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What is the Breed of the Month? 

Each month Westgate features information on a different breed of dog or cat. These articles provide historical information, as well as information on potential health concerns and preventative care measures that may benefit these different breeds.  Click on the picutre below to learn more about your favorite breed!

breed of month vJan January: Shih Tzu February: The exotic shorthair March: Great Dane April: English Bulldog May: Ragdoll June: Golden Retriever November: Scottish Fold July: King Charles August: Maine Coon September: Labrador October: Pug December: Standard Poodle

July: The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

CavalierHistory of the Breed

Chances are you've seen old, English tapestries and paintings that feature the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.  This is because for centuries, the Cavalier has been a companion to artistrocratic families.  Although they have been used successfully as a sporting dog, they were primarily a house pet for the wealthy.  

Dogs that were bred to be companions typically have a very congenial nature, and the Cavalier is no exception.  This highly affectionate breed makes a fabulous family dog.  Cavaliers are active and sporting and love the companionship of a busy, loving household. They tend to consider strangers as friends, so usually do not make good guard dogs.  If you have small children and are looking to add a dog into the mix, the Cavalier would be a wonderful choice.

Health concerns
Preventative Care Recommendations
If you are going to be purchasing a puppy from a breeder, get to know your breeder.  Most breeders are very aware that Mitral Valve Disease can effect this breed, and have their breeding stock screened for a heart murmur.  Unfortunatley, sometimes this disease doesn't show up until the dog is middle aged, after they have already sired or whelped several litters.  Prudent questions about your breeder's dog's health can also include, has he or she had problems with ear infections, orthopedic conditions, or neurologic issues. 
Because Cavaliers tend to get recurrent ear infections, training your puppy to tolerate ear handling and cleaning is important.  Make ear cleaning a positive experience by giving a little treat after cleaning.
Cavaliers are also prone to obesity.  When your dog is an adult, you should be able to feel her ribs under the skin like you would feel your knuckles on the back of your hand.  (Your hand should be flat, not in a fist, when checking this).  Consult your veterinarian about food volume and type of your dog is getting overweight.

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