Cavaliers as Companions
April / May 2021
Edited by Dennis & Tina Homes


Victorian Painting
A Victorian painting of a young girl with a flute and a spaniel

Dogs have an acute sense of hearing and although it works in a similar way to humans, there are several important differences that show how a dog’s hearing has evolved. A dog is born deaf and cannot hear until it is around 21 days old. Puppies have problems understanding from which direction sounds come from until they are reasonably mature. Dogs are sensitive to extremely loud noises and also to high pitched sound. Not only do they have a highly developed sense of hearing and can hear a wide range of sounds, but they also have the ability to pin point the exact origin of the sound, discriminate between sounds and make an accurate interpretation of the sound, and decide whether it is threatening or non-threatening.

Dogs can hear at four times the distance humans can and their ears are better configured to gather more of the available sound waves. Canine and human ears are very close in anatomical characteristics; the difference is the outermost section of ear. Few of us can wiggle our ears, so we are unable to move our ears in the direction of the sounds we detect. Dogs, however, have 15 different muscles and are able to move their ears in all directions and can move them independently of each other which allows them to do a much better job of tuning in to specific sounds. Dogs can hear low notes just as we do, but their hearing is much more intense. They can also hear much higher frequencies and sounds than humans. The frequencies that dogs can perceive and hear are almost twice that of humans.

So can a dog understand or appreciate music in the same way as a human? Are they able to recognise tonal patterns or is music to them just a mass of random sounds? Two recent studies have shown that the behaviour of dogs can be affected by the type of music that they are hearing. A team of researchers led by Deborah Wells, an animal behaviourist employed by Queens University in Belfast, exposed 50 dogs in an animal shelter to Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons, Greig’s Morning and other classical pieces, the dogs became calm and laid down. When the researchers played music by Metallica and other heavy metal bands, the dogs became agitated and began barking. Pop music and radio talk shows seemed to have little effect. A similar research project conducted at the Re-homing Centre of the National Canine Defence League in Evesham yielded comparable results. Debrorah Wells believes that dogs may be just as discerning as people when it comes to music. Alison Jaskiewicz, co-founder of the Canine Freestyle Federation says, "Dogs have a taste in musical styles just as people do. If you move dogs to different types of music, you will see their preferences reflected in their bodies, in their eagerness to move, in their tail set, in their ear set, etc."

An Arizona Animal Welfare League has started playing classical music to calm animals in a rescue shelter and they have found that certain kinds of music does indeed help to keep the animals calm. A UK study published in the journal Animal Welfare also revealed that shelter animals overwhelmingly spend more time in a relaxed state when exposed to classical music. The dogs bark less and seem more relaxed when people visit the shelters.

But can dogs recognize certain melodies? Many people have found that they can, although it may be to do with association like the ringing of a doorbell signifies that there is somebody at the door. Dog trainers usually say that commands should be kept simple, i.e. just one or two syllables. However, some dogs can respond to a whole series of musical notes which is rather like responding to a complete sentence.

But do dogs have a sense of rhythm? If they do it is not that highly developed. Parrots and cockatoos have been known to jerk and nod their heads in time to the beat of some rhythmic music, see the attached YouTube link and watch how this bird moves to the beat and rhythm: ""

In musical dressage events horses can be trained to move in fairly complex patterns in time to music that has numerous rhythmic changes. Although they are governed by the way the rider pulls on the reins they can quickly get into a new rhythm. Just watch the way horses move on ceremonial occasions with military marching bands. Dogs do not seem to adapt to rhythmic changes in quite the same way. "But what about Heelwork to Music?" you may ask. Heelwork to Music is a fairly complex form of obedience training. All dogs appear to have their own preferred rhythmic gate and the successful people in Heelwork to Music are those who are able to assess at which speed a particular dog works best at, and from this they choose music in that tempo.

In America there are companies that have produced CDs of music specifically composed to help relax a dog, particularly when left alone.

Tri Puppy musician
This little Tricolour puppy is thinking about a career in music.


Over the years we’ve mentioned dog theft several times in Cavaliers as Companions, but since lockdown dog theft has massively increased and it’s now believed that organized gangs have become involved. There has been a huge demand for dogs of all breeds since lockdown and together with the high prices being charged for puppies, plus the fact that if caught a measly fine is usually all these thieves get, dog theft has really proliferated. Therefore, the safety of your dog is of utmost importance and here are a few things that you should definitely consider.

If a stranger asks lots of questions about your dog and makes you feel suspicious, take care to secure your home and consider walking your dog at different times of the day so you don’t run into the same people regularly.

When walking somewhere unfamiliar, keep your dog on the lead – especially in areas with dense shrubbery where they could easily go missing.

Don’t tie your dog up outside shops. All it takes is one opportunistic would-be dog thief to walk by! Likewise, don’t leave your dog alone in the car. On hot days, this can put dogs at risk of dehydration and even death. Opening the window doesn’t solve anything – it actually increases the risk of theft.

Take plenty of pictures of your dog, from all angles so you can put them on forums and posters if the worst does happen.

When your dog is out playing in the garden, make sure they’re supervised – especially if you have a low fence and lots of neighbours.

Practise recall training so your dog always comes back to you when you’re out on walks.

Consider fitting a home security system or outside camera, especially if theft or crime is common in your area.

Cavalier Alarm


Cavalier and Cat Brooch

This wonderful and very rare French, circa 1910, 18 carat gold, diamond and pearl detailed Cavalier & cat brooch by the renowned Art Nouveau sculptor French Edmond Henri Becker (1871–1971) has recently come up for sale at Hamshere Gallery in London.


Dental Hygiene

Dental hygiene is one aspect of dog keeping that is often overlooked, probably because people don’t often look in a dog’s mouth. However, teeth cleaning should be a regular part of your grooming regime to keep your dog in peek condition. There are a number of ‘chew toys’ available on the market that claim to help keep your dog’s teeth in good condition including small stag horns. But these should be in addition to and not instead of regular brushing. Tooth decay appears to be more prevalent in smaller breeds than in larger breeds and I’m uncertain as to why this should be, so it is therefore most important that you brush your dog’s teeth on a regular basis. Daily brushing is ideal but to keep their teeth in tip top condition you should not go longer than two days without brushing them.

It is especially important to keep their teeth clean as a link has been found between tooth decay and heart problems. It has long been known that periodontitis is linked to early signs of heart disease, particularly the build-up of fatty deposits in the arteries. Although this has nothing whatsoever to do with MVD we do not want to add other heart problems to our dogs. A recent study has identified a bacteria – porphyromonas gingivalis – as one of the main culprits of both gum and heart disease. It is thought that bacteria in the mouth can trigger an immune response, increasing production of T. lymphycytes, which are part of the body’s defence system. Once the immune system is provoked into attacking the gingivalis bacteria it moves on to the proteins in blood vessels. The result is that is starts a process that leads to the build up of fatty substances. It is therefore important that great attention is paid to dental hygiene for both ourselves and our dogs.

There are many kinds of doggy toothpastes available, some are meat or chicken flavoured but all are very good. Pictured below are three types of brushes available for dogs. A double bristle brush for cleaning front and back together, a finger stool type and a more conventional small brush.

Tooth Brushes

House Rules
  1. Don’t come home smelling of other dogs.
  2. You must feed me every goodie you eat.
  3. Don’t call or lead me to a bath.
  4. Let me outside even though I just came in,
    there was an area I forgot to sniff.
  5. I can sleep anywhere I choose
    even if it means you trip over me.
  6. Don’t shhhh me from barking while you are on the phone,
    I heard the wind blowing the leaves.
  7. Don’t move me while sleeping sideways in the middle of your bed,
    you have enough room at the edge.
  8. Don’t think you can leave a room without me.
  9. If it lands on the floor it’s MINE.
  10. You will never pee alone again.


For many years we have been very keen art lovers, and because of our connection with Cavaliers we have maintained a particular interest in paintings that feature Cavalier type spaniels. Over the past thirty years we have built up quite a large collection of copies (mainly postcards) of old masters that feature Cavaliers. We have two pictures in our collection that were painted almost 130 years apart and have only just discovered a link between them. The first one, pictured below, is from The Wallace Collection in London and is called The Fidelity and was painted around 1788 by Jean-Baptiste Greuze a French painter who mainly specialized in portraits.

The Fidelity

The second painting, (pictured below), is by the British artist Emile Vernon (1872 – 1919). Like Greuze he also lived for many years in Paris. He specialized mainly in rather charming and almost innocent styled portraits of attractive young women and children using the medium of oil with the ease and confidence of pastel. He was also a highly talented flower painter. This painting features a small Tricolour.

By Emile Vernon

We never saw the connection between these two paintings until we recently came across a postcard sent in Germany in 1908 that had the following photograph on the front.

1908 postcard

It is very apparent that the model in this photograph is taking her pose from the Greuze painting of Fidelity. Note the way she is dressed, the pearls in her hair, the upward gaze of her eyes and the way she holds the spaniel. It is also very obvious that just a few years later Emile Vernon used this photo in his painting as the detail and marking on the spaniel are identical and also the position of the lady’s hands. Oh, the delights of being an art detective!!!

We also managed to uncover another of Emile Vernonís that featured a Cavalier and a kitten.

Emile Vernon painting


There are quite a number of inaccuracies about dogs that are widely held to be true. Here are just a few.

A cold, wet nose is a sign of good health
This has absolutely no bearing on a dog’s health. The normal temperature of a dog is 101 to 103 degrees but it has often been found that a dog’s nose can be cold and wet when they are running a temperature of 105. Quite often if a dog has been playing on a warm afternoon his nose may feel quite warm and dry.

If a dog wags his tail he is happy
Not necessarily. Quite often a dominant and aggressive dog will wag its tail but more erect with a more upward movement. Dogs do wag their tail if happy, but they also use their tail as a body language symbol for many other things.

A dog will roll over and show its belly as a sign of submission
Again, not necessarily so. It is more likely a sign of bonding with other pack members and to their owners.

Dogs eat grass if they are unwell or have worms
It’s quite normal for a dog to eat grass. Primitive dogs and wolves would regularly eat grass to provide roughage and domesticated dogs often eat grass. If they are sick afterwards it is not a sign that they are ill, it’s just that too much grass is hard to digest and they simply regurgitate it.

Dogs see only in black and white
Inside the eye are photoreceptors, some are shaped like cones and others like rods. The cone shaped photoreceptors are the basis for colour vision. Because dogs have far more rods as compared to humans it was at one time believed that they could not see in colour. It is now known that their perception of colour is similar to how humans see colour in late evening. Colour is still there but not very bright. Nevertheless, dogs do have very good eyesight.


The Laughing Cavalier is a most famous painting by the artist Frans Hals. It was painted in 1624 and is now in the Wallis Collection in London. Below left is the original and on the right is a modern-day Cavalier version!

Laughing CavalierCavalier as The Laughing Cavalier


You can’t buy loyalty, they say
I bought it though, the other day;
You can’t buy friendship, tried and true,
But just the same, I bought that too.

I made my bid, and on the spot
Bought love and faith and a whole job lot
Of happiness, so all in all
The purchase price was pretty small.

I bought a single trusting heart,
That gave devotion from the start
If you think these things are not for sale,
Buy a Cavalier Puppy with a wagging tail.
Happy cavalier


All Dogs Great and SmallAll Dogs Great and Small: What I’ve learned training dogs
By Graeme Hall
Publisher: Ebury Press

Graeme Hall, also known as The Dogfather, is a master dog trainer and host of Channel 5’s Dogs Behaving (Very) Badly. The series follows Hall as he helps canine and puppy owners across the country with their pet’s behaviour problems. Having worked with more than 5,000 dogs, of all shapes and sizes, Graeme has seen pretty much every behavioural issue going. And – whether it’s house-destruction, fear and anxiety, or aggression – he’s helped to fix it.

From the Great Dane scared of a Chihuahua and the Labrador that barked whenever his owners tried to eat, to the schoolboy error that landed him in hospital, in All Dogs Great and Small, Graeme shares some of his hard-won, often hilarious, success stories (as well as the odd disaster). Backed up by scientific research, he also reveals his simple, practical and effective golden rules for dog training, which will enable you to understand your dog, help you drive better behaviour and give you the tools to bring much-needed harmony to your home.

Total RecallTotal Recall: Perfect Response Training for Puppies and Adult Dogs
By Pippa Mattinson
Publisher: Quiller Publishing Ltd

The definitive dog and puppy training manual – easy to read and designed to help all dog owners with one simple but overwhelming problem: their dog won’t come back when they call him or her!

The book is divided into three parts:

1) Preparation: all the information you’ll ever need in order to prepare and support yourself and your dog as you work through the training programme, including information on how your dog learns, practical training with rewards and beyond training.
2) A detailed Recall Training Programme complete with exercises to work through. In other words, the ‘how to’ section of the book where you’ll learn puppy recall; pre-recall for older dogs; basic recall; on location training and ultimately recall for life.
3) The problem solving section, where you can discover why you got into difficulties in the past and learn how to avoid making the same mistakes again in the future. Enjoy your training journey, improve your relationship and have fun with your dog!

Star Promising PuppyStar a Promising Puppy
By Leila Grandemange
Publisher: Sunnyville Publishing
Available from

This is such an enchanting children’s book of which many parents and teachers will also be totally captivated with. The story is about Star, a Cavalier puppy, who narrates his story in rhyme, highlighting all the highs and lows that he goes through. There is great poignancy in the story as it reminds the children who read it about such important things such as self-worth, kindness, empathy and compassion. It also lays the foundation of being a caring pet owner and to value who they are and not what they necessarily achieve.

At the end of the book there is a wonderful activity section on pet care and positive affirmations. This includes question and answer sections, pages to colour and online resources for kids and parents. A most delightful book with inspiring lessons for all children, filled with colourful heart-warming illustrations.


I don’t care what you say, I’m not listening
"I don’t care what you say, I’m not listening"


"A dog desires affection more than its dinner. Well – almost."
Charlotte Gray

Happy Easter Everyone
Easter Cavalier

For further online Cavalier news and stories don’t forget to read some truly inspirational articles by logging on to the Pawz and Pray page at


If you have any questions about owning a Cavalier then click on the envelope to email Dennis and Tina who will only be too pleased to try and help you.

However please remember that we are not Vets or Lawyers so questions on these topics should be addressed to the professionals for advice.

Questions and answers that are of interest to other owners may be published on this page.

The Cavalier Club is not responsible for external website content.
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