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Buying a Cavalier Puppy

Arabella_5 weeksWhen buying a Cavalier, you want your puppy to look like a Cavalier, behave like a Cavalier and live long healthy life.  You know you should look for a reputable breeder as you don’t add to the misery of dogs used in puppy mills but you don’t know how to find one.  We have some simple advice for you how to find a great breeder and increase your chances on getting a beautiful and healthy puppy!


1) The most important thing – please make sure that any of the breeders you consider to buy a Cavalier puppy from is listed on  (original breed club) or on (AKC parent breed club). There is also a third website which is ran by a regional club that is a part of CKCSC club (called Cavaliers of the Northeast) – .  Please be aware that if somebody sells puppies registered in AKC but is not a member of any of those two clubs, it may be somebody who just breeds commercially.


2) Look for a show breeder.  Show breeders breed to obtain their new generation of show potentials and future champions. Obviously they cannot keep all the puppies so they look for loving homes for them. They strive to breed an outstanding quality, they want their dogs to be easy dogs to work with and they want them to live long healthy life.  Chances are that your puppy will be similar to those that they keep for themselves.  Show breeders have a lot of to lose regarding their reputation, if the puppies they produced had issues.


How to find a show breeder?  You have to make sure that the breeder shows at AKC and CKCSC conformation shows and actually win.   If those breeders don’t compete in AKC or CKCSC, they usually don’t have good quality dogs that would be competitive in those 2 clubs. That’s a bad sing for you.   How to verify that somebody shows and wins at those clubs? Google that breeder’s name and see if her name shows up in the show results – it should show up multiple times. Google puppy’s parents names – they also should show up.  Ask breeder about it, ask for win photos – they should show a dog, the handler/breeder and the judge. The title that the dog won should be displayed on the photo. Ask if it was an AKC or CKCSC show.   Single ring shots do not prove anything. Many times Back Yard Breeders or Puppy Mills come to 1-2 shows so they can take a photo and say they show at AKC.


3) Check the health test certificates for the parents. The most important test in our breed is heart test as there is a serious genetic heart disease (MVD) that happens in our breed.  Both parents must be tested by the cardiologist and the certificate needs to be issued on OFA paper or the parent needs to be listed on  with a current test – anything else is not valid.  That test can’t be older than 12 months.


4)  Be aware if somebody says that they have petite, miniature, teacup Cavaliers – there is no such thing. Cavaliers should be between 12 and 18 lbs and anything smaller is not correct and not allowed for breeding


5)  It should not be very easy to buy a Cavalier. A reputable breeder would never ship you a Cavalier. In fact, she would never sell you a Cavalier without meeting you, your family and asking a lot of questions. You usually will have to wait for your puppy as they are not produced for sale. As mentioned before, reputable breeders breed to obtain next show potentials.


6) Having point 5 in mind, never buy a puppy on internet or pet store – you can be sure they are puppy produced in commercial families (puppy mills!) and their parents go through misery lives.  No reputable breeder would ship a puppy and no reputable breeder would sell their puppy to pet store .  Also breed clubs code of ethics do not allow to sell puppies to pet stores or to commercial brokers.

This picture is courtesy of National Mill Dog RescueThis picture is courtesy of National Mill Dog RescueT

This picture is courtesy of National Mill Dog Rescue


7) Too cheap.  Be aware if some of puppies are offered at the price that is significantly lower than what you have been told and make sure you understand why.  Usually those people just want to sell. Do your homework why the person is selling cheaper. The price range for a well bred Cavalier puppy in NYC area (NJ/NY/CT/PA) is not low.  Email me if you want to know the details.


The last piece of advice I have for you: it is a great idea to consider a young Zoe and Anabelleadult instead of puppy. Usually breeders sell the older puppies that they “ran on”. It means they kept them for show but they decided not to show them for various reasons – usually very slight faults. You will get almost a show quality dog that will be beautiful and the best of all, potty trained.


If you would like to talk more about Cavaliers or how to find a breeder, please contact me.