cavalier king charles spaniel Q&A WITH STEPHANIE ABRAHAM, CINDY HUGGINS, DR. JOHN V. IOIA, ERICA VENIER, AND LAMONT M. YODER
“THE CAVALIER IS A MODERATE DOG AND ANYTHING OVERDONE SHOULD BE AVOIDED, WHETHER IT IS SIZE, COAT, BONE, HEADS OR EYES THAT APPEAR TOO LARGE.”
is awful. Similarly, light brown eyes ruin the warm Cavalier expression. The manner in which Cavaliers are being exhibited is also important. The Cavalier is a natural breed with many accomplished owner-handlers and professionals in the ring. I am concerned that excessive grooming, sculpting and trimming plus an over-abundance of coat are becom- ing all too common. The ACKCSC reminds judges in their education program that, “Specimens where the coat has been altered by trimming, clipping, or by artificial means shall be so severely penalized as to be effectively elimi- nated from competition.” Finally, an issue that is extremely important to the breed and to our sport relates to Junior Handlers. The Cavalier is to be shown naturally and free-stacked. The American Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Club is proud of our Junior- Handlers and their accomplishments. Unfortunately, I have witnessed a Juniors Judge correct a handler and tell her that she needed to hard stack her exhibit. This is incorrect and our Juniors know better. EV: A few words about trimming: Exhibitors, you disparage the breed when you trim a Cavalier like a Setter. Use your artistic skills to present the Cavalier the way our standard requests. Scissoring a belly line suggests laziness to the trained eye. Hone your skills to include being able to present a Cavalier properly. Most judges will recognize your efforts. LY: Everyone tries to avoid fault judging, as that can very eas- ily result in not choosing the best specimen of the breed. Overall, I have been extremely happy and excited to see many stellar representatives of our breed in my first year of judging. At the same time, I have been surprised at the number of bad bites, some so undershot that it even affects expression. I have not had an assignment without bad bites yet and as breeders we all know that happens frequently as babies and sometimes takes a couple years to correct. However, at specialties we should not be seeing fully mature adults in bred by and open classes with really bad bites or, even worse, champions in the Best of Breed class that are undershot. That disappoints me and I’m hoping that breeders continue to balance the quest for ribbons with weighing strengths and areas of opportunities within our breeding programs. The breed depends on great breeding programs, which is why I remain hopeful and optimistic about our future.
roach backed topline during side gait. Third, is that Cava- liers are not meant to be statues. Cavaliers should be free baited and stacked, not hard/hand stacked and they are usually wagging gently when standing, if they become bored they may not wag constantly. Ensuring one never overlooks a fearful temperament seen by either wagging very fast or not at all, judges should not look so hard for the constant wagging that they miss an exceptional specimen of the breed. 6. Is there anything else you’d like to share about the breed? SA: The Cavalier is slightly longer than tall, but should appear close to square at first glance. Muzzle should be moderate in length and width. Variations on the 1½" length mentioned in the standard should be permissible, but the muzzle should never look long or short. The eyes should be large and round with good fill under them. CH: We must remind judges that this is a moderate breed. Moderate in coat, size, head shape and they must not be rewarded if their tail is tucked between their legs while on the move. JI: A Cavalier King Charles Spaniel must have good depth of chest, nice prosternum and proper layback of front assembly with matching rears. This assembly will provide proper reach and drive with level side gait and correct level tail carriage to complete the picture. While Cavalier breeders strive for a nice layback of shoulders (40º- 45º) the reality is that many specimens are more upright. This will be apparent both on the table and as soon as you watch side gait. Similarly, the rear angula- tion should match to balance the dog and once again movement will expose correct or incorrect structure. There are many good to excellent specimens in the ring today and the breed continues to improve. I do however see some issues. With popularity comes large numbers; with large numbers comes some disparity. The Cavalier is a Toy Spaniel and I am concerned when I see some very large or coarse specimens winning. The Cavalier is a moderate dog and anything overdone should be avoided, whether it is size, coat, bone, heads or eyes that appear too large. Another important issue to Cavalier breeders concerns eyes. A tiny amount of white in the inner cor- ner may be acceptable but white around the eye
S how S ight M agazine , J anuary 2019 • 313
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