Page 324 - ShowSight - November 2019
P. 324

                Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Q & A
Jim and Sharon Utych (Finn- ickyskye) live in Alpharetta, Georgia with their Cavaliers. They entered the Cavalier world in 2008. Jim is the treasurer for the Cavaliers of the South (CKC- SC USA) and also a member of the AKC breed club, CKCSC of Greater Atlanta. You can also see Jim working the head table at CKCSC USA shows as table steward. Sharon is the newsletter
editor for the Cavaliers of the South, a member of the American Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Club (ACKCSC), Secretary for the CKCSC of Greater Atlanta and coordinates the Parade of Veter- ans for the CKCSC National Specialty and Cavaliers of the South. They have two adult sons, Stephen who is a professor at Boise State University and Michael who works at INFOR. They are also grand- parents to Michael’s Boston Terrier, Willy.
We live in Alpharetta, Georgia, a northern suburb of Atlanta. Sharon is retired and was a Director in Network Engineering for AT&T wireless. Jim is a Regional Finance Director for First Stu- dent. Outside of “dogs”, we like to travel and visit historical sites. Jim is a big sports fan and follows all the teams from his hometown of Detroit. Our first grandchild will be born in November and we are already spoiling her with baby items and, of course, a stuffed toy Cavalier!
Is the breed’s huge popularity good or bad? Being a popular breed is a double-edged sword. As the Cavalier gained popularity, more and more backyard breeders and commercial breeders have begun breeding Cavaliers. We believe that this affects the overall quality and health of the Cavalier. Hobby/Show breeders or “pres- ervation” breeders have the well-being of the breed first and fore- most. With these preservation breeders studying the pedigrees and attributes of the lines, we believe that they have wonderful stock to breed to here in the States and abroad. When we are asked to use any of our boys for stud, we ask for the pedigree to see if it would be a good match or can add something to improve on for their lines. As we have only stud dogs, but we know how important it is for our breeder friends and mentors to place their puppies in the absolute best homes for them.
Is the Cavalier the ideal household companion? We believe that they are the ideal companion. They are after all, the “comforter” spaniel for very good reason. The Cavalier needs a home where peo- ple are around most of the time. We believe that if you are working or traveling long hours or have a busy schedule, where the Cavalier is home alone most of the day, it is probably not the breed for you at that time. Cavaliers crave being with you, they truly are a breed that is “in love” with you.
New owners should also familiarize themselves with the Cava- lier breed prior to welcoming the breed into their homes. Know what the suspected health issues are, how much grooming they will need, dietary needs, etc. With those big, round Cavalier eyes staring at you, you must resist overfeeding them. They need to be groomed regularly, so be prepared to brush daily! Realize that one day, your Cavalier will be a senior and may require medications and vet/specialist visits as they age.
What about the breed serves them well in the living room and in the show ring? The Cavalier’s gentle, loving temperament is one thing preservation breeders strive for along with health and type. Cavaliers of course rule the roost in our home. They are our family members along with being show dogs. At home, they get a lot of exercise running in our fenced in yard, chasing butterflies or any- thing that flies by them! They play chase together, sleep on our laps
in a pile on the sofa or chair and just their fun-loving attitude at home makes you smile every day at their antics and love for each other. In the show ring, their happy attitude and wanting to please with tails wagging makes for a pretty picture in the ring.
At what age do we start to see definite signs of show-worthiness? For us, we get a general impression early on but look at the eight- week mark to see how they are progressing. Are they over/under shot in their bite? Does their head shape fit what we like in the breed type? How do they stack up? Do they seem to have a nice cobby shape to their body? Is there white in the eye, are they double pigmented? And of course, for the boys, has all the necessary equip- ment dropped.
What is it that makes showing dogs all worthwhile? We got started in the fancy with our veteran boys (Finn and Skye) and were mentored by some of the best people in the breed. For that we are forever grateful. Showing started off for us as something we could do together with our boys when we attended CKCSC USA shows. The connection we had with our veteran boys in the ring was so very special and we believe that is what made it all worthwhile for us in the beginning along with making new friendships and learning more and more about the breed. The show bug then bit us and we enjoy being with our dogs as owner handlers. Unfortunately, Sha- ron blew out her knee in the show ring and had to recently undergo a total knee replacement and cannot take the boys in the ring at present. Jim has stepped up to the plate and has done wonderfully in the show ring. We are so touched by the camaraderie of the Cavalier world by the outpouring of help we received this past year in help- ing us show and groom our boys. We will forever appreciate all this help, especially from Kathy Gentil (Sumara) and Jamie and Ellen Seidman (Tassajara).
What is the most important thing about the breed for a nov- ice to keep in mind when judging? We would say, stay true to the breed standard. That to us is paramount. We have seen trimmed and sculpted Cavaliers in the ring when no trimming is expressly mentioned in the standard and still be put up. Look for a Cavalier that has great movement, a great tail set with tail wagging, com- ing straight off the back. It’s a beautiful picture to watch like they are floating on air. Look for a head that when you cup it into your hands melts your heart with the large, round, dark eyes, cushion- ing around the eyes, beautiful ear set and proper scissor bite. Short coupled, with well sprung ribs in the adult, moderate bone are some of the hallmarks of the breed type.
What is our ultimate goal for the breed? We both wish for lon- gevity of the breed, discovering a marker to help in reducing mitral valve disease in the Cavalier and that breeders breed for that beauti- ful temperament and to the breed standard.
Our favorite dog show memory? Oh gosh, we have several for being in the fancy for such a short time. Taking our boy Edgar (MBIS CKSCS & MBVISS AKC GCHB CH Brookhaven The Dream Lives On at Finnickyskye) to the 2018 number one owner handled Cavalier in the AKC NOHS Series. That was most certain- ly something we wanted to achieve as Owner Handlers and we did! We would also say Edgar’s first of many Best In Show placements at CKCSC, USA shows. What an honor because at these shows are the best of the best! Edgar and his son, Catcher both placing in the 2019 CKCSC Top 20 (Edgar the number one overall Cavalier and Catcher the number 13 overall Cavalier). And lastly, our “old man” Finn (Karvale Brookhaven Finn THDA CGCA) who began his career as a veteran and in almost four years in the ring won 59 Best Veteran in Show awards, three AKC Awards of Merit, one CKCSC USA Award of Merit, seven Best Veteran in Sweepstakes, one AKC BOBOH and three BOS to Best Veteran in National Sweeps at the ACKCSC and CKCSC, USA.
We are relatively new to the Cavalier and show world (since 2008) and we could not have had the unbelievable success we have had with our boys had it not been for the friendships and mentor-
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