Monday, 25 March 2013

Well done the Cavalier Clubs

Now that's not something I write very often but in this case it's richly deserved.

The Cavalier Clubs Health Liaison Committee has written to the Kennel Club requesting that it refuses to register Cavaliers that could develop either of two distressing conditions: Episodic Falling and Dry Eye Curly Coat Syndrome.

The first is a neurological condition induced by exercise, excitement or frustration, causing the dog to become rigid and fall over. It looks like this:

Dry Eye Curly Coat syndrome, thought to be unique to the Cavalier, affects a dog's eyes and skin. Affected dogs produce no tears, making their eyes incredibly sore.

© Susan Jacobi

Additionally, their skin becomes flaky and dry, particularly around their feet, making standing and walking difficult. Most dogs born with the condition are euthanised.

The good folk at the Animal Health Trust developed a reliable DNA test for both conditions two years ago - both caused by simple recessives. A combined test is currently on offer from the AHT for £48 and many Cavalier breeders are now using it to test their stock. But not all. And with the carrier rate for EF estimated at one in five Cavaliers and DECC at one in 10 dogs, there's a clear need.

So this initiative from the Clubs is extremely welcome. Moreover, in the Club's request to the KC, it recognises the wisdom of continuing to use carriers so as not to further deplete the Cavalier gene pool.

Episodic Falling and Curly Coat/Dry Eye 
At the recent Cavalier Health Liaison Committee meeting, Clubs voted to ask
the Kennel Club to include all results from the EF CC/DE DNA tests in the
KC's registration system and in their Health Test Results Finder and
published by the Kennel Club in the Breed Record supplement. Furthermore the Club's requested that all CKCS that are not already heritably clear should
be tested for both EF and DE/CC prior to breeding and that at least one
parent of each litter is free of each mutation, to ensure no affected
puppies can be produced or registered.
The Club recognised the AHT's findings that it is perfectly safe to breed
with carriers, provided they are only ever mated to clear dogs and that we
should actively encourage breeders to include their carriers in their
breeding programmes so that the genetic diversity of the breed is not
compromised. The two mutations are inherited independently, so it is
perfectly safe for one parent to be a carrier of one mutation and for the
other parent to be a carrier of the other mutation, or for one parent to be
a carrier for both mutations.
The Cavalier Clubs would like to thank the AHT for carrying out this work
which represents the culmination of several years research that has been
funded by several Breed Clubs, individuals and organisations including the
Kennel Club Charitable Trust.
David Moger, Chairman Cavalier Health Liaison Committee 

So now the big question is: will the Kennel Club agree to the request?

The Kennel Club currently registers around 8,000 Cavaliers a year. That's well down from the 12,000 it used to register before Pedigree Dogs Exposed highlighted the breed's other even bigger health problems (syringomyelia and heart disease), but still a considerable revenue stream. And this is a breed popular with puppy farms and pet-breeders who often don't health-test.

Sure, the KC's Assured Breeder Scheme makes some demands of breeders (although not, astonishingly, that Cavalier breeders DNA-test for Episodic Falling or Dry Eye Curly Coat Syndrome despite the test having been available for two years. Actually, testing for heart disease and syringomyelia is STILL only a recommendation not a requirement under the ABS)

And it is true that the Kennel Club has put such restrictions in place for conditions of lesser frequency in one or two smaller breeds, such as the Irish Setter.

But to my knowledge the KC has refused requests from breed clubs representing numerically-large breeds for all registrations to be conditional on the proven health of the dog.

So this is a big leap.

Will we see the same tired old bleat of "but the breeders will go elsewhere... much better to not be too tough with them and keep them under the KC umbrella"? Or will they stand up for the dogs and in so doing send out a clear message that that KC pedigree certificate means something?

(Although of course in Cavaliers it's a bit of a moot point given that the breed is completely buggered and you'd have to be an idiot to buy one.)

Watch this space...


  1. Episodic Falling is reported in several other breeds (and their crosses); the hereditary link others is yet to be proven.

  2. I don't think it's even ethical to breed Cavaliers anymore, given their ridiculously high risk of heart disease and syringomyelia.

    I think they should give-up and start again.

  3. It's not even in the ABS as a recommendation. There is no chance in hell it would be a requirement for all KC registration.

    (If you are cutting and pasting from a PDF you can use a site like to help remove the line breaks.)

  4. "And this is a breed popular with puppy farms and pet-breeders who often don't health-test."

    I think that's the first time you've acknowledged that the puppies bred by pet breeders and puppy farmers are the ones that are UNlikely to be from health-tested parents. If you'd added that these also tend not to be registered, you'd be even more on the case. But then, isn't that exactly what people have been telling you for years?

    1. I believe you are right, I only wish local authorities who are charged with policing these unlicensed backyard puppy farms section out those masquerading as legitimate unlicensed hobby breeders.
      Given the ease at which these people flout the UK statutory law it's not at all surprising the poor state of the dogs in question

    2. You obviously dont watch too much tv I dont think the local authorities are going to have too much influence over dogs coming in from eastern europe sometimes without adequate vaccination against rabies,never mind health tests

    3. Mary you are absolutely right but the fact is that pedigree dogs are meant to be a mark of quality, these dogs should be better than the rest, you should have more piece of mind when you purchase one, it is the kennel clubs responsibility to ensure that the dogs they register are the very finest and come from health tested stock, sadly this is not the case they are not even close, they just want to make their millions.

      The puppy buying public have lost confidence in registered dogs and gives free rein to the pet breeders and puppy little to late but glad the cavalier club is opening it's eyes, maybe they didn't include syringomyelia in the request because that would spell the end for the breed....such a pitty it's a lovely little dog

    4. "The puppy buying public have lost confidence in registered dogs and gives free rein to the pet breeders and puppy farmers........."

      Yes, that's exactly the result of PDE that Jemima was told would happen (because of her focus on the KC and the world of showing rather than the majority of the producers who are puppy farmers and pet breeders) and she continually pooh-poohed the prediction that she was pushing buyers into their clutches.

      How I wish that Jemima had had better foresight and done a more balanced programme in the first place. By all means show the bad which is undoubtedly there, but you can make more impact by contrasting it with good practice, rather than simply give the message that all show breeders are bad, leaving the public thinking they have no alternative to the BYBs and puppy farmers.

      A real tragedy for so many more dogs.

    5. Mary, out of all the show Whippet breeders, only a handful breed for health. By that I mean they heart and eye test their stock, keep track of auto-immune diseases and heart problems in the different lines so as to avoid them, and keep the COI of their puppies low (less than 5%). These are the exceptional breeders and sadly due to their low numbers, they cannot meet the demand of the pet-buying public.

      All the other show breeders don't heart test, breed puppies with COIs higher than the breed average (9.7%) - many are >12.5% and some are >25% - and don't know which lines are contaminated with auto-immune diseases and heart problems. I don't see how these are any better than the BYB breeder? The pet breeders, btw, are the ones breeding puppies with COIs lower than the majority of show breeders, because it's virtually impossible to find a show bred Whippet that doesn't go back to Hillsdown Fergal.

      Do I think the BYB are better than the show breeders? No. But most of the show breeders are no better than the BYBs.

    6. I think you are missing an important point.

      The KC is an 'accredited body' who exists to set standards and set the precedent for professional practice. Or so a lot of people were mislead into believing....As Jemima's work has subsequently exposed, some fundamental flaws in breeding practices exist which the KC and some breeders still simply refuse to take seriously - the closed gene pools and selection for form, not function has, and continues to wreck breeds such as the CKCS. In the light of research, PDE and the dogs literally dropping to bits, you really would have to be stupid to purchase a CKCS.

      It's not a lovely breed anymore really is it? You are referring to its temperament and blindingly ignoring the health and welfare issues still very much at hand by bleating on about how 'lovely' it is. There is nothing lovely about watching a dog scream in agony, fall over without prior warning, or drop down dead at a ridiculously young age. As for the statement that 'nobody is interested in healthy dogs', it's difficult to know what to say about statements such as this other than some people shouldn’t be allowed to breed dogs.

      As for a 'balanced programme in the first place', Jemima stuck to her remit as far as I understand:

      - that inbreeding has destroyed vital genetic diversity and resulted in a serious disease burden in pedigree dogs;
      - that selection for "beauty" has led to conformational extremes that adversely impact health and welfare;
      - that Kennel Clubs/breeders have not done enough to tackle the problems despite overwhelming evidence that breeding practices have been damaging to dogs.

      If an organisation such as the KC can't get this right, how do you expect puppy farmers and downright unscrupulous people with a blatant disregard for animal welfare in the first place to do the right thing?

    7. Mary I have had pedigree dogs since I was ten years old, I have been involved in the show scene and I have seen very little good practice, what I have seen is lots of corruption and money making.

      My Yorkie came from a world champ, he had many health issues, he was so inbred it was unbelievable and that was considered the best thing to do????, this problem is not of Jemima's making it is the breeders and the show scene, fact! it is time they took responsibility for it.

      KC registered dogs should represent the highest standards in breeding, they do not, fact! Is that Jemima's fault? No it is not. When Martin Clunes did one man and his dogs (great programme) he said exactly the same thing "man had meddled and often not for the good of the dogs" but it was a message delivered gift wrapped and wouldn't have sparked the much needed changes but the message was clear for those who could be bothered to listen and take action.

      I feel strongly that whistleblowers should not be scapegoated and punished, what is a real tragedy is for some breeds where breeders are unwilling to embrace change the BYB may be a safer! I know for a fact that not all show breeders bother to test their dogs, they are not required to do so!

      PDE was great for all dogs, but as Jemima is such an advocate for health and welfare for dogs it would be good if she could produce a Puppy farmers exposed?

    8. Anon 10:18

      You say Jemima highlighted "that Kennel Clubs/breeders have not done enough to tackle the problems despite overwhelming evidence that breeding practices have been damaging to dogs"

      How much more highlighted would it have been if she'd also shown that some breeders WERE and still are doing all they can to tackle problems, by hip-scoring, MRI scanning, eye-testing, DNA testing, BAER testing etc etc, rather than totally ignore them and leave the public with the impression that NONE were?

      Because that's what I've been assured by members of the public I meet through my work. That ALL 'show' breeders are evil and uncaring and that the safe place to get a puppy is from a dealer or a pet breeder.

      The best way to highlight the bad is by comparing it with the good, and sadly that's what Jemima and PDA failed to do.

    9. Mary, your logic doesn't add-up. If the show breeders were health-testing their stock and only breeding from sound stock, then we'd see a marked difference in the health of show-bred CKCS as compared to those bred by BYB and puppy farms.

      This would be evidenced by having many CKCS show lines free of syringomyelia, MVD, DECCS and EF. And the breed wouldn't be in the state it's in, because there would still be plenty of healthy lines to use in breeding programmes.

      As it is, there aren't, which suggests the show breeders weren't health-testing!

    10. Mary, may I suggest that YOU and your colleagues put your money where your mouth is and get yourself out there to promote, as you say, the good work that IS being done. Jemima doesn't breed dogs. She is campaigning for reform.

      As for show breeders being evil, well I had my own opinion of people in this line of work well before I watched PDE. You can not blame Jemima for the pretty negative reputation that some people have of show breeders. People have their own minds and can form their own judgments. PDE set out in the best interests of canine welfare.

      And I am afraid, if you are suffering from 'innocent bystander damage' then you have your amoral show breeder colleagues to blame, NOT Jemima.

    11. Fran and Anon 13:57,I'm afraid that you're both falling into the same black-and-white mindset that PDE nurtured; there ARE show lines which have a marked lower-than-average incidence of syringomyelia; there ARE show lines where the dogs live well into their teens, so why not emphasise this and encourage buyers to search them out as opposed to promoting the defeatist "they're all doomed/buggered so don't bother" attitude.

      "Mary, may I suggest that YOU and your colleagues put your money where your mouth is and get yourself out there to promote, as you say, the good work that IS being done."
      We are ... even here!

    12. Mary, just get on with it then! Why should somebody else do what you think is the right thing to do?

      Defeatist? More like realistic......

    13. I'd happily support Mary's conviction that there are show lines with a lower than average incidence of syringomyelia; there are, and there are show lines with NO incidence of syringomyelia, as well as lines that have invested huge amounts of time in breeding dogs who reach the age of ten and are still heart tested clear. I would link to several breeders who maintain these standards and dogs but I don't feel it's fair to do so without their consent. Googling "cavalier breeders heart sm de/cc checks" might get you further worthwhile information.

      The Cavalier is a breed developed mainly as a companion, and it is the companion that is still worth trying to save, rather than tossing it aside and saying "this one's broke, Cap'n!" Responsible breeders are out there, and they are MRI scanning, they are having their Cavs inspected by cardiologists, they are DNA screening, they are holding on to past generations to continue to monitor their progress and ensure that future generations are safeguarded against the problems that have arisen in the breed.

      I find there is a discomforting parallel between dogs and humans here. Should we stop humans breeding because there is a history of arthritis, cancer, heart disease, Down's Syndrome, mental illness in their lines? Should we carefully screen to assess the potential risk to the offspring? Or should we only allow the absolute healthiest, clearest lines among us to pass on their genes to ensure the healthy development of our own species?

      Committed dog breeders apply these eugenics standards to their animals, not because they want to make money or have bragging rights, but because they want to continue the breed they have fallen in love with, and they want to make sure that they minimise, if not rule out completely, the suffering the animal may have to endure in the future. They are more devoted to the health and welfare of their dogs than many humans are to their children. Dismissing the breed entirely as a "bad lot" is a blanket that shows no interest in developing healthier offspring that can continue the good traits of the breed. And when we're done dismissing the Cavalier, there will just be another dog, and a dog after that, and a dog after that, until we have dismissed all pedigree dogs as unsalvageable because we can't see that we could save them with the right approach to breeding standards and healthy eugenics programs.

      The KC Assured Breeders Scheme is a step in the right direction in helping to prevent health problems with future irresponsible breeders, but the KC brand of health isn't enough on its own for anyone who seriously wants to maintain a healthy future for a breed. If that is the only criteria you'll look at then I'd say you're not committed. Seeing MRI scan results, cardiologist reports, DNA checks and of course the parents and grandparents of the litter is a much safer way of choosing your potential companion.

      Finally, education is so important in ALL dog breeding. When someone goes out to buy a puppy, they are unarmed and uneducated, they might stop by their nearest pet shop or puppy farm. They might choose a cavalier, pug or Labrador based on its smoochy cuteness and nothing else. When their dogs fits, suffocates or dies unexpectedly they won't know why. And that is where we have all failed; whether you're on the side of saving breeds with problems or the side of dismissing them, if people still go to puppy farms and purchase sickly mutts, we have failed.

  5. Good news and a step in the right direction.
    But I don't like to think that the breed is "completely buggered" and that nobody should buy one. They are such an attractive and delightful breed, that I have often been tempted to buy one - if I could find a healthy one. And what a challenge it would be to try and keep the breed going, even if this meant outcrossing and then breeding back. It cant be beyond the realms of possibility to find a reasonably healthy Cavalier that doesn't suffer from ALL the common problems, to outcross and breed away from identifiable problems but back to other reasonably healthy dogs. I would hate to see this lovely breed just abandoned and lost without even trying to save it

    1. Give it time, there is a chance. I'm still being optimistic. But by no means will I own a Cavalier until there is a M-U-C-H.. lower rate of hereditary illnesses that the breed suffers from. Outcrossing and outsourcingis is the only way to save the breed.

  6. With those two and heart disease and syringomyelia this breed is one sick puppy

  7. It's criminal what's been done to these dear little dogs - people have a lot to answer for!

  8. Good breeders are getting Mri scans done I am sure they will jump at these tests.The revenue from registrations is helping to fund the research that has provided these tests.The sad fact is you cannot protect people from themselves.Do we even have a clue as to how many Ckc puppies are sold every year compared to registrations.If even the casualties are registered it does at least give traceabilty and can in itself be a research be a research archive.We recently learned the KC are writing to all red setter owners investigating bloat.Our Cav died of heart failure at 11 after large weight gain we did not control properly after she was spayed. In the end all life is fatal

  9. good, no excuses to allow these conditions to continue now.

    When we did rescue we had a cavalier with episodic falling , it was the strangest thing to see , any stimulation at all would result in the stiff legged gait following by the paws over the back of the head & thrashing around, I have a video somewhere of him on the field and it looked just like a ghost had lifted him up in the air & thrown him.
    We found him a home with a large amount of land so he could potter about and not experience much new to set off an attack.

  10. Annie Macfarlane25 March 2013 at 18:45

    It would be worthwhile sending the same letter to DLRC...the "other" registration body that mainly deals with puppy farmed and back yard bred dogs. The DLRC say they do not deal with puppy farms and it would be interesting to see if they put their money where their mouth is if they refuse to register pups from parents who have not been health tested for these conditions. They register a huge number of CKCS with no questions asked.

    I hope the KC takes the advice of the breed club. As the breed club is supposed to be there to protect the breed....the KC should really be listening to them. Fingers crossed!

    I love this breed...such a delightful dog but the health problems associated with it as so heartbreaking it does seem wrong to continue in its current form.

    1. As you can make up the pedigrees when you register a dog with the DLRC and no records are kept you can make up any health results as well.

    2. As some have found out you can also make up the pedigrees when you register a dog with the KC as the records are given on the word of the breeder. That breeder can also make up the health results as long as the KC has not made them a requirement. Hence many are told 'there is no MVD in my lies . . . there is no SM'.

      Good on the Cavalier clubs for asking for the EFS and CCS DNA test results to be publicly available.

  11. (Although of course in Cavaliers it's a bit of a moot point given that the breed is completely buggered and you'd have to be an idiot to buy one.)

    Just the sort of remark we have come to expect from you Jemima! Even the video you have posted showing EF is an extreme case. I am told that in most cases the dogs appear to trip without even falling and then just carry on as normal. Surely it would have been more helpful to show a dog from the other end of the scale too. It is easy to diagnose illness in this extreme condition but could easily be missed in a milder case.
    I would also like to point out that CM/SM is not exclusively a Cavalier disease. Of the 29 Chihuahuas that have been MRI Scanned a massive 62% were found to have SM. It is also found in around 20 other breeds. Apart from Griffons, only Cavalier breeders have taken this condition seriously and many hundreds of dogs have been tested. Like all these other breeds the Cavalier Clubs were slow to respond as we truthfully hadn't seen dogs with symptoms in our own kennels and thought it must only be in certain bloodlines, which we now know is not the case. This is where Chis, Maltese, Yorkies etc are at the moment. Have they learnt anything from us? Probaby not to take the scanning route, as all that has done for our lovely breed is to attract the attention of scaremongers and fanatics like you.
    Would you suggest that people who buy one of the other affected breeds are also idiots?
    Sadly three quarters of all registered Cavaliers come from puppy farms and back yard breeders......and God only knows how many unregistered pups are bred!
    Dalriarch...There are many happy healthy and long lived Cavaliers out's just that no one is interested in them....they aren't such a good story for the likes of people like Jemima. So sad to watch her destroy this lovely breed!

    1. Jesus.........anon 19.52 blaming Jemima for destroying the breed, what planet are you on, seriously???? Breeders have been doing the most fantastic job all by themselves, it's the likes of Jemima, Margaret carter etc for not keeping quiet that may help this breed otherwise they would be bred to death.

      Without PDE highlighting these issues the same old breeding practices would have continued, the breeders would have carried on blaming pet breeders for all the problems, god damn you Jemima for peeing on their fire and bursting the KC've wrecked it for them all except the dogs maybe, maybe there is hope for them now!

    2. Anon 19:52

      ' So sad to watch her destroy this lovely breed'

      Wow. If you represent the people who are supposed to support the breed and actually understand the welfare issues, well it's no wonder they are ruined then. How are people like you even allowed near dogs I wonder? 'Our lovely breed'. Have you got exclusive rights to the animal? What an egostistical and downright ignorant post.

      Keep at it Jemima'. You still have a long way to go unfortunately.....

    3. Actually we are interested in the healthy dogs. I would much rather hear about a cavalier that is well into its teens with no MVD , SM , Glue ear or other condition. But there really arnt that many about & some people seem to think if they celebrate the healthy dogs it will make it more obvious that many other dogs are not healthy.
      & really i've owned this breed for nearly 30 years and its not jemima that has Destroyed the breed , They where losing popularity well before PDE as people do notice that they tend to drop dead with heart failure quite often.

    4. >Probaby not to take the scanning route, as all that has done for our lovely breed is to attract the attention of scaremongers and fanatics like you.

      So you think breeders in these breeds won't do the right thing for fear of being put under pressure? Don't project you and your ilks' lack of morals onto others. People like you are the reason Cavaliers got to this stage.

    5. "I am told that in most cases the dogs appear to trip without even falling and then just carry on as normal."

      I find this so offensive. I have seen cavaliers with EF and have owned them and if 'in most cases the dogs appear to trip without even falling and then just carry on as normal' why the need for all the research and investigation. It is a horrid affliction and extremely distressing for both dog and owner. Hurrah for the breeders that worked so hard for this research and for the researchers who have provided the opportunity to see the back of it.
      As you have obviously not seen it then I can tell you first hand after witnessing many 'Episodes' the video is not an extreme case.

  12. The Cavi in the US now ranks at 20th with the AKC registries, I believe.

  13. It wouldn't be hard to find homes for small outcrossed spaniels, especially with a guarantee that they are free of recessive disease (at least the F1s) I don't see the downside of improving the breed with outcrosses. Good for business, good for the public, good for the dogs. They're already descended from mutts, what heritage are you preserving?

  14. Ironinc when reading some of the anti PDE blogs. PDE has put itself in the firing line for know other reason than to highlight the really seriously dangerous health affects that have been caused by greedy breeders. The breeders have had years and years of uncontrolled breeding practices, totally self governing and the result is what we are talking about today.
    With all the research that is and has taken place in many ways it has been pointless. Humans can try and predict what will happen in the future but really we don't know for a fact what the outcome is going to be. The only fact we have is that if a dog becomes ill with what has been identified as an inherited disease historically, then that dog should be removed from any breeding programme. And if that unfortunate dog has been bred from before it became ill, then those puppies should not be bred from. That is the only way to stop any furtherance of illness. It can't be any other way. PRA in Irish Setters was allegedly "cured" and part of the breeding programme used carriers etc. But after all that effort the Irish Setter is now facing another form of PRA. This makes me very sceptical about the recommendation/suggestion that carriers can be used in a breeding programme safely. It just doesn't make sense. Eventually the problem we reoccur, there maybe a period of "health" but it will always be there and will reappear, however long it takes. In the wild a dog that is ill would be unable to breed on by natural selection and humans will have to start to accept this fact and stop causing such pain and distress and acting like God towards another species. I've had cavaliers and they are wonderful, it was some years ago, but even then breeders were talking about heart conditions, epilepsy etc etc.

  15. Margaret Carter26 March 2013 at 17:26

    Anonymous 25 March 2013 19:52

    "Like all these other breeds the Cavalier Clubs were slow to respond as we truthfully hadn't seen dogs with symptoms in our own kennels and thought it must only be in certain bloodlines, which we now know is not the case."

    Truthfully? I think not. It has become apparent that for many years successful exhibitors had been rehoming show hopefuls that scratched when they were put on a lead. When all Cavalier Club members were warned about the problem in 2003 many top breeders knew they had already bred dogs with SM.

    "This is where Chis, Maltese, Yorkies etc are at the moment. Have they learnt anything from us? Probaby not to take the scanning route, as all that has done for our lovely breed is to attract the attention of scaremongers and fanatics like you."

    Interesting in the earlier quote to see a Cavalier Health Liaison Committee spokesman admit that breeders were slow to respond. That is a first.
    Perhaps they may like to think what would have happened if they had "taken the scanning route" when the first low cost MRI scheme became available in 2005 and acted on the information to remove affected SM dogs from their breeding programme.
    The attention they would be attracting now would be that of admiration for owners that really put the future of their lovely breed first.

    "Sadly three quarters of all registered Cavaliers come from puppy farms and back yard breeders......and God only knows how many unregistered pups are bred!"

    God knows indeed, especially when even club health representatives are among those selling unregistered puppies.........Now that really is sad.

    I send out advice to people wanting to buy a cavalier puppy. Most of them report back that they cannot find any breeders that are following the health protocols for Mitral Valve Disease and Syringomyelia. These are club members knowingly breeding litters that will add more affected cavaliers to the gene pool. Tell me CHLC spokesman, why do you consider people like this any better than puppy farmers?

  16. Hi Margaret, anon's 19:52 statement that three quarters of all registered cavaliers come from puppy farms and back yard breeders .... etc etc. If that is a known fact and true statement what the hell are the KC doing registering these puppies? That is scandalous. If anyone knows who the puppy farmers are surely the KC should be told. If club health representatives are among those selling unregistered puppies, why haven't they been removed from the clubs and KC? "Club members knowingly breeding litters that will add more affected cavaliers to the gene pool etc" if anyone knows who they are complain, do something, don't just put the words on a page, shame them, get rid of them. They are damaging the love of your life, your dog, they need to feel responsible for the damage they are doing. This is exactly why pedigree dogs in general are suffering from these diseases, nobody will stand up and tell those who should and could do something about it, it's really time either individuals or groups of people express their concerns and name names. I don't know if anyone is aware of Sam the Irish Setter who suffered from epilepsy in Holland. His breeder denied that he had this illness in his bloodline, but Sam's owner proved in a court, otherwise. If breeders continue to be dishonest, there are young lawyers prowling around who will undertake cases on a no win no fee basis just to get the public exposure. It will be easy pickings, just as the breeders have had easy pickings for years, but this time it won't be the puppies who suffer, it will be the breeders. It is a tragic state of affairs for the dogs and for the genuine dog lovers who happen to show their dogs.

    1. Interesting - I suppose if there were enough plaintiffs..........

      Who would be sued? The KC or individual breeders?

    2. Hi 20:48 have you watched the Alliance for Dogs (video where they discuss the shambolic vet checks at Crufts) it was very interesting. A Mr Ogden who shows, I think Griffons, is also a solicitor. What he had to say about the affect on the owners of the dogs "disqualified", loss of enjoyment, damage to reputation, etc etc etc, would be very worrying if I was the KC. He implied that if the owners wished to, because the vet checks seemed to contravene what was written in the schedule "as a contract", he thought that if the KC offered an exgratia payment of say £500 or £1,000 they would get off lightly. He lists the page number and paragraph where it can be read, sorry I was so entranced by it I didn't note it down. But watch it and draw your own conclusions, I may have misunderstood the whole thing, it would be interesting to hear what you think. If we take that stance forward then breeders who refuse to admit an illness in their bloodline are leaving themselves wide open, as in Sam's case. Anyone who shrugs his case off as - it's in Holland it won't affect us - is unwise. Lawyers will know of the case as it was a first, it won't take them long to suck the bad breeders dry. The same will happen to puppy farmers, they can't claim hobbyist or whatever the ridiculous loophole is, so that no one can touch them. The KC have the registration details, they have a shrewd idea exactly how many puppies are being bred and by whom and what their annual unearned income is, somebody will swoop and they will have a feast and the KC will not be able to deny access to their computer basis. So in answer to your question "who would be sued" probably everyone who has been complicit in their claim "to be ignorant of any wrong doing". Only my view of course, Mr Ogden is a solicitor, he will realise that "Opportunity Knocks" he clearly loves his dogs and is very articulate and he will not want anyone interfering with their wellbeing. I am definately not advocating a witch hunt, or any unpleasantness, but people are people and whether one is the "suer" or the "suee" and feel that one had been wronged and one's beloved pet has suffered because of the breeders neglect, they will go for it. We all know problems crop up when breeding, that is sad and is just as shocking for the breeder, but the good breeder will never go down that road again, he will do everything to avoid a repetition. It is the breeders who know a problem exists and breed on regardless who need to review their position.

    3. Would that be the same Mr Ogden who was banned by the legal proffesion for selling Fred West's private doccuments to the Sun newspaper?

      Yes I bet the KC are really worried.

    4. Hi Anon 12:13, I'm not sure that Mr Ogden selling Fred West's (and I hope you don't support his destruction of all of those children) private documents to the Sun newspaper is relevant to the shambolic state of pedigree dogs. (I don't know if this is fact). PDE highlighted on a television programme, the massive health issues that are occurring in pedigree dogs. Consequently Canine Alliance has been formed and motivated itself to try and address the issues highlighted.
      Mr Ogden gave some considered sound advice, keeping the topic on line and was confident about the statements he expressed. (I don't know if your statement that he was banned by the legal profession is true - I will ask him and refer him to your blog). Whether the KC are really worried by Mr Ogden is irrelevant too, if that is what you mean. However, the points he raised are what should make the KC worried if the misinformation in the show schedules is incorrect. I did explain that I may have understood and assume from your comment that you have listened to the meeting as detailed above?
      Bringing the problem of health issues that are plaguing pedigree dogs presently, down to picking on one person's name is unnecessary and is a pathetic attempt to devalue other people's efforts of trying to help. It is very disingenuous of you. Perhaps you are one of the breeders who are churning out "sick" puppies and don't want your income stream interrupted and will stop at nothing to keep going for as long as possible, maybe to the point when you sell your last puppy of your chosen breed because all of the rest of them have died out?

    5. Um, I don't think the Canine Alliance was formed in recognition of the problems highlighted in PDE... It was formed primarily out of anger at the vet tests introduced at Crufts last year.


    6. Yikes! Anger at veterinary checks per se? Or anger that the vet checks are not rigorous enough?

    7. Hi Jemima, you quite correct, sorry. Reading my blog again I can see it would be read that way. But at the end of the day both PDE and CA are working towards a healthier pedigree dog for future generations to enjoy. For the best outcome everyone needs to pull together otherwise any attempts as small individual pockets will not work, but united the impact would be so beneficial for the pedigree dog. For all of us our common ground is the love of our dogs, whatever jacket they are wearing, and we should try and keep this in mind as the goal.

  17. Anon 10.37
    The two forms of PRA that segregate in the Irish Setter are genetically different diseases. They are clinically similar but are caused by different mutations that are inherited independently from one another. So breeding with carriers of the early-onset form (known as rcd1) has not caused the emergence of the late onset form (known as rcd4), that has emerged more recently. Breeding with carriers is a very sensible practice, especially when a mutation is common within a breed, provided carriers are only mated to dogs that have also been DNA tested and are clear of the mutation. All humans are carriers of around 50 recessive mutations, and there is no reason to think our dogs are any different. So breeding with a dog that carries a mutation we know about is really not so bad, provided its mate doesn't carry the same mutation and offspring aren't bred with until they have also been DNA tested.

    1. So are you saying anon 19:53 that it is just another kind of blindness? I guess I was confused because they are both identified as PRA but with different numbers. Thank you for your clear explanation. However, I am still unconvinced about the theory that carriers can be used in a breeding programme. Is it possible that PRA rcd1 itself mutated and become PRA rcd4, especially when the genetic pool in show Irish Setters has diminished so much. Having come across Canagan's story, on line, over the past few months I am not sure how committed some breeders are to eliminating health issues within the breed. "Provided it's mate doesn't etc etc" would not happen in natural selection but because some breeders are out to make money, they will be prepared to be reckless and take a chance. And I think it is this "chance" that is causing so much health misery in pedigree dogs in general.

  18. Margaret Carter26 March 2013 at 22:11

    Mary 26 March 2013 19:27

    How I would love to emphasis that there are show lines that have a marked lower-than-average incidence of syringomyelia.

    I would most certainly encourage buyers to search them out, in fact that is what I have been doing for five years. The problem is that puppy buyers just can't seem to find them despite numerous phone calls to breeders and to all the cavalier clubs' puppy list holders.

    I wonder why these breeders are so coy?

    Unless, of course, you are referring to the majority of breeders who still tell puppy buyers that they don't need to MRI their breeding cavaliers because they know they have no problems in their lines?

    1. If you contact the Cavalier Club co-ordinator in East Anglia you may have some luck. Some of the breeders scans have a long history and do show that there are lower-than-average incidences of syringomyelia. Around Cambridgeshire in particular.

      It is worth checking multiple times - just because one wasn't on a list at one point doesn't mean they won't be in the future. Another sign that many of these people are trying to be responsible is that they don't breed for litters as often as possible.

  19. There are quite a few Cavaliers around me who are aged 6 or over. The major problem they appear to have is being overweight, but only one has a health problem which is his heart.

    Maybe puppy farmers have unwittingly created a healthy Cavalier as these dogs are all KC registered, most come from one or two commercial breeders in the next county and I suspect they have Welsh Springer or Working Cocker in their background.

    This page states other breeds were used along with King Charles Spaniels to re-create the Cavalier. Maybe it's time more outcrossing was done?

    1. My friend's (show) cavalier died aged 15. Her current (ex-show) cavalier, from a different line, is 13 years.

    2. Other show Cavaliers are not so lucky. Freddie, a dog that battles SM, is from two show dogs listed as top in the UK in 2010. Scans were remiss in the pairing that made him. -!/pages/Freddie-the-Cavalier-King-Charles-and-his-Syringomyelia-Journey/191502210990426

    3. I also know of older kc reg cavaliers with no heart problems , they do however have ticking and rather cocker like ears and noses !

      My previous show bred cavalier died at 8 years ( she developed the murmer at 4 and the breeder said we where liars) my friends show bred cavalier died at 8 years.
      Our two Puppyfarm bred cavaliers are 11. One of them does have a grade 6 murmer but you wouldn't know & is not on medication.
      I expect any cavalier I own to have a heart problem by 5 years old. its rather sad that i'm shocked when they dont !

    4. "Maybe puppy farmers have unwittingly created a healthy Cavalier"

      Please, PLEASE be careful with comments like this. Whether puppies are healthy or not is not the entire point with whether or not we should buy from farms. When they are shoved in crates and carried across the country from their birthplace (so often Wales...) to wherever they're being sold and they are too young to leave their mothers, who are still being kept in appalling, filthy conditions, it doesn't matter if they turn out alright. Not supporting puppy farms is about trying to stop cruelty.

    5. I suppose it depends on your definition of a puppyfarmer. For some people the line seems to be wether you show or not.

      We rescued a dog from a top show breeder who had been kept in filthy conditions and had terrible health problems. But no one would hear a word against her as she had won lots of lovely rossettes.

    6. Report her to the RSPCA?

    7. And the KC and the breed clubs and anyone who will listen, make the woman feel so uncomfortable it will not be only us who despise her, she will come to despise herself.

    8. Yes, please don't just let her get away with it because she has a bunch of rosettes. They mean nothing.

  20. You know Jemima, you really are quite misinformed and do yourself no service by this claptrap;
    Currently, there is not even an official Kennel Club recognised scheme for either the curly coat or Dry eye DNA tests. I wondered why and so called the Kennel Club. I was told that many months ago they wrote to the Clubs and also the health coordinator to ask if they wanted the DNA test to be made a formal KC Scheme. They haven’t even received a single response.
    So now apparently the clubs want only tested dogs to be registered, yet thanks to the clubs there is still no test in place!!! The Kennel Club are hardly going to introduce such restrictions when they have no way to record the result. And in any event I would expect them to want a period of testing before they bring in such restrictions.
    As for your final comment in damning our breed, there are thousands of Happy Healthy Cavaliers all leading perfectly happy normal lives. Yes many may have an abnormality in their spine (CM) but live perfectly happy normal lives with absolutely no discomfort. Hopefully this will be bred out, but not by the Cavalier Club whose members have tested less than 20 dogs as part of the BVA scheme. It will be breeders like Mr Foote who will make a difference, and certainly not you whom would rather see the whole breed die out denying thousands of families the pleasure of our fantastic breed

    1. watching my last 4 cavaliers die from heart failure at under 10 years of age wasn't really a pleasure.

      There are other lovely breeds that don't carry the worry of SM & MVD. Please dont be so arrogant to believe that cavaliers are so fantastic that the health problems are worth it.

  21. Anybody watch Alan Titchmarsh this afternoon, he had a piece on his show regarding the health and welfare issues of some pedigree dogs due to years of inbreeding and breeding for looks his guests were the pug, the cavalier and the sharpei!!! For those with their heads still up their backsides is he wrong as well? spose he also requires a good bashing for trying to do the right thing for dogs.

    1. Whoever you are anon 15:50 you have a fowl mouth and you should be ashamed of yourself. PDE is a serious attempt to address health issues, not make unintelligent remarks. If you have an opinion on how health issues within pedigree dogs can be improved everyone would be pleased to hear from you, I'm sure.

    2. Anon 20:26 did you even bother to view the article before spouting your foul mouth off I wonder??? Humble pie anyone?

    3. I like Alan. He seems fairly well informed and experienced about dogs. Good or him for addressing the welfare issues. He also gave Cesar Millan a good grilling about his barbaric 'training' and behavioural adjustment methods last year. About time too.....

    4. Hi Anon 23:48 yes I have now got indigestion, please accept my apologies. Because of the way you had written your blog it was ambiguous (like mine was about PDE/CA and Jemima pointed it out). Because your use of words were a bit inflammatory I thought you were aggressive against this subject whereas you were passive in favour. Have a good weekend, don't eat too many Easter eggs..

    5. Anon 9:40......there was of course a hint of sarcasm in there aimed at those who care more about their winning tickets and those ££££££ than the health and well being of mans best friend. I say, thank goodness more people are highlighting the issues maybe then those who should be making a difference will extract themselves from their proverbials. Thanks for the apology though, much respect for those willing to say "oops got that one wrong". You also enjoy your chocolatty weekend.

    6. Hi anon 10:15 I deserved a slap!! Have you read the article that is going to be printed in tomorrows Sunday Express. Written by Dogs Today Magazine re Dangerous Dogs. It is very well written and informative. I learned about it because it popped up on my facebook.

  22. Margaret Carter28 March 2013 at 22:06

    Anonymous 28 March 2013 17:57

    "I would link to several breeders who maintain these standards and dogs but I don't feel it's fair to do so without their consent. Googling "cavalier breeders heart sm de/cc checks" might get you further worthwhile information."

    Well googling those words got me to, I presume you don't mean there, and Champdogs. Many of the puppy buyers that come to me have known enough to check out the breeders on Champdogs properly, not taking the 'Health Tested' claim at face value.

    Shame that the very few breeders that say they have MRI'd some of their bitches so often take them to untested dogs.

    Both parents should be tested, according to the breeding guidelines, to minimise the risk to the puppies

    1. Really? I just Googled that and got Champdogs but pets4homes didn't turn up until the third page. The other top results were cavaliertalk, thecavalierclub (though having seen some of their reps on the original PDE program hardly made them seem remotely pleasant), cavaliercampaign and cavalierhealth. That being said dependent on what you do with your Google ID, internet cache, cookies and history Google results can be tailored to the things you look at so individual results could easily vary.

      I've actually tried recently to find a good cavalier breeder and some of the East of England ones seemed promising (though I'll fully admit that we've not yet met with them to see certificates so promising may turn out to be disheartening). these people seemed very good though, they have MRI results on their website and promote The Companion Cavalier Club? To be honest though even the best breeders of cavaliers leave me feeling anxious because of how hard it is to trust anyone who might have an agenda in the breeding world. I love the cavalier breed but in spite of desperately wanting one and having done a ton of research on their various ailments and how to screen for them I'm still terrified that I'll miss something and will suffer heartbreak (as well as carry on promoting the demand for a breed that has problems).

      Sad how much something like looking for a puppy can increase the cynicism you feel towards your fellow man :(

  23. Margaret Carter28 March 2013 at 22:32

    Anonymous 28 March 2013 18:22

    "If you contact the Cavalier Club co-ordinator in East Anglia you may have some luck. Some of the breeders scans have a long history and do show that there are lower-than-average incidences of syringomyelia. Around Cambridgeshire in particular.

    Really? I don't think so. This sounds like the same misinformation that breeders have been putting out for years. If they only put as much effort into their breeding practices.

    I do know a couple of responsible hobby breeders in Cambridgeshire but on the whole the county is best known for vehement non-scanners.

    I imagine that is why the co-ordinator in East Anglia has never yet been able to direct the puppy buyers I know to breeders that can back up their health testing claims with valid certificates?

    I would be very interested to know how you are defining 'lower-than- average incidence' and even more interested in the age of the cavaliers when scanned?

  24. Margaret Carter29 March 2013 at 17:31

    I would really love to see the KC include all results from the EF CC/DE DNA tests in their registration system and for all puppy registrations to be conditional on the proven health of the parent dogs, but I suspect that will take years of negotiation.

    In the meantime as Anonymous 28 March 12:10 points out there is not yet an official Kennel Club recognised scheme for either DNA test.

    I checked on the KC website. There is no mention of DE/CC or EFS or the DNA tests tests on the Cavalier information pages. So buyers and non-club breeders will have no idea that these are health problems within the breed or that a test exists.

    So why have the cavalier clubs not responded positively to the invitation to add the DNA tests to the ABS scheme? Do they think that if they don't answer the KC will be forced into giving in to their request?

    Health tests should not be used as bargaining tools by breeders or the Kennel Club. Where do the dogs and the unwary people that seek advice from the KC website come into this? These tests have been available for two years. Why not add them to the ABS while negotiations continue?

    Anonymous 28 March 12:10 You are mistaken, CM ( Chiari Malformation ) is a malformation of the skull, leading to a mismatch between the amount of brain tissue and the space available for it. Nearly every cavalier has this crushing of the brain. SM( Syringomyelia )is the pocket of fluid within the spinal cord that progressively destroys nerve tissue. Studies show 70% of cavaliers will have SM by the time they are 6 years old.

    Can you call a dog with SM healthy? They may appear happy, but studies suggest that many owners are not very good at perceiving the signs of discomfort in their dogs.

    Jemima's last remark was not polite and I felt indignant when reading it, but I am reluctantly forced to admit there is a lot of truth in what she writes.

    I accept I am an idiot to be still trying to breed healthier cavaliers as I do now think the health problems in cavaliers will destroy the breed.
    There are so few cavalier breeders that are breeding without compromising on correct health testing, far too few to compensate for those that don't care enough to try.

    I would not want to deny families the pleasure of owning cavaliers, I have enjoyed having these fantastic little dogs in my life for over thirty years, but it is the dogs that are born to suffer a lifetime of neuropathic pain and it is their welfare that should be the main concern.

  25. Are you people kidding me ??? I have a top pedigreed bitch in Australia who has a English stud line. She has both mitral valve disease & EFS. Bless her little heart, she is a much loved family member & pet. Get you're dammed act together in terms of breeding to save both beloved dog & owner from the expense & misery of dealing with the inherit, cruel disorders !!!