Official Breed Standards can be found here:
Height: 12-13 inches at shoulders
Temperament: Happy, friendly. Aggression, nervousness and shyness are not tolerated in show dogs and dogs with these traits should not be bred.
Blenheim-pearly white with chestnut markings. White blaze with even chestnut markings around eyes. “Blenheim spot, Queens thumbprint” on forehead is desirable.
Tricolor-pearly white with black markings. White blaze with chestnut “eyebrows”, cheeks, under ears and under tail.
Ruby: solid chestnut. No white markings.
Black and tan: black with chestnut “eyebrows”, cheeks, under ears, on legs and under tail. No white markings.
Faults: heavy ticking (freckles) on the white of blenheims and tricolors. Any white markings on rubies or black and tans. Aggression, shyness, nervousness.
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Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are wonderful dogs. I have been owned by them for 6 years now and in that time I have owned several and have fostered dozens of cavaliers. Through our monthly playgroup and cavalier groups on Facebook I have met dozens of cavalier owners and cavaliers.
I get phone calls and emails all the time from people who are interested in adopting or buying a cavalier and want to know more about them. Many times they have read about them online in an article or something and think that they sound perfect!
The truth is, I love cavaliers and can’t imagine my life without them, but they are NOT for everyone. This is something I am brutally honest about when talking to people who do not know the breed. Many of the “breed profiles” you read online gush about the many positive qualities of a cavalier; they are loving, friendly, sweet, happy dogs. They are all of those things. But many times the profiles do not mention the not so good along with the good. And there is a lot of not so good! Or at the very least, there are things any potential cavalier owner should know about before buying or adopting.
I’ll start with the big one. Cavaliers are a very unhealthy breed. From years of bad breeding by puppy mills and backyard breeders, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is prone to a host of health problems. Cavalier Health.org is a fantastic resource that every cavalier owner or cavalier owner wanna be should read and book mark. Among the health issues they are prone to are:
MVD (Mitral Valve Disease)
Deafness (PSOM can be a contributor)
…and many more
If you are buying a cavalier puppy it is VITAL that you buy from a breeder whose dogs are regularly health tested and certified. They should be able to show you the proof of the health checks and certificates. If you buy from a pet store or a backyard breeder these dogs are most likely not tested and dogs with health problems are regularly bred with no thought to the consequences. Our first cavalier was bought from a backyard breeder back when I knew little about the breed and what I read online didn’t emphasize the importance of testing. He has epilepsy, which has cost us thousands of dollars over the years in tests and medication, not to mention the heartache of watching him have seizures. I can’t emphasize this enough. Make sure the breeder health tests the parents or you are risking spending thousands of dollars on surgeries and treatments if your dog has one of these disorders. They are all genetic.
Now that the health issues are out of the way, let’s talk about behavior.
Cavaliers are known for their happy, outgoing personalities. They can make fantastic therapy dogs because of their gentle demeanor.
BUT…cavaliers are also prone to many behavioral issues which are common to the breed and that many many owners will tell you about.
Cavaliers can be big barkers. Be it the dogs next door, the dogs on TV, the doorbell ringing or a particularly interesting leaf blowing by, many cavaliers are prone to barking. Yes, many of the breed profiles say they are quiet. And with proper training they can be, but most of the cavaliers I know are indeed big barkers! This is something that should be addressed when they are young, as it’s hard to untrain a barker.
Cavaliers are very food motivated. They are known be food thieves and to go to great lengths to swipe food from their owners tables or even right out of their hands! They are also prone to weight gain and obesity. And obesity is VERY bad for any dog, but especially for dogs like cavaliers that are prone to heart problems. Extra weight on a cavalier means the heart has to work extra hard and even just a slight amount of extra weight can cause a heart murmur, which can be deadly in a cavalier. It’s important to watch your dog’s weight. Do not free feed your cavalier. And use healthy treats like carrots and green beans.
Cavaliers are prone to separation anxiety. Cavaliers are, first and foremost, companion animals. They were bred to be “Comfort Spaniels” and were bred to be royal lap dogs. They have not forgotten this! Cavaliers want to be with their people. ALL. THE. TIME. They follow you from room to room, they stand guard outside your bathroom door (if you don’t just let them come in with you!). They sit next to the tub or shower and wait for you. And the instant you sit down…they are in your lap! This is life with a cavalier. If you do not want a furry little shadow, you do not want a cavalier. There are exceptions, of course, but as a whole, this is the common cavalier behavior. They do not want to be alone, and some develop very bad separation anxiety, where they bark and scratch and even become destructive when left alone. Having another cavalier can definitely help this, and most cavaliers do best in pairs. They bond as strongly to their dog companions as they do their human ones, but just because they bond to another dog doesn’t mean they don’t want to be with their people, as some breeds tend to do. Cavaliers are absolutely NOT outdoor dogs (in my opinion NO dog is an outdoor dog). They need human companionship. If you want a dog to leave outside, a cavalier is NOT for you.
Cavaliers are adaptable and can be great apartment dogs as long as they get enough exercise. However they tend to be notoriously bad off leash. They are descended from scent hounds and will take off without a second thought, right into the street and in front of a car if they see or smell something they want to investigate. It is important to keep cavaliers on leash unless they are in a secured area.
And I cannot emphasize this enough: Cavaliers shed. They shed a LOT! If the ad says they are low shedding-they are not being honest. Any cavalier owner can tell you this. They are heavy shedders! If you want them to have the long, flowing coats of a show dog, you will have hair everywhere and you will need to brush your cavalier a lot to keep them mat free! You can read more about grooming your cavalier in my last blog post!
Cavaliers are sweet, loving and unfailingly loyal. They tend to get along well with everyone. They also tend to get along well with cats and other household pets. They are smart and eager to please, so tend to train quickly with positive reinforcement training.
If you are looking to adopt an adult cavalier, some of these behaviors may be deeply ingrained and hard to break. Be sure when you apply for an adult dog to be completely honest about behaviors you can and can’t tolerate so that the rescue can help make a good match for you AND for the dog.
So…cavaliers aren’t for everyone, but when you’re heart is stolen by one it’s hard to imagine your life without one. Or two. Or three….or…. :)
Something I get asked about a lot is grooming tips for cavaliers.
I may not be the best person to ask, as I’m one of those people that shaves their cavaliers. I know, right? The horror! I personally like the look of a shaved cavalier, but prefer mine to have their ears and tails grown out long. I used to have full flowing coats on them, but found the maintenance to be a bear, so we started getting them shaved twice a year. You will often hear that shaving a cavalier “ruins” the coat permanently, but that’s really not the case. Some cavaliers have nice silky coats and some don’t. Those that grow the “Cottony” fluffy coats will always grow a cottony fluffy coat, regardless of shaving or not shaving. Those with silky coats will have silky coats. One thing that is common, though, is for spaying or neutering to change the dogs coat. The change in hormones can trigger a change in the coat. After spaying many silky coated dogs grow in a fluffy coat, and it seems to be more common in females than males.
So, you have a cavalier with a long flowing coat…what’s the best way to keep that coat beautiful?
Mainly and most importantly: Regular brushing! I cannot state this enough. If you want a cavalier with a long flowing coat, you will have to brush at least several times a week, if not every day, especially in summer when there are lots of sticky plants and weeds out! You will have to check in between the dogs’ toes whenever they run in an area with a lot of weeds, especially if there are foxtails around! More on that in a minute.
What is the best kind of brush for a cavalier? I prefer a double sided brush that has wire pins on one side and bristles on the other. The wire pins work great to work out light tangles and the bristles help smooth the coat. A “Furminator” type brush works great to thin out a thick, unruly coat. Be sure to brush with a regular brush BEFORE using a Furminator as they tend to pull tangles and that hurts!
Always brush your cavalier thoroughly before bathing! Bathing will make any tangles tighten up and even harder to get out! If your dog does get a mat, you can use scissors to cut through the mat, then use baby powder and a comb to take the mat out. Always be careful when cutting mats so you don’t accidentally get skin!
It is a good idea to keep the hair around the underside of the ears trimmed. This will help keep moisture from staying inside the ear, which causes yeast infections. If your cavalier is prone to excess ear wax, use an ear cleaner a couple of times a month. I use Epi-Otic every time I bathe my dogs. You simply pour it into the ear, rub the ear and use a cotton ball to gently wipe the inside of the ear.
How often to bathe your cavalier? To keep your dog from having dry skin, it is good practice to bathe no more than a couple of times a month, and always use a good moisturizing shampoo. Conditioner works great to keep the hair tangle free (I personally use Mane-n-Tail, which is used on horses and I have always had great luck with it!). As for shampoo, there are many kinds to choose from. I prefer an oatmeal shampoo because it is less irritating, but it’s really a personal preference.
Lastly, keep the bottoms of your cavaliers feet trimmed. The hair in between a cavaliers toes tends to grow quickly and cover the pads of their feet, which can cause your dog to slip on slick surfaces. Keeping the hair between the toes trimmed will prevent that! You can still keep the hair on the top of the feet long to keep the “Grinch Feet”. Trimming between the toes also helps to prevent foxtails from sticking and burrowing in between your dog’s toes. See below for an infographic on foxtails and what they look like.
I hope that this has helped! If your dog is not used to being groomed, be sure to take things slow and use lots of praise and treats help him get used to being brushed. Many rescue dogs have been badly neglected and some have never even seen a brush, so grooming time can be very stressful. Go slow and never push your dog. Keep your grooming "training" sessions short and positive to help your dog get used to it!
What is a 501(c)3 charity?
501(c)(3) exemptions apply to corporations, and any community chest, fund, cooperating association or foundation, organized and operated exclusively for religious, charitable,scientific, testing for public safety, literary, or educational purposes, to foster national or international amateur sports competition, or for the prevention of cruelty to children or animals.There are also supporting organizations—often referred to in shorthand form as "Friends of" organizations.
Another provision, 26 U.S.C. § 170, provides a deduction, for federal income tax purposes, for some donors who make charitable contributions to most types of 501(c)(3) organizations, among others. Regulations specify which such deductions must be verifiable to be allowed (e.g., receipts for donations over $250). Due to the tax deductions associated with donations, loss of 501(c)(3) status can be highly challenging to a charity's continued operation, as many foundations and corporate matching programs do not grant funds to a charity without such status, and individual donors often do not donate to such a charity due to the unavailability of the deduction.
The two exempt classifications of 501(c)(3) organizations are as follows:
One of the questions I get asked the most is “Is Cavalier Crazy Rescue a 501(c)3 non-profit charity?”
The answer is no, at least not yet.
The reason why we have not gone that route yet is because when CCR started up with our first rescue in 2010 we were just a small rescue. For the first 2 years we only had a small handful of dogs come in. We paid for everything out of pocket and were reimbursed by the adopter as their adoption fee. Starting in 2013 the rescue started getting bigger and we had more and more dogs come in, and last year, 2014, was our biggest year to date, and we had a several medical cases come in. As stated above, you need to have public support, from a variety of donors. So far most of our donations have come from a handful of people.
What does this mean to you, as an adopter?
Not much. Contrary to a common belief, you cannot write off your adoption fee for a dog, even if it’s paid to a 501(c)3 charity. Because you are receiving “goods” (ie, the dog), it is not a donation.
What does it mean to you as a donor?
We cannot provide you with a receipt to write off your donation on your taxes at this point. We do very little fundraising and try to raise most of our money through purchases of our yearly calendar and other goods such as notecards and prints. 100% of the profits made from these items go to helping the CCR dogs.
As it stands, we pay taxes on every penny we “make”, be it from donations or from our calendar sales. Like most rescues, we lose money on our senior dogs and our dogs with medical issues. At CCR we do not like to charge high adoption fees for our sweet senior dogs, but we want them to get all of the vet care needed. From spaying/neutering to dentals to ear cleanings to treating them for heart conditions, we want ALL of our dogs to have the best medical care possible and be in tip top shape before going off to their forever homes. We take in seniors, medical cases, puppy mill rescues, shelter dogs and owner releases. We take in cavalier mixes as well, not just purebreds. As I talked about in my previous blog post, we try to make up those losses by asking a higher adoption fee for our young, healthy dogs.
Be assured, though we are not a non-profit charity, we are not for profit. Your adoption fee, your calendar purchases, all of that money goes to help the dogs. I do not get paid a penny to do what I do. Transports, home checks, interviews, all of that is done by my because I care deeply for the welfare of these dogs. Likewise my wonderful helpers and fosters do what they do because they love these dogs. All of our dogs are fully vetted; spaying/neutering, shots, microchips, grooming and dentals are all included in your adoption fee, along with any other medical treatments the dogs need. All of our dogs go home with a brand new leash and collar and a goody bag of treats and toys.
We are currently looking into options and weighing the pros and cons. Starting up a non-profit is not only time consuming, it is expensive. And funds we would use for that are funds we are currently using to help dogs in need. I am looking into whether we qualify, based on the size of the rescue, and if not what we need to do.
As with everything, it is up to you as an adopter/foster/supporter, to educate yourself decide where you stand on all of this.
If you want to donate to help cavaliers in need and want a receipt for tax purposes there are many 501(c)3 cavalier rescues you can donate to including, Treasured Pals Small Spaniel Rescue, Cavalier Rescue USA, Lucky Star Cavalier Rescue and Cavalier Rescue Florida among others.
If you would like to help support Cavalier Crazy Rescue and cavaliers in Utah, you can buy a calendar or notecards! Click on the link for Calendars and More or visit our Etsy Shop: https://www.etsy.com/shop/CavalierCrazyRescue If you want to donate to CCR, we do have a PayPal account. You can email or message me.
As always, thank you for your support!
The prices that rescues and shelters charge for dog adoptions is a pretty sensitive and heated topic. I'm hoping to shed some light on the subject.
What is puppy price jacking?
That is a term used when shelters and rescues charging a higher adoption fee for puppies and/or purebred dogs.
Some rescues and shelters charge a flat fee for all of their animals, regardless of age or breed. Some breed specific rescues charge fees depending on the age of the dog. And some all breed rescues charge a higher adoption fee for puppies/young dogs/purebred dogs. Sometimes they call these "VIP" dogs.
What does all of this mean?
Well, it depends. Is this a good thing? A bad thing? It depends entirely upon the rescue/shelter.
Reputable rescues take in a variety of dogs. If they are breed specific they may only take one breed, or sometimes dogs mixed with that breed. But either way, a reputable rescue takes in senior dogs. They take in shelter releases. They take in sick dogs that need medical treatment.
In most cases, senior dogs and medical cases cost the rescue far more in vet bills than they can ever recoup in an adoption fee. That is just part of running a rescue. The difference between the medical bill and the adoption fee can be made up in fundraisers or donations. Some rescues do a lot of fundraising and collect a lot of donations, others don't. But another way to make up that difference is by charging a higher adoption fee for a young, healthy dog, one that didn't need much medical treatment.
Many times people want puppies or young dogs. Many people are looking for a specific breed. Though the fees for these dogs are higher than other dogs, it is usually far less than "buying" a puppy or young purebred dog. This makes an advantage to both parties. The adopter is rescuing a dog in need rather than buying a dog, and the rescue is able to get extra funds to help with the next senior or medical case they get in.
What does that mean to you, as an adopter?
It is obviously your choice whether to support rescues/shelters that do this. But there are red flags to look for in a rescue that does this that you want to be aware of.
Some questions to ask:
Does the rescue take in ONLY young, purebred dogs? Or do they also help shelter releases, seniors or dogs with medical needs? If their adoptable dogs consist only of young purebred puppies and not any older adult dogs, they could possibly be a puppy mill broker posing as a rescue. This does happen!
Does the rescue make sure every single dog/puppy is spayed or neutered, up to date on shots before they are adopted? If they are adopting out dogs that are not spayed or neutered, this is a big red flag! Some rescues and shelters do a voucher type program for getting the animal fixed, but in those cases you HAVE to provide proof that it is done with in a specific amount of time or the rescue can take the animal back. If the rescue doesn't spay or neuter and doesn't require it, that is a big red flag!
Does the rescue follow an adoption protocol? Do they have an application process? Do they have a contract? Are they concerned about a good placement of the dog? Or do they just let anyone adopt any dog as long as they will pay the fee?
If the rescue is reputable and is open about their adoption fees and processes and you are okay with paying a higher fee to get a puppy or breed of dog that you want, then go for it! But do your homework and make sure the rescue is reputable. If a rescue has an adoption fee listed but then when you inquire about the dog they tell you it's actually more, don't hesitate to ask why!
There are lots of different rescues and shelters that are run a variety of different ways. It's up to you as an adopter to be informed so you can make the decision that is right for you!