Cavalier King Charles Breeders – Avoiding Inbreeding

There are different types of Cavalier king charles breeders.  Although you probably know to avoid backyard breeders and pet stores, you may also want to find out if the breeder you choose participates in inbreeding.  What is inbreeding?  It is when two dogs that are closely related (I.E. brother-sister, father-daughter, mother-son etc.) are bred together.

Is inbreeding bad?  Almost every purebred dog has been inbred at some point in an attempt to create and preserve the purity and distinction of the breed.  That said, currently, most reputable cavalier king charles breeders do not mate dogs that share close relations.  The main reason why this form of breeding is frowned upon is it can lead to genetic defects, health problems, temperament issues, and lower life expectancy.  However, it is strongly believed that had the king charles spaniel not been so heavily interbred during the 1940’s and 1950’s, the breed we know and love today may not have survived.

Therefore, you will discover that there are pros and cons of inbreeding, such as:

Pros
•    Helps to preserve a champion line
•    Maintain precise appearance characteristics
•    Uphold ideal traits
•    Improve pedigree of future generations

Cons
•    Additional hereditary health problems (I.E. syringomyelia (injured spinal cord) eye disease, etc.)
•    Unfavorable genetics are more prominent
•    Physical faults occur (I.E. misaligned jaw)
•    Male cavaliers have a decreased fertility rate

In most cases, since inbreeding tends to cause more harm than good, cavalier king charles breeders tend to only resort to this form of mating if it is absolutely necessary.  Therefore, what is more common among ethical breeders is for their litters to be the result of linebreeding or outcrossing.

Linebreeding is a type of inbreeding that is used to help “fix” a purebred’s desirable traits, and it has a lower risk of producing dogs with undesirable qualities.  Instead of coupling two immediate family relations together (I.E. brother – sister), two more distant relatives are mixed (I.E. cousins, uncle-niece, etc.).  However, since it is still a form of interbreeding, there is a risk for problems to occur, especially if continuously done over time.

Outcrossing is when two cavaliers of different pedigrees (no related genetic material) are bred together.  This type if breeding creates genetic diversity, which lowers a canine’s chances of developing hereditary illnesses and other abnormalities.  Outcross procreation breathes life and fertility back into a breeding line, making it stronger. 

Outcrossing is regarded as the most purposeful form of dog reproduction today, and most respectable cavalier king charles breeders choose this method.  Therefore, make sure you find out what method of breeding is used before you decide to purchase your pup, because a pup that is too far inbred may have both unappealing mental and physical issues.