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Thread: Has the Appearance of Cavaliers Altered in the Last 30 Years.

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    Default Has the Appearance of Cavaliers Altered in the Last 30 Years.

    With Karlin's permission, could I add this New Thread.

    It would be interesting to find out if others had Views on this Subject.

    I have mentioned that some Lines ,

    Pargeter, Kindrum ,Maxholt ,Crisdig, were different in appearance than what many of to-days Cavaliers Look Like. There will be others from years gone by, but at the moment those ones come to mind.
    Bet (Hargreaves)

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    This table from breeder Laura Lang's interesting page on this topic is fascinating. These are heads from many dogs that became CKCSC champions in the 70s and 80s. Very very different in shape and muzzle from dogs now -- far less brachycephalic for example, less flat faced with longer, broader skulls:



    The table at the bottom of this page, just below the pictures above, is also fascinating.

    I think there have been significant changes. No breeder or judge would award those 70s/80s dogs now.
    Karlin
    Cavaliers: Jaspar Lily Tansy Libby Mindy
    In memory: Lucy Leo
    Cavalier SM Information site:www.smcavaliers.com

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    Bet, I am speaking as a mere pet owner so no expert. I have a book called Cavalier King Charles Spaniels Today which has pictures of both my dogs GT GT Grandparent on Sire`s side Alberto of Kindrum (which says influential stud dog) 1986 and a picture of his GT GT GT Grandparent on Dam`s side who was Naval Rating of Amantra, I personally cannot see any difference between the appearance of these dogs to my own. There are pictures in this book from the fifties and I can certainly see a difference in them from the cavaliers of today.

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    It would be surprising to find that over the years any breed had not evolved from earlier types. Cavaliers as a breed did not exist until the late 1920's taken from cast offs from KING CHARLES SPANIEL litters (so I believe) ie too long in the muzzel to be good King Charles spaniels. The breed standard stated when it was drawn ups (and still does) that the length of muzzle should be approx 1.5" Most show specimens will still have muzzles that are approx 1.5"

    The breed standard asks for a small dog between the weights of 12 - 18lb. Most dogs in the show ring are at the upper limit of this (ie 16 - 18lb or even a little more) How much bigger should they be? and who is going to re-write the breed standard?

    If I wanted to prove a point, I could easily take a dozen pictures of untypical cavaliers with over long muzzles even today, together with a dozen pic's of cavaliers at the other end of the spectrum with v.steep stops and short muzzles. It doesn't in itself prove anything, except there is great diversity within the breed!

    Show breeders breed to the blue-print Breed standard This hasn't changed since it was drawn up all that time ago. So how can cavaliers be getting smaller - if they are within that standard?

    The question on skull shape is an interesting one, again just from looking at the photographs, it is hard to tell as the quality is not very good, the angles they are take from are all different, and as I have suggested above, the pictures have possibly been chosen to prove a point. The pictures from Laura Lang's page that Karlin has posted shows the first dog (from the angle taken) with foreshortened muzzle for example. Unless one could see the dog in the flesh it would be hard to judge.

    To be honest, the very best Crisdig, Homerbrent (still do), Kindrum etc dogs would grace the ring today. And Kindrum dogs were extremely pretty! If people try and compare poor specimens with the best to try and make their point, it really is a waste of time.

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    There will always be extremes in type in every decade, but I certainly would agree that in general the appearance of cavaliers have changed over the years.

    Most of the cavaliers seen in the show ring now would have looked exaggerated and overdone, and yes, too short legged for the judges in the 1970s & 80s.

    A look at the earlier Cavalier Club Yearbooks, or even the book of CKCS Champions ( you can buy the 1928-1999 edition for 5, & the 2000-2004 for 2.50, from the pay-on-line section of the Cavalier club website ) will show that, in general, cavalier show stock did have longer legs and longer muzzles. The eyes were also smaller & the coat less profuse.
    Most of them were not as glamorous as the show cavaliers nowadays.

    In the 1970s I can remember that it could be difficult to breed a dog that had a muzzle as short as 1.5 ins. Now I think it would be difficult to find a show bred dog that had a muzzle that reached one inch.

    Size has actually been something that breeders have struggled with for years. Reading the advertisements in the early yearbooks it would seem that there were 14-16 lb males being offered at stud, but in the 80s & 90s the males that were able to be shown in the under 18lb class at the Club Championship show were relatively few.

    I do get the impression that show cavaliers have been bred smaller in the last decade but I do not think that a small cavalier is any more likely to have SM than a large one. I could see that the process of breeding to get dogs reduced in size may have had some part to play in the spread of SM.

    It seems there are objections on the CavalierChat forum, to a comparison being made between the appearance of a (rather beautiful ) modern champion and winning cavaliers thirty to forty years ago.
    Predictably this has caused the usual breeders to ask the usual questions about my Ch. Mareve Indiana.

    The answers to those questions are that he was indeed a beautiful but big cavalier, with a perfect length of leg for his size, and a really good straight top line. I am rather technically challenged but I will try and put up a picture of him in profile.

    Unfortunately Monty did have syringomyelia, as did some of his shorter nosed, shorter legged, offspring.
    I thought we had established that you cannot tell if a cavalier has SM by looking at it, so I'm not sure why the nasties are dragging all this up again?
    Margaret C

    Cavaliers......Faith, The Ginger Tank and Woody.
    Japanese Chins.... Dandy, Benny, Bridgette and Hana.
    Remembered with love......... Tommy Tuppence and Fonzi

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    Default Ch. Mareve Indiana



    Monty at thirteen months.
    Margaret C

    Cavaliers......Faith, The Ginger Tank and Woody.
    Japanese Chins.... Dandy, Benny, Bridgette and Hana.
    Remembered with love......... Tommy Tuppence and Fonzi

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    It would be surprising to find that over the years any breed had not evolved from earlier types.
    But this is precisely the point. There has been forced evolution towards ever more narrowly defined popular breed looks. There's good evidence from paintings spanning several hundred years that there was a fairly consistent small spaniel type if dog for a long, long time. Skulls, appearance and body shape of dogs before there were artificial 'breed standards' in the Victorian era, have for many breeds changed so massively in the next 100 years that the dogs would in many cases not be functional or able to reproduce by Victorian standards (evidence for that change was given in PDE in some detail). Some breeds now require medical interventions even to be able to reproduce. Without modern medicines for heart problems cavaliers would have even briefer lifespans. Because a very common heart medications, frusemide, helps with SM symptoms it is likely too that SM would have been spotted far earlier in the breed's history, on a more widespread basis, if so many adults hadn't been on this drug in their late adult years.

    There has never been an argument that breeding for a dog in the breed standard weight is alone the 'cause' of SM, or that a larger cavalier from existing stock, all else being equal, would be any less likely to avoid it. This has been stated for years now by researchers.

    There is however a good argument that changing the shape of the head and skull to further shorten muzzles and compress the skull shape for a head that is considered more attractive than earlier dog heads, has caused SM to worsen considerably in the breed.

    There has definitely been a tipping point in the past 30 years and head development is now almost certainly the point at which the problem begins. This is being pinpointed in the foetal tissue research and was proposed by Rusbridge/Knowler and was suggested at the SM conferences in previous years on the basis that one of the suspect gene regions that came up on the initial genome scan work was that of genes responsible for skull development.

    It is known that SM resulting from CSF flow/skull malformation is exclusive to toy breeds and seems more prevalent in short nosed, flatter faced breeds as well.

    So while change might be expected (and there are many breeders who insist there is absolutely no change at all from earlier dogs, which seems extraordinary going from the old yearbooks and the handbooks I have), change is not necessarily a good thing. Especially not if that change has been predicated on choosing from an ever narrower collection of related stud dogs to achieve the current 'look'.

    Breeding deliberately for even tinier dogs is not likely to help the situation. The fact is that larger breeds do not get this particular type of SM. So just being a toy breed is a risk factor, as several researchers have pointed out at the conferences. Breeding more 'normality' back into the skull shape seems like one potential course of action if there's going to be any realistic attempt to save the breed. Because while longtime breeders correctly note that 'the scratching disease' was around back in the 80s, it is now increasingly becoming 'the screaming disease'. That cannot be allowed to continue and it certainly is not going to reverse of its own accord. The problem has to do with breeding. Research needs total support to find out why, and breeders must work together to breed away from pain.

    The KC had the option to review the CKCS breed standard and choose to do nothing that would help address any of this, not even to change the size standard which to all intents and purposes has changed anyway. How many 14lb cavaliers win in the show ring? How many show males even fit the breed weight standard any more?
    Karlin
    Cavaliers: Jaspar Lily Tansy Libby Mindy
    In memory: Lucy Leo
    Cavalier SM Information site:www.smcavaliers.com

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    Default Has The Appearance of Cavaliers Altered in the Last 30 Years.

    Thanks Karlin for the Photos, the difference between those Cavaliers and to-day's Cavaliers can clearly be seen, also the Shape of the Skull in the other Photos mentioned by Laura Lang who have SM.

    I have never said that the Cavaliers of to-day will have SM ,but has the alteration of to-day's Cavaliers, and the Alteration carried out in the 1930's to get the Flat Type Skull required for the Cavalier Breed,contributed to the Appearance of SM


    I have mentioned about the Alteration for the Head Shape of Cavaliers from the Dome Shape of the King Charles Spaniels, as far back as about 10 years ago when I had this Thought Published in a UK CKCS CLUB Magazine.

    Strange as it may seem ,we did go to some Shows, BECKY ,our Cherished B/T ,even won a Best in Show,for all Breeds, not bad for a B/T Cavalier, she also was at Crufts, .

    It was around that time that I noticed how the appearance of Cavaliers was changing, I also worked out many of their Pedigrees ,by hand, and noticed that there was quite a bit of Half Brother to Half Sister Matings taking place.

    SM appeared about the same time, so the question has to be being asked, was the change in the appearance in a number of Cavaliers, and the In-Breeding at that time a contributing factor for SM.

    Margaret mentioned Monty,maybe he was quite big as Margaret has said but he was born in 1992 ,the In-Breeding I was mentioning was going on in the early 1980's, so is it not possible that Monty could have had some of those SM Genes ,even if he was big, ,that had been caused by what was happening at that time.

    The Cavalier World has so much to thank Margaret and Monty for, if Margaret had tried to cover up Monty's SM Problem, the Cavalier Breed would be in much bigger mess because of SM than it is to-day.

    I read so many Posts from Broken Hearted Cavalier Pet Owners who have Cavaliers suffering from SM ,well thanks to Margaret, Karlin , and Carol, for bringing the SM Problem to the Fore . I don't think that there will be hardly a day passes without a Cavalier being diagnosed now with SM, if it had'nt been for those Three Ladies would the Cavalier World been made aware about SM.

    I Think Not.
    Bet (Hargreaves)

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    Incidentally researchers have often said that it is very difficult to determine what they are seeing as the likely problematical skull shape from pictures, because the problem is subtle and interior. Nonetheless there's some agreement that breeding for flatter faces, bigger eyes, shorter noses and a certain head shape has likely had something to do with the prevalence of SM as all these things cause changes to the entire skull. It seems that one result may be the compression/loss of space in the back of the skull.

    Even the 'ugliest' dog today is still closely related to dogs that were the popular sires of the past 20 years. So dogs that show up with the occasional longer muzzle or larger build with SM would be expected. The die was already cast by the point the offspring of today came along.

    I would predict confidently that at some point there will be recommendations to breed back towards a different head shape more popular in previous decades coupled with choosing the crossings least likely to produce symptomatic SM based on Sarah Blott's EBVs and ideally/eventually, gEBVs.

    Some researchers feel it will be faster to address the issue through careful breeding using current cavaliers then to try and rebuild the breed through outcrossing. All further food for thought.
    Karlin
    Cavaliers: Jaspar Lily Tansy Libby Mindy
    In memory: Lucy Leo
    Cavalier SM Information site:www.smcavaliers.com

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    "In the 1970s I can remember that it could be difficult to breed a dog that had a muzzle as short as 1.5 ins. Now I think it would be difficult to find a show bred dog that had a muzzle that reached one inch."

    Ok, I feel like an idiot. I marked my finger at 1.5 inches and tried measuring my dogs' muzzles. It depends on exactly where you start and end the measuring to where 1.5 inches was.

    As Rod pointed out, how to measure the muzzle is in our breed standard-- I thought I had to be doing this wrong, I only had one dog that didn't exceed 1.5 inches-- she was 1.4 inches.
    Last edited by WoodHaven; 27th October 2009 at 09:43 PM.

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