The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Club of Southern California

So You Want A Cavalier?

Letís start with the premise that the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a very popular breed. This means that you may not be able to find one available on a momentís notice. Many people are surprised when they are told that they will have to be on a "waiting list" for a Cavalier but it is a reality.

: There are several types of breeders and/or people who are selling Cavaliers in todayís market. It is very important that you know the difference.

HOBBY/SHOW BREEDERS are the people who are breeding to the AKC published breed standard. These people live by ethical guidelines and a love of the breed.

They breed for the superior qualities they are trying to perpetuate in the Cavalier and these qualities, as well as the health of the dogs they are breeding, are of paramount importance to them. They do not always have a litter available but when they do they try to get the very best homes possible for the puppies they are not going to keep. When you contact one of these breeders you may be asked many questions and in some cases, you may be asked to fill out an "adoption" form.

In working with a reputable breeder, you may be asked if you would like to be on their waiting list. This is a list that some breeders will keep of people who they feel may be particularly qualified to have one of their puppies. Many new Cavalier owners have waited up to a year to get a dog from the breeder of their choice. It is rare that a puppy is available immediately.

You may expect this breeder to have done all the health testing on the sires and dams before they were ever bred. They will be happy to tell you about the general health of their dogs as well as answer specific questions.

This type of breeder will also be willing to refer you to other breeders they may know in their network who also breed to high standards.

You may contact several breeders before you find one that you are comfortable with and want to work with. When you do find this special person, work with them exclusively toward getting the puppy or dog of your dreams. Do not use the "shotgun" approach to puppy buying. This has not proven to be an effective method of acquiring a pet.

Be cautious of ads you may see in the newspaper as many brokers and less than reputable breeders advertise this way. The hobby/show breeder will almost never advertise in a newspaper because they have all the calls they can handle from word-of-mouth and the Parent Club breeder referral list.

BACKYARD BREEDERS: This type of breeder is usually the person who has one or two dogs who breeds an occasional litter but does not have any affiliation with other breeders nor are they bound by any codes of ethics. They may or may not do health testing and may not be familiar with proper care and conditions for raising a healthy litter of puppies. This type of breeder most often advertises their puppies for sale in the local newspaper.

IMPORTERS/BROKERS: These people are not breeders but instead, they import dogs from foreign puppy farms. These poor puppies are born and raised in poor conditions and many have multiple health and personality problems. They usually advertise in the newspaper and their ads usually begin with something like, "Imported from Ireland," or "Belgian Imports." The dogs are usually selling at prices far below those of the ethical breeder, the parents have not had the proper health checks before breeding, and there is no way they can give any guarantees. This is a sad situation.

COMMERCIAL BREEDERS/PETSHOPS: Commercial breeders (sometimes known as puppy mills) are just what the name implies. They have a commercial breeding operation, operated for profit and most frequently sell the puppies born at their breeding establishments to pet stores although some do sell "out the door" at their kennels. Commercial breeders have large kennels with hundreds of dogs although there are probably some that operate on a smaller scale.

It is up to you to decide which type of breeder you want your puppy to come from. Once you decide, you will have to be patient. It is rare (although it does happen) that a reputable breeder will have a puppy available immediately.

Good luck in your search.