Cavaliers can be lively, sporty little dogs providing they aren't allowed to get too fat. Their height is usually about 31-33cm and they can weigh anything from 5.4kg to 8.2 kg. This puts them into the small category for agility.
They are generally fun loving with a gentle temperament. They make good companions and good family pets, and although they're small they do need a fair amount of exercise. Properly fit cavaliers will walk all day and they will certainly have the stamina to make good agility dogs. I was delighted to find that one of the first respondents to the breed survey found the cavalier fairly easy to train, would recommend them for agility and would choose this breed again.
Pictured here is Cider, a cavalier collie cross. It's a shame Cider didn't compete at agility but unfortunately it had only just been invented and you didn't have the shows or training that you do now. Cider was the most athletic dog I have ever had. She scared the life out of holidaymakers with her ability to run up and down cliffs like a mountain goat. She could jink and turn so quickly when playing with farm dogs that none of them could ever catch her.
One thing I've found with spaniels and their crosses is that they need a fair amount of grooming. If you aren't careful they can get a bit tangled behind the ears, so go over them daily with a brush and check for any tangly bits. Their paws can also get feathery. I trim Jilly's paws and the lower part of her hind legs and also trim her tail. If the tail hair is allowed to get too long it can wrap itself around a wet weave pole and get caught.
Comments: From Australia:
They might not be a border collie but they love to run the courses and are just as enthusiastic :)
I have a collie cross cavalier and he goes round the agility course very fast and learns quickly. A great all round dog.
She gets very excited and clears the jumps with ease.
We have a beautiful Jack Russell cross Cavalier. She has a beautiful smooth and silky short haired coat and the kindest nature. She is very gentle, snuggley and just loves a cuddle. She has a cav nature at home but when she gets to the park she runs circles round the other dogs and cant catch her. DEFINITELY recommend this breed if you can find it.
He loves agility and is so willing and really just loves it!
SLM (Cavalier/Whippet cross):
We have a lovely cavalier x whippet for whom the obstacles at agility cause no problem. She is quick, agile and clears the jumps with ease BUT........she is so easily distracted that it is impossible to keep her attention and as soon as she gets the scent of something interesting we have lost her. No amount of recall training has worked and we are open to suggestions as to how to stop this problem. Any ideas?
(This one came into the "Oh Dear" category for ease of training.) SLM - Sniffing and scenting are definitely very strong spaniel traits. When you're training your dog needs to know you're working. If the trainer wants to speak to you don't allow the dog to go wandering about sniffing while you speak. Stop the dog immediately. Lots of people cheer lead their spaniels, giving them a lot of encouragement on the way round. They need a lot of praise when they're doing well. One thing you have to be aware of is whether or not your dog is overstraining itself. If the dog is having to put in a lot of effort or is uncomfortable about something they will be inclined to go and sniff instead. It can also be a sign of stress. If your dog isn't sure what to do they may go off and sniff. I've found doing other disciplines alongside agility helps with attention and concentration. Jilly does Wag It Games and she takes part in their shadow skills video trials. It's done wonders for her concentration. You can find the Wag It Games site here.
Cavalierfan:I have only been doing agility for about 4 months. She jumps well but the only bad thing is that she does tend to wander off in the middle of the course if she is bored so you have to keep them busy. Apart from that she is brill. It is really good to get a bit of weight off a dog too as my dog was a bit overweight, so we started doing small jumps and building up and now she is much better and bolder going over jumps. She is doing well even though she is 6 years old! but coming up to seven in Feb so I have to be careful not to do too high jumps because I don't want to strain her heart and muscles. So we have to do jump then rest......and so on. I would buy this dog again as they always try their best and have a go at anything
I think my dog
Sherry is the best dog in the world.
I never thought she could of done agility. It was only a month ago
when I got a mini agility kit for her for the garden. She really knocked me for
six when I found out she had a real talent for agility. She can jump any height
you put in front of her. At
the minute I am
training her to weave .
I would recommend this dog to any
person who wants to do agility but wants
a soft and cuddly dog for at home.
Pat comments: It's wonderful that you are enjoying agility so much. Cavaliers usually come into the small height category and they only need to jump 35cm in competition. All dogs should start their training over lower jumps and build up their fitness and strength before they go on to competition heights. If you have a dog that comes into the medium category then the maximum jump height is 45cm.
Agility is not just for collies:DI never thought my breed of dog could do agility but she is a super star. She will jump anything :high jump (1ft and over she can even jump 2ft4)weaves,high hoop and lots more. As a breed will probably never be that fastest agility dog, but mine is extremely consistent and has had numerous places at novice level. My 11 month old CKCS pup is also showing promise.
Cavalier's are by nature easily distracted and so they can be a bit frustrating at times but when they are on form they can give the best of dogs a run for their money!
Lots of obedience training before starting agility. Our dog has a tendency to wander off sniffing if there is anything more interesting on the ground!" (cavalier/whippet cross)
Colin Budd has written the following about the cocker/cavalier cross:
By crossing these two breeds (done specifically for pets) you do not run a great risk of getting any of the inherent problems from either breed ie heart problems from the cavalier or liver/kidney problems from the cocker. Also the temperament is loving and quick to learn (and fast). Will run around around all day then cuddle up on your lap. Colin would recommend this cross for agility and would choose this type of dog again.