Page 312 - ShowSight - November 2019
P. 312

                Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Q & A
Anne Eckersley continued
natural for the living room. Their love of a game, especially when it entails a treat, allows them to perform in the show ring or perfor- mance ring, for that matter.
At what age do I start to see definite signs of show-worthiness? Markings play a huge part in whether the Cavalier has show poten- tial. So sometimes as soon as they are born it is possible to identify a pup that will be placed as a family companion on Limited Registra- tions to be spayed/neutered. I find Cavaliers to be a bit behind other breeds in terms of their maturity, both physical and mental. So for me, I like to see puppies of three months playing with their siblings. This is when I can usually identify show-worthiness.
What is it that makes showing dogs all worthwhile? Showing dogs is a fun game that allows exhibitor and dog to create a strong bond and relationship. I love playing with my dogs and my favorite is showing puppies because there is no expectation and judges don’t care if they act up. Breeding dogs is what is not for the faint of heart. What makes breeding all worthwhile is the pet owner who adores the puppy you placed with them and who often becomes a close friend and who always comes back for another later on because they appreciate the effort placed on breeding healthy and temperamen- tally sound Cavaliers.
What is the most important thing about the breed for a novice to keep in mind when judging? Novice judges need to spend an inordinate amount of time learning about correct Cavalier breed type. Whilst it is important that a Cavalier has a balanced outline and moves correctly from all angles, this is a head breed and with- out that typical Cavalier type the dogs are not Cavaliers. Novice judges, in a nutshell, need to look for small, compact Toy spaniels with correct movement, whose tails do not fly like a flagpole. The breed standard is emphatic about trimming—they should not be trimmed, sculpted nor stripped. They should have large, limpid dark eyes, showing no white and a full muzzle. It is the “awe” factor that is so important when you look at that Cavalier face.
My ultimate goal for the breed would have to be small, happy spaniels with outgoing temperaments and a healthy, long life. In order to attain that longevity, breeders should be health testing for as many diseases as recommended by the parent club.
My favorite dog show memory? I have many wonderful show winning memories but I believe my proudest moment was judging the National Specialty in England where the breed comes from. That was such a great honor.
I have been involved in purebred dogs most of my life. I have put championships, obedience titles and agility titles on Shetland sheepdogs, Great Danes, a Pomeranian and cavaliers. I have bred two MACH cavaliers a few therapy dogs and others with the new scent work titles. I will be taking out my Great Pyrenees this winter in addition to some new upcoming cavaliers. I have been involved with cavaliers for over 25 years and hope to continue for another 25!
I live in Dix Hills, New York which is on Long Island With the recent comeback of bald eagles on the island, when the weather is nice I love going down to the harbor where their nesting area is and watching them. When my husband was alive we went target shooting all the time and the nice weather was used for taking his cobra out for a drive. I quilt when I have the time and I have recently started needle felting. I own a construction company so between the dogs and work I have to find time to squeeze other things in Is the breed’s huge popularity good or bad? I hate the fact that they have become so popular and fallen into the hands of the puppy mills and back yard breeders but it is inevitable with any sweet natured breed that popularity will soar once word gets around. The upside to being popular is that people get to enjoy this breed that they would otherwise be missing out on. Placing puppies is never a Prob- lem but finding the right homes can be. The gene pool is growing
so there are always dogs to use at stud, the trick is finding the right ones who produce well and have passed their health tests.
Is the Cavalier the ideal household companion? Absolutely. They are great apartment dogs due to the fact that they are not barkers. They get along with all kinds of animals and are great with kids. They adapt very easily to almost any situation.
What about the breed serves them well in the living room and in the show ring? Given enough exercise, when they come in they like nothing more than to cuddle up on the sofa with their owners. That “cavalier” attitude is what makes them great little show dogs The crowds and noises of the shows don’t usually faze them and those tails will wag all day long.
At what age do I start to see definite signs of show-worthiness? I have always said (and I feel this is true of almost any breed) that if they are balanced and still beautiful at four months, chances are they will stay that way. However most puppies, even the best of them can go off. Nothing is really show quality until they are done growing and have all their adult teeth. Anything promising before that time is only a show prospect.What is it that makes showing dogs all worthwhile? When the time comes and you have those special wins at your national specialty. It is such an honor to be recognized and awarded by your peers who are experts in the breed.
The other thing that makes it worthwhile is when you receive those letters and emails from your pet families, telling you how much they love their dog and how it has made such a positive impact on their family.
What is the most important thing about the breed for a novice to keep in mind when judging? First and foremost that just because it is a toy dog that doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t move well and keep their topline on the move. Also to keep in mind they are toy spaniels and the standard calls for no more than 18 pounds.
What is my ultimate goal for the breed? For the breed in general, to overcome some of the health issues we have so that in the future they will all live long happy and healthy lives.
My favorite dog show memory? Oh I have so many but I would have to say my AOM with a home bred dog at our independent specialty during our national and Best In Futurity with a home bred boy at our national. Both of these judges are very knowledgeable and well respected judges. I feel overall the breed is in good hands as there are many excellent breeders in this country. I am looking forward to see what the future holds for these wonderful little dogs .
I have always had dogs but did not get into the world of pure-bred dogs until the 1990’s. At that time, I put my “toe in the water” with a beautiful black standard poodle. I had not seen or heard of Cava- lier King Charles Spaniels until I saw one around 2001 at a Florida dog show. By 2003, I had not been able to locate a nice puppy (that a breeder would trust me with—I was a “newbie”) so used a handler
contact in England to search for my initial dog. That Blenheim boy came from the Meadowpark Kennel (known for their Bernese Mountain Dogs) but also bred an occasional litter of cavaliers from the old English lines. After much correspondence, “Roddy” was sent to me with a note from the breeder that said” Once you finish his championship, I’ll send you a bitch”. That was in early 2003. By the end of 2003, Carrie was sent over and I had my start. In the next few years, John Gammon and Robert Schroll (Ravenrush Cava- liers) advised me and also provided me with my first bitch bred in the U.S.A. I also received invaluable help from Robert and Heather
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