Sunday, 8 June 2014

Cavaliers: too little, too late


I meant to include this with the post marking the death of Carol Fowler's Cavalier, Rosie.  So here it is. As the commentary says: from creation to ruination in less than 100 years.

The message has, I'm glad to say, got through to puppy buyers re this breed - KC registrations have halved since the film. 

There was a time, perhaps, when an international effort might have saved this breed. But not now. 

It is too late.

136 comments:

  1. The cult of Dogdom.

    Margaret Carter summed it up beautifully. No common sense prevails. These people are dangerous.....Time to call it out for what it is. Psychopathy.

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    1. Yes I agree it is too late. Im relieved to be quite honest.

      There are plenty of charming little dog breeds and types out there so Im not particularily fussed, though Im sure there are some that might be.

      With the breeds reputation as it is I dont think it's worth saving, its always going to be on the margines of extinction and low numbers will mean horribly inbred even if somehow someone tries to resurect it using other breeds.

      Maybe its extinction will also serve a purpose and carry on highlighting the problems in Pedigree dogs.

      I say a job wel done by PDE, less suffering dogs. I cant imagine how long it might have dragged on with no one stepping in and stopping it. A blessing.

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  2. funny that looking at the breed registrations some breeds do not add up , where are all the penkingese ? do breeders keep them all or do they just never go out. I have never seen one.
    I often see japanese chin and they have less puppies registered.

    I very rarely see cavaliers these days either.

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    1. You probably never see a Pekingese nowadays because they can no longer be taken for a walk , either they cant walk or it would spoil their coat

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    2. Its a good question, though.

      When I lived in Europe on the continent and in the UK and all my travels even to America I only ever saw Pekingese three times and one of these times they were a cross with Shih tzu.

      I think Shih tzus a fairly recent trend compared eclipsed the Pekingese in breed popularity, they were also easier to keep even these days even with all that hair as they have a less flat face profile.

      Pure Pekes are not very common anymore even in Asia, including Hong Kong but excluding China where you still see a fair number of puppies at dog markets. Twenty years ago they were the choice of small dog up there with pugs but now most are a mix of various types some with more Peke Pug or Shih Tzu others less.

      It's a very commonly kept type of dog still. Extremely so.

      Pet shops are a good gauge of popularity and I don't see many pure Pekes at all anymore. Asians aside from China again are tending towards shorter haired relatively easier maintenance types, poodles, mini Schnauzer, dachshund, Yorkies yes even Pugs are still around in numbers. Shih Tzu is now down very down not sure why as they were hugely popular for a time....

      Pedigree Pekes I guess are just too difficult and expensive to maintain, even in Japan where they were a hugely popular showing dog you don't see sooo many any more.

      So yes where are all those puppies (registrations) in the UK ending up? Maybe litters are very very small or they are simply being extremely selective and culling non-show extremes. Or they're telling fibs to 'save face'? (:

      But what is a fact is that pedigree dogs exposed PED was quite a success in fact in Aisa, Im not sure how many Asian countries aired it directly would be interesting to know.

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  3. Actually, I think it's NPD. Narcissistic Personality Disorder that has somehow managed to manifest within a group. Forgive the amateur armchair psychology but there is a serious pathology at work here. Trouble is, with these sort of people, their behaviour is normal to them. They can not and do not have the skills to accept any external criticism as they just see it as an attack and react accordingly. It's difficult to know how to tackle it other than to keep doing what you are doing, I think a serious look at the people involved at this needs to be considered......

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    1. Really showing at the top level is not about the dogs at all , its about having enough power and influence on the judges and exhibitors below you that you know virtually every dog you take into the ring will win just because of who you are.
      Showing is about feeling like you are important and mean something in the world. though in reality no one not involved in dogs would give you a backwards glance.

      They have to convince everyone else their dogs are the winning type and cling to that. Changing the type based on health would be a threat to their power.

      The top winning dogs are used extensively yet the winning puppies tend to be born in the top kennels. even though those who never win with their dogs are using the same lines. buying bitches from the top kennels then breeding back to the top studs and still don't make it big . that doesn't make sense. especially when breeds are so inbred there is no variety of genes

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    2. Brilliantly put anon 15:36, so accurate, if only the fools who fill the classes could see the whole nonsense of dog showing. That's the funny side of it, the really dangerous, tragic side of it is the pitiful examples of pedigree dogs we see on this site. It really is shocking.

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    3. Not everyone who shows dogs is a 'fool who fills classes'. Some people show as a social thing and don't care about the winning. Others do it just for a day out doing something with their dog. Others show dogs that don't fit the currently fashionable appearance or bloodlines in order to educate others at the show that there are alternatives to what they see there, which is otherwise mostly the same pedigree arranged in a slightly different order for each exhibit.

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    4. Yes anon 12:37 and I was one of those who loved seeing puppies brought out and would watch their development and see them become handsome dogs. But showing is not what it was, there are few people who can afford to pay £25/class at a champ show and all associated costs making a day at a show with one dog costing around £75. So to cover that cost people breed a litter for the funds not the puppy to keep and that is why dog showing and the drive for "power" has made it a very discreditable, dishonest past time which is ok for the people to bear, but no so the dogs who are "trampled under foot" so that the owner can seek glory. What we see on this site is evidence that the dogs are being dealt a very grave hand indeed and that is unacceptable.

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    5. Anon 12:37 you are still fuelling the demand for these dogs by supporting dog shows. No need to breed dogs for showing off! Dogs should be bred for their function as pets or colleagues. The cult of Dogdom, the show ring and the narcissistic individuals who continue to support this practice with no evidence that is in the best interest of the species may be kidding themselves and the naive and uneducated pet buying public. But not the rest of us....

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    6. Then no need to breed dogs for agility, for hunting, or for any other purpose. In fact, while we're at it, let's stop breeding dogs as pets, because it's 'slavery' and hope dogs go extinct, because they're 'unnatural'. If people enjoy dog shows, that's their business. If you don't enjoy dog shows, do something else which you do enjoy (and which no doubt someone somewhere will also disapprove of). It's arrogant to label whole groups of people as narcissists just for enjoying doing something you don't. And fuelling demand for *what* dogs exactly? In breeds where exaggerated conformation has become popular, surely someone showing a dog not of exaggerated conformation and fuelling demand for dogs of that type is a good thing? The dogs get seen at the show regardless of whether or not they win.

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    7. And I've never heard of anyone who breeds litters to fund attending shows. A few times a year of £25 plus diesel to get there and a few quid for a hog roast plus another few quid for consumables is comparable to most other hobbies. Agility costs about £30 a month just to go to training classes with no competition entries. I'd imagine it costs a similar amount to go to a theme park (not that I've ever been to one), or for a family to go to the cinema together.

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    8. Showing to dogs to win prizes IS narcissistic! Your post reinforces my point. Thank you.

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    9. Anon 08:40 have out ever bothered to read any of the posts on PDE? Your response to someone's perfectly reasonable suggestion to breed dogs for their function and suitability as pets and for function to work is based on sound logic and reason. Dogs are not objects and would not choose to parade themselves around a ring. It's the ego in human beings that drives that particular activity. It's an egotistical and shallow persuit dog showing. It's finally being exposed for the cult that it is and for the damage that it inflicts. Your attacking and over reactive reposnse is fairly typical of a narcissistic individual who hates any sort of criticism! 'If I can't show dogs, then nobody else is ever allowed to enjoy the companionship of the canine species' is basically what you have stated. It's typical of the sort of 'reasoning' we see on here by people who will defend their activities at any cost. Selfish.

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    10. Oh dear 8:46. Families going to cinema or theme parks is a one off treat for the family and it involves all of that family. Dog showing is rarely a family pursuit, it is driven by the father or mother or one of the adult children. The cost I showed is just one dog, one show, a lot of dog showing people attend two or three champ shows a week in the season plus open shows at the weekend. I know, because some of the people who showed dogs in my breed dragged young puppies to as many shows as possible to get the puppy as many junior warrant points as possible AND get it qualified for bl,,,,,, Crufts. They will have an older dog too that they are promoting and hoping to win challenge certificates or stud book entry. So to be able to afford that, they most definitely do breed litters to cover those costs. And if you are honest you know that because it is irrefutable. The ones who do not show as much or not at all still breed litters for money, dogs equal money you are very naïve to believe otherwise. The breeders, the Kennel Club are all driven by money and their "stock in trade" are dogs.

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    11. Bill Lambert is quoted in The Times today bragging that people can easily spend up to 3000 pounds competing in dog shows per year. I certainly can't afford to spend 3 grand on cinema tickets......

      He also reckons the whole dog show and breeding industry is worth up to 170 million pounds per annum. Easy to see the primary motivation there isn't it?

      I'd post a link to the article but you have to subscribe to The Times to view it. It's also a crap piece. Completely one sided.

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    12. I wouldn't advise anyone to go to a dog show for fun. It would be like advising someone to start going to art auctions for fun. People new to any activity often get carried away and join in by going overboard - they go home with more stuff and less money than what they planned.

      Even for a person like me who knows the truth, going to dog shows just to watch, I feel the pull to join with the herd of show people.

      If you feel lonely or bored, and you go places with your dog because human friends aren't always available, you are even more likely to fall into any cult than to laugh at it.

      Perhaps a dog walker's club would be better?

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  4. COULD the Cavalier be saved or recreated via Cocker and Tibetan? Anyone?

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    1. I'd go with welsh springer, they ARE the original Blenheim spaniel before it was miniaturised into a toy.
      Tibetans are wrong coat , colour, temperament and from totally different origins.

      cockers have too much coat

      The Papillon is also the original Toy spaniel. cross a papillon with a welsh springer & you might have something

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    2. Someone has already done a Papillon with a Cocker with very pleasing reasults. Offspring have not been MRI scanned yet.

      I've always liked the idea of a Cavalier x Springer or Welsh Springer.

      Someone is planning a Cocker x Cavalier and I know of another person who is planning a Cavalier cross with a Brittany Spaniel.

      Any such cross has to be approached scientifically and there are canine geneticists at the Animal Health Trust who are prepared to help breeders who wants to do this.

      My next dog will be one of these crosses but I am not in a hurry.

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    3. would a brittany not be too active being a working breed?

      if anyone does a papillon cross welsh please put me on the list.
      I actually want a welsh springer , they have the temperament i like but they are too big for me to manage in my old age.

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    4. I don't think cockers have too much coat, personally - especially not working cockers. The result of working x cav could result in a longer cav with still the right feathery bits? The most important aspect of a (larger) working cocker to a cav would be the increased skull size and nose length wouldn't it? More room for the brains! And no brachy type issues. From looking into the cocker it seems they're heart healthy so, provided they were crossed to a cav from good heart stock with no murmur, hopefully offspring would stand a good chance?

      Papillons have also been found to have SM but their breeders seem to be at least mostly on the ball.

      Pippa

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    5. Cavaliers are the original King Charles Spaniel. The King after Charles II brought Pugs in the court and they interbreed, so we got the smaller short muzzled and smaller KCS (USA English Toy Spaniel) in the end of the 19th century. Anyways one can look in the old before 19th century paintings to see what the original KCS looked like.
      The modern CKCS, which is the 1920s and 30s Ann's Son was said to be a breed between a Papillion Sire and a KCS female throw out. After WWII it is said only six registered Cavaliers remain.
      An experiment by one of the famous breeder was also tryed after WWII with a Cocker mix, Papillion and KCS but apparently the first results where not succesful. SM was unknown 20 years ago, today it is said many toybreeds have it altough not as serious as some Cavaliers. They are finding it also in small terrier groups. Cavaliers will eventually be saved by serious breeders.

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  5. Margaret Carter8 June 2014 at 14:50

    Interesting to see that again.

    I decided that the only way anything would change would be to raise awareness among pet buyers, so I now spend a lot of my time answering cavalier puppy enquiries with very detailed information as to how to find a responsible cavalier breeder.

    I set up a puppy buying website: www.cavalierpuppy.co.uk, keeping the text as simple as possible ( not easy when the inherited conditions are so complex ) and people contact me through there and through the Companion Cavalier Club.

    I am also a member of the Kennel Club Assured Breeders Scheme. I get a lot of enquiries through their website, which gives me the chance to warn the puppy buyer about the enormous limitations of that scheme.

    I know quite well that the buyers will go and ask embarrassing questions about health certificates and find that their search for someone that thoroughly health tests their breeding stock is impossible as there is only a handful of cavalier breeders that are following the breeding guidelines for SM and MVD. The prospective owners will eventually either look for another breed or, more likely, allow themselves to be convinced by a plausible breeder that it is a fuss about nothing and a cheap DNA test is proof that the breeder cares and the parent dogs are healthy.

    At least I can hope that puppy buyers will know about cavalier health issues and recognise symptoms when they arise. I do live in hope that some time soon someone with a badly affected young dog will get angry enough at the lies they have been told to sue one of the chief offenders.

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    1. Margaret, I want to thank you for standing up for those poor dogs. The backlash for you from the show breeders was horrific, but the dogs are certainly better off for your whistleblowing.

      Those prospective owners that allow themselves to be convinced by a plausible breeder, will soon find out the hard way they should have heeded your warnings. I expect one of them will eventually sue the breeder.

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    2. Margaret, I would like to thank you as well for those 68 litters your SM dog sired with you ignoring the fact of his intermittent "lameness".

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    3. kerchiiiiiing.....

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  6. Your idea has merit... I hope somebody is paying attention and doing it. If I wasnt already heart and soul into the American Bully project, I would consider this. The Cavalier has always been my favorite little dog

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    1. Thank goodness that there are people like Margaret who love the breed sufficiently to inform and educate people about the problems within Cavaliers. She may seem to be a drop in the ocean just now but eventually other breeders of different breeds that have been bred to destruction which before death is so painful, agonising will listen to her and copy her action.

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  7. I think one of the things that all of us have to accept is that Cavaliers, and many other breeds, are going to fade from our society, which is sad. However, please remember the thousands and thousands of dogs in rescue most of which would fit into our homes as perfectly acceptable pets before encouraging more breeding. Look on Pets4homes, the "poo" crosses are seriously worrying and if one visits the site regularly it is the same people churning them out. Black Retriever X, a small independent rescue organisation are constantly trying to home wonderful dogs, dogs that were about to be pts just because of the vast numbers, not because they are renegades, bad tempered, sick, there are just too many dogs. I really think for the benefit of the dogs alive today that there should be a real and controlled slow down of dog breeding internationally. Please, for the sake of the dogs.

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    1. It is unfortunately the way of the world georgina . Dogs have been bred by humans for thousands of years and if we want dogs in our future GOOD breeders should be encouraged.
      Guilt tripping people into rescuing dogs only affects the decent people , the money breeders will carry on and just breed more to fill the void

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    2. Anon, I agree, the reputable breeders should be encouraged to breed, not put off. If the ethical, responsible breeders stop breeding, then there will only be poorly bred, bad-tempered, unsocialised puppies being sold. Where then will the next generation of carefully bred puppies come from - poorly bred, bad-tempered, unsocialised parents?

      The reputable breeders do not contribute to the dog overpopulation: They take health seriously, they vet the owners' homes and lifestyles to ensure they're suitable for a puppy of that breed, they insist the dog is returned to them at any stage of their lives, because they don't want their dogs to end-up in rescue.

      Temperament is largely inherited, and therefore breeding from well-tempered dogs, means the puppies will largely have lovely dispositions themselves. In a recent study, dog owners that were able to see both the sire and dam, were less likely to have a puppy with behavioural problems. Those owners that didn't even see their puppy's dam (e.g. those from UK puppy farms, or those farmed in Eastern Europe and imported - jeopardising our rabies-free status), were far more likely to end-up in rescue due to behavioural problems.

      http://apbc.org.uk/press/viewing_puppies_and_future_behaviour_problems

      If I could ban just one thing, it would be the importing of young puppies from Eastern Europe. I do not want to lose the UK's rabies-free status, and it is only a matter of time before we do, thanks to the EU's idiotic law.

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    3. Agree with both of you and have stated and advocate good breeders be encouraged and see my response to Margaret's comment. I just feel that what breeding is undertaken should be controlled and overseen and the responsible breeders will want this, they are honest and open and love their dogs, however, the money driven bad breeders will not because they have something to hide and have no feelings for the dogs or their welfare whatsoever.

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    4. The Cavalier might be fading in the UK, but they are one of the most popular breeds I saw while living in Turkey and see now that I'm in the U.S. I do agility & obedience, and 4 of the 20-30 dogs at the local club are Cavaliers. In Turkey, they were one of the most popular small breeds.The dogs I run into are all relatively young (< 5) and all are active--running and doing agility and playing at the dog park. None have the Cav problems that I learned about in PDE. I love the breed's personality, but wouldn't ever have one after watching PDE. Anyway, I wonder if the dogs in America, Turkey, and other non-UK countries might possibly have been outcrossed more and thus have fewer cardiac and Syringomyelia issues than the ones in the UK. Anybody know?

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    5. Fran, I live in France and, believe me, the douaniers have managed to stop a few lorries of puppies coming through, all with fake papers and vaccination certificates. Of course they’d like to stop them all, but there are too many lorries and too few douaniers and a bigger problem is human illegal immigrants. These imported puppies are just as illegal in France!!! Don’t worry too much on the rabies count, though: these poor commercially bed puppies will have been bred in inside kennels; securely fenced so there is an infinitesimal chance that they could have been bitten by a rabid animal; the owners want to protect themselves as well as their ‘’crop”.

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  8. I have Cavaliers............the Kooikerhonje interests me as a cross to rescue Cavaliers. Everything similar including size BUT the Kooiker has a proper "dog" head.

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    1. the kookier is more what cavaliers should look like in my opinion , not the snub nosed fat headed dogs we have now

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    2. I own a beautiful cocker spaniel, fantastic temperament she is a work / show type cross, however she isn't a lot bigger than a cavalier and without excessive coat but has a proportionate head with a low COI. I am considering a potential cross mating

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    3. Anon 23.33: To a Cavalier? The breed is so wrecked even an outcross puts too many puppies in jeopardy of syringomyelia and MVD. Start again with the Cavalier breed, and mate to healthier breeds to create something that looks like the Cavalier, without the brachycephalic face.

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    4. 23:33 - why not mate your dog to a Papillon? Much healthier than the Cav, not to mention smart smart smart and cute as a button. I'd like one, please!

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    5. i vote papillon too , very intelligent , easy coat, long lived , the only issue i've had with mine is bad teeth

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    6. Before you condemn the Cavalier have you actually owned one ?. I've owned bred nearly 100, rarely do they not make double digits and well beyond. Never had one show any signs of symptomatic SM. There ARE healthy Cavaliers it's simply a matter of finding them. The Cavalier IS a crossbreed made up from multiple different breeds to establish type. If anything I would think the Cavalier situation should serve as a warning to all who.

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    7. Anonymous10 June 2014 09:14

      I have had 5 cavaliers personally.First was epileptic and died from mvd in her teens. the second came from a show breeder after having a litter and died from mvd age 8. On mentioning she had mvd age 4 the breeder totally denied it was possible,ditto the extra eyelashes that made her squint and snotty. She also had an over long palate so would choke and gasp like a train on walks and possible episodic falling. The next two died aged around 8 from MVD , one having severe SM symptoms. my current dog is puppyfarm bred , has a grade 6 double heart murmer & sm symptoms but is currently twelve and looks much younger.

      I know & see out walking many cavaliers with SM symptoms & MVD , MVD is so common even vets barely remark on it.
      I know many people with cavaliers and it is not uncommon at all for them to die aged 8 from heart failure ( 8 seems to be an unlucky age )
      Owners should not have to start planning for their pets death once they hit 5!

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    8. Anon 09.14: "If anything I would think the Cavalier situation should serve as a warning to all who."

      Was that meant to say 'serve as a warning to all those who want to cross-breed'? I think everyone else on here knows it's not cross-breeding which damaged these little dogs, it's the inbreeding that came afterwards, the lack of heart-testing and heeding the advice of vets not to breed from dogs under 5-years-old, plus the breed standard asking for a small head.

      I take it all your Cavaliers have also made double digits (not really that impressive for a small dog), without needing heart medication as well?

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    9. >Never had one show any signs of symptomatic SM

      How about you reveal your kennel name then? Unless you have produced a symtomatic dog someone in the know could point out, wouldn't your claims be a good thing that you are proud to sign your name and kennel to?

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    10. Many show breeders do not keep their dogs past the ages of 5 or so as they have finished with them and moved on to something else.
      The dogs with obvious problems will also be moved on , perhaps with a warning not to mention where they came from.

      and just because a dog is dragged into double digits with medication does not mean it is healthy , I know a few people who's cavaliers usually make 14 , but they have pushing them around in strollers and carrying them around the house in a nappy because they just can not bare to part with them when they should.


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    11. My aim was to get them them into double digits with out meds and yes I'm just achieved the third generation of exactly that. I have no need to sign my name 20 scans, 17 A's or equilivant. 20 + dogs on the Golden Oldies. 2nd place on the latest over 5's heart clear list. I speak from experience and dam hard work. You may talk to ANYONE who has purchased a dog from me. No sadly I don't get it right 100% of the time, it's still a work in progress. My kennel name SVENA

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    12. yes bridget you are often shouting about how great your dogs are & thus there is no problem in the breed but because you have been incredibly lucky with your own line does not mean the rest of the breed is that way. your kennel of rather untypical solids ( cocker in there somewhere ? ) does not represent the whole breed unfortunately.

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    13. At least spell my name correctly and in whose opinion are they "untypical" my dogs are more than capable of winning classes at Championship shows, qualify regularly for Crufts and have been placed there. One can only speak as one finds, you may consider it luck I don't. Don't hide, I mean if we are going to stoop to personal attacks lets at least do it the open.

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    14. How ironic that as soon as you have a kennel of pure bred Cavaliers with good health test results You consider them "untypical" yet most of you avocate outcrossing ?. Would appear to be there's simply no pleasing some people.

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    15. Anon 17:27 reveals the truth! Her dogs win shows! At Crufts!

      This isn't even remotely important or relevant to the discussion! Except to prove that you breeders have clearly lost the plot!

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    16. There don't appear to be any SM/CM test results on Mate Select for the Svena dogs. It's easy to pretend your dog doesn't have SM if you haven't tested for it.

      If your dogs have been tested, please post a link to the results.

      In addition, see Margaret Carter's rebuttal to your post further down. Here's part of it: '"Never had one show any signs of symptomatic SM."........... The wording indicates this breeder knows he has owned dogs with SM but they have not shown obvious symptoms. Now I simply cannot believe that is true. Not from someone who claims to have owned/bred nearly 100 cavaliers. It is more likely that the breeder's mind set ensured that any symptoms were not recognised, were ignored or explained away as being allergies, ear mites, pulled muscle or early arthritis.'

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    17. What do you mean by 17 A's or equilivant ? because the letter only means the age range the dog was scanned in. The SM grading is done by numbers. The letter a, would be dogs scanned over 5, b is dogs scanned between 3 to 5 and c is dogs scanned from 1 to 3. The letters are recorded in lower case not capitals.
      The SM grades are 0 for no sign of SM or CCD. 1 is the dog has CCD and 2 the dog has syringomyelia, the brain is starting to prolapse.
      So how many of the 17 A's you have had scanned, if meaning dogs over 5 years old have no signs of SM and are graded 0a ? There's no such thing as just an A for SM.
      How many of the 20+ dogs on the Golden Oldies of yours have MVD and at what ages was the onset ?

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    18. Being 2nd on the Cavalier Club list for dogs without MVD over five is a bit misleading to the health of your dogs. To think you think that getting a dog to five without heart disease makes you a good breedershows you really are in denial about the state of these breed and your remark about "20 scan, 17 A's or equilivant" either you don't understand the grading system, ( SM in dogs is given a number not a letter when grading, the letter refers to age the dogs is scanned) or you are again in denial about CM/SM in the breed as well..

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    19. The BVA scheme has only been in existence for just over two years. Before the scheme, Dr Rusbridge and other neurologists graded cavaliers as A,C,D,E and F. Cavaliers were graded for SM as "A" if the dog was over 2.5 years and did not have a syrinx. I'm not sure how someone who scanned 20 dogs can be accused of being in denial, seems more like a big effort to get to grips with the illness.This is for the confused person who thinks there is no such thing as an A graded cavalier. http://clarerusbridge-news.blogspot.ie/2012/01/conversion-of-2006-informal-cmsm.html

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    20. The old scheme was not working and since 2006 scanning has improved so much, that many of the dogs at 2.5 years old would probably not of got a grade A, so let the lady tell us what she has been achieving on the BVA new grading system then and that was the scheme I was referring to because you know why they changed the scheme because the old scheme was not working and grading was unreliable, as vets even fell out about the angle the head should be scanned at. They also thought that if a dog did not show signs of the condition at 2,5 years old they probably would not go on to develop SM and how wrong they were on that, so I would say that spouting the old grading system about dogs being graded A is misleading.
      2006 is 8 years ago and the scheme has moved on and scanning has, we now can pick of CCD and coupled with CM is normally seen as the precursor to a dog developing SM. Would be interesting to hear her CM grades because I have yet to see a Cavalier without the highest Grade for this being 2. CM was not graded on the old system.
      The BVA CM/SM scheme has not been set up to stop the condition in this breed as the likes of Claire Rushbridge know that is not possible and it is just trying to stop early on set of the condition, read the BVA literature and that is what it says. Sad that in other breeds if a dog had CM grade 2 you would not dream of breeding from it because of the risk of offspring having the condition or worse than it's parents. There lies the denial, should you really breed from dogs when both parents have grade 2 CM ? Does the lady above breed dogs together that both have grade 2 CM ?
      Speaking to cardiologist and neurological vets, only out crossing stands a chance of saving this type of dog, Why do you think the BVA scheme allows scanning of cross breeds on it ? because it hopes you will see the light eventually.

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    21. You ASSUME to only way to obtain MRI grades is via the BVA/KC scheme. The A's were dogs scanned over 2.5 years by Dr Rusbridge herself. Why should I pay £2000 to have a second opinion on Dr Rusbridges own results? particularly as those dogs are only of historic interest now. The BVA/KC only provides information on CM and SM ignoring completely VD & PSOM I wrote to the BVA asking that this be included and until it is I will not be using the scheme. Dogs since then have been graded by Mr Skerritt at Chester Gates none have SM. CM grades have been either 0 or 1. As you say the old scheme was not working NEITHER is the new one. Being 2nd on the Over 5's list, you may not consider an achievment but it does prove my commitment to testing under a board certified cardiologist (bear in mind the previous scheme when veterinary tests where sufficient and I have considerable numbers under that system) and the Golden Oldies lists proves how successful that is. To the anonymous person that implied I have added cocker to my line. If you actual believe that then I suggest to write to the Kennel Club, however I should say that I had the foresight to DNA profile my orginal dogs (from the 1990's) and DNA from the dogs, has been provide to many organisations since. Many of your comments above are not only misleading but in accurate, which just proves how little you understand, about not only the current health tests in the breed but those of the past. I suggest you educate yourselves before attempting to educate others. To Fran (thank you for putting your name to your post) the answer to Margaret's incorrect assumption is that the reason I KNOW some of my dogs have SM is because I scan and not because anyone has ever shown signs.
      Bridgette

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    22. Anonymous10 June 2014 17:52 Didn't say i don't like that your dogs are untypical or that i care what they look like. hey i'm quite happy for outcrosses to occur , But they do not look like most cavaliers around today & since you have the good fortune to have both sm free and mvd free dogs I find it highly suspicious that your dogs are just sooo different from everyone elses

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    23. No, I don't assume that the only way to obtain MRI grades is through the BVA Scheme, that's your assumption on the matter. If you actually know about the scheme you know that you don't pay £2000 on it to scan a dog because it is grant assisted to keep the cost down, my dogs are scanned £300 for the first and £260 for the rest when I scan at least four at a time at Bristol and then £100 each for the BVA board to look at and grade the scan and the scheme is supported by Claire Rushbridge. The old scheme basically you get a dog to 2.5 years old and is it had no sign of SM it was given a Grade A and then the breeder can for the rest of that dogs life say the dog is Grade A for SM, which as we know now that dogs develop this condition at any age and many go on to develop it after 2.5 years old. In the last couple years scanning machines imagery has improved so much, that I would suspect a lot of dogs scanned 8 to 10 years ago would not get a grade A now with the better scan imagery. On the old scheme you could get lower priced scans and some of my dogs got scanned with a big group at Queens Veterinary School Hospital, University of Cambridge in 2008 for around £300 or it might of even been £200, my memory is not so good.
      The new scheme has not been working long enough to know if it is working and it won't work because it has to be used alongside the idea that the head shape needs to change and the CM has to be tackled.
      Now, as for your Cavaliers being graded 0 or 1 for CM, from Claire Rushbridges own research and findings, it has yet to be reported that a Cavalier has been scanned without evidence of CM, but yet you say your dogs are graded at not only 1, but also 0, which I find hard to believe, but as you don't have to show us your grades and the Cavalier Club and KC report dogs being scanned but not the grades, I suppose we are going to have to take your word for it.
      By the way I have been around this breed for over 35 years, breeding them for over 25 years so I do understand a bit about the breed and don't use health testing as some sort of panacea so as to sell my dogs and clear my conscience.
      Could you answer the question about breeding dogs together that both have Grade 2 CM and the question about MVD and your golden oldies. Cavalier breeders never like talking about CM because it's epidemic in Cavaliers and love to deflect with using VD and PSOM but can't get their head around the fact that all these problems are thought to be caused by breeding the head so deformed, so grading CM and hopefully improving the skull shape the researchers hope that the knock on effect will be an improvement in these conditions as CM is believed to be one of the factors causing VD and PSOM. All the scans I have seen of dogs with VD the dogs have CM and all the cases I have studied of dogs with severe PSOM the dogs have CM and SM.
      I have a Cavalier Bitch who at four is SM free, her mother at 7 is SM free her Grand mother I was asked to re-scan at 9, as she was one of the first Cavaliers scanned and was clear at 2.5 years was scanned clear of SM at 9, but all three are grade 2 for CM. They also seem to be able to reach the golden five mark without a heart murmur, but Granny at 9 had MVD and Mum has just been graded at 7 with a grade 1 heart murmur. The mother in this group though has two siblings that have SM at the age of 3, so I don't think I'm a great breeder, just bloody lucky and the dogs unlucky, so instead of breeding my dog clear of SM to another Cavalier to keep repeating this throw of the dice stacked against the dogs welfare, I have done my research and I am cross breeding, still I will be throwing the dice, but the stats are hopefully more in the dogs favor.
      So to sum up your dogs at at the moment, you have dogs that can get to 2,5 years old without the first signs of SM and can get to 5 years old without the first signs of MVD. How many of your dogs have MVD by 10 years old ? How many of your dogs are scanned over 5 years free from SM ?






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    24. DOH. 20 scans at £100 each per additional grading = £2000 in addition to the cost already incurred in having 20 scans scanned in the first place. 4 of the dogs have been regraded scanned over 5, one remained static. one that was an A went to a D 2mm CCD, the others IMPROVED CCD present on their first scan was absent on their second. (so for those with limited mathematical abilities) 4 A's at over 2.5 years were 3 A's and one D at over 5 years. ALL graded by Dr Rusbridge. In October 2010 Dr Rusbridge stated that she could count the SM clear males over 5 on one hand (I assume she meant 5) 3 of them were mine. All this is well documented. I assume that because the BVA panel grades EVERY cavalier as a grade 2 with other neurologists grading them differently is why there will be research into an OBJECTIVE GRADING system. Finally re MVD statsically 90% of Cavaliers have MVD at the age of 10, mine are no different, the difference is that I am now achieving them free of meds and in some cases free of murmurs, as I said earlier it's a work in process. To sum up I can breed dogs who get to 15 without ever show any sign of SM. The rest of your question has been answered above.
      This is degenerating into an infantile arguement.
      Bridgette

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    25. and no I can't answer the question about breeding dogs together that both have grade 2 CM because I've never used a dog that has been graded "CM2" as I said my dogs with a CM grading have been either 0 or 1.
      Bridgette

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    26. The Cavalier Golden oldies list is like looking at the land of the living dead. Putting age on it's own as an indicator of health sets a dangerous precedent, that if an animal reaches a certain age it must be healthy and we know that not to be true, what it normally indicates in Cavaliers is the owners were prepared to spend a lot of money on vets and medication and could not bare to let the dog go.

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    27. Seeing as most Cavaliers are graded CM 2, I find that answer hard to believe. On the 7th October 2010 at the BVA/KC Seminar on CM/SM Clare Rusbridge is recorded as saying, "Clare has seen no Cavalier without CM, only 2 with mild CM in the last twelve months." You mention she scanned some of your dogs, was that the two she mentions ? So apart from 2 dogs, she is saying all the Cavaliers she has scanned have higher than mild CM, so other than 2 dogs at grade 1, the rest were grade 2.
      It is widely excepted that all Cavaliers have CM because from world reports of scanning all Cavaliers have shown evidence of CM, but it seems Bridgette is bucking the trend, you must have Clare Rusbridge and people researching CM/SM beating down your door.

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    28. I have had Cavaliers free from meds at 10 and free from murmurs at over ten, that was happening already you are not breaking new ground, just kidding yourself and that is why this breed is in such trouble. The healthy ones are so few that you will not be able to breed your way out of the mess this breed is in.
      You sum up with I can breed dogs that live up to 15 without showing signs of SM, but the problem is the dog might of had it but showed no clinical signs, was used in a breeding program with a dog that was also the same and as we know you can carry a condition less expressed clinically, but as each generation goes and you breed together with others with the condition it then expresses it's self more with each generation, so breeding from dogs that show no clinical signs of a condition, but have the condition to a mild extent and don't show clinical symptoms you show you know little about how conditions develop in a breeding and it seems your motto is, "If you can't see it, it can't be there."
      Asking someone to back their claims is not infantile in fact it's the way the grown up world works.

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    29. Sorry but the whole idea of grading is exactly that and no, the BVA/KC scheme does not automatically grade Cavaliers at 2 and the fact that you even suggest that it automatically grades Cavaliers grade 2 for CM, questions the honesty of each vet that examines the scans on the scheme and is an utterly ridiculous and an infantile assumption. The BVA/KC scheme is an objective grading system, but may I suggest that may be why you seem to dislike it ? Dogs are scanned and the scans are sent to the BVA in London and around once a month a group of neurological vets look at the scans together, not knowing the breed (any breed or crossbreed can be scanned and are on this scheme), ownership or pedigree of the dogs and grade them, how much more objective do you want.
      And after all your chest puffing it seems, after 20 scans only four of the scans are dogs over 5, so after breeding over 100 puppies you only know of only 3 of your Cavaliers over 5 to have no signs of CCD or SM and could with having CM be in the first stages of developing SM. So if we convert that to stats, you only know results for around 20 % or less of your dogs at 2.5 years and this drops below 4% once over 5 years old. You don't provide a figure for how many of your dogs have MVD by 10 years old and just quote the world stat for that. If you are still getting 90 % of your dogs at 10 with MVD you have had little to no improvement then. Wow, if you are the best, then you must be hoping there is a God.

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    30. As you so condescending like putting things Bridgette, for those with limited mathematical abilities, Bridgette has scanned only a few of her dogs over 5 years old and only has 4 dogs confirmed with not having SM over 5 years old. Why have you not be scanning more dogs over 5 ? I had clear dogs at 2.5 on the old schemes and was approached to re-scan them after 5 before the new scheme and I thought all breeders in the Cavalier Club with dogs clear at 2.5 were offered this before the new scheme and it was paid for by a grant, not out of your own pocket.
      Breeders love the old scheme of just scanning at 2.5 because a big majority of Cavaliers can make it to that age before showing signs of SM, and even if they develop the condition six months later the breeder can still say the dog has a certificate to say their dog is clear.
      The same goes for Not having MVD over 5. Most Cavalier breeders rush the dog in to have it's heart examined just after they turn 5 and they can be clear then and then 6 months later they develop MVD, but they won't tell you that, they will just say the dog was heart clear over 5 and they have a certificate.
      It's the old thing of looking like you are doing something, but never doing enough.

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    31. Bridgette I feel sorry that you cannot bare to admit that all Cavaliers have CM, but you have come to the right place to come out and get help. Let me say it for you Bridgette. "Bridgette is a Cavalier CM denialist." It's out there now Bridgette you can get some help now.

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    32. Perhaps Claire Rusbridge would like to comment on this matter because it's becoming a he said/she said contest. If Bridgette is making honest statements and her dogs are "clear" then she is owed an apology. I can't think that somebody would make the claims she has, naming professional people who have been involved with the clearance of her dogs in regard to the main health issues within the breed unless she is certain of her facts. Perhaps Bridgette could contact Mrs Rusbridge and ask her to support her statements. I'm not sure that it will save the Cavalier as a breed but it would be very reassuring to know the truth. I'm not taking sides, I just want the truth about the stats above for the dogs' sake, not mine. Bridgette's dogs are either in very safe hands indeed or owned by someone who shouldn't be involved with dogs because a breed's health has to be in the hands of people who care. Bridgette, I am not being disrespectful towards you, or the other contributors, but all this exchange of stats is just too confusing and unhelpful to the likes of me and possibly others too.

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    33. Although figures for CM in Cavaliers can be estimated at 90 % to 95 % of them having CM, it is thought that all have it to some degree, the allowance on estimates is obviously because so few have been scanned compared to the whole Cavalier population.
      All research I have looked at and vets in this field I have spoken to, none of them have reported or seen a scan that does not show evidence of CM in Cavaliers, so I can see why some are questioning Bridgette's claim of Cavaliers without CM.
      Some researchers don't believe that the deformity we see in the Cavaliers occipital bone should be called CM, but are agreed on the premise that all Cavaliers have evidence of deformation to the occipital bone maybe Bridgette's vet is one who thinks the deformation of this bone is not CM and maybe this could be why some of your dogs are recorded without CM.
      There could be Cavaliers without CM. Although CM is pretty much agreed on to be connected with dogs progressing to SM the interesting thing is that the level of CM is not an indicator of whether the dog goes on to develop SM, so many dogs at Grade 2 are just as likely to not develop SM as dogs Grade 1 or to develop it, it's thought it's more to do with the size of the cerebellum whether a dog with CM then goes on to develop SM and that could be why stats indicate more male dogs going on to develop SM, due to the male brain in some mammals being bigger normally then the female.

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    34. Bridgette is a well known reputable breeder. She is telling the truth about her Mri scans and has a CM0 cavalier stud dog in her Kennel. Instead of berating her on this blog,that person should be begging on bended knee to use that stud,that is if they were serious about cavalier health.She has also put her certs in the public domain.I'm now convinced that some of the people commenting here, have never scanned a cavalier in their lives because the amount of misinformation being spread is alarming. The BVA scheme has a lilac form, where in part 1 you fill out your dog's details and your name and address. Part 2 on the form, your scanning vet fills out and signs out. Part three (all on one page) is filled out and the grade assigned by two out of the three panellists, with the third only acting as referee if required. What is CM? It appears that following recent research on Griffons that it is now being redefined. Research is now only beginning in order to provide objective grading of CM in the cavalier breed. At the moment everything is assigned CM2 for cavaliers as a default grading on the BVA scheme, even though some scans are visibly better than others. http://clarerusbridge-news.blogspot.co.uk/2014/06/cavalier-matters-charity-promotes.html

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    35. So Anonymous 11.12, so I am meant to go on bended knees to Bridgette to use a stud dog on the factor it is graded CM 0, when you say that there is a lot of misinformation and agree that there needs to be objective grading and it is only just happening, so on your own admission say the grading for CM is next door to useless unless objective. No doubt the vet that graded her dog CM 0 is the only vet doing it objectively.
      If what you say is true about the default grading of CM for Cavaliers on the BVA scheme, as I will ring them to clarify this point, I will stop using it.
      The genetic mapping that is happening in the Griffon may provide help in managing CM but it will also reduce your genetics in a breed that has already got very little genetic variation. CM is not being redefined, they are just trying to find the genetic sequencing for it and you are clutching at straws if you think this will save the Cavalier, ultimately it may be it's down fall, as you find you have to remove a whole swathe of dogs from the breed and along with MVD you may hurry along the end of the Cavalier.

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    36. Anonymous 11:12 saying that "At the moment everything is assigned CM2 for Cavaliers as a default grading on the BVA scheme, even though some cases are visibly better than others", is bordering on slander.
      I have spoken to the BVA and they assured me they do not do this and the dogs are graded objectively and the person claiming this if they would like to contact them about their claims, they would be happy to discuss the grading system and assure them that each dog is looked at objectively by people qualified to do so.

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    37. You go on about misinformation, then go on to give so much yourself with almost slandering the BVA and then saying CM is being redefined when what is being done is they are trying to find the DNA sequence for it, which if they manage to and it is the same sequencing in Cavaliers, I would be worried Anonymous 11:12, as with this break through if it happens, as you try to remove genetic carriers and deplete the genetic pool even further you will quicken the end of your breed.

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    38. As vet Mr Skirrett seems to record more lower grading for CM for Cavalier breeders and the BVA vets seems to record more higher grading for CM for Cavaliers, I wonder which vet Cavalier breeders prefer having their dogs graded with ?
      Is there any other vets out there recording CM 0 grades for Cavaliers ?, it would be interesting to know, because if he is the only vet recording lower grades than the BVA, because the BVA uses three vets rather than one vets opinion, I might consider that the BVA might be the better of the two scanning situations.

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    39. The BVA doesn't grade scans, but radiologists and neurologists do. Perhaps go back and ask whatever secretary you allegedly spoke to, why research is being undertaken to "provide objective grading of Chiari malformation in cavaliers". The need for objective grading doesn't mean that panellists are in any way being biased in their grading of scans,it's saying that in the light of recent research on griffons, that research is needed to improve upon the diagnosis and measurement of certain parameters of CM,so that future grading of scans can better ascertain the risk of SM developing. And while you're on the phone, ask the BVA why they don't give breeders information on Dilated ventricles, and if central canal dilatation is so important in syrinx formation, then why don't they give breeders that information either. But I suspect that you don't scan any cavaliers under the BVA scheme or you would be aware of all of this. There are breeders out there who do not agree that it's too late for the breed, who will utilise all information about their dogs and explore all avenues and options to improve health.

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    40. Why don't you ring them up and ask them ? they will happily speak to you. The actually grading and the guidelines for breeding can only help. The scheme is kept simple to encourage use, because as you know there is so much conflicting information on CM/SM, but a scanned dog is better than breeders not bothering at all and most would agree that their guidelines if followed would actually achieve what the scheme is for, to stop early onset SM.
      Why do you have to get so personal in your reply and must imply I know nothing and never had a dog scanned just because I don't agree with you and that you and your cronies are the only ones who really care.
      I know all about dilated ventricles and CCD, think it makes you sound clever spouting all that. CCD can sometimes just be an anomaly from birth and is not always a precursor to SM, but coupled with CM often is, but I have two bitches that have been scanned both three times and they are now over 7 with the last scan and the CCD has not changed in that time. Yes, I don't just scan my dogs at 2,5 years old, I understand the need for them to be scanned at intervals through their lifetime.
      I know enough about the breed to know you don't stand a chance without opening it's genetic pool and when/if they find the genes for CM/SM and MVD the need to open the gene pool will be even greater.
      I started cross breeding just over five years ago and the three litters that are now over five years old and account 18 dogs, none have been diagnosed with a heart murmur yet, seeing as the Cavalier you would expect 50 % of Cavaliers to have onset of MVD by then, I think that is an improvement and shows a real commitment to the health of this type dog, you will never achieve those health stats with pure Cavaliers.
      I have retained two crossbreeds to breed from after dogs at over three showed no heart murmurs or symptoms of MVD, so have a two and one year old retained from a repeat crossbreed mating. The two retained crossbreeds will be scanned the end of this year.All my dogs have the two DNA tests, are cardiologist heart checked and eye tested annually and the two crossbreed dogs will be hip scored before being bred from, is that enough health for you.
      I feel that it's not to late for the Cavalier if you open the genetic pool, but if you carry on with your pure ideology it will soon be to late.

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    41. So Anonymous 14:15 what you are saying, is any grading of CM at this time is not worth the paper it is written on ?
      I will get off my knees then.
      The bit you say about, "The BVA dosen't grade scans, radiologists and neurologists do," is splitting hairs, as the radiologists and neurologist would be qualified vets and are members of the BVA, so someone saying the BVA vets grade the scans, most would understand the arrangement except you.

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    42. Bridgette (assuming you're Anon 15:10), I'm sorry if I've missed you saying earlier, but what did you cross to? I've considered doing the same thing with one of my dogs when she is old enough to breed (I was thinking when she is five provided she has clear scans at that age). And what do you think would be the way forward after that? Breeding back into the cavalier with the hope that the introduced genetic diversity would help, or continuing with a "new" type of cav?

      When you say "opening the genetic pool" do you mean purely by outcrossing to another breed or perhaps by going further afield within the breed to introduce a broader gene pool? I was considering contacting a breeder in Europe who had 0A SM results from one of her studs when the time came, but I'm arguing myself in circles about crossing vs. promoting the best of what we still have.

      As an aside, for what it's worth, I have never shown my dogs and didn't plan to until I could, if I could, show a dog that had well graded MRI scans, even if that dog didn't look completely typical, had a longer muzzle or bigger head or whatever it might be that marked it as a bit different!

      Pippa

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    43. I am not Bridgette and at the moment because if I disclosed what I'm crossing with on here people would figure out who I am and then I would find it very hard to move and try to achieve any thing. Pure breeders close you out and try to shut you down if they get a whiff of what you are crossing with. Sad but true. When I mean out crossing, I should of said, "cross breeding". The Cavaliers all over the world stem from the few that started the breed on it's own when separated from the King Charles in the 1940's, personally I think the Cavalier was so inbred to start with that I'm not sure you can out cross within the breed, sorry for that bad joke, I will now get Cavalier breeders explaining out crossing to us.
      From what I have learnt so far, is you will need to look at bringing in at least two breeds to out cross with, what you cross with is up to what you are trying to achieve. First must be to improve health and second will be what the dog looks like. Don't set your plans in stone and keep up on all health issues in the breeds you choose. Look at stats for health conditions in each breed and basically choose a breed that has either negligible or none recorded health issues for the health issues that are high in the other. Be flexible and be prepared to get it wrong and be able to admit it, which is often lacking with pure breeding.
      The Poodle cross haters will hate me saying this, but actually crossing with the Miniature Poodle, as one of your breed choices could be considered. One of the dogs the Cavalier is believed to go back to is a dog that was known as the English Water Spaniel and was believed to stem from spaniel being crossed with Poodle, hence some Cavaliers that have a strong natural curl to there coat especially the chest of some. Crossing a Poodle to a nice low slung stocky type Cavalier bitch with a well made Poodle produces a dog in coat and size much like the Trawler Spaniel believed to be another descendant of the Cavalier. Yes, this breed like the general dog population has MVD cases and it has had cases of CM/SM reported but I feel at levels that are acceptable to consider it as a cross.
      Any Spaniel can be considered, but beware the ones with high COI's, very often those will also have fertility problems among other health issues.
      Now setter's could even be an option and a half way house breed between a setter and a spaniel is the Brittany. These dogs are working dogs very healthy, low COI, the negative is high energy, size, risk of bob tail (Bob tail you can gene test for to see if a carrier though, so is not such a negative). The positives are very good health, good head shape, better set ears, hardly any coat, very gentle nature and sensitive dogs.
      For me I want to breed a Cavalier type on the larger side of the type, just a little smaller than a cocker, but I know some who want to create a small Cavalier type, so my ramblings would be for those wanting to breed the bigger type Cavalier.
      We are hoping to out cross with two breeds and then slowly merge those lines health checking along the way. I hope in maybe ten, twenty years time if I'm still here that I might leave a legacy to others of a group of Cavalier type spaniels with good health that can encourage others to step over the line and embrace cross breeding as a tool to breed healthier dogs in general.
      Lastly keep good records and any pups you don't keep, make sure the owners will keep in touch and about every twelve months give you a health update on the pup, so you can pick up any problems quickly and adjust your breeding plans accordingly.
      Hope this helps and the more who take the brave step to just even consider crossing and then have a moment of madness and do it, Good Luck and you are the future of this breed.
      Now what can I hear, is that a stamped of Cavalier breeders with pitch forks wanting to lynch me. I better go whilst I'm ahead. Bye !

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    44. This will be my last post on the matter. When my first dogs were originally scanned the CM details were simply a YES (ie present), these were done by Dr Rusbridge. Since the BVA scheme has been in place subsequent MRI's have been done by Mr Skerritt at Chester Gates and the dogs over 3 when first scanned. He is gracious enough to explain at the time of the MRI exactly how and why he has given the dog the grade he has. It is he who has graded one of my males as a CM0 other dogs(both sexes) have been graded as CM1. The CM0 dog's parents are two of the dogs scanned as grade A over 5. Despite having owned/bred approx 100 dogs this is over a 20 + year period. At this point in time I personally only have 3 dogs at home over 5, two have been rescanned, the third never bred from and although she has two over 5 years of age scanned parents I see no point in scanning her simply for research nor will I ask the owners of the number of dogs in pet homes over 10 years of age to do the same. Some of the 20 scans were done on "pets" in two cases people who had previously lost SM affected dogs and wanted their current dog scanned for peace of mind. Another I would have liked to rescan was pts with liver cancer at only 6. I'd like to rescan my current breeding dogs when old enough but by whom will depend on what direction the BVA & KC take. Trying to compare gradings given by different neurologists is a bit like trying to compare apples and pears. I make my breeding decisions based on the information that they (the neurologists) give me. Currently I personally don't feel that the BVA/KC scheme is fit for purpose and gives the information I require. To say all Cavaliers have CM really depends on who you talk to and you need to define exactly what they mean by CM as it appears to be open to interpretation and no-one has given a detailed description. I do know Mr Skerritt takes into consideration cerebellum herniation, something that the BVA does not according to the scheme notes. Interestingly I understand in Europe they have a far more detailed 8 point system in place to measure this, certainly clarity is needed. As to research my dogs and this kennel have taken part in the genome study providing DNA the Behavioural Study and the Conformational Indicators study, all under the guidence of Dr Rusbridge in fact unless I've missed something the only study I refuse to particpate in is the foetal tissue research for that they have to be dead. FYI I have NOT ever outcrossed by using a different breed. I have not given up on this one yet.
      Bridgette.

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    45. Anonymous 14:15. The radiologists and neurologists are vets that have then specialized in those areas and are members of the BVA.
      You accused the BVA of giving all Cavaliers grade 2 for CM regardless of the scan, so why don't you ring them, the number is 020 7908 6380 and put this claim to them if it concerns you so ? instead of trying to deflect this by then trying to sound clever banging on about DV and CCD, I'm surprised you did not also mention VD and PSOM.

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    46. Bridgette, I know you said that was your last post on the matter and I admire your candour but I wonder if you could clear up one thing. Does your dog that is graded CM 0 have no malformation of the back of the skull, occipital bone ? or does it but Mr Skerritt does not classify it as CM ?

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    47. The BVA/KC scheme results are published in the KC Breed Record Supplements. FACT to date every Cavalier has been graded CM2.

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    48. The BVA/KC grading results are published in the KC Breed Record Supplements. Fact to date EVERY cavalier has been graded CM2

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    49. Anonymous 08:53 The fact that every Cavalier on the scheme so far has been graded CM2, does not substantiate a claim that the Cavalier on the BVA/KC scheme is automatically graded CM2 and to most of us including researchers into CM/SM in Cavaliers, this is no surprise and confirms more firmly estimated stats for this problem in the breed, but it seems if you are a Cavalier breeder it means Cavaliers are automatically being graded CM2 regardless.
      Starting to sound more and more like you don't like the BVA/KC scheme because it does not confirm what you believe. If you can find prove like a whistle blower with a taped conversation with BVA members saying that they automatically record CM in Cavaliers as CM2 or a BVA written memo telling members to automatically record CM2 for cavaliers, well we might sit up and take notice, but at the moment it just sounds like sour grapes.
      You are giving a classic example of the pure breeder mentality, if a health scheme starts to give you results you don't like, you then say it's not working or even worse question the integrity of the specialists, inferring they give a grade CM2 regardless of the information provided.

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    50. Anonymous 07:40 to be perfectly honest I do not know. I am not a neurologist, although Mr Skerritt explained why he had given him a Grade 0 he did not explain how or why his opinion differs from Dr Rusbridge. Hopefully rescanning him when he over 6 and comparing him with his parents will prove more clarity. Meanwhile I know he's better than my others Mr Skerritt has graded CM1.
      Bridgette

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  9. The breeding protocol should be made mandatory to minimise the risk of the dreadfully painful disease.

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    1. This is so odd - I live in France and we don't have an SM protocol for Cavaliers. Yes the problem is talked about, but it is not regarded as significant. Why? So few have been diagnosed! Some have been scanned and are OK under one protocol, and fewer deemed to be affected by either SM or CM but not symptomatic. We read that the protocol in the UK keeps changing. Loads of people in the UK who spent a LOT of money to have their dogs scanned have now been told that the tests are no good for the current KC scheme. French breeders and neurologists see this happening and don’t want to make the same mistakes.

      I wish people could and would differentiate between commercial, money making breeders and those who breed for the love of the dogs. The former mostly just breed but it is fair to say that unfortunately there have been one or two “show breeders” who were commercial. The latter pay careful attention to their dogs, to their type and temperament which are SO important, and also shell out a small fortune in health tests. Then they are faced with the problem that the puppy buying public doesn't care that it has cost well over 1,000€ to produce a puppy from older, health tested parents and says "I only want a pet." Pet buyer may then go to a puppy farm, or worse, fork out for a designer crossbreed which is almost certainly NOT from health tested parents and could have a difficult coat or, worse, a poor temperament.

      What France does have are rigid rules about heart and eye examinations, heart by ultrasound every 18 months which is VERY accurate. After all, we know that early onset MVD is a problem – but maybe less these days. Eye problems have diminished a huge amount, and the average age of onset of MVD is greater than ten years ago.

      A leading cardiologist in France has noted, from over 12,000 ultrasounds so far, and counting, that the dogs owned by "pet" owners are, on average, affected by MVD at a younger age than those owned by breeders. He can't explain it easily: sure, there are more pets who are overweight, but that's not the whole answer.

      I’ve owned and bred Cavaliers for over 30 years, and as I type two sisters who are almost 14 years old are playing out in the garden, trying to catch lizards. One is a bit arthritic and can no longer jump easily on the sofa unless there’s a stool to climb on; the other can and does. I’ve lost touch with many owners of dogs bred by me but 47 have let me know when their dog died and the average age at death was a little over 11. The oldest was over 16, but had all his teeth out at 14. Some died from MVD, some strokes; a small bleed in the brain; a couple from kidney failure which may or may not have been leptosirosis, a couple had pyometra and one had a tumour of the spleen. For others the cause wasn’t known; “peacefully in his sleep”; and many had not been on any type of medication. There are, of course, others still living healthy lives. As a breeder I can say that we are almost invariably told if there is anything wrong!

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    2. "A leading cardiologist in France has noted, from over 12,000 ultrasounds so far, and counting, that the dogs owned by "pet" owners are, on average, affected by MVD at a younger age than those owned by breeders. He can't explain it easily: sure, there are more pets who are overweight, but that's not the whole answer."

      I would love to see this data...has it been published? Is there a paper you could link to?

      Jemima

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    3. Dr Haroutunian said this at a lecture he gave to the club: he was quizzed by people for some time about this (also that dogs are, on average, affected earlier than bitches) and people asked if it was to do with diet, but he replied that plenty of the later affected dogs ate commercial foods and some of the "pets" ate very good balanced diets of totally fresh food. There was no common factor.

      Here's a link to the most recent published report; the newest data is not yet public and won't be until it has been presented to members of the club.

      http://cena.asso.fr/cena/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=31:lechographie-cardiaque-comme-moyen-de-lutte-contre-la-mvd-chez-le-cavalier-king-charles-quel-bilan-neuf-ans-apres-le-debut-des-tests-realises-par-les-eleveurs&catid=12:la-sante&Itemid=128

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    4. Just a thought but the pet dogs would of had the stress of leaving their birth home and many may live on their own and have also the stress more often of being totally on their own, unlike most of the breeders dogs.
      Stress for the pet dogs would probably be higher for them in the early months due to leaving the pack and joining a new one and coupled with being in a single dog home having to cope more often being totally on their own, could be a factor for earlier onset of MVD. The Cavaliers are already genetically going to get MVD and with higher stress levels at this early age maybe this triggers the onset earlier.
      Would be interesting to know if the Cavaliers that develop MVD earlier, how many of them are single owned dogs and also have to cope with being on their own regularly.

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    5. I can see what you are thinking, typo: you mean "pet dogs would have had the stress". There have been quite a few studies on the "best" ages for a pup to leave its mother and siblings. The best example is the Guide dogs for the Blind association and for them pups leave the litter at six weeks, are "puppy walked" by a stranger and then go into training before reaching their final owner. Despite these changes of household there is no indication that they suffer from early MVD.

      There is no evidence that stress induces early failure of the mitral valve, and the IMPORTANT fearless Cavalier temperament means that it should be able to take things in its stride. Temperament IS about 75% hereditary and 25% environment. There are extremely good puppy temperament tests which can be carried out when a pup is around six weeks of age, done by a stranger in a strange environment. I'd had them done for most of my litters and very few have been outside the norm. A couple were a bit timid so their mother wasn't bred from again.

      Being left alone for a while should not present a problem for a Cavalier, but as far as I’m concerned four hours is the absolute maximum, except for overnight as I sleep in my room and the dogs downstairs. Every time I have pups each in turn will be left alone for a little while, just ten minutes or so at first, but then for longer periods. What do they do? One or two may cry a bit, most continue to play with the toy they have been left with and then settle down and doze.

      You say that Cavaliers are genetically going to get MVD: well, actually, so are most dogs! The problem with Cavaliers is the early onset, but they don't ALL get it. I used a ten year old stud dog who had no audible murmur (no ultrasound available in the country where he lived) and died about age 14 or 15 still with nothing audible. His son is nearly seven and has no audible murmur although ultrasound reveals a tiny reflux of the valve and a colour Doppler shows a tiny flash.

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    6. I do know that MVD is the most common form of heart disease in the general dog population and I have had Cavaliers without heart murmurs but from scanning stats around the world around 90% Cavaliers have heart murmurs by the time they reach ten is way higher than we see occurrence of this condition in the general dog population and when seen in old age is considered a natural change, basically the dog is getting old and things are starting to wear out.
      The stress thing is that if a dog is predisposed to getting MVD at an early age, the extra stress at a young age for a pet Cavalier of litter separation etc may bring it forward slightly being 6 months or maybe a year.
      Recently there has been a program on telly in the UK and it was about dogs stress levels when left on their own, they took bloods from the dogs before and after being left and the dogs that apparently showed no outward signs of stress actually their bloods showed the same levels of stress hormone which is adrenaline, cortisol and norepinephrine as dogs showing high levels of physical stress and some of the dogs showing no signs of outward stress actually had higher stress hormones levels than dogs showing stress.
      These hormones push up blood pressure and increase heart rate putting strain on the mitrial valve and if the dogs valve is only just starting to degenerate I may suspect this could speed up degeneration of the valve.
      Another factor to consider for breeders dogs being affected not so early as pet dogs, I would imagine breeders that are ultra scanning their dogs are more likely to be breeders trying to improve this condition in the breed so being bred from dogs that are less likely to be from early onset dogs but the pet Cavaliers may stem from a broad spectrum of breeders, good ones, not so good and bad, so more in this group are likely to be from breeders not breeding to improve the health and this research might be an indication that good breeders are improving the condition in the breed to more dogs getting it later in life than earlier.

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    7. The "pet" Cavaliers being scanned are mostly from owners whose dogs' breeders have asked them to scan! The average per person isn't going to fork out 125€ for a scan unless strongly urged, so most of these pet dogs are from the very breeders whose own dogs have later onset MVD. The average quality of pedigree dogs here is a bit better than in the UK. There is a system of confirmation whereby a dog has to be assessed by a judge licensed for that breed at a year to18 months of age (depends on the breed), before it can have full pedigree registration. If it fails it can’t be registered which means its progeny can't be, either. Yes, of course there are puppy farms selling 'type' Cavaliers (and other breeds) but they have to state that they are not pedigree. There is also a quality grading system which, as well as good show results, demands correct health test results relevant for the breed AND temperament tests. There are four levels for a dog in its own right and two more levels for having at least three progeny that reach grade 4. The whole idea is to keep the standard of pedigree dogs, both type and health, high.

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    8. Jane Naylor you say "mostly", if the scans are not just for breeders but referrals to the vet for Cavaliers with a heart murmur and confirmation of if it is innocent or the onset of MVD, there can be room for enough dogs coming from across the spectrum of breeders to have some influence. 125 euros is not that much money and in my experience most pet owners on average spend far more money on their dogs than breeders do.
      When you say,"The average quality of pedigree dogs here is a bit better than in the UK", are you referring to health or look ? If you mean health, have you stats you can provide to back this claim or a paper you can direct us to to substantiate this.
      The system of conformation at 18 months is about what the dog looks like, sounds like it is not a health inspection of the dog or it's ancestries health, so although this might mean more Cavaliers of a certain type dictated by Judges interpretation of the breed standard at that time, it is not an indicator of a dogs future health.
      If the dog cannot be fully registered until inspected at 18 months old, then all breeders must have to state that their dogs are not full pedigree when they leave them at around 8 to 12 weeks, because there is a chance even with the best breeding in the world the pup could fail at 18 months old and I wonder how many pet owners would be bothered to get full pedigree status at 18 months.
      Would it not be better to let pups be registered and if the dog is going to be used for breeding in later life then at 18 months the dog has to of been vet examined and health tests for it's parents must also have been done and are recorded with the dog, if offspring wish to be registered as pups.
      Using Judges to asses dogs at 18 months could further deplete the gene pool as time goes by, as this type of selection and along with line breeding really goes against you making any real head way into tackling health issues in the breed and could start throwing up more.

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    9. Hello anonymous 18 June: 125€ is not that much money?
      I don’t know quite what you mean by referral? Dogs are not referred to the cardiologists by other vets for the purpose of the scheme, which is open to all Cavaliers; the owners just need to make appointments.

      I think I answered your question about health quality when writing about the “Cotation”; quality grading scheme; for which both show results AND correct health test results appropriate for the breed are required, plus a temperament test appropriate for the breed. The best way to check is look on the SCC website http://www.chiens-online.com/recherche-chiots.html which is the official register of ALL pedigree puppies: the litter HAS to be registered within three weeks of birth. Then select a breed and look at the Cotation of the parents of any litter: the higher the better, to a maximum of 6. Perhaps I should add that DNA identification is also required for all dogs of Cotation 4 and upwards, but many breeders have it for all their dogs. Many breed clubs also have details of health schemes, if any, on their web sites. Plenty of breeds have no significant health issues at all.

      It is true that not many pet owners do bother to get their dogs confirmed at the appropriate age: that only costs about30€ and people don’t want to pay even that! The SCC statistics (available on the SCC website; www.scc.sso.fr) show that it depends on the breed, and some have a higher take up than others. In one year, 6,628 Cavalier births were registered, but under a quarter; just 1,692; confirmed: they would, of course, have been from the 6,319 births of the previous year.

      I don’t quite understand your problem with the confirmation system: what you propose is virtually useless! A vet can’t know the breed standard and could pass, for example, a Cavalier with one blue eye, or no tan on a Tricolour, too heavy bone, a domed head, low set ears, etc., etc. Confirmation for Cavaliers can be done at 12 months which is too soon for heart tests (18 months minimum age) and eye tests which have also to be done by one of the club nominated veterinary ophthalmologists.

      When selling a pedigree puppy the breeder gives the new owner the certificate de naissance; the birth certificate of the puppy; which is also a three generation official pedigree. This is proof that the puppy is bred from pedigree parents and that the first half of its registration has been completed. It depends on what is written on the obligatory contract of sale: if the dog is sold as a potential breeding or show animal, if it fails confirmation then the breeder must refund the purchase price or the difference between a pet price and a pedigree price. There are other, health related, issues, including HD in some breeds, certain eye defects where the breeder is again obliged to refund the price.

      Who mentioned line breeding?

      It is very sad that in the UK fewer genuine breeders are producing Cavaliers and about 75% now come from puppy farms, statistics readily available in the Kennel Club Breed Records Supplement, dogs whose parents are almost certainly not health tested and many kept in poor conditions.

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    10. The cardiologist vet mentioned I presumed also does referral work (referral work is were a GP vet thinks they hear a murmur in a dog and to confirm if innocent or not then sends them to a cardiologist vet to examine the heart) as well as scheme work and if the heart scans are taken from across both clinics, if he does this, they may take from across the spectrum of breeders.
      You sort of infer pet owners should be doing the follow up registering at 18 months, but if I had a pet dog and not breeding, there would ne no reasoning to do this. other than ego, to say your dog is full pedigree, which to most really is of little interest.
      I mentioned line breeding because that is the main practice for producing breeds to type and along with a Judges opinion at 18 months could be detrimental in the long run.
      Put the registering test up to 2.5 years if the dog is for breeding purposes and both a vet and a Judge asses the dog, this is done in other species such as horses. I would happily settle for all the things you think a vet might miss, if I knew the dog was not going to get early onset MVD or CM/SM or any of the other things Cavaliers are more likely to get. Heavy set is in the eye of the beholder as is how domed a head is or how low the ears are set, none of this things you are so concerned about are health indicators.
      So the question remains unanswered, are pure breed dogs healthier in France than in the UK ? You seem to be able to produce stats for puppy farms in the UK, could you give us stats for breeding in France ? What is the import market in dogs like ? as we are being flooded by imported dogs now from Eastern Europe since we lowered the import regulations for dogs.

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    11. Yes, a vet will refer a dog to a cardiologist if he thinks it necessary, but you are confusing this with the Cavalier Club heart testing scheme. Legally, here, a vet cannot urge or even suggest to someone to participate in the club heart test scheme: it has to be at the request of the dog owner.

      As I said, confirmation age varies with the breed, and most can be done at a year or 15 months; 18 months is for the giant breeds. Yes, the reason many people don’t take this up is that, like you, they don’t see the point, and if they are not going to breed it’s not necessary. They already have the proof that their dog IS pedigree.

      On line breeding, I suggest you try to find and read W. Watmough’s “Practical inbreeding: What it is and what it does for all livestock”

      While you may happily settle for the things a vet might miss, they are part of what makes a breed a breed and not a mongrel: that is the reason for a breed standard.

      You say
      “So the question remains unanswered, are pure breed dogs healthier in France than in the UK ?”
      I think I’ve already, twice, answered that by pointing out the availability of breed registration statistics and details in France on the SCC web site, plus the Cotation scheme that includes health tests!!!!!!! The difference is that while the Kennel Club produces a quarterly booklet with the names of breeders, that you have to buy, you can look free of charge on the SCC web sites in France, but it does take longer than reading a list. You also need to know the decent breeder affixes, and that is, I agree, slightly more difficult. French privacy laws prohibit club membership lists being published, although most “charte” breeders do allow their details to be public on a club’s website.

      I hadn’t previously mentioned breeders who are signed to their club’s “charte de qualité”: I am one such, and as well as any health tests, we agree to exhibit our dogs at different types of shows, not to breed from any lower than a certain Cotation, etc. Unlike the KC scheme in the UK we ARE inspected, our premises, the identity of our dogs (by law all dogs must be microchipped or tattooed), our register of dogs entering or leaving our premises and the register of veterinary care: visits to the vet, vaccinations, worming, flea treatment etc. We also have to be registered with the local department of veterinary service, a branch of the Ministry of Agriculture. To get there one has to do a three day course on dog care, breeding and law: laws of sale, insurance, etc. AND pass an exam, then pass a premises inspection.

      This doesn’t mean that there aren’t illegal puppy farms, but they mostly sell non pedigree pups. Inspectors have access to the SCC records and if someone unregistered is found to be breeding more than one litter a year they can be fined: a recent case was uncovered and the owner actually sent to prison. Yes, there are far too many illegal imports from Eastern Europe and these pups are often sold with false pedigrees and passports in shops and also on line: the give-away that the phone number will be a mobile. As in the UK, educating the public is a HUGE problem! I participate in a “pet fair” where breeders of all types of small animals, including reptiles, poultry and more usual family pets, take our own animals and tried to educate people by showing them official forms, health tests etc. There are other dog breeds represented.

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    12. "W. Watmough’s “Practical inbreeding: What it is and what it does for all livestock”

      This was published in 1955 and has been superseded by modern population genetics.

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    13. Jane Naylor as much as I would love to trawl through French Cavaliers health results, the simple answer to my question would be for you to offer the stats for MVD in Cavaliers from the age 1 and every year after and the same for MVD, if it bucks the world and UK stats for these two conditions, maybe dogs are healthier in France, but then you make me concerned because you reference a book which was published in 1955 and breeding and knowledge of genetics has moved on since then and by the way I have worked in agriculture for 27 years with pedigree Holstiens and know the perils of linebreeding.
      Do you think the head shape needs to change in the breed ?

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    14. For the comment at 14:47I meant to say,for MVD and then for SM, not stats for MVD twice.

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  10. Being rural, I am forced to use satellite boradband. Nine minute HD videos quickly eat up my monthly bandwidth allowance. Please provide text as well, or at least a service that provides a low density as well as HD. Many of us don't really need the pictures, music background, or voice tone to understand content. Sorry to be bitchy about this . . . I would be silent if I thought it was just my problem. But I'll guess there are a lot of others in the same situation.

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    1. I'm on satellite as well. Even a short synopsis of video content is much appreciated. If the video sounds intriguing enough, I can wait until my unlimited time starts to watch it.

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    2. It looks like it's just the Cavalier bit from PDE:Three Years On.

      You can play it without HD. If the "HD" sign beside the volume control is blue, then HD is on. If you click on it, it switches to grey to indicate that HD is off. It was off by default for me.

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  11. There is no need for the Cavalier 'breed' to disappear. Remember that it can be created FROM SCRATCH from other breeds, just like EVERY breed has been at some point.

    Remember that a 'breed' is not a species; it's just a set of shapes and colours, plus a few personality traits that exist in most dogs. There are numerous small spaniels from which the Cavalier appearance and character could easily be re-formed, and probably within just a few short years.

    It would take some coordination, of course, but the sooner the rational, kind, non-psychopathic breeders start outcrossing to (or just crossing) other breeds, the better.

    Perhaps Margaret Carter could lead the way, recruiting willing breeders to participate and helping to coordinate their efforts. Give the new 'breed' a new name and the nutters won't care so much. What could be a good new name?

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    1. I've been giving this some serious consideration for the past year. I have four cavs. Three are KC registered, show quality, the other is a seven year old rescue (who, fortunately, does not have a heart murmur or SM!). One of my dogs is a little pup still, bought from a lovely younger breeder who supported and undertook rigourous health testing.

      Cavaliers are not actually my favourite breed or type - I love spaniels, but I also love challenge and enhanced intelligence and Cavaliers are certainly not challenging, they're loving, trusting and obedient to a fault!

      Nonetheless, my husband adores the cav and so we have our furry children, who share every aspect of our lives from muddy walks (rolls in my case) to trips to the coffee shop to everyone on the bed at night. Before I had dogs I suffered from intense, debilitating depression. Whilst I expect I'll never actually be "healed" the dogs have at least given me a reason to get up in the morning. My cavaliers brought me back to life.

      I've contemplated an outcross, initially based on some anecdotal evidence I found that suggested a line of cavaliers that had included a cocker further back in their heritage did not suffer from SM. I wish I could find the science behind it though. If I could, I would most certainly outcross. Bugger the showing and the 100% conformation. If I could capture any part of the essence of my cavaliers in a cross, and have them live good, healthy lives free from pain, I would drop any loyalty to their KC certificates in a heartbeat.

      Cavaliers are special dogs. I know all dogs have their own ways, personalities, unique characteristics; there are probably other dogs similar to the cavalier. But I've never known a dog that will instantly leap from its bed and into my lap at the first sign of tears, or who will snuffle in my ear at night because I wake up and am restless, be content to spend hours on the sofa but still take off after an unsuspecting bird at the first possible opportunity.

      Even if we were to start from scratch (there's a pun in there...) I'm not sure about the numerous combinations we could use, or even if we could develop something great from the cavalier instead of walking away. If anyone has ideas or if we could get some sort of collaborative thinking going, I would welcome it with open arms.

      /usually signed as Pippa D. but my google account isn't cooperating with this page.

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    2. It seems that one of the biggest problems in helping people to breed better dogs is getting any agreement about which way is best. Dog breeders often seem to love their own particular bit of dogma.

      Do we:
      a. keep breeding Cavs the way we have been, but with more testing?
      b. change the standard to require testing?
      c. open the breed to outcrosses? maybe even having classes for 1/2 CKCSs, 3/4 CKCss, etc?
      d. drop the breed as too unhealthy, as a whole, to justify further breeding?
      e. let the CKCS breeders choose their own paths, but start up a new breed based on outcrossing?
      f. work on spreading the truth to the public, encouraging them to choose the breeders who breed for health, or to choose a different breed?
      g. vote for chaos (could it be any worse?), and let CKCS breeders each go their own way (like if a tour bus broke down on an unused country road, and each passenger was so sure that their own sense of direction was best, so everyone set off in different directions).

      Perhaps allowing for cliques that breed for:
      show wins,
      health testing and certification,
      activity wins,
      outcrossing for health and genetic variety,
      and some recognition for breeders of Looks Like a CKCS But Isn't One Bit CKCS .
      Chaos?

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  12. Margaret Carter9 June 2014 at 19:09


    The problem is that cavaliers are wonderful little companions. Telling people they should not be bred is not going to stop the demand for them. Even those owners that have watched their pet suffer, paid out enormous amounts in vet bills, and said "never again" will sometimes come back as they cannot find a breed they like as much.

    I had believed that the cavalier could be saved if breeders took notice of guidelines that said they should check their breeding cavaliers for SM and use only the older clear dogs for breeding. I don't believe that now, as the majority of cavalier breeders have ignored research findings and continued to use unscanned dogs or, at very best, cavaliers that were scanned at a young age when the pocket of fluid within the spinal cord was less likely to have yet formed.

    Only a few responsible breeders still follow the guidelines, the use of unscanned dogs means that the problem has continued to spread throughout the breed and we seem to be hearing of more and more badly affected young cavaliers. I cannot see there is any possibility of things improving unless the KC makes a stand and insists that all litters must have both parents MRI scanned at three years or over.

    And that won't happen. I don't think anything will change until publicity about the welfare issues cause registrations to decline so drastically that the KC has to respond in some way. My pipe dream is that eventually only breeders that unselfishly love the breed for its own sake will be producing them.

    I do sometimes wonder if Nature itself is taking a hand. There seems to be so many other inherited problems that are now affecting the viability of the breed. Lots of fertility problems, difficulty getting bitches pregnant, whelping difficulties and many reports of male puppies with retained testicles. Problems I have heard about from other breeders and that I experienced myself. I suppose that however much you try and bring down COIs ( and most cavalier breeders don't ) and improve genetic diversity it is probably a fairly futile exercise in a breed with just a few foundation dogs and a long history of closely related popular sires.

    I have now thoroughly depressed myself. I need to go and cuddle a cavalier.


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    1. Ugh, your comments have reminded me how angry I felt when I found out about a particular kennel that rather dominates in the East of England and how they didn't only breed a sire to many bitches when he was untested, but did so AFTER he was scanned and had a result of 2/2C. The brazen disregard for the dogs they claimed to care about so much made me feel physically ill.

      When I'm thinking optimistically, I think "hey, I can test my dogs, find a good, tested sire even if it means a lot of travel, I can try to make a difference." But if I do work as hard as I can for low COIs and excellent health tests, but then no responsible breeders who'll do the same want to take on a pup, the effort is merely a drop in the ocean, and won't help on the whole.

      Pippa

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    2. Hi Pippa, share your despair. However, if the Cavalier is lost as a breed there will be some cross that will favour it's appeal and it will live again. The next time there will be more knowledge, more thought, more litigation and all of these things will help dogs overall. Don't forget, baby steps become adult steps. PDE was a little glimmer in JH's brain and has grown and will benefit dogs eventually. BRX was a little glimmer in JH's brain, 100s of dogs have benefited from that spark, so don't veer off the path, with people who think like you there will be a coming together, a unity, and dogs will recover, because when the dog is removed from society, the human race will disappear too, quite quickly.

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    3. Problem with MRI scanning is that, in reality it is no guarantee for no CM/SM free Cavs. Yes the chance increases if both parents are SM free, but the numbers are also confused. The guildline of the protocol is 1-5 years MRI scan. Possibility of twice in a lifetime. Ideally at 2 and 5 years, At this stage MRI scanning serves more for research and statistics then anything else. Another problem comes also with categorizing. Apparently the best a Cav can get in the UK is C2, scan it in France and it gets to be CM clear. Some breeders are working hard to save the breed, by going for larger heads (the Dog101 writer is going this direction).

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  13. Margaret Carter10 June 2014 at 13:40

    Anonymous10 June 2014 09:14

    "I've owned bred nearly 100, rarely do they not make double digits and well beyond. Never had one show any signs of symptomatic SM."

    What we have here is an example of 'Breeder Speak' from someone who would appear to be a volume breeder of cavaliers.

    "Rarely do they not make double digits"....can be translated into "most manage to get to 10 years old"..............Not that impressive when compared to other breeds the same size and weight. .

    "Never had one show any signs of symptomatic SM."........... The wording indicates this breeder knows he has owned dogs with SM but they have not shown obvious symptoms. Now I simply cannot believe that is true. Not from someone who claims to have owned/bred nearly 100 cavaliers. It is more likely that the breeder's mind set ensured that any symptoms were not recognised, were ignored or explained away as being allergies, ear mites, pulled muscle or early arthritis.

    Difficult to have a dialogue with people who are so economical with the truth.

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    1. hmm , I had someone tell me that they had never had a dog with sm in 30 years , shame they also have a terrible memory and forgot who I was.They had sold me a dog 20 years ago & i'd told them it had died of sm.

      Anyone who says they have never seen MVD or SM is not to be trusted. they are either lying or know very little about the breed.

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    2. Regretabbly the above comments could have related to the breed I owned and showed for 40 years, Irish Setters. The attitude of the breeders is incredible, they use their dogs time after time ignoring the gene pool is already so small, the number of litters on a breed dedicated site, sickening, what happens to all of those puppies? How many of those breeders can accept a puppy back and accommodate it for life? or until a new home can be found. Not many I suspect. Worse still is that I have a strong feeling that even if they could have them back, they don't want to because it's no longer their problem, let somebody else deal with it. I resigned after 40 continuous years of membership because I was sickened by what I was hearing and when I expressed my reasons for non renewal, just silence, just raised eyebrows, just so - and? The setter in Holland bred by a famous, "successful" kennel where the owner won the law suit, just how many dogs did they breed sprouting "not to their knowledge had their dogs ever suffered from what killed Sam" it is a dangerous and horrible attitude and kills a breed off.

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    3. Kennel blindness. All too common.

      Despite any protestation (and it can be quite vociferous at times) from showing enthusiasts they are not at all incapable of directly profiting from these bulk breeders either.

      Even if the profit is usually no more than a silly rosette or bit of silver plated tin at the expense of hundreds of diseased and rejected "pet quality dogs" or those eating each other in ignored squaller.

      It really gets interesting when the breeder comes unstuck usually due to too many dogs and limited funds coinciding with old age.

      Complete blindness of showing enthusiasts suddenly becomes the order of the day.

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    4. just look at the gatheral case.
      show breeders condemn " puppyfarms" and anyone who breeds but does not show or crossbreeds even if their dogs are kept in impeccable conditions, but if someone is a top judge suddenly keeping a few dead dogs under your bed is just fine.
      They where still fostering for the club rescue at the time of their court case and have now gone back to judging.

      The only concern at the time was that a few champions where speyed by the rspca , never mind that they where kept in squalor

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    5. My goodness anon 17:43, surely not. I remember that case when long haired dachs, dallies and other breeds were found in disgusting conditions and I was horrified, in fact I alluded to the case on one of my previous blogs. I cannot believe that these women are KC approved judges, no way. God, you're not going to tell me that they own dogs again too. If they are judges and dog owners then that seals it for me that the KC is hypocritical in the extreme, please tell me I have misunderstood your blog. If it is true then we all ought to write to the KC and complain bitterly and any exhibitors who present their dogs for their opinion should be warned about the ladies past. Please tell me it isn't true.

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    6. http://www.thecavalierclub.co.uk/events/reports/poty12.html

      Regardless of personal views this person was convicted by a court of law , a reputable club should not be associating with such a person.

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    7. "A pair of Crufts judges were banned from keeping animals for two years..."

      http://www.nwhsa.org.uk/vermin_patrol_for_howl_71.htm

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    8. Hi anons 11:46 and 12:45, I tried to access these sites but my computer was telling me that there was a security issue. I know that there is full coverage of the case and it can be found by going to google and typing in Gatheral sisters cruelty/neglect case. I cannot understand how the KC can associate themselves with these two ladies, I know they were banned from keeping animals for two years, but when one realises that the innocent dogs in their care spent their whole lives in such conditions that was an unfair judgement. Those ladies knew exactly what they had been doing for years and years, they were the worst sort of "respectable" dog breeder and dog show judge. They hadn't become infirm and overwhelmed by their dogs needs, they were sisters, they could share the tasks to keep the dogs happy, cut down their numbers, anything but what they subjected those dogs to, it was appalling. How can the KC justify ever associating with such people, it indicates to me that yet again their eye is on the pennies, they don't find it disgusting to keep dogs thus, and the reputation of the KC slides ever forwards towards the gutter. Thank you for your posts, I am going out to stamp my frustration on the forest tracks in the pouring rain.

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    9. I'm completely shocked by this case.

      It seems the anti RSPCA crackpots threw their support behind the Gatheral sisters in their hundreds. Their sentence has been halved on appeal.

      This is the second case in the last few years that I've read of so called respected breeders/judges who had horrific problems before being prosecuted again and getting off lightly on appeal.

      This is not right in my opinion.

      In this case they had a dying sister to look after........but, and, so what and etc.

      This is no excuse at all. It's horryfying that they didn't sort out the dogs immiediately. That they couldn't let go when they needed to for the well being of the animals its absolutely not acceptable.

      Yes they will be very shortly continuing. Eighty dogs kept in squaller in assorted tiny stinking make shift crates!!!! The only light a flickering broken TV!

      They should be banned from touching another dog ever never mind ever keeping one again.

      Wonder WTH is going on with halving the sentence!

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  14. There is a film on you tube called 'Egomania'. It's about how to recognise the signs of NPD (there are 9). Cult leaders exhibit up to about 5 signs. Very few individuals are known to have all 9.....such is the syndrome. watch the film as it is 47 minutes long. I'd be curious if anyone recognises any of the 'influential' people involved in showing and breeding dogs as displaying any of these traits. From what I have read on here and from what I have observed, the syndrome seems rampant amongst these people....as it does parents who push their kids into beauty pageants, even when the child is showing signs of emotional distress.

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  15. Sad yet scarily true anon 1649

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  16. Unfortunately it's not just cavaliers. I have lost all hope for the show ring. Judges are rewarding unhealthy, unfit dogs and the majority of show people can't take any constructive criticism.

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    Replies
    1. 100% and the blog about the Gatheral sisters confirms it.

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    2. What is the link to that blog Georgina?

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    3. Hi River P, type in Gatheral sisters cruelty case and there are several choices, the BBC, Our Dogs etc, they will outline the horrific conditions the dogs were kept in. I checked to see if they have been reinstated as KC judges and was shocked to see that Mary Gatheral is judging at the Sheltie Club Show this year. There is absolutely no way that their dogs had been subjected to those conditions for a short period of time, it was over years and years. The belief that the ladies had been unwell and had let things "slip" is absolute tosh, they were just cruel to those dogs. There can have been no money shortage, they kept all of the popular breeds of the day, Cavs, Shelties, Dachs, Dallies and goodness knows what else and weren't backwards in selling off excess stock I suspect. The KC are tying themselves into a dangerous thread because by accepting those ladies back into "their ring" means they are accepting byb, puppy farmers/mills and whilst not all are bad, the majority are and keep their dogs in appalling conditions. It means that their statements about caring for dogs and their welfare is of paramount importance to them, is pretty shallow, imo. Georgina

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  17. Thanks Georgina I had read those already I thought there was a particularily pertinent blog entry somewhere.

    Yes you would've thought the KC would've been a bit more worried about further tarnishing their image than this. Caroline Gatheral judged at this years Crufts while the case was ongoing! Not just any breed but one of the most contentious too, the Cavalier.

    It's all beyond a very bad joke.

    By the way the Gatheral sisters who own Sockburn Hall should be completely and utterly ashamed, they aren't it would appear short of funds. They enlisted no one to take care of the dogs while they were otherwise engaged with the one ill sister, no one.

    Pure and utter disregard for the welfare of animals. All they were worried about was the fact that one of the dogs a triple champion or some such had been neutered by the RSPCA when the dogs were rescued. All the dogs had painful rotten teeth, they had ear infections and mites and eye infections and kept in almost complete darkness in tiny cages the floors caked in compacted inches and inches of excrement, its sickening. This wasn't a case of a long weekends neglect. This was obviously routine neglect over years.

    They pleaded that they had plenty to still to offer the world of dogs, all of it in my opinion worth nothing at all when they can't even meet the basic welfare requirements of the dogs in their care.

    Apparently criticism levelled at the RSPCA was justified because they handled the case in an "unfeeling way" by showing footage of the house of evil, unfeeling because of the ill sister (not even living at Sockburn Hall) critically ill at the time.

    All I can say is if the showing world don't stand up to this in a united way and prevent Mary Gatheral from judging they are all as bad.

    The whole lot of them.

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  18. Oh oh this made me see red, the insane sisters will no longer be "rescuing dogs" concentrating their time managing their own. Haven't those poor dogs been through enough. How can they even look them in the eye again.

    "Fair is foul, and foul is fair, hover through the fog and filthy air....." I just hope someone keeps very close tabs on the goings on at Sockburn Hall what's left of it.

    This is just really not good enough.

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    1. They won't though will they, they will be charming, confident, and wield their "power of influence" over the idiots who have "forgiven them". And if the KC has reinstated them why would people question their ethinicity, the KC is God. I must chase up the Sheltie Club and see if they have any reaction to my email, as yet no feed back. There was another case and I believe the lady has since died who had a famous kennel of westies and her animal husbandry was less than moral. I really cannot accept that the Gatherals are up and running again, mainly because dogs for them are definitely a tool of use and not gentle sentinel beings that need to be respected and loved and looked after. Anyone who engages with them should be in no doubt, those ladies had a choice and the money to either reduce the numbers, hire two or three people to help, or get off their fat backsides and keep the dogs in good conditions. They were lazy, arrogant, disrespectful and worst of all greedy. The dogs had absolutely no choice and that make me see red too. The terriers suffered dreadfully too.

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  19. Margaret Carter22 June 2014 at 00:53


    Anonymous19 June 2014 07:30

    Perhaps my cowardly friend, if you really believe what you are insinuating, you would like to come out of the shadows and give your name.

    It would be really interesting to compare my record of responsible breeding with yours.

    For the record, Ch Mareve Indiana limped occasionally when an elderly dog. In the early 2000s nobody knew about SM and so it was diagnosed as a touch of arthritis.


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  20. As it has been proven in the UK that Cavies suffer from high rates of genetic illnesses, is the rates severe in other countries like the Cavies in the UK?

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  21. Sad so sad. Yet these dogs are still so popular! As a dog groomer I frequently get cavies in. For one woman I have groomed two dogs of hers both died young of heart conditions and she has recently brought another puppy. I have to bite my tongue but I really do want to shake her!

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  22. It isn't just the sad and terrible things happening to the dogs, it is also about the suffering and wasted years of the people suckered by and into the cult, isn't it?

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  23. First MVD treated dog, the only way is up it seems.
    http://www.ithacajournal.com/story/news/local/2014/12/05/cornell-esme-recovery/19968215/

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