IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR PUPPY BUYERS…………………….Responsible breeders can protect against the risk of SM by selecting for a less extreme head shape. There is a very short film clip that is well worth viewing. See details here
Happiness is a warm puppy. ~Charles M. Schulz
Buying a Cavalier Puppy
Cavaliers are wonderful family pets but they can inherit painful health problems that can cost their owners a lot of money. To make sure you buy the healthiest puppy possible, check carefully and go to a good breeder:
Good breeders wait until their Cavaliers are at least two-and-a-half years old and then health test before they breed from them.
They will be proud to show you the eye, heart, Syringomyelia ( SM ) and other health certificates.
They will want you to visit and see the puppy with its mother.
They will want to know about your family, your home, and how you will care for the puppy.
Even the best breeders cannot guarantee that your puppy will never become ill, so be sure to buy pet insurance.
To read more and see copies of health certificates please look at our Cavalier Health Page or visit www.cavalierpuppy.co.uk
When you first email or phone the Breeder ask about health certificates and say you expect to see all the health certificates when you go to see the puppies.
There are many breeders who are expert sales people. They can ‘talk the talk’. If they make you feel guilty or embarrassed for wanting to see health certificates, ask yourself why would they do that?
Do not believe any breeder who say they have no heart or syringomyelia problems in their Cavaliers. They are not being honest. These health problems are in all lines ( families), they affect both male and females and all colours of cavaliers.
Additional things you should know………..
The puppies should have been checked by a vet before being sold and you should be given information and advice about inoculations, diet, worming and flea treatment.
A responsible breeder will give you a written contract. You can see a model puppy contract here.
Responsible breeders usually register their pedigree puppies with the Kennel Club. The breeder should give you the registration papers or a written promise to send the papers on to you when they receive them from the Kennel Club. .
Irish Kennel Club ( IKC ) papers supplied with a puppy bought in the UK will often indicate the puppy has come over from an Irish puppy farm. Be careful, you may be buying from a dealer, not a breeder.
Do not buy from anyone who wants to deliver the puppy to you, or meet you at a motorway service station and do not buy from a pet shop or pet supermarket. You should always see the puppy at home with the mother.
A breeder who has taken pride and care in rearing their puppies will want you to visit at least once before buying, and will ask you questions about your family, your house and garden, and who will be at home to care for the puppy.
Where to find a breeder…………….
An Internet website list advertising puppies from all different breeds for sale is not the best place to find a healthy puppy. That is where badly reared puppy farm dogs are sold.
Contact the Kennel Club:- www.thekennelclub.org.uk. Members of the Kennel Club’s Assured Breeder Scheme will be aware of the need to health test for these inherited conditions, but do not take it for granted they have done so.
Contact information for the people who run your regional cavalier club puppy register will also be available on the Kennel Club website. Members of cavalier clubs should know about the inherited health problems and the health tests that should be done, although you will still need to check they have all the health certificates.
Please be aware that membership of these clubs does not mean you can take it for granted you have found a good breeder. Puppy farmers and irresponsible breeders will sometimes join these organisations as a means of selling their puppies.
REMEMBER YOU STILL NEED TO CHECK THE CERTIFICATES AND THE AGE THE CAVALIERS WERE HEALTH TESTED
If you need more advice on how to find a responsible breeder we will do our best to help you. Please contact us through our website form.
Two Stories About Cavalier Puppies:
I already had a lovely Blenheim Cavalier called Lady Jane. She was coming up for 10 years old. I had spent many hours persuading my husband to let another Cavvie into our hearts and finally in December 199 he said I could have another one.
I had seen an advertisement in our local paper that a local registered breeder had cavalier puppies for sale, so we made an appointment to go and see them.
Well on a very cold December lunchtime we turned up at this “farmhouse” building expecting to see a litter of puppies with their mother (as I had with Lady). However, we were led into a large yard with stables. To our astonishment a stable door was opened and there were about 6 cavalier puppies all milling round a small heat lamp. All of these puppies tore at my heart strings, they looked so forlorn, but they had stolen my heart and one in particular stood out with her little speckled nose.
We said there and then that we would buy her, but would come back at the weekend to pick her up as that would be easier for us to settle her in. The lady selling the puppies asked for a deposit – she said that often people didn’t come back. I had realised that this was not an ideal way to buy a puppy but once you have seen them it is so difficult to walk away.
I went back to work trying to forget the misgivings that I had, including the fact that at no point had I seen these puppies with their mothers. That afternoon it started snowing heavily and I couldn’t bear the thought of those puppies in the stable. So I rang my husband and sent him and my son off to Pets at Home to buy supplies and rang the “breeder” and said we would be back later that afternoon to pick our puppy up.
When I got home my new puppy had been brought a “german shepherd” size collar, lead and bed which caused great amusement. We then went and picked up our puppy –Cinders. The “breeder” said that she was pedigree, but I was given a handwritten piece of paper with 5 generations on it – definitely not a Kennel Club pedigree, she then gave us a vaccination certificate and this had been issued by a vet in Wales. We finally realised then that we had purchased a “puppy farm” dog. We were told that she was 10 weeks old, when we looked at the certificate we saw that she was nearer 16 weeks old.
For the first eight weeks with us Cinders suffered terribly from upset stomachs and we had numerous visits to the vet. This is something that she has continued to suffer from for much of her life, with frequent episodes of upset stomachs. Also having been left to her own devices for the most important period of her life, she was very difficult to house train and she was over a year old before we could say that she was finally housetrained.
Cinders has, despite her poor start, reached the great age of 12 years. She has had various health problems over the years, including periods of lameness, going completely deaf at age 8, MVD (on medication since she was 10), and more recently CM/SM. Looking back over the years, we believe she has had CM/SM for quite some time but did not realise it until just after my other Cavalier was diagnosed.
Third Time Lucky
My first two experiences were not very good. Both dogs, although from kennel club registered breeders, were not in the best of health. A lot of time, money, stress and worry was spent on them. We had everything from bad hearts, SM, stroke, food aggression. The list was endless.
When I lost my last one at 4yrs 9mths, she had a stroke, I didn’t think I could have another cavalier. But, after a few months of total emptiness I knew I had to give it one last try.
I started to look at different breeders.
It was then I found out that there are a few that do take the welfare of cavaliers very seriously. The dam and the sire are tested for hearts and eyes. They also have the dam and sire MRI scanned to be sure that they are SM/CM free. The best result is A rated to A rated, by the Clare Rusbridge scale. (You are given cerfificates for all these tests.) It is only then that they will breed from them. This is still not a guarantee that you won’t get any problems, but at the moment this is the best avenue there is.
I spent months researching breeders, Making calls, sending emails. You have to be prepared to ask many questions, not always getting the answers, or responses you wanted. Some breeders can be quite indignant and offended by your questions, but the majority who have nothing to hide, are more than happy to tell you what you want to know.
This is the route I took, and with a bit of patience, I eventually found my puppy, and well worth the wait she was too.
If you keep buying puppies from the puppy farms, and the breeders who don’t scan, then they will keep breeding and selling these puppies, and we will keep going through endless heartbreak.
But if we say no, and only buy from the breeders who put in so much time, love and commitment for the love of the breed, then maybe SM will eventually be wiped out.