The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a mess.
In my opinion, only a fool or an ignorant would own such a dog.
There, I have said, and I am not backing down.
Let's be clear: this dog has no purpose whatsoever.
It is a dog-dealers dog cocked up at a Cruft's show 80 years ago, and inbred within a closed registry ever since. Here's the complete story.
More than 80 percent of the dogs have heart defects, and half the dogs die from these heart problems.
And yet, in a world in which dogs are routinely killed for no other reason than they are no longer puppies, we still have people flocking to Cavalier King Charles Spaniels despite the fact that it is nearly impossible to get a truly health dog.
Who are these people, and have they lost their minds?
Am I being a bit harsh here?
Sure. But some people need a beating, and that is certainly true for those folks who somehow stumble into a breed (generally by picking it out of a picture book), and who have since decided that it is the "special personality" of their breed that justifies their continued indifference and near-complete silence about the horrific health conditions of the dog.
Ha! Is there any dog owner in the world that does not make that claim for his or her dog or breed?
Why am I picking on Cavalier King Charles Spaniel owners in this post rather than, say, Bulldog owners or Dachshund owners, or Boston Terrier owners, or Bernese Mountain Dog owners?
Added to the jaw-dropping numbers for heart mitral valve disease, we also have the latest bit of staggering data about syringomyelia, a disorder of the brain and spinal cord which may cause severe head and neck pain and possible paralysis.
The American College of Veterinary Radiology is set to publish a new paper on The Morphology of the Caudal Fossa in Cavalier King Charles Spaniels.
Not exactly a page-turner of a title, is it?
That said, here's what the study shows: Out of 64 dogs examined, 59 had morphologic abnormalities of the craniocervical junction, 27 dogs had syringohydromyelia, and 15 presented with clinical signs of syringomyelia.
Go ahead and do the percentages -- I don't need to.
Anyone with the brain power of a daisy will quickly grab a 12-foot pole, because clearly this a breed of dog no knowledgable person would touch with a 10-foot pole!
The study mentioned here was done by folks at Cornell's College of Veterinary Medicine and North Carolina State University's College of Veterinary Medicine with assistance from the IAMS Pet Imaging Center in Raleigh, N.C. The dogs examined were mostly from Kennel Club show breeders, and they were not selected because they were thought to be defective animals.
And, to be clear, these are American dogs. This is an American problem, not just a British one or a Swedish one.
And if you are a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel owner, and you are not banging on your keyboard demanding mandatory health testing and an open registry in order to get rid of disease in your breed then you are part of this American problem.
There, I have said it. And I won't back down.