for a Cavalier
Puttin on the Ritz
So you are looking for a Cavalier.....
Questions to ask the Breeder .questioning breeders on health items is prudent.
WRITTEN DOCUMENTATION of the testing done should be provided, and breeders should be pleased that you care about the future health of your puppy.
Beware of breeders who have only glowing recommendations for their dogs as there are always some cautions and peculiarities with every breed and no line is completely free of inherited health problems.
Be cautious! It is difficult to believe that anyone these days could be unaware of the puppy mill problem, yet puppies continue to be sold through auction, commercial outlets (pet shops) and from brokers. Puppy mills are no longer confined to the Midwest States - "farmers" in other states have found it more profitable to raise puppies than poultry.
1. Do both parents (sire and dam) have a hip clearance from the OFA (Orthopedic Foundation for Animals)? Ask for copies of the certificates. "My vet okayed the x-ray" is NOT a valid clearance. Final hip clearances cannot be obtained until dogs are two years of age. Some breeders will do a preliminary test when their breeding stock is under two, but it will not be certified.
2. Do both parents have CURRENT (within the last 12 months) cardiologist clearance for heart disease? Ask for copies of the certificates.
3. Do both parents have current eye clearances from CERF (Canine Eye Registration Foundation)? Ask for copies of the certificates.
4. Do both parents have current veterinarian's clearances for patellar luxation (slipping kneecaps)? Ask for copies of a veterinarian's written statement or an OFA patellar certification.
5. Will the puppy have a restricted (non-breeding) registration with strong recommendation to spay/neuter?
6. Will the Breeder gladly take the dog back for ANY reason if you cannot keep it?! This is the hallmark of responsible breeding.
7. Is the Breeder involved in competition with their dogs (conformation and/or obedience or agility?? The breeder should be a member of the CKCSC,USA Inc. and the dogs should also be registered with the American Kennel Club (AKC), which means that they are what we call dual-registered. This allows the Breeder to become familiar with different bloodlines from which he/she might choose prospective breeding stock. It also indicates more than just a passing interest in Cavaliers.
8. Are there at least three titled dogs (the initials CH., OTCH, CD, CDX, UD before or after the names) in the FIRST THREE generations of the puppy's pedigree? The term "championship lines" means NOTHING if those titles are infrequent or back four or more generations.
9. Are the puppy's sire and dam available for you to meet? If the sire is unavailable, can you call his owners or people who have his puppies to ask about temperament or health problems? You should also be provided with photos or videos if you cannot see them in person.
10. Have the puppies been raised in the home, kennel, barn or backyard? Note: Puppies removed from their dam or littermates before at least 8 weeks, may exhibit a wide variety of behavioral problems!
11. Have the puppies' temperaments been evaluated and can the breeder guide you to the puppy that will best suit your lifestyle?
12. Do the puppies seem healthy, with no discharge from the eyes or nose, no loose stools, no foul smelling ears? Are their coats soft, full and clean? Do they have plenty of energy when awake yet calm down easily when gently stroked?
13. Ask to see any vaccination records and question the puppy's diet.
14. Is the Breeder a member in good standing with the CKCSC, USA which has a Code of Ethics by which member/breeders have to abide? Is the Breeder associated with other Cavalier clubs?
15. Will the breeder be available to answer any questions you might have for the life of the dog? Do you feel comfortable with this person? Are you feeling intimidated or pressured? If so, keep looking! You are entering into a decade-long relationship and you need to have a good rapport with the breeder for future queries.