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Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
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The ideal height is 12 to 13 inches at the withers, and weight, should be proportionate to height, ideally between 13 and 18 pounds.
Short History of the Breed
Physical Description and Size
TemperamentThe Cavalier King Charles spaniel should be fearless and sporting in character, yet at the same time gentle and affectionate.
|AKC Ch. Rosscrea Bedazzled at Covington|
Health Issues and Life ExpectancyThe breed suffers from a number of severe genetic defects. The expected lifespan of a CKCS is quite short -- between seven and ten years -- mainly due to the terminal effect of mitral valve disease.
Mitral valve disease
Virtually all Cavaliers suffer from mitral valve disease, causing progressively worsening heart murmurs leading to heart failure. This condition can begin to emerge at an early age, and is present in more than half of all Cavalier King Charles Spaniels by 5 years of age. It is extremely rare for a 10-year-old Cavalier not to have a mitral valve heart murmur. It is the leading cause of death of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. Veterinary geneticists and cardiologists have designed breeding guidelines to eliminate early-onset mitral valve disease in the breed, but it is unclear if a statistically significant number of breeders follow these guidelines.
Syringomyelia (SM) is a condition affecting the brain and spine, causing symptoms ranging from mild discomfort to severe pain and partial paralysis. Syringomyelia is rare in most breeds but has become widespread in the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. Veterinary neurologists who have been researching the disease in Cavaliers have estimated that at least half of all Cavaliers have either syringomyelia or occipital hypoplasia, the skull bone malformation believed to cause SM. Although symptoms of syringomyelia can present at any age, they typically appear between 6 months and 3 years of age. Symptoms include sensitivity around the head, neck, or shoulders, often indicated by a dog whimpering or frequently scratching at the area of his neck or shoulder. Scratching is often unilateral -- restricted to one side of the body. Scratching motions are frequently performed without actually making physical contact with the body. The scratching behavior appears involuntary and the dog frequently scratches while walking -- without stopping -- in a way that is very atypical of normal scratching. Scratching typical of SM is usually worse when the dog is wearing a collar, is being walked on leash, or is excited. Not all dogs with SM show scratching behavior. Not all dogs who show scratching behavior appear to suffer pain. If onset is at an early age, the first sign may be rapidly appearing scoliosis. If the problem is severe, there is likely to be poor proprioception (awareness of body position), especially with regard to the forelimbs. Clumsiness and falling results from this problem. A vet should be asked to rule out primary secretory otitis media (PSOM - glue ear) before assuming that a Cavalier has SM. PSOM can present similar symptoms but is much easier and cheaper to treat. An MRI scan is normally done to confirm diagnosis of SM.
Episodic Falling Syndrome (EFS)
Episodic Falling Syndrome is an "exercise-induced paroxysmal hypertonicity disorder" meaning that there is increased muscle tone in the dog and the muscles are unable to relax. Although it is often misdiagnosed as epilepsy, the dog remains conscious throughout the episode. Severity of symptoms can range from mild, occasional falling or freezing to seizure-like episodes lasting hours. Episodes can become more or less severe as the dog gets older. Onset of symptoms is usually before five months but may be noticed only later in life.
Hip dysplasia is a common genetic disease in the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. It rarely is present at birth and develops with age. Hip dysplasia is diagnosed by x-rays, but it usually does not appear in x-rays of Cavaliers until they mature.
Cavaliers are subject to a genetic defect of the femur and knee called luxating patella. The disorder is believed to affect 20% to 30% of Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. This condition is most often observed when a puppy is 4 to 6 months old. In the most serious cases, surgery may be indicated.
Another common defect among Cavaliers is keratoconjunctivitis sicca, colloquially known as "dry eye". The usual cause of this condition is an autoimmune reaction against the dog's lacrimal gland (tear gland), reducing the production of tears. The condition requires continual treatment and if untreated may result in partial or total blindness.
Additional Resources(Add your favorite chat rooms, blogs, web sites, clubs)
- Cavalier King Charles Spaniel - Online Community
- Cavalier Online Community - DogBreed.org
- Cavalier Health
- Cavalier Breeders
- Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Club, USA
- American Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Club
- Baywood Pets
Cavaliers on WikiFido
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