Information from Cavaliersällskapet – the Swedish breed club for Cavalier King Charles spaniel
We can all agree that the cavalier is a fantastic breed although afflicted with some serious health issus, like mitral valve disease and Syringomyelia.
In Sweden we have had a mandatory heart screening programme with open databases for cavaliers and mitral valve disease for 22 years. The screening programme was further restricted in 2017. These actions have been successful but are still not enough.
The breed is also afflicted with the neurological disease syringomyelia. You can read more about this disease on Cavaliersällskapets website.
These two serious diseases are near to impossible to extinguish in a screening programme unless new genes are added to the breed. Our breeders are responsible and always strive to do their best but however carefully our breeding programme is planned, there will still be cases from time to time. Of course noone wants to breed afflicted dogs!
Due to these facts Cavaliersällskapet will now introduce a new path.
One measure will be to register dogs that have been MRI scanned, with a documented diagnose of their scan, in an open register which will be published on Cavaliersällskapets website.
We are also planning for a crossbreeding programme during the autumn. At the moment we are awaiting approval for this from the Swedish Kennel Club. This programme will be a collaboration between Cavaliersällskapet, the Swedish Kennel Club, veterinarians and genetic scientists. Crossbreeding programmes have previously been proven successful in several other breeds.
Roughly described this will involve some cavaliers being bred to a different breed. The breeds that will be considered should be genetically as far from the cavalier as possible. They must be somewhat similar in size and should be of a similar mentality to the cavalier.
The actual crossbreeding is only done once and the puppies produced in the first generation will then be bred back to cavaliers and will have pedigrees in the Swedish Kennel Club X-register. Puppies produced in the fourth generation in this crossbreeding programme, will then be considered as purebred Cavalier King Charles spaniels and will be registered as such in the normal breed register. The aim with the programme is that these cavaliers will then spread new and healthy genes thoughout the breed population.
The work will be run as a project and includes proper and close documentation on all the offspring. The follow-up on every single offspring will be meticulous and the work and dedication expected of the breeders involved in the programme and the people buying one of these puppies will be extensive and demanding.
If you feel that owning one of these puppies would be interesting and would like to be involved in this project, please send your contact details to firstname.lastname@example.org.