I was very fortunate in the early years to have some wonderful mentors and advisors. Though I have had dogs my entire life, I did not breed my first litter until I had been involved in the breed for five years. It took time to understand breed “type”, structure, movement, temperament and health issues. I’m glad I waited. My priorities are to breed healthy dogs with wonderful temperaments. I very often sell puppies to families who have children with special needs. Yes, type and confirmation are important, but if a dog is placed with a family of children and dies at an early age, what has been accomplished? I’d rather produce a long-lived dog with the “typical” Cavalier personality than the prettiest one.
Breeding is only half of the equation. Anyone can put two dogs together to produce a litter of puppies. As a breeder, my most daunting task is proper placement of puppies so everyone is successful, the dog, the family and me!
In order to purchase a puppy from Evanlake Cavaliers, every family must visit in person with all the people who will come in contact with the dog on a daily basis, and fill out a two-page questionnaire. This helps me gather information I may forget to ask during a visit. It also gives me information on the priorities of the family. Do they want a specific gender or color? Do they have a timeframe in mind?
At seven weeks of age a Temperament Test is performed on all the puppies by a Technician specifically trained for this task. This assists me in knowing which puppy I may keep and which puppies are best suited for which family. I do not promise anyone a puppy in the order they visited and I do not take deposits for that reason. I like to match the puppy with the family and I take this as my most important responsibility.
At the age of eight weeks, a “Structure Exam” designed by Pat Hastings is performed. She believes that the structure and proportions of a dog at eight weeks is relatively the same as the dog will be when it is full-grown. It also helps to identify structural abnormalities that may preclude the dog from competitive sports later on in its life. This helps me also decide the best dog to keep for breeding later on if the puppies are all of relative good quality.
All the puppies are raised in the house with some of the older dogs and receive plenty of socialization. Visitors are welcome to see the puppies after they have received their first shots at eight weeks old. Please call to schedule an appointment. 908-362-7588.