The Scottish Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Club.



Kennel Club and British Veterinary Association work together to gather breeder opinion on health testing

The Kennel Club (KC) and British Veterinary Association (BVA) have launched a survey to gather views on health testing from breeders of Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, in order to determine what more can be done to protect the health of this much-loved breed.

During the three years in which the BVA/KC screening scheme for Chiari Malformation and Syringomyelia (CM/SM) has been running, just 195 Kennel Club registered Cavalier King Charles Spaniels have been graded, and the Kennel Club and BVA would like to find out why there has been so little uptake of the scheme.

The survey can be completed by any breeder who has bred a litter of Cavalier King Charles Spaniels since 2012 and will run for two weeks until midnight on Sunday 6th December. The Kennel Club has already contacted almost 1,600 breeders who have registered a litter with it since 2012, and is keen for other breeders who do not register their litters with the Kennel Club to take the survey and help to build a stronger picture on the practise of health testing in the breed.

Information gathered from the survey will be used to address any issues breeders may have with the BVA/KC CM/SM scheme and their reasons for not using it if they currently do not. This will help the Kennel Club and BVA to develop a strategy for encouraging more breeders to utilise 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.

Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary, said: “The breed is one of the most popular in the UK and we want to get a good picture of why breeders are choosing not to screen their dogs for known health issues such as CM/SM if they are not using an existing scheme.

“Responsible breeders should be health testing any dogs they breed from but we are not seeing this reflected in the number of Cavalier breeders who are currently using the BVA/KC scheme for CM/SM so it is crucial to find out why.

“The health of any breed is largely in the hands of the breeders and we want to ensure that we are making things as easy as possible for them to make breeding choices that will have a positive effect on the breed and its health. We would encourage as many Cavalier breeders as possible to give us their views and try to help us to improve the health of this breed.”

To access the survey, breeders are encouraged to visit

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