Cavaliers as Companions
February / March 2021
Edited by Dennis & Tina Homes

A Bay Hunter with Two Spaniels
"A Bay Hunter with Two Spaniels" by George Stubbs (1724-1806).

19th century bronze doré of a girl with a Cavalier
This very impressive 19th century bronze doré of a girl with a Cavalier
is currently at the Hamshere Gallery in London.


Over the past few years there has been a great upsurge in people dressing their dogs in rather garish outfits with lots of sparkle and bling. It’s something that we actually loathe but it isn’t really that new. We recently read of a lady vet who took in ‘lapdogs’ to board in 1922. She claimed that she did her best to dissuade her rich clients from lavishing their dogs with ‘preposterous luxuries’ such as taking them to the Dog’s Toilet Club in London’s Bond Street where all sorts of products could be bought at prices that ‘took one’s breath away’; scented baths, pocket handkerchiefs, fur coats, rubber boots and jewelled and golden collars!

Even in Edwardian times some people loved to adorn their dogs!
Even in Edwardian times some people loved to adorn their dogs!


The Vestibular system controls the balance and prevents the dog from falling over. Like all the other senses it consists of sensors deep inside the inner ear. These sensors are also close to the hearing sensors and all the nerves controlling the movement of eyelids and facial muscles. These nerves are connected to the balance control which is in the centre of the brain, this receives messages from the inner ear via electrical signals which in turn sends signals to various muscles within the body to control movement.

Apart from the dog using his ears to hear sound, the inner ear is a valuable working system to control every move. We know that if we turn our heads suddenly or spin at speed on a moving object we feel dizzy. That is because at the base of the ear canal there is a mass of jelly like substance and encased is this are the tips of sensitive hairs, which become bent by movements of fluid in the canals as the head moves.

The part of the brain most responsible for directing the action of the muscles in keeping the body balanced is called the cerebellum. As well as taking in the messages from the balancing organs in the ears, this section of the brain receives a whole wealth of other information. Here messages from the eyes, the neck spine and limbs, in fact from all over the body are co-ordinated. The eyes have a very special part in balance for they provide vital information about the body’s relation to its surroundings. All this explains why people are more likely to feel sick when trying to read whilst travelling in a moving vehicle.

Vestibular Syndrome is really a group of diseases that affect the balance, and can be caused by a variety of things. Trauma by a serious fall or by a traffic accident, causing skull damage. An under active thyroid gland, polyps or tumours in the ears or brain, but more commonly it can be caused by ear inflammation or deep ear infections.

The symptoms can be quite dramatic and sudden and often there is no sign of the build-up of the disease. The dog appears well, taking its usual exercise and eating its meals, when for no apparent reason it falls over. It will become unsteady and will often gait in drunken circles. All actions become un-coordinated. The dog will refuse to eat or drink and in some cases will vomit. These symptoms will sometimes be confused with toxic poisoning.

On closer inspection the face can appear to have dropped on one side and the eyes will flicker up and down or from side to side. Facial paralysis can be slight to quite severe and because of these weaknesses many owners attribute these things to their dog having a stroke.

If you have seen your dog frantically scratching at its ears, with constant head shaking, veterinary examination would be advised where a swab will be taken if an infection is suspected. However, should this be inconclusive then MRI or CT Scans will be undertaken. These are also useful for detection of forms of brain disease or tumours.

If your Vet does identify the underlying cause then with treatment the disease should get better. But in some cases irreversible damage to the balance sensors will cause permanent head tilt with intermittent loss of balance. It is unclear why nerves which are connected to the inner ear and the cerebellum become inflamed but it would appear that there seems to be a link to age as this is much more common in middle aged or older dogs.


Tails are essentially an extension of the spine but tails are used by different animals in a variety of ways. They provide a source of locomotion for aquatic mammals such as otters while many land animals use their tails to brush away flies and other biting insects. Other animals such as cats and kangaroos use their tails for balance, while some, such as monkeys and opossums, have a prehensile tail which allows them to grasp tree branches. But with dogs the tail is often used as a means of communication.

Dogs very rarely wag their tails when they are alone, they mainly use this gesture to communicate to others. For example, when you offer food the dog often wags because he is expressing pleasure to its owner. When they eat and play alone, they hardly ever wag because there is no one to see them. When wagging, surrounding muscles press on scent glands, releasing pheromones that signal all sorts of information that other dogs can pick up, such as the dogs’ age, sex, and social status.

Submissive dogs may not wag their tails when frightened because they do not want to draw attention to themselves. A high, quickly wagging tail is often a sign of playfulness, but can also signal an aggressive dog. A horizontal, steadily moving tail suggests that your dog is closely studying something. If a dog tucks its tail between its legs, it is afraid, and attempting to communicate that it is submissive and does not pose a threat.

IF (with apologies to Rudyard Kipling)

If you can start the day without caffeine,
If you can get going without pep pills,
If you can always be cheerful, ignoring aches and pains,
If you can resist complaining and boring people with your troubles,
If you can eat the same food every day and be grateful for it,
If you can understand when your loved ones are too busy to give you any time.
If you can overlook it when those you love take it out on you,
If you can take criticism and blame without resentment,
If you can ignore a friend’s limited education and never correct him,
If you can resist treating a rich friend better than an poor friend,
If you can face the world without lies and deceit,
If you can conquer tension without medical help,
If you can relax without liquor,
If you can sleep without the aid of drugs,
If you can say honestly that deep in your heart you have no prejudice against creed, colour, religion or politics,
THEN, my friend, you are almost as good as your dog.


Upon entering a small country store a stranger noticed a sign saying, "DANGER! BEWARE OF DOG!" posted on the glass door. Inside was an elderly Cavalier fast asleep on the floor beside the counter.

He asked the store manager, "Is that the dog folks are supposed to beware of?"

"Yeah, that’s him," he replied.

The amused stranger inquires, "That certainly doesn’t look like a dangerous dog to me. Why in the world would you post that sign?"

The owner responded, "Because before I posted that sign people kept tripping over him."


Dogs Best FriendDog’s Best Friend: A Brief History of an Unbreakable Bond
By Simon Garfield
Publisher: W&N

Dogs can be so much part of our lives that we speak to it like a child and spend small fortunes on its wellbeing and wardrobe.

Our inter-species relationship has developed so fast and come so far. Dogs accompany us in every walk of life, usually three times a day. How and why did this relationship begin? How has it changed over the centuries? And who’s getting the upper hand?

DOG’S BEST FRIEND investigates this unique bond by revisiting some of the most important milestones in our shared journey. It begins with the earliest visual evidence on ancient rock art, and ends at the laboratory that sequenced the first dog genome. In the book we encounter the first Labradoodle in Australia, a misguidedly loyal Akita in Japan, an ill-fated Poodle trainer in the United States, and a hilariously disobedient Romanian rescue dog named Kratu at the Birmingham NEC. We will also meet Corgis and Dorgis at the Palace, the weightless mutniks of the Soviet space programme, a Dalmatian who impersonates Hitler, and an owner who claims his Border Collie can remember the names of more than a thousand soft toys.

By owning a dog you will know that our relationship can be as rich, complicated and rewarding as the relationship we have with other humans, and the book reflects this diversity with the aid of trainers, breeders and psychologists. Above all, it explores the extraordinary ability of dogs to enhance so many aspects of our lives. DOG’S BEST FRIEND is as entertaining as it is informative, as eccentric as it is erudite, and all told with Simon Garfield’s irrepressible gift for witty and insightful storytelling.

Doggie LanguageDoggie Language: A Dog Lover’s Guide to Understanding Your Best Friend
By Lili Chin
Publisher: Summersdale Publishers

Dogs communicate with so much more than barks and tail wags, and misreading a dog’s body language makes life challenging for both dogs and their humans.

This little book is your perfect illustrated guide to seeing and understanding the subtle visual cues and interpreting the behaviours used by your beloved pup to express how they’re feeling. The more we notice and listen to what our dogs are trying to tell us, the more we can improve our relationship with our best friends, helping them to feel safe and happy.

WagWag: The Science of Making Your Dog Happy
By Zazie Todd
Publisher: Greystone Books

Did you know that seemingly noiseless electronics may be upsetting your dog? Or that letting her sniff the breeze is one of the best gifts you can give her? This book bridges the gap between human and canine by demystifying the inner lives of dogs to share evidence-based advice for making them happy. Acclaimed blogger Zazie Todd distills the latest canine science and shares recommendations from leading veterinarians, researchers, and trainers to cultivate a rewarding and respectful relationship with your dog—which offers many benefits for you, your family, and your four-legged friend.


Bad Hair Day
"I’m having a bit of a bad hair day!"

I’m auditioning for a part in Watership Down.
"I’m auditioning for a part in Watership Down."


"You can trust your dog to guard your house but never trust your dog to guard your sandwich."

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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