Dogs are considered puppies from birth to one year of age and go through several puppy stages and development periods. A newborn puppy doesn't look much like a dog and goes through different stages of puppy development during his first twelve weeks. However, each dog develops differently, with smaller dogs tending to mature earlier and some large breeds not physically mature before they are two years old.
The rate of puppy development also varies from breed to breed. For instance, Cocker Spaniel puppies open their eyes sooner than Fox Terrier puppies, and Basenji puppies develop teeth earlier than Shetland Sheepdog puppies. However, no matter the breed, all puppies are born totally dependent on the momma dog, technically called the bitch.
At birth, puppies are blind, deaf and toothless, unable to regulate body temperature, or even urinate or defecate on their own. Puppies depend on their mother and littermates for warmth, huddling in cozy piles to conserve body temperature. A puppy separated from this warm furry nest can quickly die from hypothermia —low body temperature. Cold, lonely puppies cry loudly to alert Mom to their predicament.
Puppies first experience the sensation of being petted when washed by their mother's stroking tongue. The bitch licks her babies all over to keep them and the nest clean, and also to stimulate them to defecate and urinate.
Newborn puppies vary in size depending on the breed; tiny dogs, like the Chihuahua, produce puppies about four inches long, while giant breed newborns, like Great Dane puppies, may be twice that size.
Neonatal Period: Birth to Two Weeks
For the first two weeks of life, puppies sleep nearly 90 percent of the time, spending their awake time nursing.
All their energy is funneled into growing, and birth weight doubles the first week.
Newborns aren't able to support their weight and crawl about with paddling motions of their front legs. The limited locomotion provides the exercise that develops muscles and coordination, and soon the puppies are crawling over and around each other and their mother.
From birth, puppies are able to use their sense of smell and touch, which helps them root about the nest to find their mother's scent-marked breasts. The first milk the mother produces is called colostrum. It is rich in antibodies that provide passive immunity and help protect the babies from disease during these early weeks of life.
Transitional Period: Week Two-to-Four
The second week of life brings great changes for the puppy. Ears and eyes sealed since birth begin to open during this period, ears at about two weeks and eyelids between ten to 16 days. This gives the furry babies a new sense of their world. They learn what their mother and other dogs look and sound like, and begin to expand their own vocabulary from grunts and mews to yelps, whines, and barks. Puppies generally stand by day 15 and take their first wobbly walk by day 21.
By age three weeks, puppy development advances from the neonatal period to the transitional period.
This is a time of rapid physical and sensory development, during which the puppies go from total dependence on Mom to a bit of independence. They begin to play with their littermates, learn about their environment and canine society, and begin sampling food from Mom's bowl. Puppy teeth begin to erupt until all the baby teeth are in by about five to six weeks of age. Puppies can control their need to potty by this age and begin moving away from sleeping quarters to eliminate.
Socialization Period: Week Four-to-Twelve
Following the transitional phase, puppies enter the socialization period at the end of the third week of life; it lasts until about week ten. It is during this socialization period that interaction with others increases and puppies form attachments they will remember the rest of their life.
Beginning at four weeks of age, mom's milk production begins to slow down just as the puppies' energy needs increase. As the mother dog slowly weans her babies from nursing, they begin sampling solid food in earnest.
The most critical period--age six to eight weeks--is when puppies most easily learn to accept others as a part of their family. The environmental stimulation impacts your puppy's rate of mental development during this time. The puppy brain waves look that of an adult dog by about the 50th day, but he's not yet programmed--that's your job and the job of his mom and siblings. Weaning typically is complete by week eight.
Puppies often go through a "fear period" during this time. Instead of meeting new or familiar people and objects with curiosity, they react with fearfulness. Anything that frightens them at this age may have a lasting impact so take care that the baby isn't overstimulated with too many changes or challenges at one time. That doesn't mean your pup will grow up to be a scaredy-cat; it's simply a normal part of development where pups learn to be more cautious. Careful socialization during this period helps counter fear reactions.
Puppies may be placed in new homes once they are eating well on their own. However, they will be better adjusted and make better pets by staying and interacting with littermates and the Mom until they are at least eight weeks old--older generally is better. Interacting with siblings and Mom help teach bite inhibition, how to understand and react to normal canine communication, and their place in doggy society. Puppies tend to make transitions from one environment to another more easily at this age, too.
Your puppy still has lots of growing to do. He won't be considered an adult until he goes through several more developmental periods and reaches one to two years of age.
Even though he may look grown up, the stages of puppy development last from birth to a year or even two before he's considered an adult dog. The greatest puppy development changes happen from birth to twelve weeks of age. But from twelve weeks on, your fur-kid still has lots of growing up to do.
The juvenile puppy period generally begins at age ten weeks and lasts until puberty and the onset of sexual maturity.
It is during this period that puppies begin to learn the consequences of behavior and determine what is most appropriate to certain circumstances.
Puppies at this age have boundless curiosity, exasperating stubbornness, and enthusiastic affection. Expect your puppy to get into everything, and you won't be disappointed. This is an ideal time to begin training.
Nearly every waking moment is spent in play, which is not only great fun for the babies but is great practice for canine life. Puppies learn how to do important dog activities like chasing and running, pawing, biting and fighting. Social skills and canine etiquette are learned by interaction with littermates and Mom. Puppies learn to inhibit their bite when they are bitten by each other and learn canine language.Through play, they practice dominant and submissive postures and prepare for life in the world.
10-16 Weeks: Juvenile Delinquent Pups
Puppies test their boundaries during this period that lasts anywhere from a few days to several weeks.
These dogs challenge owners to see who calls the shots, seem to “forget” any training they’ve learned, and act like rebellious teenagers.
Some of this has to do with teething. Pups lose baby teeth starting about three months of age. There can be discomfort as the permanent teeth erupt and puppies tend to chew more on anything and everything to relieve the pain.
Delinquent behavior also may be influenced by hormones. Unlike many other species, a male puppy’s testosterone level from age four-to-ten months may be up to five times higher than an adult dog’s. That’s so the adult canines recognize he’s a juvenile and needs “schooling” in the ways of dogs -- they make sure to knock him down a peg and teach manners before he gets too big for his furry britches.
But even pups that have been spayed and neutered prior to this can develop the “oh yeah, MAKE me!” attitude. Owners who have done everything right may still experience this difficult, frustrating phase. Grit your teeth, keep him on leash and under control, offer consistent, patient and humane training, and tell yourself, “He’s testing me, it’ll get better.” Because it will.
Four to Six Months
Pups grow so quickly during this period you may notice changes every single day. Not only may your pup test and challenge you, this is the time frame puppies also figure out where they stand with other pets in the group. Some squabbling and play fighting is expected. It’s a dog rule that older animals teach the pup limits, which is normal and usually sounds scarier than it is.
In fact, an un-neutered male puppy's testosterone level increases at around 4 to 5 months of age.
This is one way adult dogs recognize that even big puppies are still babies and they must be taught proper dog etiquette.
Puppies can also sometimes experience another fear phase during this period. It may last up to a month, and there may be more than one especially in large breed dogs. This is normal and nothing to worry about. It tends to correspond with growth spurts, and you may notice some “flaky” behavior or unwarranted aggression, become protective of toys or territory. Just ensure you don’t reward the fearful behavior with more attention, and know how to talk to puppies and not use baby talk. It’s best to ignore the fear rather than risk rewarding it. Build confidence through training and the pup should transition out of it with no further problems.
Adolescence: Six to Twelve Months
Most of your pup’s growth in height finishes by this period but he may continue to fill out and gain muscle mass and body weight.
Puppy coat starts to be replaced by the adult coat.
While the baby may still be emotionally immature, during this period the boy pups begin to leg-lift and mark with urine. The testosterone level in male puppies increases to 5-7 times higher than in an adult dog by age 10 months, and then gradually falls to a normal adult level by about 18 months of age. This helps signal the senior male dogs that the youngster must be put in his place so you may notice more adult-pup squabbles during this period. Girl pups may go into heat (estrus) as early as five to six months, and boys begin to be interested in sex during this period.
Puppies at this age seem to explode with high energy and will do well with structured play and exercise. Training and continued socialization is vital to ensure your youngster knows how to behave politely with other dogs, other animals like cats, and other people including children and strangers of all sizes, ages, and looks.
Social Maturity: Between One and Two Years
Depending on the breed, your dog will be physically mature at this age. Small dogsmature much earlier and larger ones take more time. Your pup’s social maturity also can depend on his or her experience with other animals. Socialization and training continue throughout your pet’s lifetime because there are always new things to learn -- or old lessons to revisit and practice. After all, the joy of your puppy’s first year or two predicts a lifetime of love to come.
Hypoglycemia Requires Quick Intervention in Toy Breeds
Toy-breed dogs are not only at risk for hypoglycemia, they can die from the low blood sugar disorder if they do not receive prompt treatment.
When a dog’s blood sugar, or glucose, level drops, it can affect neurological function. Disorientation, tremors and coma may occur. Normally, hormones stimulate the breakdown of stored glycogen to supply the brain and other tissues with fuel. In toy breeds, this process may not happen fast enough, and hypoglycemia results.
Juvenile hypoglycemia occurs in puppies less than 3 months of age. Because puppies have not fully developed the ability to regulate blood glucose concentration and have a high requirement for glucose, they are vulnerable. Stress, cold, malnutrition and intestinal parasites also may trigger juvenile hypoglycemia.
Signs of hypoglycemia are loss of appetite, extreme lethargy, lack of coordination, trembling, muscle twitching, weakness, seizures, and discoloration of skin and gums. Most dogs will not eat or drink when they are in low sugar shock.
Simple cases of hypoglycemia can occur when a dog is overly active with too much time between meals or fasts before vigourous exercise. Hypoglycemia also may occur secondary to another condition. Other causes include Addison’s disease, insulin-producing tumors of the pancreas, severe liver disease, and glycogen storage diseases. If an underlying illness causes hypoglycemia, veterinarians first treat this condition.
Veterinarians are likely to conduct a complete medical history and physical examination to determine the cause in dogs that develop chronic hypoglycemia. Other tests include a complete blood count, blood glucose concentration, urinalysis, routine biochemistry, and blood insulin concentration.
An ultrasound may be taken of the abdomen to try and identify a pancreatic or other type of tumor that could cause hypoglycemia.
Puppies and adult dogs that appear to be in a stupor or coma during a hypoglycemic attack should immediately be given sugar water or an oral concentrated solution of glucose, such as corn syrup or Nutri-Cal. Owners of toy breeds should have a glucose source readily available. In an emergency situation, owners should dab sugar water on or under the tongue. The sugar is absorbed directly through the tissue into the bloodstream.
Breeders and owners should proactively look for signs of hypoglycemia in their puppies and should frequently feed toy-breed puppies as a preventive measure. Breeders also are encouraged to include information about hypoglycemia in packets they send with puppies going to new homes. Sharing information may help save a dog’s life.
Signs of Hypoglycemia
- Loss of appetite
- Extreme lethargy
- Lack of coordination
- Muscular twitching
- Unusual behavior
- Dilated pupils
- Stupor or coma
- Just like people, dogs also suffer from stress, and chronic stress in particular can affect your pet’s overall health and quality of life
- Common signs of stress in dogs include nose or lip licking, yawning and panting
- Common stress triggers include changes in your dog’s environment, punishment-based training methods and lack of opportunities to express breed-related behaviors (e.g., herding, running or retrieving)
- While some things that cause your dog stress are outside your control, there are many things you can do to reduce stressors in your pet’s environment
If you're like many dog parents, you may find it hard to believe your over-indulged pet who doesn't have a care in the world gets stressed out. But it's important to keep in mind that canine stressors are very different from human stressors, and studies show dogs can and often do experience stress.
Research also shows that stress can affect a dog's health and longevity. According to one study:
"There is evidence to suggest that the stress of living with a fear or anxiety disorder can have negative effects on health and lifespan in the domestic dog."1
An example: When your dog is under stress, his body releases an excessive amount of norepinephrine, the fight or flight hormone, which can alter gut bacteria and interfere with GI tract motility.2
Next thing you know, your dog has diarrhea, which just adds to his stress level (and yours), especially if he has an accident in the house. Some dogs primarily experience short-lived stress, but others deal with chronic stress.
The more you know about what triggers your pet's stress, how he behaves when he feels stressed and what stress can do to his health, the better equipped you'll be to identify the signs and take action to minimize or eliminate stressor:3
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT CAVALIER HEALTH ...
All dogs have the potential to develop genetic health problems, just as all people have the potential to inherit a particular disease. Run, don’t walk, from any breeder who does not offer a health guarantee on puppies, who tells you that the breed is 100 percent healthy and has no known problems, or who tells you that her puppies are isolated from the main part of the household for health reasons. A reputable breeder will be honest and open about health problems in the breed and the incidence with which they occur in her lines.
The Cavalier can develop certain health problems. They include a heart condition called mitral valve disease, a neurological problem called syringomyelia, patellar (knee) luxation, certain eye problems such as cataracts and keratoconjunctivitis sicca, or dry eye, an ear condition called primary secretory otitis media, allergies and other skin problems. Most of these conditions are suspected to be hereditary.
First things first: Not every Cavalier will get all or even any of these diseases. It’s not unusual for Cavaliers to live 10 to 12 years, and some live to be 15 or older. Now, that said, there’s no denying that the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is at risk of a large number of genetic health problems. Some die in what should be the prime of their life. Here’s a brief rundown on what you should know.
Mitral valve disease is the most common acquired heart disorder in dogs. It’s a defect of the mitral valve, located between the left atrium and left ventricle of the heart. The valve gradually thickens and degenerates, eventually becoming leaky. That forces the heart to work harder to pump blood out and it becomes enlarged. Lots of dogs get MVD in their senior years, but in Cavaliers it can strike at an early age. A heart murmur is the first sign of MVD. Cavaliers with a murmur may go on for years without any problem or need for medication, or they can develop congestive heart failure, which can often be controlled for a time with medication.
Syringomyelia is a nervous system disorder. It results from a congenital bone deformity in which the rear part of the skull is too small. The cerebellum and the brainstem are crowded and obstruct the foramen magnum, the opening at the bottom of the skull. When this happens, the flow of cerebrospinal fluid is obstructed, resulting in the formation of fluid-filled cavities in the spinal cord. The damage can cause pain. Signs include scratching at the neck and sensitivity in the area of the head and neck. The dogs often yelp or scream for no apparent reason, may hold their head in a certain position much of the time, or develop a wobbly walk. Syringomyelia can be mild, requiring no action; managed with pain medication; corrected with surgery; or so severe that the dog must be euthanized.
Many toy breeds and small dogs, the Cavalier included, have a condition known as luxating patella, in which one or both kneecaps are unstable and occasionally, or in more severe cases, always slip out of place. Depending on the level of severity (1 being mild and 4 being severe), luxating patellas can be a minor issue that cause the dog little problem or pain or serious enough to require surgical correction.
Primary secretory otitis media, also known as glue ear, occurs when a mucus plug forms within the middle ear cavity of one or both ears. Signs include head or neck pain, holding the neck carefully, tilting the head, scratching at the ears and hearing loss. Often PSOM is mistaken for syringomyelia or hereditary deafness. It is usually diagnosed with an MRI or CT scan and treated by surgically removing the mucus plug and then flushing the ear, followed by a course of antibiotics and/or corticosteroids.
Eye problems that may affect the breed include juvenile cataracts and dry eye. Dry eye is most common in senior dogs.
Not all of these conditions are detectable in a growing puppy, and it is impossible to predict whether an animal will be free of these maladies, which is why you must find a reputable breeder who is committed to breeding the healthiest animals possible. They should be able to produce independent certification that the parents of the dog (and grandparents, etc.) have been screened for common defects and deemed healthy for breeding. That’s where health registries come in.
In the hope of controlling the genetic diseases that already affect the breed and preventing any new ones from emerging, the American Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Club, which is the American Kennel Club parent organization for the breed in the United States, participates in a program operated by the Canine Health Information Center (CHIC). Cavalier breeders who want CHIC certification must test breeding dogs for eye disease, patellar (knee) luxation, hip dysplasia and heart disease and agree to have test results, positive or negative, published in the CHIC database. A dog need not receive good or even passing scores on the evaluations to obtain a CHIC number, so CHIC registration alone is not proof of soundness or absence of disease, but all test results are pose health of a puppy’s parents.
Breeders must agree to have all test results, positive or negative, published in the CHIC database. A dog need not receive good or even pa
ssing scores on the evaluations to obtain a CHIC number, so CHIC registration alone is not proof of soundness or absence of disease, but all test results are posted on the CHIC website and can be accessed by anyone who wants to check the health of a puppy’s parents. If the breeder tells you she doesn't need to do those tests because she's never had problems in her lines and her dogs have been "vet checked," then you should go find a breeder who is more rigorous about genetic testing.
Careful breeders screen their breeding dogs for genetic disease and breed only the healthiest and best-looking specimens, but sometimes Mother Nature has other ideas and a puppy develops one of these diseases despite good breeding practices. Advances in veterinary medicine mean that in most cases the dogs can still live a good life. If you’re getting a puppy, ask the breeder about the ages of the dogs in her lines and what they died of.
Remember that after you’ve taken a new puppy into your home, you have the power to protect him from one of the most common health problems: obesity. Keeping a Cavalier at an appropriate weight is one of the easiest ways to extend his life. Make the most of your preventive abilities to help ensure a healthier dog for life.
FANTOM VAL'S GENTLEMAN JETHRO
Standard Cavalier height is between 12 and 13 inches tall and the breed's average weight varies between 10 and 18 pounds. Generally female cavalier puppies stop growing in physical size and height at around 18 months and male puppies can take up to around two years.
Cavalier King CharlesSpaniel Breed Standard
|General:||An active, graceful, well-balanced dog, very gay and free in action; fearless and
sporting in character, yet at the same time gentle and affectionate.
|Head:||The skull is slightly rounded, but without a dome or peak; it should appear flat
because of the high placement of the ears.
|Eyes:||Large, round and set well apart; color a warm, very dark brown, giving a lustrous,
limpid look. There should be slight cushioning under the eyes, which contributes much to the sweet, gentle expression characteristic of the breed. Faults: Small, almond-shaped, prominent, or light
eyes; white surrounding the ring.
|Nose:||There should be a shallow stop, and the length from base of stop to tip of nose
should be at least 1-1/2 inches. Nostrils should be well developed and the pigment uniformly black. Putty, or "dudley" noses, and white patches on the nose are serious faults, as are small, pinched
|Muzzle:||Well tapered; mouth level; lips well covering. Faults: Sharp, pointed or snipey
muzzle. Full or pendulous lips. Flesh marks, i.e. patches of pink pigment showing through hair on muzzle.
|Teeth:||Strong and even, preferably meeting in a scissors bite, although a level bite is
permitted. Undershot mouths are greatly to be discouraged; it should be emphasized, however, that a slightly undershot bite in an otherwise well-balanced head with the correct sweet expression should
not be penalized in favor of a level mouth with a plain or hard expression. Faults: weak or crooked teeth; crooked jaws.
|Ears:||Set high, but not close, on top of the head. Leather long, with plenty of silky
feathering, and wide enough so that when the dog is alert, the ears fan slightly forward to frame the face.
|Neck:||Fairly long, without throatiness, well enough muscled to form a slight arch at the
crest. Set smoothly into nicely sloping shoulders.
|Shoulders:||Sloping back gently with moderate angulation, to give the characteristic look of top
class and presence
|Body:||Short-coupled with ribs well sprung but not barrelled. Chest moderately deep,
leaving ample heart room. Back level, leading into strong, muscular hind quarters. Slightly less body at the flank than at the last rib, but with no tucked-up appearance.
|Legs:||Forelegs straight and well under the dog, bone moderate, elbows close to the sides.
Hind legs moderately muscled; stifles well-turned; hocks well let down. The hind legs viewed from the rear, should parallel each other from hock to heel. Pasterns strong and feet compact with
well-cushioned pads. The dog stands level on all four feet. Faults: loose elbows, crooked legs; stifles turned in or out; cow hocks; stilted action; weak pasterns; open feet.
|Tail:||Set so as to be carried level with the back. Tail should be in constant
characteristic motion when dog is in action.
Docking: Docking is optional, but whether or not the tail is docked, it must balance the body. If docked, the tail must not be cut too short; two-thirds is the absolute minimum to be left on the body, and the tails of broken-colored dogs should always be docked to leave a white tip.
|Coat:||Long and silky and very soft to the touch; free from curl, though a slight wave is
permissible. Feathering on ears, legs and tail should be long, and the feathering on the feet is a feature of the breed.
Trimming: NO trimming of the dog is permitted. However, it is permissible, and often desirable, to remove the hair growing between the pads on the underside of the foot.
|Size:||Height 12 to 13 inches at the withers; weight, proportionate to height, between 13
and 18 pounds. These are ideal heights and weights; slight variations are permissible, and a dog should be penalized only in comparison with one of equal general appearance, type and quality. The
weedy specimen is as much to be penalized as the oversized one.
|Colors:||The following colors are the only ones acceptable:
It is important to remember that a dog can have one or more of the faults listed in the Standard, in moderation, and still be an over-all typical, gay elegant Cavalier. On the other hand, bad temper or meanness are not to be tolerated and shall be considered disqualifying faults. It is the typical gay temperament, combined with true elegance and "royal" appearance, which are of paramount importance in the breed.