Backyard Breeding in Cornwall
I have just had this Facebook Group brought to my attention, a Group that gives anyone in Cornwall the opportunity to sell anything from a puppy to a fishtank. Whilst there are items of equipment for sale, obviously offering a useful service to buyer and seller, the puppies and kittens for sale are quite shocking. One listing from Cat Dixie stands out in particular. I have reproduced it exactly as posted (Cat obviously doesn’t have a shift key on her computer ):
“these are my 3 gorgeous cavalier king charles pups firstly i am not a breeder, i own mum(5 and a half )and dad (6 and half) both were from pedigree parents of whom the breeders chose not to register the litters ( i have their parents family trees and tried to register myself however this is breeders responsibility and choice ) this is their second litter and they still have contact with two of their sons from their first litter. This is a family home with childrens and cats, they are currently weaning off mum and are just over 6 weeks. these will not be available for 6 weeks unless buyer arranges injections prior price reflects injections not included worming and flead of course i paid 550 for mum and 500 for dad im asking 400 for the boys the girl is sold please do not ask me, this will be first come first served basis as i am having lots of interest i will not mess around in finding these pups good homes and expect lots of photos from new owners in future they our grandpuppies as my partner would say”
What’s wrong with this? Let’s take it apart
“these are my 3 gorgeous cavalier king charles pups firstly i am not a breeder” – How so? You bred the puppies, that makes you a breeder. As we’ll see later this is your second litter from the same parents, which makes you a more frequent breeder than I am and I hold a Kennel Club Breeder’s Affix so you would certainly call me a breeder. Yes, you are a breeder but not a responsible one it would seem.
” i own mum(5 and a half )and dad (6 and half) both were from pedigree parents of whom the breeders chose not to register the litters” Really – they didn’t register the entire litters or perhaps it was just the puppies you bought because the breeder thought they weren’t sufficiently good quality to be shown or bred from but would make great pets? Or perhaps the parents of your dogs were only pet quality and were endorsed by their breeder as not to be bred from? That doesn’t sound too promising for the quality or health of the puppies you have bred.
“they are currently weaning off mum and are just over 6 weeks. these will not be available for 6 weeks unless buyer arranges injections prior price reflects injections not included” Very confused about this – why is Cat keeping the puppies until they are 12 weeks when they would greatly benefit from going to their new homes much earlier? It’s obviously something to do with vaccinations but I can’t think what she has in mind.
“worming and flead of course” Yes, obviously (I hope) the dam was wormed correctly before the birth and the puppies have been on a worming programme since. But fleas? I’ve never had a puppy that needed fleaing and would be thoroughly ashamed if I did.
“this will be first come first served basis as i am having lots of interest i will not mess around in finding these pups good homes” Is Cat really saying that the first person to walk in the door with £400 is going to take a puppy away? Responsible breeders turn away more people than they ever sell puppies to because they are totally responsible for ensuring good homes for them. The wrong home means the dog may well end up in Rescue and no-one would wish that on a puppy.
Is Cat breeding purely for money? – looks very much like it, which puts her on a level with any puppy farmer who views puppies as a cash crop.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Health Issues
Sadly, this is a breed with multiple health issues - this is a very informative website. What is all too true for Cavaliers is that Mitral Valve Disease which is the leading cause of death in Cavaliers, affects around half of them by the age of 5 and nearly all (90%) by the age of 10. This debilitating heart disease can be managed to a degree but causes multiple serious side effects. Ongoing veterinary care is very expensive and any owner who buys dogs who haven’t been screened may be paying multiples of the purchase price in vet fees.
Most pet insurance doesn’t cover chronic disease, so even if the dog is insured after the first year you will be unlikely to have any insurance cover.
Heart disease is 20 times more common in Cavaliers than other breeds and the disease begins much earlier and progresses more rapidly in the breed than other breeds. A question that should be asked by anyone considering buying one of these puppies is whether the parents have been screened by a vet for any sign of heart murmur. In addition Cavaliers are prone to suffer from:
- Syringomelia – a terrible disease where the brain is too large for skull, causing considerable pain and distress
- Hip Dysplasia – up to 25% of Cavaliers are affected. It causes great pain and lameness
- Brachycephalic Airway Obstruction Syndrome – a range of abnormalities related to the soft palate, larynx and breathing
- Cerebellar Infarcts – strokes
- Deafness – either at birth or a progressive affliction
My Own Experience
Having owned boarding kennels for some years, I have come to know dozens of Cavaliers. What has been very sad is what short lives a lot of them have, far shorter than should be expected from a small breed. This is devastating for families, particularly as for a significant part of their lives many have been unwell, certainly not a fun dog for children to play with.
The Cavalier is a great little dog, lots of personality and a sweet nature. But if you are thinking of buying one make sure you buy from a breeder who has been sufficiently responsible to screen their breeding dogs for hereditary defects. Never buy from someone who hasn’t taken steps to ensure that they are breeding puppies that are as healthy as possible. Not only might you be buying a dog who will incur substantial vet fees but one who will not share your life for as long as you hoped.