Cavalier King Charles Spaniel – Here’s what to know

The following piece was very kindly written by Rena Kirkham of the Nearseas Cavaliers, who represented the breed fantastically at The Breed Village at the recent Pet Expo in Punchestown.

It was great to have this breed represented as they are a very poplar breed in Ireland, but unfortunately not all breeders are going about things the right way.

“My love affair with Cavaliers began about 25 years ago in Canada. I was involved with a pet visitation program and the star was a tri-colour named Alex….he was the sweetest dog I had ever met. To that point I had Afghan hounds which I showed and did obedience with and a Scottish Deerhound, a total couch potato.

When I was moving to Ireland, Alex’s owner Danny (a Vet) told me that I needed a Cavalier in my life….I agreed and purchased my beloved Emily upon my arrival here…..the rest is history…..to say I fell in love with the breed is an understatement…..I soon registered the Nearseas prefix with the Irish Kennel Club, of which I am a proud Life Member.

About five years later….with thanks to a fantastic priest who came to me asking for help with a Cavalier from a “breeder” who had advised him that the fact that the puppy was having seizures up to 20 times a day was not her problem…..I very quickly became aware of the health problems that can go hand in hand with Cavaliers, if the pups are a result of a mating from parents that have not had the breed specific health tests carried out..

What can I say….I would never knowingly let a Cavalier or their owners suffer if I could do anything about it…..I have become somewhat of a health fanatic and am confident that what I am doing will help to improve this wonderful breed…..they are so special and give so much…..they do not deserve to be bred without due care and consideration to health issues…..

If you are going to welcome a Cavalier as part of your family, please be sure that the breeder that you purchase from is testing their breeding stock….the tests that should be done are MRI’s for Chiari Malformation and Syringomyelia (SM); Heart Testing for Mitral Valve Disease; Eye testing for Multifocal Retinal Dysplasia and Hereditary Cataracts.

DNA testing for Dry Eye /Curly Coat and Episodic Falling …..these tests should be current and done on both parents and although are not a total guarantee, certainly improve the odds of a healthy and happy puppy that will go on to live a long and very rewarding life shared with you.

Please visit my Web Site or just call me as I am always happy to talk to anyone about cavaliers”