Cavalier King Charles Spaniels in Texas

We added Cavaliers to our Red-Dawn pack a few years ago. We’ve always kept a few “little dogs” over the years along side our big dogs. Our first little in the 1980’s was a rescue dachshund / chihuahua cross. Later in the early 2000’s we became a BOM for Chinese Cresteds and hold some top AKC dog show rankings with them. After that in 2009 we switched to Mini & Moyen Poodles. Most recently we’ve added Cavaliers.

Our Goal with CKCS

Our goal with Cavaliers is to improve the health of the breed. Health must trump good looks, size, coat color, coat length etc. If we don’t have good health then we are adding to heartbreak for every pet owner who gets a puppy. Nothing is worse than to later have that sweet dog plagued with horrible health.

The Cavalier’s unique breed specific health problems come from their high COI = the very close relatedness of ALL Cavaliers. Based on DNA testing, all Cavaliers are 25%-60% inbred, with the majority near 35%. As a comparison, if full siblings from genetically diverse genealogy were to produce offspring, their children’s COI is about 25%.

The only way to improve the health of Cavaliers is to:

Increase Genetic Diversity

That equals adding in new varieties of dogs into Cavaliers, then crossing those dogs together and choosing offspring to reproduce who have:

  • DNA testing to eradicate any health issue that we have DNA screening for
  • Thorough screening of parent dogs with MRI scans, OFA testing and honesty about dog’s health issues
  • Choosing dogs that look and act like Cavaliers so we can get back to our favorite traits in just a few generations.

Cross-Breed Project to improve CKCS

In Sweden and Finland there is an active breeding program to cross Cavaliers to other breeds, then pair these dogs together to produce a genetically diverse Cavalier. After a few generations these offspring will enter the kennel club registry again as “pure” Cavaliers and be allowed to show in the breed ring. This forward thinking dog breeding project is the way of the future for all of us who want to save highly inbred dog breeds. It is only by adding genetic diversity that dog breeds can improve their health.

What are the Cavalier’s health problems?

The list of health problems is very long. But the most relevant ones that we need genetic diversity to “fix” are:





Our Red-Dawn Cavaliers

  • Oliver, Blenheim Boy
  • Jasper, Blenheim Boy
  • Henry, Chocolate Bi Boy
  • Maude & Geraldine, Black Tri Girls
  • Thelma, Black Tri Girl
  • Jaz, Blenheim Girl
  • Shelby, Black Bi Girl
  • Our Dogs are all Embark DNA to get an overview of health and other traits. In addition, we test with other DNA companies as health tests are invented. Recent DNA tests for 2023/2024 include: MCADD & MVD
  • We do OFA certificates on Hips, Elbows, Heart, Eyes, Patella.
  • Some dogs are PennHip certified and Cardiac Echocardiogram tested.
  • We plan to soon MRI scan dogs for SM / CM

Cavalier Puppies

Cavalier puppies sold by us are not AKC registered and are not considered “pure”. This equals a more genetically diverse dog with fewer or no health problems. Getting a Cavalier from Red-Dawn means you want a dog who has a higher chance at living a very long and healthy life.

Guardian Program

We need willing participants in our Cavalier genetic diversity breeding project to co-own or be “guardians” of intact boys and girls. This means the dog is your pet, but we breed it only if it passes all the health screening. This allows us to get more generations of dogs bred, sooner, but not overwhelm us with too many dogs at home. If you live a reasonable drive from Dallas Texas, you may qualify as a Guardian.

We are connected with Cavalier breeders all over the world. We may be able to connect you as a Guardian to a breeder near you.

Help us! We need non-Cavaliers!

We, like other breeders participating in the Cavalier Cross-Breeding Improvement Project, need access to healthy good tempered dogs of many breeds (and cross breeds) to use as parents to be crossed with our Cavaliers. If you have a dog that might help improve the Cavalier breed, please contact us! If you have an intact Cavalier or Cavalier cross, also contact us.

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