Wednesday 13 March 2013

Keep calm

© Katy Price 2013 - but free to reproduce whenever... wherever...


  1. Making assessments of dogs' respiration

  2. Does this poster apply to CKCS and Syringomyelia disease?

    'If my dog has been diagnosed with Syringomyelia what are the options?
    No one can make the decision for you about what is best for your dog.'

    The above is the advice on the CKCSU UK club website. Why are they not advising neutering/spaying and to not breed from these dogs??

  3. Truthfully, the situation of syringomyelia is hopeless in the cavalier -- the prevalence is such that neutering all affected dogs is the same as getting rid of the breed -- with 90% of dogs showing the skull malformation and 50% affected by SM there's no genetic diversity to go to. There's no point in neutering stock when there's no healthier stock to breed *from*.

    And then you get to the shocking prevalence of cardiac conditions...

    This is a breed that needs to be deregistered, cross-bred extensively and reconstructed on a much wider gene pool with care not to go for tiny apple heads, care to preserve the maximum diversity within the breed and a sharp eye on the recurrence of health problems. Of course, if pedigree dog breeding were run this way, there'd be little need for 'Pedigree Dogs Exposed'...

    Pity, they're such cute and sweet dogs.

    1. An inconceivable notion on a realistic political/social level. That's like saying unisex restrooms should be installed to save money, in a public speech as a politician seeking some election. Political suicide.

      Same here, if a professional breeder did what you just said needed to be done, they'd instantly be taken off all major dog shows, and be taken off the breeding list. They'd never have a dog in a show again (directly, or through some descendant by another person who used one of their studs).

    2. "and reconstructed on a much wider gene pool with care not to go for tiny apple heads,"

      Proportionate to their size they have one of the largest skulls of any of the spaniel breeds.

    3. It's just a pity that the brain doesn't fit into the skull though Mary isn't it?

    4. 2 things Mary. The trivial: got a journal reference for that? The non-trivial: their brains still don't *fit*, which is what really matters.

      SkyArk, I agree that no *single* breeder can do it -- it's pointless for all the reasons you list. If the breed club, like several other breed clubs not stuck in the Anglo-crazy system, does so, it's a whole 'nother kettle of fish. Widening the gene pool is a necessary prerequisite, but it's not in itself sufficient: you also need consistent, enforced selection criteria and you need a club to do that. The public would love it: there would be people lined up to the back of beyond to help raise, test and report these 'special' pups if it's sold as a conservation project.

      It's doable, there are many excellent examples from other dog breeds and from the world of livestock breeding and in a decade you'd see unbelievable improvements in health and longevity. If the breed club modifies the standard for less extreme conformation, it'll be even better, but now, now that's asking for too much... :)

    5. If you start breeding for bigger skulls then you get into the realms of whelping problems, where the pups' heads are too big for natural birth, and of course nobody wants them to go down that route. So what to do - breed for smaller brains?

    6. Accept you've come to the end of the line, the breed has been ruined and deregister the breed. If you've got whelping problems, what does that tell you? Can't see that happening though. People have too much invested to lose financially.

    7. I am always amazed and continue to be that people seem to have the "solution" but refuse to do anything about crying that "others' shroud do what they say and the problem would be solved.
      no one HAS to breed a pedigreed dog. no one HAS to show a dog.. or even register one.. Second.. you seem to have the solution that you think will work. so what is stopping you?

      "This is a breed that needs to be deregistered, cross-bred extensively and reconstructed on a much wider gene pool with care not to go for tiny apple heads, care to preserve the maximum diversity within the breed and a sharp eye on the recurrence of health problems. "

      so go for it.. I would love to see your progress.

    8. Meh. Have you ever criticised the KC? Maybe you should open your own registry. Criticised PDE? Make your own BBC documentary then. Criticised this blog? Write your own blog then.

    9. It's not a small head/big brain issue it's a malformation of the skull. It isn't possible to breed away from SM just by assessing skull conformation or it would be easy to do. Even with CT there is poor correlation between symptoms and degree of malformation which is how perfectly normal dogs have gone on to produce such broken pups.
      Can the CKCS be saved? I hope so, they are nice dogs. The irony is that they were developed when the KCS was deemed to have become too deformed to be healthy!
      There are lots of healthy CKCS in pet homes which are over breed standard size or don't have ideal markings. There are many non-KC reg healthy CKCS. As a vet I see less and less with heart problems. The breed faces a tough future but it isn't hopeless.

    10. Well done to Anonymous 15 Mar 12.06, I aplaud your attitude. And there are 100% SM free cavaliers out there - it might take a degree of resignation for breeders to use them (due to not necessarily being show type)in a show breeding programme, but if that's what it takes to save our breed then I for one will be doing it. Whatever it takes, we don't have to lose our beloved cavaliers if we keep our heads and apply common sense and remember Rome wasn't built in a day. CD

  4. Here in Finland they've started cross-breeding with Kromfohrländers. F1 has already been registered to Finnish Kennel Club's ER-register (Special-register). They mix standard poodle in Länders to make the gene-pool wider.

    There would be still hope for Cavaliers if the cross-breeding started.... now.

  5. Without outcrossing, Cavaliers are through as a breed. The heart problems are devastating, along with the head problems, and there are not enough healthy dogs to breed from.

    1. And yet people are still breeding, and still buying these dogs.. Its sad, because they ARE friendly, nice dogs. Its a shame the problem was allowed to escalate to the scale it is now at

    2. Keri, I agree completely. It's heartbreaking. They are probably the sweetest, friendliest dog out there, and their personality is very well-suited to so many people who just want a loving pet who is happy to go on a walk or play a quick game, but isn't overly demanding and loves to cuddle.

      There are other, similar small spaniels so if the breed club decided to do an outcross scheme, they should have healthy stock to choose from. Start out with cavaliers on one side, mix in some Papillons, English Toy Spaniels (I think they are called King Charles Spaniels in the UK), and a few smaller field-bred cockers (which are more dependable in temperament) on the other, and do it on a large scale to avoid a new bottleneck. Within a couple generations you should be back to breeding true.

      EVERY breed started out with a mix, and now it's considered heresy to attempt to mix for even two or three generations--- which is about 6 years, 10 if you want to wait til the dogs are three to breed from.

    3. Just think if this outcrossing breeding programme had started after PDE aired cavaliers would be over half way there!!!! Sadly though they are still is the same sorry state, deeply saddening for such lovely little dogs.

    4. 'mix in some Papillons, English Toy Spaniels (I think they are called King Charles Spaniels in the UK)' - unfortunately SM is found in both these breeds, so they wouldn't be much help in eradicating the disease in Cavaliers.

    5. Anon 23:02: the disease EXISTS in those breeds, but is rampant in the CKCS. I'm also pretty sure the other small spaniel breeds don't have the problem where 90% of their dogs have heart disease.

      It is estimated that about half of CKCS's have SM. The other breeds? Well, no one is quite sure, and why is that? "The incidence in other breeds is unknown since only isolated cases have been reported."

      If there are far fewer dogs affected in those other breeds, than it would be a huge help. And again, the heart issue has to be considered. If the cavs were just trying to breed away from one major problem with early onset it might be doable, but there are two huge problems that impact a majority of dogs. How do you find breeding stock that is clear of both, when 90% have heart problems? It's not possible; the gene pool would be too small.

  6. Cavaliers are a very "young" breed. In the 1920's an American was disappointed that King Charles no longer had the long nose he had seen in paintings so at Crufts he offered a reward (£25) for the first breeder to breed an "old type" king charles. Within ten years the two founding dogs were chosen and are the sires of all the Cavaliers we see today. Its not hard to see why they have all their problems. The solution seems obvious. No more suffering. Stop breeding cavaliers. Go back to the King Charles, improve its health and conformation.
    Enough suffering. Enough mitral valve disease. Enough dogs being put to sleep to prevent them drowning from pulmonary oedema. Enough Syringomyelia. Enough pain. Enough of this obsession on purity. Give the dogs their health back. I certainly would prefer dogs who looked more varied and lived longer. I wish I had had more time with my Cavalier, I don't care what she looked like. We may love a breed, but its our individual dogs and their personalities we ultimately love. I love my heinz 57 no less than I did my cavalier.

  7. I feel I need to comment and what I say will not be popular but I feel that being a pet owner of a severely affected cavalier with syringomyelia, I disagree with some of these comments. I have gone through emotional hell seeing the first dog I owned and loved more than words can describe have such pain in her eyes. I am not heartless but I do advocate strongly for cavalier health so my first statement may shock some.

    Spaying and neutering all cavaliers found to have SM is a huge mistake. People seem to forget that the agreed upon breeding protocol allows for certain cavaliers with mild SM to be breed (older than 5) and breed to the cavaliers that have other criteria. Like someone mentioned the breed does have Heart issues MVD and eliminating one because they were scanned older but have very good heart lines is not what I would choose.

    Why would people still buy cavalier puppies? You don't have to but I know going in that it will take me a lot of research to choose the puppy from a certain breeding and I would even consider one from a mating with mild SM (over 5) especially if there is mild CM. Yes shocking. I know there are no guarantees but I am sure I would choose a breeding that was breeding for health. Also, I would not just base things on the MRI because unfortunately there can be some good results (no SM) but symptomatic.

    Those who feel the breed is over that is fine. I'm not going to get into genetics but if something is done in the future, I hope it is done very carefully

    To the person who said cavaliers should go back to king Charles is the worst thing we could do. They have quite a few (if not worse) problems than a cavalier.

    I hate this condition and I wish there was an easy answer but for me it is to follow what researchers have set out for breeding protocols, support breeders who are contributing to research and health and know that I still may go through heart ache again no matter how good or healthy the parents are. Yet, I could choose another breed and yes even a mix, that some health condition could happen.

    So I'm ready for people to say I'm cruel but I don't feel that way. I have spent 3 years consumed with this condition and cavalier health. You don't have to support my decision but whatever the future holds PLEASE don't go back to king Charles or say that a breeder is cruel for breeding a cavalier with mild SM. It might be better than young cavaliers 2 1/2 that may not have it when they had their MRI but both could at 5 and more severe.

    1. You talk about breeding, yet don't want to get into genetics, then say that you carefully choose ones for health? I'm not sure how this adds up in your mind. Obviously SM isn't the sole indication of health, but when a dog's skeleton simply cannot give its own brain space to function, something is seriously wrong, in both genetics and health, and should be a strong consideration when attempting to breed from one that does have it. But as others have said before, there just may not be enough that DON'T completely have it their genes, even as a carrier, as the sample-size is too low to get out of its own population bottleneck.

      In nature, at least several hundred individuals are needed to be both stable in form, and have a healthy diversity of genes, but that is obviously confounded by human social pressures to inbred (as in not necessarily bloodline-related, but of so close a genetic match, it might as well be) them manually mate in every generation.

      For this reason, you have to breed those with SM at some point, if you don't want to breed with mongrels (who are for more healthy percentage-wise). But your opinion seems to assume perfect health if bred right, which is impossible. There are very few guarantee at the breed-level of genetics, but correlation does matter in binomial distribution, which DOES count drastically in the long-term for health improvements to a breed overall.

      By saying it doesn't matter much, you stagnant the process by refusing moral implications of intentionally giving form to life that you know with strong chance, to be very sub-standard relative to even other species with far lower absolute numbers in the wild (yet are largely extremely fit despite no human intervention). Do you see the irony?

      So yes, although spraying those automatically with SM will higher the chance of the cavaliers dying out faster, it is the moral equal to spraying strays, because you know mutts won't have homes, when so many already litter the streets (despite largely successful programs to stop it, it still definitely exists). Just end the breed already. I'm not saying to kill them, but just stop the pain by making every generation worse. Even if none were sprayed, they'd die out, but at a much slower, far more painful way, litter after litter, after litter, as the decades pass and the health bills soar.

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    3. Anon, I understand your feelings, I really do. I suppose what I would want everyone to consider is that what we call a Cavalier is just an artificial construct beause at some point less than 100 years ago we drew an line, said "these dogs over here are Cavaliers, these dogs over there are not" and from there forward bred only from those dogs.

      Then WWII happened, and there were only 6 dogs left in the country that were considered CKCS.

      And from THAT tiny little gene pool, we've constructed a breed.

      I'm not advocating eliminating the breed. I AM advocating a thoughtful outcross program to help reduce the incidence of some of these tragic illnesses.

      Let me put it another way. If a backyard breeder accidentally bred an entire litter of pups who had heart problems, because she didn't bother to test, many show breeders would be outraged and call the breeder no better than a puppy mill, someone who doesn't care about dogs or the breed or anything but money.

      BUT if a Cavalier breeder intentionally breeds a whole litter with heart problems, because, well, just because we all know Cavaliers have heart problems, she is held up as a responsible breeder. Why? Because she shows and supposedly is trying to "better" the breed because she tests. But those tests show that 90% of the dogs have the heart problem, so then what?

      If it is morally wrong to accidentally breed a dog with health problems because of carelessness, what of the breeder who intentionally breeds a small boatload of dogs with health problems just because that is how it's done?

      With breeds who have a slightly increased risk of certain problems due to genetics and environment, that is one thing. But with a breed who is virtually guaranteed to have a serious health problem just because all the dogs we have closed in this artificial loop have this health problem.... well, that's a morally problematic issue. Especially when the solution is so easy: open a stud book that is closed by politics, not because of science.

    4. Many years ago I had cavaliers and they were fab little dogs. In the 70s is when the heart problems started to appear as did epilepsy and I was astonished that breeders were churning puppies out regardless. Heartbreaking. What is the health situation with Beagles? Because if they were healthy they could compliment Cavs, colour, shape, expression and size compatible with each other. If the beagle is "sick" too then obviously stupid to do it - is it a silly suggestion?
      I have noticed a lot of cavs around recently and they are aged 5,6,10,13 and have all been apparently healthy. Is it just the shown cavs that are sicker? Sorry to put in my penneths worth when I don't have any right to do so.

    5. Please don't apologise for caring and contributing to a valid discussion. Your anecdotal evidence is really interesting and important. I also have noticed a really big Cav on our walk recently - from a distance I thought he was a springer. He is 5 and healthy apparently. 1 in 10 dog's have to be healthy?

    6. I was amazed by the little king charles in the toy group at Crufts this year. The improvement from when I knew them was astonishing. He was happy, he could move and wag his tail at the same time, he could clearly see his boss because he kept looking up at her. If he is typical then improvement can be made by those who want to do it for the benefit of the breed. I was really impressed by him, obviously!! But the Kennel Club UK must be proactive and it seems to me that they are found wanting in some many areas, I fear that further disregard to the shouts of people who care is going to backfire one day. The painted boxers, the neomast who seemingly couldn't stand but was placed, the farcical vet check of HPBs makes them look ridiculous I could go on and on and on. They have the power, the control, they should have the concern and they should be seen to use all of them to the benefit of the dogs.

    7. We must be a big family Anonymous!! I'm your synical sister!! Thanks for your reply. I showed Irish Setters for nearly 40 years and stopped when I realised what was going on. To say that breed is in a similar situation to the cavalier is an under statement. But all breeds will reach this junction because the KC don't appear to be taking control. They are short sighted, happy with the income stream they currently receive, but it will start to reduce because there will be less pedigree dogs because they died from preventable diseases, which they could have legislated on. The English Setter is now off the endangered list, for how long, because as far as I can see there are only one or two kennels who are breeding, registering and the numbers have increased, but stupidly those registered are so closely bred the actual genetic pool is still compromised, just like the cavalier. The professional, paid, employees of the KC who are there because of their excellence are in fact just paid members of a club because nobody seems to be doing anything constructive, oh apart from producing Crufts and that takes their energy from one year to the next.

    8. There are an awful lot of breeders on here who seem to be unhappy with the KC. Why not join forces and lobby?

      The KC set breed standards, but how do they audit and monitor these? I don't breed dogs personally so it is easy for me to sit here and type away, not understanding that in practice it must be difficult to break away from an institution such as this. But from my own profession and life experience, if you know a problem exists and you don't do anything about it, then you are equally culpable. Doesn't dog breeding require regulation if it is a welfare issue?

    9. @Beth 14:23

      Great post!

      I seem to recall Prof John Bradshaw saying that every single Golden Retriever that exists in the world today can trace it's ancestry back to a single dog in Victorian England - a point mutation that resulted in a golden coat as opposed to a black coat. Genetic variation is the key to evolutionary success, yet despite the knowledge being out there, people keep on inbreeding.

    10. "Anonymous15 March 2013 22:06
      I was amazed by the little king charles in the toy group at Crufts this year."

      He's not really a King Charles though , He's a Cavalier with a smushed face.
      Perfect for those Cavalier people who are moving in to the KCS Breed as there is no pressure to screen their stock for anything at all.

      My King Charles died of SM a few years ago ( & guess which kennel he was from ..... ) I wont be having another.

    11. Hi 18:24, In essence I agree with you but what I was trying to say is that KC breeders realised that their breed was failing dramatically, accepted it and have tried to rectify it. If this little KC at Crufts is typical then they have made huge strides to improve the breed and whilst it isn't a breed for me I can see the improvement. When I was aware of them, there were very few and those were cripples, dreadfully sad.
      It's always extremely sad to lose, too early, a dog that you have loved and nurtured and my heart goes out to you. Sorry. Synsis

  8. To be fair I suggested improving the king Charles, out crossing it. I cannot support people who want to protect a breed for the sake of the breed. Some serious out crossing is needed now.

  9. Anon 00:12 i personally think you are very naive and rather ignorant. Your emotional attachment to the breed of dog clouds your logic and judgement in my opinion. You are acting in Your own personal interests as opposed to what is best for the welfare of dogs. Stop making excuses for why breeders shouldn't do the right thing. Where is your evidence that King Charles Spaniels have 'worse' diseases than the CKCS? There is so much sensible advice here from people who seem to genuinely care about the welfare of all dogs, not just individual breeds. Yet the CKCS club who you would expect to be taking the lead here seem to have their senses shut down to the reality of the situation and how to proceed. However, people who are pragmatic and accepting of change will see this situation for what it is. A disgrace.


    Could not agree more! I have a mutt and she is fabulous - i can't ever see me buying a dog. Adopting rescue mutts requires some behaviour modification sometimes but the beauty of it is that all dogs have the capacity to learn and adapt. It is a fabulously rewarding thing to do. As for what they look like, that simply isn't important to me. Each dog is an individual and like humans, you accept them for who they are.

  10. I am not sure if this is the same person that said we should go back to the King Charles but I will answer.

    "Where is my evidence that King Charles Spaniels are "worse"?

    That was a vague statement and I apologize because I made it on assumptions. I can not show numbers because when I try to search for research it just talks about Cavaliers. I just can't see having a flatter face helps this breed. The fact is that King Charles Spaniels are also listed as having SM so going back to them would not help the situation. There has been much more research done on Cavaliers. If you go by what Mr. Foote wrote:

    "The fact is that of the 29 Chihuahuas so far scanned under the BVA/SM scheme, 18 scanned positive i.e. 62%, so there is a very great chance that some of their unscanned dogs are affected."

    Just because the breed has not had as many scanned does not mean that unscanned dogs are not affected. King Charles also are known to have heart issues and other neurological conditions. I personally do not think a flatter face dog is where the breed needs to go.

    You can call me naive or ignorant all you want and I do need to learn more everyday but I do not think it is ignorant to want to know as much about a breed. I apologize for saying a vague comment without having data to back it up.

    I am in complete agreement that clubs need to proactive and really facing this. I do care for the well fare of all dogs but if people feel and (I may too once I think we know more about the condition) that we need to outcross I agree with Beth and it has to be done in a very thought out way.

    1. It is really encouraging that you acknowledge the urgency in addressing this welfare issue, however, sometimes one has to let go of something and start again. If these dogs cease to exist as a breed, rest assured their genes will exist in the domestic dog generally! Getting attached to the aesthetic of a breed isn 't healthy. SkyArk's post at 09:07 - beautiful.

  11. Anonymous 9:51 (getting like a spy network!) I'm your synical sister. Re the lobbying, I would agree but it wouldn't work. The reason? Because the only collective large numbers of dog people who know anything about the KC are dog breeders/competitors and if they revolted it would be effective but the majority are so locked into making money from the puppies they produce and to enable them to charge premium prices they have to show their dogs and win. To show and register their puppies they have to conform with the KC who has absolute autonomy and the breeders will cheat, lie and misrepresent themselves to the KC and when the KC are informed they too turn a blind eye because they need the income stream from puppy registrations, show licenses, club memberships etc etc. The KC will patter around and huff and puff but as we've seen on this site they don't follow through. So it becomes a blocked pathway. To those of us who have no interest or benefit from breeding/showing have a very small voice if not a whisper when confronting the "whole pedigree dog scene". We would be trampled underfoot before we could shout "ready steady go". It's like all things in life, medics, law, politicians etc etc etc, they know what is going on, they know which of their brothers is mal-practicing, but if somebody from outside the camp points the finger at that brother, they close ranks and protect, each other despite really despising the brother. Because at the end of the day, money is the god and nobody, but nobody is going to jeapordise their living. And so it is with dogs. If the KC were not located in such a prestigeous building in the centre of London which must cost millions, think how that money could be better spent on the welfare of ALL DOGS, not just pedigreed.The research into health, medication, welfare centres, my goodness it would be so beneficial to the whole. But no, they sit in their glory, supping expensive coffees (which dog breeders probably pay for) all having a jolly good time thinking of new ideas for Crufts like flyball, agility, junior handling etc (and I am not criticising these pastimes) because they can charge more money for little effort and bask in the additional takings. Told you I was synical didn't I - sorry!!

    1. Anonymous 16.33;

      You are under a number of misapprehensions;
      1. “The majority are so locked into making money from the puppies they produce and to enable them to charge premium prices they have to show their dogs and win.”

      WRONG. The vast majority of dog breeders are hobbyists and lose money on their dogs. The progeny of top winning show dogs usually sell for no more than then average puppy. It’s an odd situation but often the more poorly bred animals are bred by the puppy farmers who charge more for their puppies. You will often pay far more for a Labradoodle, cockerpoo, or Shih-whatever than you will for a carefully produced pedigree dog

      2. “IF The KC were not located in such a prestigious building in the centre of London which must cost millions, think how that money could be better spent on the welfare of ALL DOGS, not just pedigreed”.

      WRONG: Thanks to some very wise decisions made many years ago, the KC is just about to cash in on their building and as a result will receive £12M which is destined to be given back to the world of dogs. The KC is a non-profit organisation and all its profits go back into dogs via its trusts. The KC do care about all dogs including Cross breeds (a fact that their most ardent supporters often don’t get) and have registered cross breeds for many years and many KC activities including agility and the good citizen training scheme (the largest training scheme inn the country BTW) and of course the KC will accept breeders of cross breeds into their Assured Breeder Scheme and of course have access to their health schemes.

      3. The research into health, medication, welfare centres, my goodness it would be so beneficial to the whole.
      Er…. Who is the largest contributor to canine genetic research in the UK? The Vets organisations? The Dogs Trust? The RSPCA? No actually it’s the Kennel Club. Oh and whilst you are at it who don’t you look at the income of these organisations. If you do you will see that the KC has around 10% of the income

      4. But no, they sit in their glory, supping expensive coffees

      ????? I think you are getting confused. The coffee in the KC is free if you are invited in for a meeting. But there is a Starbucks on the corner of Clarges street. Maybe you mean that.

      5. (which dog breeders probably pay for) all having a jolly good time thinking of new ideas for Crufts like flyball, agility, junior handling etc (and I am not criticising these pastimes) because they can charge more money for little effort and bask in the additional takings.
      Well yes that’s partly right. The registration fees that the KC charge do provide the income for all KC activities. But with the exception of registration fees most of the KC activities actually run at a LOSS!! The KC use the money from registrations to support all these other activities: Shows, Agility, Field Trials. Health Schemes, the Assured Breeder Scheme

      6. Told you I was synical didn't I - sorry!!
      No need to apologise. You are simply misinformed.

    2. Anon 16:33 Synsister. Yes, it's like MI5 on here. Or MI6 is probably more appropriate.?

      I'd say more realistic than cynical. I love a pragmatist, 'cos that is what you have to be at the end of the day. No point in being idealistic is there when the system that exists is protected by the people whose interests it serves.

      However, the thing that fascinates me is that these people who head up the KC and are the spokespeople for their organisation seem utterly clueless about the impending doom ahead. The defensiveness of some breeders just speaks volumes. It's like some sort of weird cult. In my opinion, any organisation who is not open to criticism and doesn't want to improve and progress has to be suspect. The vet checks at Crufts seem like lip service really. Hardly thorough are they? And there are clear conflicts of interest as discussed. The Scandinavian countries seem to be a bit better than us at this - the Swedish KC seem quite sensible in comparison and have welfare at heart. Who audits the KC in Britain? Are they really a complete entity in that regard?

      It's weird and creepy.

    3. Sad though isn't it, it should be thus Anon agent 21:25!
      I know life isn't idealistic, there is always sickness, death, sadness, I accept that. But what I can't accept is that humans who are placed in positions of trust and well paid for that privilege deny their responsibilities. They appear to go through the procedure to be seen to be doing the right thing but when it comes to finalising the procedure they back off. They are complacent, far too complacent, they seem to just want to get through their "period of duty" with minimal fuss and unpleasantness and hope that their "follower" will take the flack. I'm afraid that your comment about it being a weird cult and weird and creepy makes me shiver because it is too near the truth. Audit the KC, now that would be a brave person to undertake such a task, phew! Synsis.

    4. Anon 20:31. You are joking about the amount of money being generated by breeders aren't you! I am astonished that breeders are allowed to register 5 litters pa. 5 litters, disgusting. All of those puppies released on the open market in a time when cruelty, overloaded rescues centres, neglect is so high. The small breeds have smaller litters, sell for more, but proportionately are less expensive to rear and keep as adults. Larger breeds, larger litters, sold for less, proportionaly more expensive to rear and keep as adults. So a toy breed 4 puppies, £700 per puppy £2.8k, large breed 10 puppies, £600 per puppy £3k. And if these people have the 5 litters pa I think that that "unearned" income under the title of "hobby breeder" is a very healthy income stream, don't you. No sorry, don't come back with breeding is "loss making". And then, of course, if one wants to take the view that they have to breed the puppies because they have outgoings, show entries, insurance, food, accommodation, vets etc etc the one could then suggest that a business is being run. Why? Puppies become stock, stock has to be replenished because of demand, which then becomes supply and demand, doesn't it? Then isn't that like running a business? Puppies for profit, profit from puppies. No, don't go there because then the title of hobbyist becomes utter nonsense to be surplanted by businessman which then opens the little can of worms about whether properties owned by the breeders are correctly insured, monitored, local authority involved, inland revenue notified etc etc. And to fall into this trap means that puppies will be bred from animals, like the subject of this topic, Cavaliers, regardless of any health issues those poor bitches and stud dogs may suffer with. I am absolutely, and for the avoidance of doubt, not implicating every single dog breeder, but there will be a hardcore who act recklessly in pursuit of money. Synsis

    5. A person breeding 5 or more litters requires a Local Authority breeding license as they are classed as a commercial breeder. Such breeders if they wish to KC register their litters have to provide proof of this license. The vast majority of litters (I have seen 98% quoted)registered with the kennel club are from breeders who breed four or less litters, and the majority breed one litter or less per year. As the majority of breeders keep their dogs as a hobby, few could find the time, let alone money to breed more often than once a year or so, as rearing a litter of puppies is a lot of work over around 3 months.

  12. You see the lady who says it is ok to have mild SM. Does she know how SM feels? Have her dogs told her? I know how draining it is to have a migraine attacks. I know irritating it is to have a sore head. Can you imagine what it must be like to have such a horrible thing as SM? It must affect every part of one's being, every day. No, sorry it is too cruel to allow it to continue. They thought that PRA was eliminated in Irish Setters and were patting themselves on the back about how clever they had been and then what, oh, up pops another form. They used affected stock, sparingly, but it was still present and just mutated to similar but more effective damage wise. I don't think in nature that would be tolerated. If you can't see, you don't eat then you DIE. If you feel too ill to eat and function and run with the pack, you are excluded from the kill and you DIE. These illnesses are not just words on the page, they are painful, debilitating, cruel, diseases that man has inflicted on another species simply because he can, we act like God when pairing dogs and smugly sit back and then when it goes wrong we scout around for someone to blame. Futile. The real stockbreeders of yesteryear who bred for function because they needed the stock to live, knew that to breed a sick animal was worthless, it would jeapardise their own well being and that of the stock. They knew a thing or two, a pity we don't have them today, they probably made a mistake once, but never ever repeated. If they had, then we would have no pedigree stock, whatever species, here today. Synsis

  13. Margaret Carter16 March 2013 at 21:09

    The guidelines allow breeders to use older cavaliers that have mild asymptomatic SM, although I wonder just how many breeders are in denial about just how symptomatic some of their quiet 'couch potatoes' are.

    What I cannot reconcile in my mind is that although the guidelines may allow a bitch with mild SM to be mated, what breeder,if he/she cares for their dog, would put a bitch with a pocket of fluid that is destroying the spinal cord tissue through a whelping.

    If excitement or a bowel movement can cause a painful rise in pressure then how excruciating the neuropathic pain must be for a bitch straining down when in labour.

    1. Spot on Margaret, the cavaliers I had back in the 70s were out everyday with the Setters, they teased and taunted the pony, they were first in the pond, they kept the grounds clear of squirrels, crows and phessies. They were alive and boy they enjoyed life. They say setters are bonkers but not as much as their owners, my cavs were the same. They were delightful. I'm afraid that your comment "quiet couch potatoes" says it all, they are probably conserving their energy to just get through the day. Terrible. Yes, they probably do wag their tails because they are sweet natures and want to please. Where are the clubs in these discussions. What about their codes of ethics when the breed is paramount in their concerns. They like the KC fade into the background, peeking out from behind their little compost heaps because if they raise their heads and shout NO MORE, STOP IT, they might not be able to win at a show or make money from the stock they are currently housing (I can't say love because of your comments above are so accurate). I feel that any stock that is going to be bred from must be scanned and confirm that the bitch (who might not be a perfect bl....y show specimen but in essence is a pure bred cavalier) is completely healthy and will not suffer from breeding on. My biggest fear for pedigree dogs (and I have three stretched out in front of the fire as I type) is that there is going to be such an explosion of anti dogism that is going to have a profound affect on all of us. I too love mutts and I am not in anyway undermining their worth, in reality it doesn't matter what jacket a dog wears, in essence they are all one and the same. It is just that a different shape, colour, romantic air is what makes pedigree different. Did anyone else see that horrific programme Undercover Designer Dogs on ITV, disgusting, the health implications to the UK population dog/human is huge. No rabies, no worming, no health checks just coming into the UK under the title "Commercial Goods" thereby avoiding all, any, legislation for importing dogs into this country. I had to stop watching it the puppies in boxes apparently thrown in the back of a van, no food, no water, unable to sleep because of 22hrs of being jostled about, no fresh air, cruel, cruel, cruel. And man is responsible for it. And if their vans are unchecked what other species are these people bringing in unsolicited, chickens, calves, lambs all of which would affect our agricultural health and economy hugely. Thanks for responding Margaret, sorry to rant on....

    2. Anon 20:13 Sometimes one over states to get a reaction to make people think. In some ways you are correct. However I think if a poll were taken over the dog owning population one would find that the view of the KC operation is less than admirable, perhaps because they are not seen to participate openly in debates such as this topic.They do not appear to be open. The vet checks at Crufts, absolute nonsense, especially, if can be believed, that a Neo Mas, who could barely stand was placed in the line up, and one assumes he had been thro' the check. I wasn't there I didn't see it. The KC should be contributing to everything to do with dogs and what they do do cannot be undermined, I would be the last to do that it would be silly.£12m? ok, good. Non profit making, ok good. But out of the income they receive think of the law of percentages. To maintain such a building, heating, maintenance, manning, insurance, taxes, in such a prestigeous property in central London is considerably more than it would be if they had re-located to the provinces, in a building suitable for purpose. What I am trying to say is that if their income is £100 pa, to stay in London their outgoings are probably going to be £85 of that income thus the remaining £15 is thinly stretched to accommodate important matters relating to dogs. However, if they were in the provinces that income of £100 may be absorbed by say only £50 as detailed above of the income thus allowing the remaining £50 to be spent where it should be ON DOGS. And that extra income would be so much better and more appropriately spent with why the KC was established in the first place. The welfare of dogs. I accept and respect your views, but throw the net wider and unlike the KC open your eyes and SMELL THE COFFEE before it runs dry. Cavaliers, like Irish Setters, (breeds with which I am familiar) and many other breeds are not being justly served health wise. If the KC were truly philanthropic for the dogs they should have set up their own laboratories or sponsored investigation/research, health studies, I don't think they do because why are clubs struggling to raise funds to fund research and without the help of AHT would sink before they hit the water. Ranting again, sorry I'll stop and wish you a good day.

    3. Anon, you says "if can be believed, that a Neo Mas, who could barely stand was placed in the line up, and one assumes he had been thro' the check."

      He wouldn't have been through the check - that is only done to the Best of Breed in the HPBs, not all the entries. Your assumption that he had already been checked is incorrect.

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