I have read the various posts here and on the other forum and must admit to a sinking feeling that cavaliers as a breed really don't have much of a future. Top breeders still believe that they should be left to do what they want, when they want to do it.
Leading by example and breeding for health are not concepts they seem to understand.
In the good old days dog breeding was the hobby of wealthy people. The kennels were large and if line breeding, or inbreeding, or even outcrossing to another breed was carried on, and proved disastrous, then the resulting puppies were culled or given away.
With no internet forums where pet owners could contact each other, these puppies disappeared from general view and any inconvenient questions could be brushed aside.
The breeders could afford to remove the parents from their breeding programme because they had replacements for both breeding and showing.
Nowadays the whole scene has changed. The majority of breeders only have the room & the money to keep a handful of dogs. The diagnosis of a hereditary condition in their show winning stock can leave them with nothing to breed on with.
The temptation is to say nothing about the unfortunate diagnosis and hope it will not be passed on to future puppies. Youngsters showing very early symptoms can be sold while they can still command a reasonable price.
Some of the current breeders are now quoting what old time breeders did, and you can hear in every sentence just how much they resent the limitations that are now being imposed on them.
Those long ago, experienced, breeders did have to learn from their mistakes, as it was the only way to do it then, but the cost was in dogs that suffered and owners who dealt with heartbreak.
The world is different now, more compassionate, and like it or not, if breeders ignore the codes and protocols designed to protect animals that have no voice, then society will do something about it.
An experienced breeder may consider themselves able to decide to mate a bitch on three consecutive seasons, or put her through three cesarean sections, and it may be that in other countries the thinking is different, but how then do you qualify 'experienced breeder' and how do you stop someone who is a beginner from believing that if long established breeders do something, then so can they?
The protocols will only work if everybody sticks to them. If the protocols don't work then SM will get worse in every generation of cavaliers and pet owners will stop buying expensive heartbreak.
Everybody can find a reason why this time the protocols should not count for them, and so they mate bitches too young because they don't want winter puppies, or they mate a year bitch because she is too immature for the show ring and they can't wait for her to mature naturally, or they use a 10 month dog at stud because otherwise he would never know what to do. ( yes, I believed that too when I first had a cavalier stud dog, but luckily no one had told my three year old chin dog when I came to use him )
Until the 'guardians of the breed' stop using their cavaliers as commodities ( and I do not think that anybody who really love their dogs talks about them the way some of these breeders do) then nothing will improve for these lovely little dogs.
Cavaliers......Tommy Tuppence 2000-2012 and a half share of Faith.
Japanese Chins.... Dandy, Benny, Bridgette and Hana.