For 30 years, Christine Vitolo has bred Cavalier King Charles dogs through her business, Royal Flush Cavaliers—now, that expertise has been compiled into a new book covering all aspects of the dog’s care.
The book, “The Complete Cavalier Compendium: A Guide to Understanding and Loving Your Cavalier King Charles,” was recently released through Stillwater River Publications in Pawtucket, R.I. Vitolo, of Attleboro, got the chance to contribute her knowledge on the dogs for another book which featured input from several breeders. The feedback was very positive, with many recommending she write an entire book on the topic.
“So, a couple years ago, I said, ‘That’s it, I’m going to write a book,’” she said. “And having never done that before, it was like, ‘Where do I begin?’”
Vitolo credited her aunt, who was an English major, with helping her to streamline the book. She would work on it here and there, breaking down three decades of experience into a variety of chapters covering the breed’s history and how to care for them from puppyhood to the older years.
“For me it was a massive undertaking because there was just so many times throughout that process I felt like I didn’t even know what I’m doing,” she said. “But I put it together and then I would consult with other people to about how to put it all together.”
The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a British breed of toy dog of spaniel type. Vitolo had been breeding them for years and finding that few people knew much about them. When one was featured on the show “Sex and the City” 20 years ago, she said demand greatly increased. She said part of the appeal is that even though Cavaliers are a toy breed, they’re not that “yappy,” as Vitolo described. She added that they were named after King Charles and became popular in the 1920s as the public preferred dogs with a more elongated nose.
Vitolo said she fell into breeding Cavaliers, starting with just two dogs. She learned how to become a breeder through experience and working with veterinarians in the surrounding area.
“I’ve always consulted with them (the veterinarians) and I just built it from there,” she said.
Vitolo also works in the real estate field, and has found that the two careers can overlap. She’ll bring one of her Cavaliers when visiting a property and people will often ask about them. Vitolo added that there’s no real target demographic, and people of all ages seem to like the dogs. She said they are good with other pets, aren’t aggressive and can even serve as therapy dogs.
“When people meet them, they love them and they want one—they want to know more about them and I think they’re just becoming appealing to everyone now that breeds them,” Vitolo said.
When asked how it feels to have the book done, Vitolo described it as “surreal.” Though this wasn’t a lifelong ambition, she’s very pleased with the result, especially when she searches for the book on Amazon. Looking ahead, she’s hoping to do readings at some local libraries. In addition, she’s working on a children’s book starring the Cavalier dogs entitled “Knox and Charlie go to England,” about a young boy named Knox and his Cavalier Charlie and their adventures in England.
“I’m still kind of in the wild moment,” she said. “I think because it was just put up (online) not even a month ago.”
To learn more about Royal Flush Cavaliers, visit www.royalflushcavaliers.com. The book is available through online and local retailers.