Choosing the right dog isn’t as easy is it sounds. Before settling on a Cavalier I spent hours researching the different breeds, I spoke with dog trainers and rescue centers.
There was a lot of thought before this too. How much room do I have for a dog? How much exercise could I give a dog? Where the dog would be while I was at work or on holiday? How often was I actually out and about places I wouldn’t be able to take a dog? To what extent was I equipped to deal with behavioural or health issues? Whether my OH would actually put up with a dog….? The list goes on.
I concluded that while I have a relatively active lifestyle (I have a horse and yes she has a blog too!), in reality I couldn’t offer more than a hour’s (dog specific) walking a day – even that would be a push on some winter days. Most of my dog-time would be in the evenings on the sofa and what I like best are cuddles! Having said that sometimes I ride with friends and they take their dogs and I do quite enjoy a long 2 hour walk.
Surprisingly my favourite (and frequented!) pubs and restaurants do allow dogs, about once a month or so I go out for an evening or an afternoon somewhere dogs aren’t welcome. I also work two days a week in an office. Before considering getting a dog I spoke with friends who are dog trainers and sitters, immediate family and my (retired) next door neighbours. I am very lucky; they all said that they are willing to dog-sit.
My plan is to use the professional dog-sitters regularly for work and family & family for the occasional social.
This answered the next question….. besides the fact that I couldn’t deal with behavioural issues – this would be my first dog and while I’ve dog-sense (my family have had dogs) I don’t know enough to deal with any significant problems – dog sitters, family and neighbours wouldn’t want to either.
Last but not least, the OH….I’d be lying if I said that there weren’t some very heated discussions!
Most of these discussions were about the breed, he likes big working dogs (collies, & pointers, for example) while I had concluded that we needed a smaller breed. Our house is rather petite, we would need to crate train (OH is into vinyl and IT, there are precious records and cables all over the house) and I wanted something I could cuddle.
The breed would need to be generally good with other dogs, people and confident. Have the ability to be athletic and like being outdoors but not needing hours of exercise. Easy to train was another attribute I was looking for.
Finally I wanted a dog that I thought was cute, like super cute…afterall I’d wanted a dog for over 20 years and finally I was in a position to do it!
It took me some time and I found that no breed was perfect. Cavaliers were the closest though and they definitely match on the ‘cute’ score!
There are lots of ‘selectors’ on the internet & it felt like I did them all. I also quite liked this site: www.yourpurebredpuppy.com/reviews/cavalierkingcharlesspaniels.html – it doesn’t mince it’s words!
It did also start me off researching the health issues associated with Cavalier King Charles Spaniels but that’s another story (or blog post)!