HOW TO FIND A BREEDER
OF CAVALIER KING CHARLES SPANIELS
in the United States
steer clear of recommending any particular breeders. Finding a
breeder who has followed the health testing protocols often depends upon
the particular litter. A breeder may breed an underaged female once or
twice, and then by the time the breeder is ready to breed her the next
time, she no longer is underaged and may have been tested and passed
those tests. Instead, we provide
Questions for Breeders which is a list of the most important genetic
health questions which buyers should ask every cavalier King
Charles spaniel breeder, and we provide the
Breeders' Worst Excuses to prepare the buyer for the run-around to
expect from some cavalier breeders.
A few tips for narrowing the field:
buy a cavalier King Charles spaniel from a pet store or a broker.
Many pet store puppies are bred from mistreated and un-cared for
cavaliers which spend their lives "stored" in wire cages and filthy pens
in puppy mills, such as this pathetic, abused Blenheim female
►Buy a cavalier only
directly from its breeder, and
communicate only with that breeder. If a
"breeder" claims that she "imports only quality puppies", she is a
broker and not the breeder of those puppies. There are two registries
for cavaliers in the USA. The American Kennel Club (AKC) and the
independent Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Club, USA ("CKCSC,USA"). But
keep in mind that the AKC also registers
cavaliers bred by puppy millers and sold in pet stores. On the other
hand, the CKCSC,USA prohibits its
members from selling cavaliers to or through pet shops or brokers, or
from purchasing any cavalier or any litter for resale.
focus solely on breeders who have websites or who advertise on the
www.caninehealthinfo.org/search.html It lists dogs which
meet certain minimum health test standards. Check out the list of
cavaliers and look for the names of kennels or breeders with the most
entries. Contact those breeders, and also ask them for names of other
breeders they recommend.
volunteers at health clinics sponsored by Cavalier clubs. The two national CKCS breed clubs,
the CKCSC,USA and the AKC's cavalier "parent club", the American
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Club ("ACKCSC") both have regional
cavalier clubs related to them. We list upcoming
For each clinic, we include the name and contact information for persons
who have volunteered to set up and lead the volunteers at the clinic. If
there is a nearby cavalier club health clinic on the schedule (they are
printed in red in Table 2), plan to go to the clinic, meet the
volunteers, and ask them for recommended breeders. Or, call the contact
person for a cavalier clinic and ask for their recommendations. Better
yet, volunteer yourself to help out at a cavalier King Charles spaniel
health clinic and meet both the other volunteers and the breeders who
bring in their breeding stock for testing.
breed club health committee chairmen. Usually (but not always),
the breeders who volunteer to lead health committees are more committed
to health testing than the average breeder. Most CKCS clubs have their
own websites, which list club officers and committee chairmen. Find out
who the health committee chairmen are and contact them for
recommendations. The websites of the two national cavalier clubs
are www.ckcsc.org and
www.ackcsc.org. You can find links
to the regional and local cavalier club websites on the "links" webpages
of these national cavalier clubs.
out the "Health & Conformation Class" entries in CKCSC,USA conformation
shows. The entries in this class must meet certain health test
criteria, and the owners who enter their cavaliers in this class may
know of health-conscious breeders to recommend. For information about
the CKCSC,USA's Health & Conformation Class, contact C. Anne Eckersley,
not be turned off by breeders who ask a lot of questions about you, your
background, and your lifestyle. The most responsible cavalier
breeders can be picky about placing their puppies with strangers. These
breeders want to find out as much about you and your family as possible.
They may ask questions such as: (1) Do you have a fenced yard? (2) Do
you have young children? (3) Do you have other dogs? (4) Will anyone be
at home during the workday? These questions could be just the beginning
of their enquiries about you. These breeders' puppies are part of their
family, and they want assurances that you will be able to care for one
of them as well as, or even better than, they can.
Be very skeptical of breeders who:
that all of their breeding stock (or their puppies) have been tested and cleared of genetic
diseases. Insist that the breeder provide you with legible
copies of the litter's sire's and dam's medical clearance certificates
or medical reports, signed by the examining cardiologists,
ophthalmologists, and other veterinary specialists. See
Questions for Breeders. Even worse, we recently found a
cavalier breeder's website which claims mitral valve disease is due to a
their cavaliers are "from champion bloodlines". Insist that the
breeder provide you with copies of championship certificates. If the
championships are not from well-known registries and cavalier King
Charles spaniel clubs, like the CKCSC,USA or the American Kennel Club
("AKC") or any the national kennel clubs of Canada, England, France,
Sweden, or other western European countries, then be very wary. Also, do
not assume that breeders who have bred many conformation champion
Cavaliers also follow the health testing and breeding protocols.
It is a lot easier to breed conformation champions when the breeder
ignores health testing and protocols. See
Questions for Breeders.
several breeds in addition to cavaliers. The more breeds a
breeder offers for sale, the more likely that breeder is a puppy miller
or a broker.
to offer health guarantees, or even "very strong health
guarantees" or the like. Insist on getting copies of these guarantees
before you pay any money to these breeders.
that they are "reputable" or "responsible" or "ethical" or the like.
Anybody can call themselves those things. There is one cavalier breeder
who even calls her kennel "pre-eminent". Those are terms that only other
people should use to honestly describe the breeders, and should not be
used by the breeders to describe themselves.
non-refundable deposits. Be sure to find out why the
breeder requires a non-refundable deposit, and whether those reasons
make sense to you, and under what circumstances, if any, the breeder
will refund the deposit anyway. Get the entire deposit agreement in
writing. Many non-reputable breeders require non-refundable deposits,
but some reputable breeders do, too.
There are some very fine cavaliers which are whelped and raised by
breeders in Ireland. BUT...unfortunately, many, many CKCS importers --
who will claim that they are breeders or relatives of breeders -- will
import puppies from Irish puppy farms and offer them for sale in the
U.S. For example, if a U.S. breeder offers to sell you a cavalier puppy
from Ireland, she is an importer and not the breeder of that dog.
Remember: buy a cavalier King Charles spaniel only from its
breeder, and communicate only with that breeder.
have any or much health information on their websites. Be
particularly careful if the breeder tries to downplay the significance
of cavaliers' serious health problems, like mitral valve disease. The
facts are that Cavaliers are 21 times more likely to develop MVD than
the average breed, and cavaliers tend to develop MVD much earlier than
other breeds. You can find out the truth about MVD in Cavaliers
Avoid breeders who:
know the name of the breed. There are breeders, particularly on
the Internet, who call the dogs such names as "King Charles Cavaliers"
or "Cavalier King Charles Terriers". We found one who even called them
"King Saint Charles Cavalier Spaniels". If the breeder does not
know the breed's name, back away and move on quickly.
they breed only "small", "tiny", or "teacup"
Breeders who intentionally try to breed cavalier King Charles spaniels
only in the 10 to 12 pound range cannot have the best interest of the
breed in mind. The breed standard's range of weight is from 12 to 18
lbs., and many males tend to weigh more than 18 lbs.
not registered their dogs with the CKCSC,USA or the AKC --
preferably with both registries. If the breeder does not care enough
about the breed to have the litter parents registered with either the
CKCSC,USA or the AKC, then the breeder cannot be serious about showing
the cavaliers in conformation events and improving the conformation and
temperament of the breed. If the litter is not registered with either
the CKCSC,USA or the AKC, then don't waste your time with that breeder.
Avoid breeders who register any cavaliers only with such "registries"
as the ACA (American Canine Association) or APRI (America's Pet
Registry, Inc.) or the CKC (Continental Kennel Club) or the FIC
(Federation of International Canines) or the NKC (National Kennel Club)
or the United All Breed Registry or the ICC (Irish Canine Club) or who
register any CKCSs only with the UKC (United Kennel Club). Also, be
concerned about U.S. breeders whose cavaliers are registered only with
the IKC (Irish Kennel Club). See Irish Imports.
not let you see the puppies' mother or the kennel facilities.
Whatever it is that the breeder does not want you to see probably is
exactly what you ought to see.
to mislead you with false information about cavaliers' health problems.
We found a breeder claim on his website that "the leading health issue
of cavaliers is obesity." Unbelievable! And, we also came upon a
cavalier breeder's website that lists
only undescended testicles and umbilical hernias as the hereditary
health problems in the breed!
mixed breeds, such as "Cavachons" and "Cavapoos".
websites with generic names like www.PuppiesOnDemand.xxx or
members of either the CKCSC,USA or the ACKCSC. If the breeder
is not a member of one of these cavalier King Charles spaniel breed
clubs, they probably either are not serious about their interest in
bettering the breed or they have been expelled from one of those clubs.
to give you references when you ask for them. Ask the breeder
for names of buyers of his cavalier puppies and those buyers' contact
information, so you may ask them about the breeder. If the breeder balks
at this request, scratch him off of your list.
photos of other breeders' cavaliers on their websites. You
should want to see pictures of only the breeder's dogs and puppies --
not those of other breeders. And, if the CKCSs on their websites do not
look like any cavaliers you have ever seen before, their puppies
probably will look just as strange.
Better yet, consider adopting an abandoned cavalier. Check
out these cavalier rescue groups in the United States,
Canada, the United Kingdom, and
Ireland. Click here: