Today we’d like to introduce you to Mike Cherry.
Mike, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
My wife Marti and I moved to the DFW area in 2011. I am an oil and gas executive for some 40 years and my wife is an attorney. I am also a fine art landscape and wildlife photographer (www.theperfecttyme.com) and take advantage of those skills as my wife and I travel around the world to photograph all the scenic places we choose to explore, from safaris in Africa to the Alps of Switzerland to the rain forests of Costa Rica to the snow-covered mountains in Alaska in search for Grizzlies.
We are also a dog breeder and show King Charles Cavalier Spaniels (www.pawliesfarm.com) and have raised Cavaliers for some 20 years. We couldn’t help being attracted to the big, beautiful eyes of the Cavalier, and tail-wagging joy. They are friendly and easily trained, and an ideal companion for families with young children and other pets. “Sex and the City” fans will recognize this breed as the same as Charlotte York’s dog, Elizabeth Taylor, but they first gained popularity as the preferred pet of King Charles II and still appear frequently on the UK Kennel Club’s list of most popular breeds. The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel was officially recognized by the AKC in 1995 and originated in the UK.
When the Houser of Stuart fell, the Cavalier became a political liability to be associated with the dogs of King Charles (the Tudors favored the Pug) and the Cavalier breed became almost extinct. Queen Victoria brought back the breed, but the Cavalier had changed radically from its original form; as the original version of the breed had all but disappeared.
The Cavalier King Charles Spaniels have four unique colors and markings. Black & Tan, Black & White with Tan markings (Tricolor), Blenheim and Ruby. We have owned Cavaliers of all the colors except the Tricolor. The Dallas area is blessed with numerous long time Cavalier King Charles Spaniel breeders and produce the highest quality show dogs in the nation, each with careful care to continue the royal lineage and improve the long-term health and quality of life of the breed.
Pawlies Farm is solely a Cavalier King Charles breeder and a proud member of both the AKC and the CKCSC and has two Blenheim Cavalier bitches that are presently on the AKC show circuit. One has already achieved Grand Champion and the other about finished with her champion title, and both will have puppies for adoption this coming fall.
Becoming a breeder is a commitment of time and investment, but our dogs have always just been part of the family more so than a business for us. We couldn’t have risen to the level we are without the support of fellow breeders and professional handlers that have helped us improve the quality of our own breed line.
I have sat on park benches with homeless people and the dogs open the door to communicate and show love to all we encounter. It doesn’t matter where I take the dogs on a walk they are an attraction to everyone they encounter. People are just fascinated with their long fluffy ears and want to hold and pet them. I have told my sons you should take the dogs on a walk if you are looking for a nice girl to meet, because the dogs are a “babe magnet”, and no better way to meet girls anywhere you go with them.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
To become a breeder or simply a pet owner of this breed, it is very difficult to convince a long-time breeder to let you have a show quality dog because they have seen so many people say they want to show dogs but don’t realize the sacrifice it takes to become competitive, and quickly give up. To receive a pet quality dog also requires a family to convince the breeder they will love and care for the dog as we breeders continue to see Cavaliers show up frequently as rescue victims because families have been cruel and harsh with their pet., and not cared for them as they deserve. These dogs are very affectionate lap dogs that need to be kept inside and not left alone outside without any attention.
Our first attempt to pick up a Cavalier just as a pet, required an interview by the breeder that requested we bring our children so the breeder could see how the dog interacted with our children and how our kids treated the dog. As we sat in the car waiting to go in for our first interview, my wife instructed us all to be nice to the dog and show the breeder how much we love the dog and don’t do anything that would mess up this interview. When all seemed to be going well during the interview, I asked the fatal question as to how much did these dogs cost, and the interview was over immediately. The breeder responded to us if money is all that matters, then we are obviously not the right candidate to own a King Charles Spaniel. Of course, when we got back to the car, the kids said mom we tried to be nice to the dog but Dad is the one who caused us to be rejected. She just gave me “the look” and we all drove home in silence.
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Pawlies Farm Cavaliers – what should we know?
Pawlies Farm Cavaliers, is a dog breeding business which my wife and I own, wherein we raise Cavalier King Charles Spaniels and are attempting to build an elite breed line of high quality show dogs. We would like to tie our lines closely with UK champion kennels through our breeding process. We maintain only females in our kennels to avoid separate housing arrangements required if you maintain both sexes. We keep only show quality females from each litter we intend to show, and put the remaining puppies up for adoption for good homes with families who desire the most wonderful pet that exists. Our pet quality dogs we put up for adoption come from the highest quality lineages one could ever find that will make them the most loving and obedient pets one could acquire. The puppies are born in our house, nurtured and loved by us while living with us in our home, until they are ready to go stay in a new home with someone who loves them as much as we do.
Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
Our biggest break was meeting and becoming friends with Dr’s Kevin and Debra Cline, owners of Forest Creek Cavaliers. They are the only American Cavalier King Charles Spaniel breeder who has won Best of Breed at Crufts, which they did in 2014. They have also won Best of Breed at Westminster in 2015, as well as Best in Show at CKCSC USA National Specialty in 2014. We co-own a puppy wherein they took a chance on us to see if we were committed to show, and we finished that puppy as a Grand Champion level in the AKC in seven months.
Our success in showing was due in part to the time Dr Cline generously gave us through coaching and encouraging us through the process and introducing us to Brian Livingston, our handler, who has shown both of our current dogs that are on the show circuit. Brian’s parents have been a long-time Collie breeder and professional handlers for over three decades. Brian, his brother Clint and sister Colette have been top-level handlers in the competitive world of dog shows for decades.
- Website: www.pawliesfarm.com
- Phone: 346-201-6979
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org