Who says you can’t have it all. Looks and brains in one delightful package? That’s Cavapoo for ya! The silkiest and smartest pooch on the block, the Cavapoo wins over pet owners with his combination of good looks and a lovely temperament. This mixed breed dog comes from a unique background and makes an excellent companion and a family pet, so it’s no wonder that these guys rank as one of the most popular designer dog breeds. As a hybrid, Cavapoo comes from two purebred parents- the Poodle (miniature or toy) and the Cavalier Kings Charles Spaniel. Cavapoos represent everything designer dogs are about: the best of both parents in one adorable pooch. If you’ve been considering diving into the exciting world of designers dogs, there’s no better place to start that with this little beauty.
There are so many reasons why this incredible pup has become so beloved. The low-shedding Cavapoo is a great companion dog whose small stature makes him a perfect fit for apartment dwellers, seniors, and singles who like to include their pooch in all things social. A gentle nature means this indoor dog is a terrific family pet that does well with older kids who can be taught to appreciate his smaller size. To find out more about these gorgeous dogs, read on! You might be surprised by just how many reasons there are to bring this perfect pooch into your home.
The low-shedding Cavapoo is a great companion dog.
As you might have discovered on your own by now, designer dogs don’t exactly have a long history. Sure, mixed breed dogs have always been around, but people started intentionally producing them only recently. It’s a new trend, but one that isn’t going away any time soon. By crossbreeding purebred dogs, they were hoping to create new hybrid breeds that would offer prized traits of both parents, often even improved. The Cavapoo (or the Cavoodle as some call it) is one of the first breeds that were created when the designer dog trend kicked off. The first litters of Cavalier Kings Charles Spaniel and Poodle mix puppies were born in Australia, in the 1990s. Of course, while the breed originated in Australia, it didn’t take long for these hybrids to gain popularity in the United Kingdom and the United States, as well. Beyond those basics, there isn’t much known about the histories of these delightful doggos because designer dogs simply aren’t taken as seriously as pure breeds. Obviously, that’s starting to change. But for now, there remains a certain basis against hybrid dogs within the industry.
The Cavapoo is a cross between a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and a Poodle (typically a Miniature Poodle or a Toy Poodle). They are also known as a Cavadoodle or Cavoodle. The majority of these hybrids is a so-called first generation designer dogs. There is a common belief that they are the healthiest types of crossbreeds (although there’s no proof of that), but they are also the most unpredictable mixes. With two different purebred parents, there’s no guarantee which parent’s genes will be more dominant in Cavapoo puppies. Sometimes the traits are combined evenly, while other times the puppy will resemble one of the parental breeds more. It’s impossible to predict at this point in time.
To make a more uniform breed, breeders turn to multigenerational crossing. They mate Cavapoos to either unrelated Poodles, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, or other Cavapoos. It all depends on what the ultimate goal of the breeder might be. For instance, if they want to ensure a hypoallergenic coat, they will add more Poodle genes to the mix, and so forth. Over time, breeders will reach a widely recognized set of traits that is characteristic of the Cavapoo breed. F2 Cavapoos are quite common and have a more standardized appearance than their F1 cousins do. So if you’re looking for more genetic consistency in your Cavapoo, it might be worth seeking out a F2 from a reputable breeder. They might be harder to find, but they are certainly out there.
Food / Diet
The Cavapoo is a “busy” dog that loves to be active and as a result, these pups require a healthy diet of high-quality dry kibble. Not unlike most dog breeds, these hybrids also have complex nutritional needs that are best met through a dry food formula specifically tailored for them. The right ratio of meat-based protein and micronutrients as well as healthy carbs and fats will keep your Cavapoo healthy and content. These are energetic dogs, but they don’t need food as nutritionally dense as athletic breeds. It’s a classic “don’t judge a book by its cover” scenario. Instead, opt for a small breed formula as it is made especially for dogs that are petite in stature but big in spirit.
In addition to choosing dry food that suits their size and activity level, make sure that the food also appropriate for their age. Puppies, adults, and seniors have different dietary requirements. If you have any questions and concerns about which food will best serve your pooch, then it’s always worth consulting with your vet. While kibble formula guides are an excellent resource that work in most cases, not all dogs are the same. You personal pup may have specific dietary needs that aren’t met by the standard kibble. So always check with your vet to be safe. They will have a better sense of what your specific dog needs than any kibble manufacturer.
As a small mixed breed dog, the Cavapoo will be prone to plaque buildup and obesity. Dry food will promote good oral health, especially with the proper hygiene routine to accompany it. But you’ll need to make sure you don’t overfeed your pet if you want them to stay fit. Health problems can rear their ugly head quickly when a small dog gets a little too round around the belly. So, it’s always a good idea to be careful about the food portions that you pour into their dish. Stick to the manufacturer’s recommendations and don’t free feed them.
Cavapoos are intelligent and curious dogs who learn quickly and are highly trainable.
Cavapoos are intelligent and curious dogs who learn quickly and are highly trainable. Begun early, house training, socialization, and eventually a wide range of tricks, can be successfully taught to this eager-to-please breed. The key thing is getting these commands across early and often. Sessions should be short, fun and incorporate play into the mix with lots of praise and rewards offered up as he achieves his milestones. You’ll be amazed at what your Cavapoo can do if you put in the time while they are young. So don’t waste those precious months while you have them.
Of course, a crucial part of their training is the timing – you should start in their puppy stage. That way you will ensure no temperament issues later on. Socializing is crucial for all dogs – it removes the possibility of your pet developing aggression towards strangers or other dogs. While this is rare in Cavapoos, it can still happen to dogs that are often cooped up, lack training, or have been neglected.
Cavapoos generally weigh 12 to 25 pounds, depending on whether parentage includes a Poodle or Miniature Poodle. So make sure to confirm the specific parentage with your breeder if your Cavapoo’s ultimate size is important to you. Keep in mind that it isn’t always possible for breeders to predict the size of a Cavapoo puppy when it reaches adulthood. Depending on its parent background, a pup can vary in size later on. Still, this is mostly dictated by the size of the parent Poodle, and its type.
Temperament / Behavior
Affectionate, loyal and friendly, the Cavapoo gets along well with kids and household pets including both canine and non-canine. These dogs will love just about anyone and anything. Cavapoos thrive on human companionship and should not be considered an option if you are planning to kennel your pet. They do not respond well to those environments at all. As such, they are in many ways the ideal dog for a loving family. That way, they will get all the attention and care they need, and will seldom – if ever – be alone!
Once you have a Cavapoo, the pup will become an important member of your family. And all that thanks to the powerful bond this breed creates with their owner. He will be inseparable from the clan. Because the Cavapoo considers himself to be part of your pack, he loves to be involved in everything the family is doing and if left on his own for too long, he can develop unwanted behaviors such as barking. As one of the parents is a Poodle, he can also become somewhat hyper and clingy, following his owner around the house and suffering from separation anxiety if excluded. So, the Cavapoo would not be a good match for anyone in a home in which he will be left alone for many extended periods of time. He’s far too social than that and requires owners who will almost always be at his side. If you are a solo owner that has to work or travel – without your dog – a Cavapoo might not be the best choice. They’ll go berserk without you!
Needless to say, while their friendliness makes them an excellent family pet, Cavapoos make horrible watchdogs – they’d wag their tail and welcome cuddles from any stranger, so they are not likely to be guarded and cautious around people they don’t know.
Common Health Problems
The Cavapoo is generally a healthy, active, and well behaved dog however because he is a cross-breed he may inherit health problems associated with the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel or the Poodle. Even though many believe that first generation mixes are robust and less likely to suffer from health issues than their purebred parents, that’s not always the truth. As always, genetics are a big lottery, and sometimes, the fact that they have two purebred parents doesn’t make it better for the Cavapoos – instead, it just puts them at risk for two sets of breed-specific health problems. The list of conditions that plague both the Poodle and the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel includes cataracts, epilepsy, progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), and ear problems, but there is no certainty your pet will suffer from any of them. Generally speaking, Cavapoos live long long lives without costly health problems, but it is still important to educate yourself about potential issues that they could inherit from one of their parents, to be on the lookout for any symptoms or signs on time.
Apart from genetic, inherited issues, the breed is also prone to certain problems down the road which are not related to their parents, but rather something that all dogs of their physique struggle with, sooner or later. This pup’s longer and floppy ears mean that he might be prone to ear infections, so regular cleaning is essential. Similarly, his teeth should be brushed regularly – daily if possible – with a vet-approved pet toothpaste. Small dogs are especially prone to periodontal disease and the Cavapoo is no exception to this rule. Last but not least, petite dogs with a healthy appetite such as this crossbreed are at a higher risk for obesity, so don’t overindulge your furbaby in treats and delicacies. Feed them the recommended amount of dry food, don’t let them eat freely but rather split their daily dose into one or two meals, and offer treats sparingly – don’t go overboard.
In the end, it’s all down to good care and regular vet checkups. Good health depends on a balanced diet, exercise, affection, and thorough hygiene. When you take care of all these aspects, your Cavapoo will thrive. Neglect them, however, and problems might begin appearing.
The Cavapoo has an average lifespan of 10 to 15 years. That’s a generous lifespan, and can ensure plenty of time spent together with your dear pet. While Cavapoos make excellent companion dogs, they are right there in the middle when life expectancy is considered. Still, 15 years is a great period to spend with your four legged pal.
While the fun loving Cavapoo doesn’t require extensive exercise like an athletic or working breed would,, he does need daily activity including at least one walk a day and/or some serious structured indoor playtime. The sturdy little dog loves games such as fetch, chasing a ball or agility related activities that gain him lots of praise from his owner. An intelligent breed, he also needs regular mental stimulation and playing with different, safe toys is a great way to help him both release any left-over energy and interact with humans. Of course, the breed can thrive most in a household that has a fenced-in yard. That way, your Cavapoo can play as much as they want, and you can still have some time left for yourself. Without the exercise and long walks, a Cavapoo, like most other breeds, is prone to obesity and joint problems. Even if the diet is balanced, lack of activity can result in mood issues and health problems. Don’t leave your pet cooped up inside all the time!
Affectionate, loyal and friendly, the Cavapoo gets along well with kids and household pets.
The Cavapoo is not recognized by the American Kennel Club, as it is considered to be a hybrid breed. The breed is, however, recognized by the American Canine Hybrid Club (ACHC), the Designer Dogs Kennel Club (DDKC), Dog Registry of America, Inc. (DRA), International Designer Canine Registry (IDCR) and Designer Breed Registry (DBR). Thanks to these registries, the breed has a set of generally accepted characteristics and favorable traits that you can count on when you get a Cavapoo puppy.
Most Cavapoos have a soft, curly or wavy coat depending on which genes they inherit – Poodle or Cavalier King Charles Spaniel (which also means they could be hypoallergenic). While his coat can be maintained by regular bathing followed by brushing to prevent tangles, it’s recommended that a visit to a professional groomer be scheduled every four to six weeks. In the time between, you should routinely brush their coat to maintain it. The breed is also known to experience those reddish-brown tear stains, a malady that can be addressed by washing his face daily with careful attention paid to the area beneath his eyes. Professional grooming salons can also address this issue, if you prefer going straight to the pros.
As for the possible colors, the options are many – all variations from the Poodle and the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel come into play. Most commonly, Cavapoos are a single solid color – black, red, apricot, blonde, and cream are some of the most frequent coat colors. There are also bi-color coats (such as black and tan) or tricolor coats, as well as more exotic colors such as sable, merle, or blenheim.
Not surprisingly, Cavapoo puppies are one of the cutest around – they are tiny, fluffy, and endlessly charming! Usually, Cavapoo litters produce anywhere from 2 to 8 puppies, which is a big variation and another unpredictable factor about designer dog breeds. Similarly, you can’t really be sure which parent’s genes will the puppies favor, even within a single litter – some siblings might look more like a Poodle and others more like a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, while some might be a perfect 50/50 blend of the two breeds.
As the small Cavapoo produces an even smaller puppy, care must be taken to ensure he is safeguarded from extremes such as heat, cold, and even well-meaning kids who can play rough. Because the breed is highly intelligent and eager to please, training can begin during the puppy stage and early socialization will be key to ensuring he is comfortable with strangers and other pets. This tiny dog will learn quickly though, so it’s worth getting any heavy training out of the way early to ensure that you have a well behaved pup – start with the basics such as potty training and leash training, before advancing to other things, such as crate training or teaching more complex commands.
Photo credit: quayside/Bigstock.com; Nicki Mannix/Flickr
More by Mary Simpson