbilical hernia repair should disqualify a dog as a "defect," but the breeding/showing community does not agree, a disappointment to the commentator:
Something that i am thinking about related to this, is that these sweet dogs have terrible hereditary illnesses which make them suffer terribly, precisely because they are inbred to achieve certain "perfections," a certain look, a certain temperament, and even the inbreeding done to try to breed out congenital health problems can result in other health problems being inbred or caused by pressure on such a restricted gene pool. To place further pressure on the gene pool by restricting breeding based on minor and easily correctable 'defects' such as umbilical hernias would seem not worth the price that would have to be paid. These poor little guys must suffer enough already so that humans can be provided with the pleasure of their sought after characteristics--a tragic irony i think.Michelle
I attended the first day and had a great time. The one point which concerns me is why are dogs or bitches that have had operations eg cosmetic dental treatment or repair of genetic defects like umbilical hernias allowed to enter shows, possibly win and then be bred from, increasing the risk of these defects being passed on to the next generation. Over the years so much work has been done to prevent certain problems such as hip and elbow dysplasia, but perhaps there are other things that should be considered also.
To the vet who told you it was a disservice to the breed to every breed cavaliers with umbilical hernias, since it's a hereditary condition, i would want to ask about whether trying to eliminate such small defects woulld be considered (by the vet) worth the price that these dogs would have to pay due to additional reduction of the gene pool.
Vets make a lot of money treating cavaliers for the results of inbreeding, but i dont' believe this was what was behind your vet's comment. I just think that this reveals a way of evaluating cavaliers that is not addressing the terrible problems caused by inbreeding, a subject i would like to see discussed in more depth among cavalier lovers.