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Old 02-22-2014, 07:36 PM
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Default Cavalier King Charles Spaniels...

I just got back from the benched IKC show in Chicago and met some Cavaliers I was quite taken by. There was one that would go to agility at a place we've taken classes but other than that I have very little experience around them.

What are people's thoughts on and experiences with the breed?
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Old 02-22-2014, 07:56 PM
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I've only met two, so I don't have much to offer, but both of them were incredibly sweet to everybody and very in tune with their owners.
Unfortunately the male I met had chronic ear infections. I don't know how much of that is a breed thing, though.
Overall in my albeit limited experience, they're gentle, listen quite well, and while they're bright, cheery little dogs, they're also kind of low-key in what level of exercise they need.
Honestly, I'm considering a CKCS for when I need a dog who's a bit less intense than say, Fable.
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Old 02-22-2014, 07:58 PM
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They're so, so sweet. I've never met one that didn't love everyone. But man, they can be a heartbreaker as far as health goes.
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Old 02-22-2014, 08:04 PM
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The health problems kill me. I've even read somewhere that when you bring a Cavalier home to try to have a certain amount of savings for vet bills (and no, not vaccinations and stuff). :/
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Old 02-22-2014, 08:05 PM
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I have friends who breed them, and holy cow am I in love with their dogs. They are sweet as sugar with people; all their dogs, including their intact ones, can be loose together; none are reactive to outside dogs that I've seen. They run agility with several of their dogs, and are very competitive in their height classes, but they are very willing to admit that snuggling on the couch is pretty much what their dogs like best.

You do have to be careful with health stuff, but my understanding is that the life expectancy of the breed is increasing. One of their dogs is still running very well at 9, and I was just reading about one (not theirs) that just retired from agility at 12 due only to deafness.

After getting to know these dogs, I would not be shocked if at some point in my life I wind up with one. They just seem like the perfect house pet.
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Old 02-22-2014, 08:11 PM
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Sweet sweet dogs but so prone to severe health problems. The cavalier memorial sections of their forums are just heartbreaking.

I have known some who lived long lives but I'm not sure how common that is.
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Old 02-22-2014, 08:59 PM
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My agility instructor breeds/competes with them, and they're very competitive - not just in their height class, but overall too. I have a friend who also does agility with hers (despite being from a less [read: not at all] performance-oriented breeder) and just rocketed up to Masters level once she worked the initial motivation kinks out. They're generally sweet dogs. I've met a few who are kind of asses, but they're overall good dogs. I know a few folks who've gotten mean-spirited CKCs and they weren't equipped to deal with them. I feel that the audience who is primarily attracted to the breed is not prepared or willing to deal with the odd behavioural issues that crop up.

Their health is pretty much just a disaster.
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Old 02-22-2014, 09:46 PM
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When I asked the breeder I was talking to about health he gave an *extensive* list of things he tests for-it's amazing that a dog that small could have so much go wrong with it.
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Sally--8 yr old pit bull mix
Jack--6 yr old Labrador
Sadie & Runt--12 yr old calico DSHs
Pickles & Kiwi--3 yr old white winged parakeets
Yoda--1 yr old Quaker parrot
Solo--12 yr old Senegal parrot
Sheena--Quarter Horse--3/24/86-6/23/11--Rest Easy Sweet Girl~




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Old 02-22-2014, 09:51 PM
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I ADORE these little dogs. We had a ton of them come into daycare and such and they are always some of my favorites. I nearly got one myself, but then Virgo came back home instead. The health issues are tremendous but there is progress being made! We had one old girl named Molly who was 9 or 10, which for a Cav is tremendous.

I still may end up with one someday; they're my "old lady" dog choice, lol.
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Old 02-22-2014, 10:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sillysally View Post
When I asked the breeder I was talking to about health he gave an *extensive* list of things he tests for-it's amazing that a dog that small could have so much go wrong with it.
The breed was founded on 6 individuals. There is no genetic diversity.

Just for the record papillons are much healthier and the same 'family' of dogs. The foundation dog for cavaliers was half papillon.
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