Cava Tzu

Mary Simpson
by Mary Simpson
fast facts

About Cava Tzu

10-16 pounds
15-18 inches
12-15 years
Best Suited For
first time dog owners, families with kids and other pets, apartment dwellers, owners who are away during the day
friendly, affectionate, playful, eager-to-please
Comparable Breeds
Shih Tzu, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Cava Tzu Basics

The super-friendly little Cava Tzu brings together the sweet-natured Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and the headstrong little Shih Tzu for an easy-going dog that gets along with kids, other pets and even strangers. This pint-sized pooch loves nothing better than hanging out with his family and while he thrives on human companionship, he’s comfortable being left on his own for short periods.

The super-friendly Cava Tzu is a mix of the sweet Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and the feisty Shih Tzu.


Both parent breeds were royal favorites with the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel dating back to 17th century England and the Shih Tzu (aka Lion Dog) being traced to Tibet in the 800’s. Today’s Cava Tzu likely dates back just 30 years to when breeders first began crossing pure-bred dogs to create Designer Dogs. These dogs are typically bred to produce pups with desirable traits such as gentler personalities, smaller sizes and hypo-allergenic qualities. All without the health issues that plague their parent breeds.


As a Designer Dog, the Cava Tzu cannot join the American Kennel Club (AKC) roster of pure-breds however his parent breeds are both members in good standing; the Shih Tzu became a member of AKC’s “toy” group in 1969 while the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel joined the same group in 1995.


The Cava Tzu is a small energetic dog that loves to play but doesn’t necessarily put in the longer, calorie-burning walks that keep dogs at their ideal weight. To offset this, plan to feed him a nutrient rich kibble that is designed for his age, size and activity level. Because this dog tends to become obese and can have joint issues later in life, feed him 2 to 3 smaller meals daily versus free-feeding. Choose a food that low in fillers/carbs that may cause him to over-eat to feel full.


The Cava Tzu is a quick study when it comes to training. He comes from two intelligent breeds and his eager-to-please personality makes him ready and willing to obey commands and take direction. Early establishment of pack leadership is important with this dog – who can be a little stubborn – along with a rewards-based approach that offers lots of praise and treats for a job well done.


The Cava Tzu will weigh between 10 and 16 pounds when fully grown.


The playful, people-loving Cava Tzu enjoys being the center of attention. He’s highly social and gets along well with kids, other animals and even strangers which, coupled with the fact he seldom barks make him a less than ideal watchdog but perfect for apartment living. He loves cuddling and hanging out with his family yet doesn’t suffer from separation anxiety and is okay being left on his own. He’s highly agile, loves to jump, play, then snooze – so a great choice for singles or seniors looking for a companion dog that isn’t always “on”.

Common Health Problems

Designer dogs have typically been bred to side-step health issues that can plague their purebred parents however its important to always be aware of what your new pup could inherit down the line. With the Cava Tzu, that can include joint issues as well as kidney and liver.

Life Expectancy

Your Cava Tzu has a lifespan of between 10 and 15 years.

Exercise Requirements

Cava Tzu’s don’t require a great deal of exercise to keep them physically fit and mentally stimulated. He absolutely loves to play so while a couple of short daily walks should be sufficient to keep him fit, plan to schedule in some interactive playtime such as a tossed ball or frisbee in the backyard to keep him happy. A visit to the dog park is also a fun way to squeeze in some activity and extra socialization.

The people-loving Cava Tzu loves to be the center of attention.

Recognized Clubs

The Cava Tzu’s Designer Dog status means he doesn’t qualify for American Kennel Club (AKC) membership however he is recognized by Designer Breed Registry (DBR), American Canine Hybrid Club (ACHC), Designer Dogs Kennel Club (DDKC), Dog Registry of America (DRA) and International Designer Canine Registry (IDCR).


While your Cava Tzu is considered only a moderate-shedding dog, his long, thick, silky coat will require brushing 3 to 4 times a week to stay on top of shedding and keep it from matting and tangling. Periodic professional grooming may be needed to maintain his coat shape, but bathing should only be done as needed. As with many small dogs, periodontal disease can be a problem so brushing his teeth daily is encouraged as is weekly ear inspection / cleaning to prevent possible infection.


The high energy Cava Tzu loves everyone he meets and jumping up to say hello can become a problem. In addition to house-training, obedience training should begin early to avoid this type of behavior and encourage him to sit and stay on command. While socialization may not seem necessary with this dog, it’s important he begin while young so that he learns to play nice with others.

Photo credit: Jenn Huls/Shutterstock

Mary Simpson
Mary Simpson

Sharing space with three seriously judgy Schnoodles and a feline who prefers to be left alone. #LivingMyBestLife

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