Here are some experiences from Cavalier owners.
“I've actually been reading about "how to buy a dog" for a few years, ever since my large breed dog's hip dysplasia worsened and his lowered exercise ability combined with his thyroid problems, which led to weight gain, which led to worsened pain, which led to a lot of guilt and self-recrimination on my part. If I had been as careful to educate myself when I got him, he'd still be with us. We had to euthanize him (at age 7) after he bit my 5-year old nephew in the face and on the ear. He had known my nephew since the child was a baby, and was wonderful with him until the constant pain affected his normally sweet temperament. I'd probably bite somebody too if my hips looked like his did. Watching my pet die makes it easy for me to focus on asking the right questions this time around.” -- J.R.
“We will be taking a long ride to meet …….. in early August. When I first spoke with this CKCSC breeder, she was so informative and gracious, offering to help us find our puppy, even if it couldn't be from her. She referred me to other breeders and they referred me to yet others. I am so comforted with the feeling that we are in good hands and in the company of such a wonderful network of conscientious and caring breeders. I'm sure that, eventually, we'll find our pup.“ -- PC
“I wanted a Cavalier puppy immediately and when I was unable to find one in my State, I looked on the Internet. By the next day I had my puppy – a Blenheim female. Just what I had been looking for. When she arrived she seemed to be scratching a lot and I telephoned the place where I bought her. Could not get anyone to respond so I emailed. I did get a response on email saying she might have dry skin. I didn’t know that I should have taken her to the vet but within the week she had bad diarrhea. She had intestinal parasites, several of them, fleas and ear mites. After many vet visits over the next 4 months, she finally was cured. Within three months (she was now only 9 months old) she was lame. Turns out she had knee problems (patella luxation) in both knees. She had surgery on one, then the other. She is quite a trooper. One leg never was quite right so the surgery had to be done again. To this day she still limps slightly. My Cavalier is only a year old and having spent $4,000 just to get her physically fit, I wished I had researched how to locate a responsible breeder and not been in so much of a hurry.” -- G.J.
“Deciding on a Cavalier was easy! I knew not to buy from a pet shop so we looked in the local paper. We found what we were led to believe was an Irish breeder, but infact she imported the puppies from Ireland from her family who bred them there. She told us that the health of the Irish dogs was far better than in the USA as they were more numerous and did not breed incestuous litters, like mother to son, father to daughter. This person had an enchanting Irish accent and we fell for her story hook, line and sinker. When we arrived at her home we saw just the one puppy. We never were allowed to see where the puppies were kept. She also imported a few other small breeds such as Yorkies and Westies. We returned home with our puppy. Within a few days we noticed that he was sneezing and coughing. We took him to the vet. He had kennel cough and within a day or so developed pneumonia so badly that he spent the next two weeks hospitalized, on intravenous antibiotics, to save his life. It was many thousands of dollars, many months and a lot of stress on the family before this puppy was acting normal. I should have gone with my instinct and walked away but I felt I was saving or rescuing this poor little guy.” -- B.P.
“We had researched breeds and had come to the conclusion that a Cavalier would be ideal for our family of three calm, responsible children and ourselves. We thought we had done our homework until we stumbled on a pet store in which we found a “Cockalier” – mixture of Cocker Spaniel and Cavalier. Shortly after we took the little bundle of fluff home, she became aggressive and possessive. We had dogs all our life growing up – they were not Cavaliers but purebreds. They were well behaved, pleasant family members. So what happened with this one? We were concerned about having done something wrong in the raising of this puppy. After numerous growling and snapping episode, the final straw came when she lunged at a child’s face, totally unprovoked. She was only a year old when we had no option but to have the dog destroyed, for the safety of our family and of anyone else who may have taken on the very long term care and training of this young but dangerous dog. We were all devastated by the events – a black cloud loomed over our home. In desperation, we returned to another pet shop but realizing that we had no idea what was behind these puppies, we backed off. We made two huge mistakes – one was getting a “Designer” breed and the other buying from a pet shop.” -- L.D.