Cavalier health testing survey extended due to disappointing uptake from breeders

The Kennel Club is disappointed by the lack of uptake of its recently launched survey to gather views on health testing from breeders of Cavalier King Charles Spaniels and has extended the survey until midnight on Friday 18th December, in order to try and obtain more responses.

The survey, launched by the KC and British Veterinary Association to identify what more can be done to protect the health of Cavaliers, was sent directly to over 1,300 breeders who have registered at least one litter since 2012, but only 272 responses have been received.

The Kennel Club is working on initiatives to try and improve the health of the breed but it needs the support of Cavalier breeders in order to do this.

Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary, said: "The health of any breed is largely in the hands of the breeders and the Kennel Club is devising various strategies to support this to help improve Cavalier health as a matter of urgency. In return, however, we need the support of the breeders and are disappointed that so many who were emailed the survey have not responded to it.

"The survey itself takes just a few minutes to fill out and will help us to plan further actions that could make a real difference to the breed, and we are at a loss as to why breeders have not leapt at this opportunity to have their say, particularly as the survey is anonymous.

"Our analysis shows that a staggering 781 recipients of the survey did not even open the email when it was sent, which resulted in us resending it, which saw just 76 more breeders doing so. We still need more involvement from the Cavalier community if we are to get the input we need.  We would suggest that breeders check their emails and find the survey if they have missed it for whatever reason.

"As a result of this low uptake, we have extended the survey until Friday 18th December and we hope that more Cavalier breeders will make the most of this opportunity.  We are grateful to those breeders who have already filled out the survey and are supporting our attempts to improve the health of the breed they love."

During the three years in which the BVA/KC screening scheme for Chiari Malformation and Syringomyelia (CM/SM) has been running, only around 200 Kennel Club registered Cavalier King Charles Spaniels have been graded, and the Kennel Club and BVA need to understand breeders' awareness and attitudes towards the scheme.

The survey can be completed by any breeder who has bred a litter of Cavalier King Charles Spaniels since 2012 and will now run until midnight on Friday 18th December.  The Kennel Club is also keen for breeders who do not register their litters with the Kennel Club to take the survey to help build a stronger picture on the practise of health testing in the breed.

Information gathered from the survey will help the Kennel Club and BVA to develop the scheme, including the development of an ongoing two-way dialogue between the Kennel Club and the Cavalier community to find ways to urgently address health concerns in the breed.

To access the survey, breeders are encouraged to visit

To find out more about the BVA/KC Canine Health Schemes, please visit

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