Cavaliers in Nordic Countries
Dr Annukka Paloheimo
3rd March 2001

The Nordic countries---Sweden, Finland and Norway-are in many ways similar but it has always been an effort to visit a show or a stud dog in the neighbouring country, due to quite big distances and sea or mountains between them, and later the separation of Sweden and Norway as a rabies-free zone, whilst Finland is not rabies-free. However, as we share the same base of Scandinavian trained judges judging our Cavaliers in these countries, a certain degree of uniformity can be seen.

Serious Cavalier breeding started in these three countries almost simultaneously in the early 1960's. The leading lady was Mrs Birgitta Ostergren (Stormkappans) who imported high quality foundation stock, including Int Ch Kingmaker of Ttiweh who had already won 2 CC's in England. He was to become one of the most influential sires with 14 Champion offspring, many of them foundation stock to other breeders. Mrs Ostergren also imported Nordic Ch. Crisdig Sugar and Sw Ch.Allegra of Sunninghill from England, as well as some dogs from Holland, including Ch. Fanfare for Minx, mother of Sw Ch Stormkappans Joker who contributed much to the breed.

Sw Ch Trademark of Lochbuie, imported by the Hojdens Kennel, was also a popular stud producing a very even size and type.

The most successful of the Swedish Cavalier breeders is Sperringgardens. This kennel started in 1968 with a Stormkappans bitch, a daughter of Stormkappans Joker, quickly adding influential stud dogs from England, most notably Ch Crisdig Pumpkin and Ch Pennygown Coft Centre. The dog that put the breed in the limelight was their Int Ch Sperringgardens Cylvester, who was Dog of The Year, and Sperringardens the Breeder of the year (All breeds) - Cavaliers had arrived!

The "Golden Years" for Cavaliers in Scandinavia were around 1975 -1990 when not only the full Sperringgardens team (Mother, Father, Lolan and Leni-Louise) was active, but also Rodero's Kennel, Mrs Laila Lansberg-Larsson breeding and showing vey succesfully. Her early imports were Leynsord Silk Slippers and Leynsord Lancelot, but perhaps her best known and a very influential stud dog is Int Ch Kindrum Gillespie, full-brother to UK Ch. Alberto Of Kindrum. He has produced many champions to many other kennels as well.

Annika Selg (Bonnyville) has produced a long string of champions, including a litter of three tricolor champions by Gillespie.

I have not yet mentioned Finland here, as not much exchange of breeding stock has taken place over the years, but one of the most well-known stud dogs behind Sperringgardens success was actually a Finnish bred dog, Int Ch Apricot Fortune, bred by Anja Szyszkiewicz who started her Apricot-line with Anncourt Amice, bred by Annukka Paloheimo in her first litter in 1973.

The Apricot Kennel is now in Sweden and regularly produces top-winning Cavaliers with some recent additions from Pandas kennel in Finland.

Years on, we have new breeders but also some of the 'old' ones still continuing.

Today perhaps the best-known Cavalier kennel in Sweden is Hackensack; Joakim Olsson and Jan Tornblom started their kennel with a son of Gillespie, Int Ch. Rodero's Hackensack. some ten years ago. They have imported not only from England but also from Germany's Immenhof kennel. Ch Craigowl Neilson and Ch Pascavale Designed are some of their strong stud team.

Pia Kloverback, Nocturnes kennel, has imported mainly from Telvara, Craigowl and Pascavale, and her current best known homebred champion is Ch Nocturnes Yes Sir I can Boogie.

The Corbonas kennel (Anneli Kaukinen-Ek) is perhaps one of the most productive breeders at the moment, in all four colors with earlier imports from Chamanic and others. She has co-operation with a Finnish breeder Mr Ilpo Jokinen (Babbler's) with foundation stock from Crawford.

Most breed blenheims and tricolors, but there is a very talented group of wholecolor breeders as well. In the 70's Erna-Britt and Sara Nordin, Cavamirs kennel, imported Nord Ch Pantisa Willy Wagtail, producing many champions mainly on particolor bitches. It was quite quiet until late 80's when Oiving Jensen from Norway bought Ch Sorata Frank, a ruby dog. This dog was used by the Campanards kennel (Britt Louise and Widar Candika) to produce ruby champions C. Tenny Bopper and Twice as Nice, The Cavamirs kennel also used him on the b/t Linvid Black Orchid to produce b/t Cavamirs Modesty Blaise and Willie Garwin, both regular winners.

Today, Anna-Karin Berg's Queenousties wholecolors, with Harana Kind Of Magic behind, share the top spots together with the above and Sannsiss. An interesting addition to Swedish and Finnish wholecolor lines is Dr Annukka Paloheimo's New Zealand imported b/t dog Ch Prestonville Aris Tweed, who has now sired some litters in both countries.

The breed is now one of the most popular 'show breeds' in Sweden and Finland, and although for many years it was 'quiet' in Norway, Cavaliers are growing in popularity there as well. The early pioneers in the 70s were Elisabeth and Ragnar Oksas (Ratchanos) and Grete Otterbeck (Agreheim), importing from Stormkappans, McGoogans, Ttiweh and Amantra. Recently many good Cavaliers have been bred there, with imports from Annatika, Delhaze, Rossbonny, Sorata, Lymrey and others.

Has the development been different in Finland ? We started about the same time but in a smaller scale, and there was not a single 'strong' breeder or stud dog as was the case with Sweden. Early imports in the 60's were a dog and a bitch from Pargeter, but this resulted only in some repeat litters-however, one of the puppies was Ch Evehill Lovely Lucy, born 1965. She was Annukka Paloheimo's first Cavalier.

The 1970's saw the start of the Anncourt (Annukka Paloheimo), Starlet (Mrs Orvokki Moilanen),and Von Mein-Heim (Mrs Marja Hoffren) kennels, and later that decade the cocker spaniel breeder Mrs Hilkka Laitamo (Lagoon) started her Cavalier line.. Dr Paloheimo imported quality stock with the help of Mrs Amice Pitt, most notably Int Ch Highstone Quality Fair, a son of Rose Mullion, and Cocklehill Para, a daughter of Ch Eyeza Crisdig Pip. These produced several champions including the very first Reserve BIS winner Int Ch Anncourt Casper McQuality and later presented strong competition to the Swedish Cavaliers. The line is still alive, with an interesting addition of old Pargeter lines via USA - through Int Ch Kilspindie Secret Service, a well known winner in the mid 80s.

Mrs Moilanen imported several good dogs from Alansmere, making them up but later lost interest in breeding. Mrs Marja Hoffren was a well-established cocker spaniel breeder and bought some Cherrycourt dogs but also imported dogs from Holland-Int Ch Fanfare for Cyrus, Ch Orlando van Markely and many others. These were the foundation stock, a real melting pot to be for many other new breeders.

Mrs Hilkka Laitamo's Lagoon kennel was the largest kennel in Finland from the late 70's, as with the help of an Englishman residing near her, Mr L Whitham ,she imported many Cavaliers from England, especially from Charlottetown. She is still breeding all four colours. Many new breeders in the early 80's started with a puppy from her -- Mrs Teija Poikolainen-Dauber (Crawford), Mrs Kirsti Maattanen (Pandas) to mention a couple.

All these breeders were already successful cocker spaniel breeders and this was to shape the future of Cavaliers in Finland through their preferences in shape and type, and also on the question of trimming. The Crawford kennel has imported many important Homerbrent dogs, most notably a tricolor dog Int Ch Homerbrent Limelight, sire of Int Ch Apricot Fortune and many champions in Finland, and, in the 80's, another tricolor dog Fin Ch Homaranne Polperro, who produced the top winning tricolors in the country and is behind most of today's tricolors in Finland.

Mrs Kirsti Maattanen has imported first from Deranmar and later from Chantiz and Ricksbury. The most used stud dog in Finland for many years (late 80's to mid 90's) was her Fin Ch Space Mission via Chantiz, and now her Fin Ch Ricksbury Royal Revenge is producing many winners. Mrs Anne Lindstrom's import Ch. Hilarny Wurd Perfec has, until recently, been another important stud dog in Finland.

Wholecolor breeders are also in a minority in Finland. Mrs Marja Kurittu's Marjaniemen-breeding started in 1986 with a b/t bitch, Ch Chandlers Lavender Lou, having a litter to Dr Paloheimo's Fin Ch Fontelania Burnt Almond, a ruby dog. Lavender Lou produced many wholecolor champions. Mrs Leeni Norrvik (Oak's ) is another wholecolor breeder with strong Sorata lines.

Mrs Pirjo Lehtonen (Breeze), another successful cocker spaniel breeder, started in the mid 80s,with imports from Hurleaze, Hilarny, Chantiz. Her kennel grew into the biggest one in the 90s.

Today, these breeders are still active but many new breeders have emerged, based mainly on the stock from these earlier breeders. Hopefully they will study the breed carefully and visit England on a regular basis to educate their eye for type.

Where is the breed now ?

Some personal and general remarks:
  • The dogs in Sweden and Finland are, in general, better constructed and move better than in many other countries, being also in a good muscle condition.
I can see that the average size in both countries is still larger than in England --to the extent that a small, i.e. correct size, Cavalier has difficulty in winning in the show ring as it looks "too small". This is worse in Finland.

The fronts are getting worse (like in England).
  • Often the dogs have too much bone, thus lacking the elegance of a toy breed.
  • Head shapes in Sweden are often too long and narrow, while in Finland they are often too heavy and lippy. In both countries you find it harder and harder to find correct gentle expressions with large melting eyes.
  • In both countries, but more so in Finland ,you find fully trimmed necks, hocks, even tails and ears.
Why is this ?

Especially in Finland, the base of breeders has focused more on toplines and rears, and actually prefer a heavier dog. Most shows are judged by all-rounders who may not pay as much attention to head and eyes, and who may not know the correct size. We may have only 1 or 2, maximum 4 breed specialist judges a year - compared to over 40 all-rounders. While all-rounders are needed to indicate the balanced, sound dogs, we need more breed specialist judges, and training sessions for all the judges.

In Sweden, the situation is not "as bad" as I see it, as the Cavalier Clubs run many shows (6 or so) a year, with breed specialist judges. The trimming and running fast in the ring is however a fashion that you see in this extent only in these two countries.

***This report is based on the material provided by Erna-Britt Nordin, Sweden, who unfortunately was not able to present it at the Breed Convention. I have added some relevant facts concerning Finland and my own final remarks as well

Thank you.

Dr Annuka Paloheimo
Annukka Paloheimo

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