What’s In a ROM?

In three words, a ROM is defined as Register of Merit. To be exact, the title indicates a producer of considerable note. In the Cavalier, a ROM designation is awarded to males that have sired 10 or more champions, and bitches who have produced 5 or more champions.

When Cavaliers were first admitted to the AKC registry in 1996, the standards for male ROMs were even higher, at 20 champions. However, over the ensuing years it became apparent that very few would attain that designation. Through 2006, there were only 7 sires that had achieved this distinction. Rather than make the decision that fewer was better, and therefore more prestigious, the Board of Directors of the American Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Club came to the conclusion that it was an unnecessarily strict ruling and left out a number of great producers. Most of those who had sired 20 or more had also been used extensively, while some of those in the 10-20 range had enjoyed many fewer opportunities. It was thought that they might indeed have made just as valuable a contribution to the breed’s gene pool. Therefore, in 2006, 19 additional ROM sires were added to the List, those dogs that had sired 10 or more champion get. The bitch requirements remained unchanged. Through 2006 there are still only 26 ROM males and 47 ROM bitches.

At the same time that the ROM requirements were revised for males, a new category of distinction was added, arguably the most coveted of all—the LOM, or Legion of Merit producer. In order to be a LOM, a dog must have sired 3 or more ROMs and a bitch have produced 2 or more ROMs. The LOM designates the most dominant and lasting genetic legacies in our breed—those ROMs with the unique ability to produce Producers—thus insuring the best the breed has to offer in terms of conformation, temperament, and hopefully longevity. To date there are only 4 dogs and 5 bitches who have achieved LOM status. Interestingly, one of those males,  Can Ch Salador Celtic Dirk, and 1 of those bitches, Crossbow Martha’s Choice of Shagbark are not ROMs themselves (in fact, they are not US champions), but what they lacked in sheer numbers of get that finished, they made up in ROM producers. Celtic Dirk was born well before the days of AKC recognition and interestingly enough, sired 2 ROMs who each had 20 or more champions and are LOMs in their own right. One of those, Ravenrush Tartan, in turn sired Crossbow Martha’s Choice of Shagbark.

Statistics, they say, are a numbers game, but it is not always, and certainly not only the highest numbers that define greatness when it comes to leaving behind a prepotent genetic endowment. Our hats are off to those breeders who made their dreams come true in the living embodiments of these great producing Cavaliers.

---Stephanie Abraham

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