Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are wonderful family dogs! They are
very gentle and loving and have very easy-going temperaments suited
for the youngest of kids, as well as older and even retired people.
The cavaliers are considered a toy spaniel with the AKC breed standard
listing them as weighing between 13-18 pounds and being 12-13 inches
tall. They have an average life expectancy of 12-15 years. The
Cavalier King Charles breed comes in 4 colors: Blenheim, Ruby,
Tricolor, and Black & Tan. The Cavaliers breed have been called “The
comforter spaniels” because of their devotion to their owners and
their desire to cuddle in their laps. They are the ultimate lap dog!
On average, the cavalier puppies are born on day 62 of gestation.
After birth, they begin to open their eyes between the 10th and 14th
day, and they begin to get up and start walking when they are around 3
to 4 weeks of age. Typically, we do not allow visitors to reserve or
come before the puppies are 4 weeks of age simply because they are so
vulnerable and susceptible to illness and disease. The moms begin to
wean the puppies between 5 and 6 weeks. At this point, we begin
feeding the puppies Authority Grain Free Puppy Food. The weaning
process usually lasts until 8 weeks of age. Sometime between 7 and 8
weeks, we take our puppies to the vet for their first appointment to
check them out thoroughly. Our Puppies typically get ready for their
new homes at 8 weeks of age. Most often we find suitable homes for our
puppies but they might not be located within a driving distance, If
shipping a puppy, the airlines require the puppy to be at least 8
weeks old to ship.
We feed our Adult Cavaliers King Charles Authority Grain Free +
High-Performance dog food for All Life Stages. We start our puppies
out on Authority Grain Free Puppy Food simply because the pieces of
kibble are smaller enough which makes it easier to chew and digest for
the little ones. If you choose to place your puppy on a different
brand of food, we suggest transitioning your new puppy slowly to
prevent him/her from tummy upset and diarrhea. We always advise our
clients to go through at least one bag of Authority before
transitioning. Authority is a PetSmart brand and can also be purchased
online at Chewy.com for a discount. After 10 years of breeding
Cavaliers, we have turned into true believers in feeding Grain Free.
The Cavaliers have such long, floppy ears, and they are very
susceptible to yeasty ear infections. A grain-free diet cuts down on
that yeast considerably. If you notice anything like dirty or yeasty
smelling ears, please use an equal part mixture of distilled water,
rubbing alcohol and white vinegar to periodically clean their ears. We
keep our “ear cleaning solution” in a small plastic bottle with a long
nozzle, like the kind used for coloring hair. The nozzle makes it
easier to squirt the solution into their ear canal. Carefully use
Q-tips and cotton balls to clean out the ears after the solution has
softened up the “gunk.” Proactively cleaning the ears a time or two a
month will significantly cut down on any ear
The Cavalier puppies tend to pick up with potty training fairly
quickly. They are very smart and fast little learners! If I could only
share one piece of potty-training advice with my clients, it would be
no other but Prevention, Prevention, Prevention! It is much easier to
prevent an accident in the first place than to try to correct a bad
habit of your puppy pottying in the house right? We know a lot of
people like to use puppy pee pads in the house, but we do not. We
think this helps more in confusing to teach a puppy that it is okay to
potty on a pee pad in the house, but not on rugs, carpets, a pile of
clothes, etc. Weather permitting, we begin taking puppies out to potty
with their mom around 4 weeks old. By the time our puppies go to their
new homes, they are able to sleep for about 6 hours through the night.
Always take your puppy out to potty right after he/she wakes up before
stepping out, as well as right after he has eaten, had a drink of
water, or played vigorously..
We highly recommend crate-training for your puppy, which not only
helps in the potty training process but also helps with behavior
problems. It is best to have a comfortable crate just bigger than your
puppy, allowing him/her to freely turn around and stand without
hitting his head on the top of the crate. But If the puppy crate is
too large, the puppy will walk to the back of the crate and freely
potty. Think of the crate like a baby’s crib: it is a safe place for
your puppy whenever you cannot be focusing your attention on him/her.
Just the way you wouldn't leave a human infant on the floor and walk
away leaving him unattended, you also shouldn’t leave your baby dog
unattended. Unattended puppies have more potty accidents, as well as
chew on things they shouldn’t chew, and can get into dangerous
situations that would cost you a heartbreak..
We completely understand that having a new puppy is exciting and you
cannot wait to show off your new “baby” to everyone! Keep in mind
that, your new puppy is like a newborn baby: he/she hasn’t had all of
his/her vaccinations, and for their own protection, you should avoid
places like dog parks, pet stores, and rest areas until your puppy has
received his/her final round of vaccinations. When you take your puppy
to the vet, do not place him/her on the floor or let other animals
sniff or lick him/her; either hold your puppy or keep him/her in the
crate at all times. By taking extra precautions with your puppy when
he/she is still small and vulnerable, you protect him/her and ensure
that your puppy will grow into a healthy and happy Cavalier!
When she found that she couldn't register her dogs with the American Kennel Club, she started contacting people in the U.S. that had Cavaliers. At that time, there were fewer than a dozen. In 1954, she founded the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Club, USA (CKCSC, USA), the official breed club and only registering body for Cavaliers in the United States for more than fifty years.
During these years, the members of the CKCSC, USA decided against pushing for full recognition of the breed, feeling that the club's strict code of ethics prevented the breed from being commercially bred. They feared that too much recognition of the breed would lead to it becoming too popular and therefore too attractive for breeders who wouldn't maintain the standards they had established. Mostly, they kept the AKC Miscellaneous status so that members who wanted to show their dogs in obedience could do so.
In 1992, the AKC invited the CKCSC, USA to become the parent club for the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. The membership said no. A small group of CKCSC, USA members formed the American Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Club (ACKCSC) and applied to the AKC for parent-club status. This was granted, and the AKC officially recognized the breed was in March 1995.
The CKCSC, USA is still an independent breed registry, but the ACKCSC is the parent club for the breed within the AKC.
This small but sturdy dog stands 12 to 13 inches at the shoulder and weighs 13 to 18 pounds. There is no such thing as a "toy" Cavalier, and you would do well to avoid buying a Cavalier from a breeder who offers dogs half that size.
The gregarious Cavalier takes as his role model humorist Will Rogers, who famously said he never met a stranger. The Cavalier is eager to meet everyone who crosses his path, and if that person sits down and offers a lap (or a treat), so much the better.
Like any dog, Cavaliers come in a range of personalities, from quiet and sedate to rowdy and rambunctious. They might or might not bark when someone comes to the door, so they're a poor choice as a watchdog — except, that is, for watching the burglar cart off the silver. There are exceptions, of course — some Cavaliers will inform you of every event in your neighborhood and bark ferociously when strangers approach — but overall you're better off buying an alarm system than counting on your Cavalier to alert you to trouble.
Cavaliers are generally healthy, but like all breeds, they're prone to certain health conditions. Not all Cavaliers will get any or all of these diseases, but it's important to be aware of them if you're considering this breed.
If you're buying a puppy, find a good breeder who will show you health clearances for both your puppy's parents. Health clearances prove that a dog has been tested for and cleared of a particular condition. In Cavaliers, you should expect to see health clearances from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) for hip dysplasia (with a score of fair or better), elbow dysplasia, hypothyroidism, and von Willebrand's disease; from Auburn University for thrombopathia; and from the Canine Eye Registry Foundation (CERF) certifying that eyes are normal. You can confirm health clearances by checking the OFA web site (offa.org).
Mitral Valve Disease (MVD): This is a common condition in Cavaliers. It starts with a heart murmur that becomes increasing worse until the dog has heart failure. Heart disease in older dogs of any breed is fairly common, but Cavaliers are prone to developing MVD at an early age, sometimes as young as one or two years old. Research into prevention of this condition is ongoing. Because it appears to have a genetic component, responsible breeders have their breeding dogs evaluated regularly by veterinary cardiologists to try to prevent this condition from continuing to future generations.
Syringomyelia (SM): This condition affects the brain and spine and appears to be common in Cavaliers. Symptoms range from mild discomfort to severe pain and partial paralysis. It's caused by a malformation of the skull, which reduces the space for the brain. Symptoms typically appear between the ages of 6 months and 4 years. The first signs you might notice are sensitivity around the head, neck, or shoulders, with the dog sometimes whimpering, or frequently scratching at the area of his neck or shoulder, usually just on one side of the body, without actually making physical contact with the body ("air scratching"). They may try to scratch even when walking. For this reason, if your Cavalier is scratching, it's important to take him to the vet to rule out SM.
Episodic Falling: This condition often is confused with epilepsy, but the dog remains conscious during the falling or seizure. It's brought about because the dog can't relax its muscles. Symptoms can range from mild, occasional falling episodes to seizure-like episodes that last for hours. Symptoms usually start before five months but may be noticed only later in life.
Hip Dysplasia: Many factors, including genetics, environment and diet, are thought to contribute to this deformity of the hip joint. Affected Cavaliers often are able to lead normal, healthy lives. On rare occasions, one may require surgery to lead a normal life.
Patellar Luxation: The patella is the kneecap. Luxation means dislocation of an anatomical part (as a bone at a joint). Patellar luxation is when the knee joint (often of a hind leg) slides in and out of place, causing pain. This can be crippling, but many dogs lead relatively normal lives with this condition.
Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca (Dry Eye): This condition usually is caused by an autoimmune reaction to the dog's tear glands, leading to a reduction of tears. Once diagnosed, this condition is easily treated by administering drops in the eyes every day. If left untreated, it can result in blindness.
Their size and generally quiet nature make Cavalier King Charles Spaniels good candidates for apartment or condo living. They are moderately active indoors, and a small yard is adequate for their exercise needs.
Walks on leash or a securely fenced yard are musts with this breed. They have no street smarts and will run right in front of a car if they catch sight of a bird or other interesting prey. Your Cavalier will enjoy a daily walk or romp in the yard and will tailor his activity level to your own. Because he's a rather short-nosed breed, avoid walking him during the heat of the day and never leave him out in a hot yard without access to shade or cool, fresh water.
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