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breed profile

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel: the little bundle of endless joy

An active, graceful, well-balanced dog, very gay and free in action, fearless and sporting in character, yet at the same time gentle and affectionate…that’s how a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is. Come fall in love with this wonderful breed.

A royal heritage…

“History tells us that King Charles II was seldom seen without two or three spaniels at his heels. So fond wasbreed profile King Charles II of his little dogs, he wrote a decree that the King Charles Spaniel should be accepted in any public place, even in the Houses of Parliament where animals were not usually allowed. This decree is still in existence today in England. As time went by, and with the coming of the Dutch Court, Toy Spaniels went out of fashion and were replaced in popularity by the Pug. One exception was the strain of red and white Toy Spaniels that was bred at Blenheim Palace by various Dukes of Marlborough. This Spaniel was later known as the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and this particular colour, which is still very popular and common, was named after the Blenheim Palace and is called the Blenheim colour. These dogs were also very common with the French ladies and were used as lap warmers,” told Dinkar.

Loving and lovable…

“The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a delightfully affectionate, playful, intelligent little dog who repays his owner’s care and attention with an endearing devotion,” told Dinkar. Cavaliers are not kennel dogs and do not like to be left alone. 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 their owners, but they’re willing to negotiate on that point! They get along well with children, cats, and other dogs.

Physical attributes…

The skull is slightly rounded, but without a dome or peak. It should appear flat because of the high placement of the ears. Eyes are large, round and set well apart. The colour is very dark brown, giving a lustrous, limpid look. There is a slight cushioning under the eyes, which contributes much to the sweet, gentle expression characteristic of the breed. The muzzle is well tapered, well covering the mouth level and lips. Ears are set high, but not close, on top of the head. They are long, with plenty of silky feathering, and wide enough so that when the dog is alert, the ears fan slightly forward to frame the face. His long and silky coat is very soft to the touch and is free from curl, though a slight wave is permissible. Feathering on ears, legs and tail is long, and the feathering on the feet is a feature of the breed. Their height is around 12 to 13 inches at the withers and the weight, proportionate to height, between 13 and 18 pounds.

They are available in four colours – Blenheim (rich chestnut markings well broken up on a pearly white ground), tricolour (jet black markings well-broken up on a pearly white ground), whole-coloured rich red and jet black with rich tan markings over the eyes, on cheeks, inside ears, on chest, legs, and underside of tail.

Bundle of energy…

Cavaliers are active and sporting little dogs who 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 in which to run. They should get a minimum of two good walks each day (in addition to potty walks). If their owners want walking companions, Cavaliers can build up over time to much longer walks. Regular exercise is recommended. “But, if you are a couch potato, they will share that with delight and if you like to walk for miles on end, they will equally delightedly do that,” told Gabriele G Pollmeier.

Living with children…

Cavaliers love to interact with their owners and enjoy activity and play, making them especially close friends and confidants for children. They are excellent with children, but the age of the children is an important factor in choosing a puppy. Because Cavalier puppies are so small, it is better to get a young puppy only if the family has children above the age of five. An older puppy or adult dog will be more suitable for such families. All children, of course, need supervision to ensure they do not hurt the pup/dog.

Taking care of puppy…

Just like any other puppy or small animal, feed excellent food only, keep lots of fresh clean water available, play with the puppy when he is awake, and let him sleep when tired and do not disturb when he sleeps. Give him plenty of attention and training. Do not scold or punish him, added Gabriele.

Living with other pets…

Cavaliers are the ultimate groupies and are usually delighted to have the company of cats and dogs of any size. If you have a large dog, you will need to watch your Cavalier puppy carefully while he is small. Because Cavaliers are spaniels with a strong sporting instinct, they should be watched closely around birds and other small animals as well. In households where no one is home during the day, the companionship of another dog or a cat is highly recommended.

Groom me beautiful…

The Cavalier does require regular grooming. A great deal of time and effort is not necessary if the dog is brushed and combed thoroughly at least once a week. Knots and tangles are kept to a minimum if the Cavalier is free of parasites and combed regularly. Ears need particular attention and should be checked and given a quick combing every few days and daily in shedding season.

Cavaliers do shed, particularly in spring and fall. They also shed a little all the time. Their nails should be clipped and the hair between their pads trimmed once a month. Cavaliers are naturally clean dogs.

Health…

All dog breeds have their own set of health problems that they may have, so does this breed. Some of them are Heart Murmurs, Mitral Valve Disease and Syringomyelia (SM) is rapidly emerging as a severe inherited condition in Cavaliers. It is a progressive neurological disease that varies in severity. Hence it is important that one buys a pup from a reputed breeder.

On a concluding note…

“They do very well as therapy dogs as well as dogs for handicapped people. They are excellent dogs for the elderly and for young children,” told Gabriele. “I personally feel this breed is perfect for most types of people except for the extreme outdoor person. They adapt really well to apartment living and love being with people. Unlike most small dogs, they are not snappy, protective and that noisy,” concluded Dinkar.

(With inputs from Dinkar Singh, he has recently introduced the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel for the first time in India and Gabriele G Pollmeier, AnGa’s Star Kennels & Eulenburg Cavalier King Charles Spaniels; www.angasstar.com).

My loving Cavaliers – always like puppies
My two-year-old son just adores our first Cavalier King Charles Spaniel who came to us when she was barely two months old. They love playing together, but we take care that he does not hug her too tight! Our male Cavalier is more sensible and just backs away when he sees that our son wants to hug and kiss him. They are totally house and lap dogs and just love to sleep with us in the bed. The female likes to sleep on our pillows and inside the quilt where as the male loves to sleep behind the pillow with his head on the pillow. They are very gentle dogs in a small very manageable size and look so sweet like puppies even now when both of them are more or less adults.

– Dinkar Singh

breed profile

English Springer Spaniel The showstopper!

One of the world’s best show dogs, English Springer Spaniels are intelligent and fun-loving pooches…eager to be an inseparable part of your family.

Evolved with time

“I have been blessed with many wonderful Springers over the past forty years. My first was perhaps mybreed profile most special. He was born in 1972 and went home with me when I was just twenty years old. He became my best friend and constant companion, my bed dog, my protector, puppy raiser, and my ticket into the world of the English Springer Spaniel. He finished his Championship at a year old, on my 21st birthday, and went on to be a multiple Best In Show dog and the sire of 66 champions, which made him the top producing black and white sire in the history of the breed. Another world was opened to me in the early 90’s when I sent Am. Ch. Ocoee Raven’s Child to Australia. She was the first ESS female CH ever exported from America to Australia. Sine then, there is no looking back, yes, I am in love with the English Springer Spaniel,” tells Kathy Lorentzen, a well known breeder of English Springer Spaniel.

Look at me!

The English Springer Spaniel is a moderate-sized sporting gundog. He is a member of the flushing spaniel family. Their origins are based in the old ‘setting and springing’ spaniels, which were eventually divided into the Setters and the Springer Spaniels. Hence, they are the tallest and longest legged of the flushing spaniel breeds.

They are compact, medium-sized dogs with a proud expression. “Springers are one of the most beautiful breeds. Their long, lean heads with deep set, dark eyes are stunning and their glossy, flowing coats make them a show-stopper,” says Kathy Lorentzen.

English Springers can be found in different colours like liver and white, black and white, white and liver, white and black, with or without ticking and roaning, and with or without tan tri-colour markings.

The average height of a male English Springer is 18–20 inches and weight is 23–25 kg while females are around 17–19 inches high and weigh around 16–20 kg.

We are different: field and show dogs

English Springer Spaniel is one of those breeds who have extremely different types of show and field dogs. In other countries the separation is not as distinct, but in America and England the two types are rarely, if ever, bred together. The field-bred dogs are selected totally for performance, while the show bred dogs are selected for conformation according to a breed standard, health and temperament. Field dogs tend to be more refined, with far less coat. They have been bred to be a speed dog rather than an endurance dog, which is what the ESS was originally meant to be. Field dogs also tend to be too ‘hot’ in temperament for the average pet owner because great desire has been bred into them for generations in order to get the fastest and boldest hunting performance out of them. While there are lines of show bred Springers who are very successful hunting companions, there are no lines of field bred Springers who are successful in the conformation show ring. There also are no show bred Springers that compete in actual field trials, but they do compete successfully in Hunting Tests.

I am happy-go-lucky!

Springers are happy, outgoing and intelligent dogs who need a lot of human interaction. They are agreeable and easy to train but do not do well with any sort of heavy-handed discipline. But, they respond well to a positive reward system.

We are a family!

English Springers are wonderful family dogs. They love children and love to be a real part of the family. The only thing that pet parents need to be careful about is making sure that the dog knows, he is not the alpha in the relationship.

“Perhaps their most striking characteristic is their sense of humour and innate desire to please their people,” adds Kathy.

Walk, run and play with me!

Springers are active, especially as puppies and adolescents. “They should have access to a large yard to run and play in, or should be taken for several walks a day if a yard is not available,” advices Kathy.

Springers are always up for games. They are natural retrievers, learn tricks easily and most of them love to swim.

Am a sweet puppy!

“Raising a Springer puppy is no different than raising any other puppy, they should have a crate for naptime and mealtime, a regular schedule of going outside to learn to be housebroken, and a puppy training class to learn basic manners. Also, they should be exposed to children as puppies to make them fond of them,” tells Kathy.

Groom me beautiful!

Springers grow a fair amount of hair and need to be brushed weekly, bathed frequently and trimmed at least four times a year. Their head, feet and tail should be trimmed and their topcoats stripped. “For people not showing their dogs, their backs can be clipped and their feathering shortened to make it easier to take care of,” Kathy gives a sound advice.

They shed a lot of hair. “They are a double-coated breed, and rotate coat on a seasonal basis, but if kept brushed and combed, the shedding will be minimal,” she adds.

My health issues!

As in any breed, English Springers too have their share of hereditary issues, which include hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, retinal dysplasia and retinal atrophy. Springers can also be prone to skin and ear problems.

(Kathy Lorentzen breeds and exhibits English Springer Spaniels under the Ocoee prefix, in conjunction with her daughter, Melanie King. She is an independent consultant for United Kennel Club. She also worked as judge at American Kennel Club for a short period of time and was in the panel of West Kennel Club where her Best of Breed Golden went on to win the Sporting Group.)

Cocker Spaniel: a joyful breed

Do you remember the popular mismatch couple in Walt Disney’s ‘Lady & the Tramp?’ The Tramp was a stray and the Lady was a sheltered pure-bred Cocker Spaniel. The most famous scene was when these larger-than-life canines slurped pasta and fell in love. The sensitive and demure Lady projects the true Cocker Spaniel.

Anyone who looks at a Cocker Spaniel will surely fall in love with her long ears and silky and shining coat. Her expressive face will sweep you off the floor. This ever-enthusiastic dog is always busy wagging her tail, giving a feeling of joy all around. Her expressive face and twinkling eyes lifts the spirit of the owners as well as the onlookers.

The name Cocker comes from the woodcock, a bird this spaniel was originally bred to hunt, though they can hunt other birds as well. They are excellent retrievers and are good for tracking, hunting, agility and obedience as well.

The general appearance:

Cocker Spaniels are compactly built with bundles of energy. They are medium-sized dogs with long ears, reaching at least to the nose when pulled forward. They have dark oval eyes, with a melting yet intelligent expression. The nose is either black or brown, depending on the colour of the coat. Their legs and underside of the body are well feathered. The feet of a Cocker Spaniel are round like a cat with tight, arched toes. Mahesh Chaudhary, a well-known hobby breeder of Cocker Spaniels in India, particularly admires their lobular ears and lovely expression of intelligence.

This is one breed, who comes in a variety of colours such as black, red, golden, liver, blue roan, orange roan, black & white, black & tan, etc. According to Chaudhary, “A Cocker Spaniel sets herself apart with good demeanor, outline, balance, size, sound, action and merry disposition.” The average height of male Cocker Spaniels is 16-17 inches while that of females is 15-16 inches. Their average weight is 13-16 and 12-15 kg, respectively. They have a life expectancy of 12-15 years.

Temperament:

Perhaps the most typical and most wildly appreciated characteristic of this breed is their friendliness and willingness to please. Being a very gentle pet, they are even called the Merry Cockers. They are full of life and exuberance, says Chaudhary. Cocker Spaniels are alert, easy to train and are very playful.

They form good companion dogs as they are less destructive and are wonderful with children. They also get along well with other pets. They are sociable with strangers and are obedient.

Upkeep:

Cocker Spaniels are easy to maintain. Simply brush and comb regularly to remove dead hair and keep their coat shiny. Chaudhary rules out the myth that long-haired dogs shed a lot of hair. According to him, they shed their coat several months before they reach the yearling stage and it is easier to maintain a long-haired dog.

They should be fed in deep, narrow bowls that allows them to eat and drink without getting their ears into the food or water.

Ears should be regularly checked for grass seeds and signs of infection. Excess wax should be cleaned regularly. Hair over the toes and base of feet should be brushed and trimmed, when necessary, says Chaudhary.

Exercise:

Cocker Spaniels love to exercise. Daily walks and free run should be part of routine as she is a sporting dog. According to Choudhary, a good walk for 20 minutes twice a day, is good enough for a Cocker Spaniel.

Health:

They are prone to eye diseases and ear infections. Sore ears, whether from trapped vegetative matter, mites, or infection, cause a dog to shake head frequently and violently. If the ears are dirty and smelly and the dog seems to be uncomfortable, contact your vet. An early treatment can avoid major problems.

Since they love to run in fields, they frequently pick up a variety of seed heads and bits of shrubs and weeds that can cause the coat to tangle and mat. Regular brushing will keep the coat free of tangles. Also, tangles can pull the skin and cause sores that make the dog uncomfortable and may result in major skin problems.

The way to a healthy Cocker Spaniel is through good nutrition. It is also essential to visit the veterinarian for checkups, which will keep your friend healthy.

All in all, you will love the company of a Cocker Spaniel as she brings a lot of joy in your life. Mahesh Chaudhary adds, “I have had lots of breeds since my childhood, but ever since I had a Cocker Spaniel, I can’t think of my house without one. A Cocker Spaniel is an ancient bred and has always been held high in esteem through the years,” He concludes with a mention from the ancient Welsh Laws codified by Howell the good in 914 AD:

“There are three kinds of animals:

A beast, a dog and a bird.

There are three higher species of dogs?:

A Tracker, a Grey Hound and a Spaniel.”

(Inputs from Mahesh Chaudhary, Mumbai, a well-known show enthusiast and experienced hobby breeder of Cocker Spaniels. Contact him at 09821345055.)