Keep in mind that not all good breeders have a website, so do not pick a breeder based on whether or not they have a website. When you look at websites, remember that Websites can be slick and fancy. This does not mean the breeders are honest, ethical, responsible, or involved in the breed. Many of them breed purely to make money.
Purchasing a dog from the internet, just like purchasing one from a pet store, is fool hardy. With the recent occurrence of Internet websites for Cavaliers, it is so tempting to purchase that big eyed, fuzzy, sweet looking puppy on your computer screen imploring you to click the “Buy Now” button. DO NOT BE TEMPTED! Many of the photos that you see may have been pirated from other websites and bear no resemblance in either looks or temperament to the puppy that you would receive.
Beware of “bargains” on the internet. If you really cannot afford a pure bred puppy from a responsible breeder, try to adopt an older one who is now retired from breeding and showing. If you really want a puppy, learn about the breed and save your money for a puppy in the future. But do NOT compromise on the health and temperament of your future dog by purchasing from the Internet, backyard breeder, broker, middleman or pet shop. Yes, you may pay less, but that may be just the down payment. The continual financial installments come later at the veterinarian’s office when there’s the possibility of a variety of health issues that we see in these puppies. The problems include, but are not limited to, kennel cough (which could become pneumonia which in turn entails a long, hospital stay), worming problems, patella surgery ($1,500 per leg), cataract surgery, subsequent vet visits, and the behavior problems that may need professional help. In the end, you will pay top dollar for these puppies and what price do you put on anxiety?
Even though you are looking on the internet, you should still review the topics Questions to Ask the Breeder and How to Find a Cavalier Puppy and a Responsible Breeder. Here are some things you can watch out for which will give you an indication of whether the breeder is one from whom you would purchase a Cavalier.
DO NOT look further on a website if it:
- Shows only the call names of the dogs, such as Charlie, Buffy, Banjo and so on. Any breeder who is a student of the breed identifies their dogs by the formal, registered names, as well as the call names.
- Does not list pedigrees. Responsible breeders will do all they can to avoid health, physical and temperament problems by researching pedigrees and are proud to let people know the pedigrees of their dogs.
- Lists specific puppies for sale with the price or shows photos with a “sold” sticker across some of them. Responsible breeders would never advertise specific puppies for sale as they would want to talk to you first to find out what temperament or type of Cavalier would be most suitable for your household.
- Is keen to ship the puppy to you under 9 weeks of age or the next day.
- Takes credit cards and has “Buy Now” or “Add to Shopping Cart” buttons.
- Talks proudly about the puppies being imports from another country.
- Does not state that they are raised in a home environment. Kennel raised puppies or puppies that are not raised underfoot tend to have temperament issues.
- States that they are a member of the American Kennel Club (AKC). AKC is a registering body only and does not have individual memberships. Breeders can be members of CKCSC, USA however.
- Makes statements such as “Lovingly raised in our home with kids” and have multiple breeds. How can they lovingly raise so many different breeds in their home with their kids?
- Contains descriptions of the dogs as being “cutie patooties” or similar words.
- Provides a written guarantee indicating that you must return the dog before the breeder will give you another dog. This only guarantees the breeder that he/she will not have to replace the defective dog because who would give back their dog after a year or two! You will never get your money back from irresponsible breeders, even if the guarantee says you will. How can you get your money back if you cannot find the breeder or the breeder never calls you back?
- Provides a written guarantee indicating that if your dog comes up with a health problem within a specified amount of time, you can get 50% discount on the next puppy. No responsible breeder would insist that you purchase another dog, even at half price, to resolve a health issue on the first dog.
- Provides a health warranty that guarantees against "life threatening" genetic problems for a year. They know that the genetic health issues generally will not turn up within a year.
- Will not provide documentation for health testing. When talking or corresponding with the website owner, you find that the dogs never see a Board Certified Cardiologist or Ophthalmologist or regular vet for patella clearances. This is the minimum. It is highly unlikely they would clear the dogs for Hip Dysplasia but many responsible breeders clear their breeding dogs for hip dysplasia as well.
- Offers puppies in more than two or three breeds.
- Imports dogs for resale in the USA. They are called puppy brokers, importers or middlemen and are no different from the pet stores. The website states that these puppies are bred by friends or relatives in Europe who are all touted to be of the highest caliber as individuals and who only use top quality breeding stock. The fact remains that these puppies are being shipped off in crates across the Atlantic to be sold to people the breeder in Europe has never spoken to. There is no such thing as a responsible, ethical breeder who sells even one puppy to anyone for resale.
- Includes nothing on the website that discusses the health problems in the breed.