The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Club, USA, Inc. (CKCSC, USA or Club) is the founding club and original registering body for Cavaliers in the United States. Unlike other registering organizations, whose primary purposes are to sponsor shows and register dogs, from its inception in 1954, the CKCSC,USA's primary and unchanging goal has been to protect each Cavalier and the breed as a whole from exploitation of any sort.
We are determined not to allow the current surge in popularity to sweep away the lovely qualities of personality and structure which we have worked so hard to develop and maintain. The emotional well-being and physical quality of life of every Cavalier are the chief concerns of its breeder and of the Club. A Cavalier - even one being purchased to show and, perhaps, later to breed - should be above all a companion.
Cavaliers are not kennel dogs. Because of four hundred years of close contact with their owners and their development as lap dogs, they make wonderful companions. They are happy, outgoing, loving little dogs who want to love you and be loved, to run and play in a safe place, and to sleep in a soft bed - preferably your bed, but they're willing to negotiate on that point! They get along well with children, cats, and other dogs. Their suitability for households with birds and other small caged animals is something that should be discussed with the breeder as their spaniel instincts could present problems.
Because young Cavalier puppies are so small, some breeders are reluctant to sell a puppy to a family with children under age five. Such families may find that an older puppy or grown dog may be more suitable. Cavalier puppies do not thrive when left all day without human companionship or the company of another animal. They are highly intelligent and require the same consistent and loving discipline as does a child.
Cavaliers are active and sporting little dogs that require regular exercise. They have an instinct to give chase to just about anything that moves and should either be on a leash or in a fenced yard, or they will surely come to grief under the wheels of a car. Because Cavaliers never become "street-wise," some Cavalier breeders require a fenced yard as a prerequisite for Cavalier ownership.
While Cavaliers are clean, intelligent, and easy to groom and train, they do shed, occasionally chew things, and sometimes forget their manners by barking, making a puddle, and so on. In other words, they really are first and always dogs, in spite of their ethereal faces!
When you begin to talk to Cavalier breeders about the possibility of purchasing one of their puppies, you will find that they have as many questions for you as you have for them. They have worked carefully to produce puppies of high quality and good health, with steady and loving temperaments. They will want to assure themselves that the care, commitment, protection, and companionship you will provide for a puppy will ensure the top quality life it deserves.
Like any other breed, Cavaliers can have potential health problems. Some of the questions you may wish to ask the breeder are: (1) has a veterinary ophthalmologist examined both the sire and dam and found them clear of inherited eye defects? (2) have the sire, dam, and puppy been examined and found free of patellar defects (luxated patella)? (3) have the sire's and dam's hips been x-rayed and certified free of hip dysplasia by either the OFA or PennHip? (4) have the sire and dam been checked by a veterinary cardiologist and found free of any heart murmur?
It is important that you understand that even if the sire and dam have been screened and found clear of any health problems, no breeder can guarantee that your puppy will never develop a problem during its lifetime. Screening and clearing breeding stock lessens the chance that your puppy will develop problems.
Questioning breeders on health issues should not anger them. Not all breeders believe in the necessity of testing or of having tests certified, but they should not object to your asking about potential health problems and should be willing to provide written documentation of any testing they have done. They should be pleased you care about the health of your puppy.
The CKCSC, USA does not believe it is the duty or the right of every Cavalier owner to produce a litter of puppies from his or her dog or bitch. It is never appropriate to intentionally breed a "pet quality" puppy. Even when breeding from dogs of the highest quality, the majority of puppies produced will most likely be "pet quality." Breeding from less than the best can result in serious structural flaws and health problems.
Our strict Code of Ethics protects Cavaliers registered with the CKCSC,USA by requiring Cavalier breeders who register with our Club to conduct their breeding programs and transfers of Cavaliers under specific guidelines. The CKCSC,USA is the only registry which requires that anyone registering a Cavalier must abide by its Code of Ethics. Transfers of Cavaliers are recorded by the Club, and a restricted transfer is widely used by breeders to assure that only outstanding Cavaliers are included in breeding programs. A puppy may be restricted from being shown and/or bred from.
Many breeders will restrict the pedigree of even potentially outstanding puppies. A restricted pedigree does not imply that a puppy has health problems. Rather, it indicates that the breeder cares about the puppy and the breed in general. Some breeders will lift the restriction when the puppy matures. The conditions, if any, under which the breeder will lift any restrictions should be clearly stated in the sales contract to avoid any misunderstanding.
The buyer should be sure that the breeder either submits to the CKCSC, USA Registration Secretary the necessary forms and fees to transfer ownership or fills out the necessary forms and gives them to the buyer/new owner to submit. The new owner should receive a certified three-generation pedigree from the CKCSC,USA within two months of purchase. This pedigree should be examined carefully to be sure it reflects correctly any restrictions and the new ownership or co-ownership of the dog, as agreed by the breeder and buyer at the time of the sale.
If you do purchase a puppy, the CKCSC, USA Code of Ethics requires that the Cavalier, upon being released to its new owner, is accompanied by the following:
1. Feeding instructions
2. Written medical records, which will include immunizations, types of vaccine used, date(s) of inoculations, date(s) of worming, if any
3. A pedigree showing at least three generations
4. A copy of this Code of Ethics
5. A CKCSC, USA new membership application form
6. A current certificate of health, signed by my [breeder's] veterinarian
Many Cavalier owners and exhibitors will be happy to talk to you about their dogs and the breed in general. We support Junior Showmanship classes at our shows and encourage children of Club members to participate. Obedience matches are also held in conjunction with our shows, and many Cavalier Club members enthusiastically participate in this activity.
Patience will be required in obtaining a Cavalier. Most of us who have Cavaliers have waited a long time and may have had to travel long distances for them. Owning and caring for a dog is not an inexpensive undertaking; both personal commitment and financial investment are required.
The Club strongly encourages you to take the time to go through a learning process to be sure this is indeed the breed for you and your family and recommends that you consider becoming an Associate Membership of the CKCSC, USA. As a member you will receive our quarterly Bulletin and our Yearbook. You are cordially invited to join Club members for a day of education and entertainment at a Cavalier event.