The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is an active well balanced little dog. It should be gay fearless & sporting in character & free in action. They make excellent children's companions always ready to Play & please.They are between 12-18lbs in weight & have a life span of about 10-12years.
Our lovely little breed comes in four colors ,Blenheim which is a rich chestnut on a pearly white background ideally well broken up with that lozenge on the forehead ,Ruby which is totally rich chestnut in color, Black & Tans a raven black with tan markings on the cheeks, underside of the tail, inside the ears on the chest & legs. & last but not least the Tricolor which is basically black & white with the same tan markings as on the Black & Tans.
Because we love this little breed so much we need to protect & screen all our breeding stock from known inherited diseases.
Our major concern with our breed is MVD (Mitral valve disease). Put simply this is where there is an early progressive degeneration ( aging) of the valves of the heart, whereby blood leaks back from the main pumping chambers into the smaller receiving chambers. As this worsens the heart can no longer compensate which can lead to heart failure. From our experience as little as it may be years 6-7 seem to be the danger years of first onset. And this is why through our Cavalier club we conduct annual heart checks of all our breeding stock. With vigilance we may eventually rid our precious breed of this problem.
Another concern is Cataracts / Retinal Dysplasia not a common occurrence though being able to be detected at aprox. 12-15mths of age with annual eye checks again conducted through our club all breeding stock is screened & this seems to be keeping this problem at bay.
Hip dysplasia is a disease with a genetic predisposition involving a polygenic mode of inheritance with the severity of expression being determined by an interaction of genetic & environmental factors .(Leighton Eaetal A genetic study of hip disp 1977) Like in all breeds especially the larger breeds Hip Scoring at about 18mths of age of breeding stock helps keep an eye on this problem.
Luxating patellas is also another associated problem in the breed with annual checking of breeding/show stockkeeping the problem at bay.
These problems do not seem to be of major concern in the cavaliers being a small breed. Vigilance is still a must to keep this problem to a minimum remembering that mild exercise ( especially swimming)& keeping the weight down on those greedy , desexed cavaliers also helps.
A new issue to emerge is Syringomyelia a condition where fluid filled cavities develop within the spinal cord . It occurs when the flow of the cerebrospinal fluid around the spinal cord is blocked & in the Cavalier occurs secondary to a small scull bone (occipital bone). Clinical signs relate to damage to the neck/spinal cord & scratching mostly when excited or on a leash is the most common sign. Affected dogs & potential carriers of this "disease" is widespread within the cavalier lines making vigilance in breeding to avoid doubling up on this genetic factor of vital importance. Once DNA testing becomes available this will be (as for mitral valve) so much easier to eliminate with time from our lines.
With the recent 2011/12 availability of DNA test for Dry Eye/Curly Coat Syndrome and Episodic Falling this will be a great tool for breeders to eliminate these problems.
It is important to understand that even if the sire and dam have been screened and found clear of any health problems, no breeder can guarantee that your puppy will never develop a problem during its life time. Screening lessens the chance and questioning breeders on health issues should not anger them. Not all breeders believe in all testing, or of having tests certified, they should not object to providing copies of any testing that has been done and will be pleased that you care about the health of your puppy.
Our aim is to breed healthy happy well adjusted little cavaliers that will bring many years of pleasure to their carers.
This is only a brief overview for those wishing to enrich their lives with this beautiful breed. To those who go this way we wish you all the joy & love this little breed has enriched our lives with.....Happy Cavaliering......