A cross between the Poodle and Cavalier King Charles Spaniel dog breeds, a Cavapoo is an adorable mixed breed dog. Also called Cavoodle and Cavadoodle, they are curious, lively, and free-spirited and can adapt well to most surroundings.
Having inherited some of the best qualities from both their parents, a Cavapoo has an easy-going nature and makes for an excellent family dog as well as great therapy dogs. Have you been thinking of getting home a Cavapoo? Here’s everything you need to know about them.
A popular dog breed in recent times, the Cavapoo designer breed came into existence in the late 1990s. The breeders intended to mix the intelligence of a Poodle with the calm yet outgoing characteristic of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.
Owing to the non-shedding Poodle genes, Cavapoos were initially bred to be hypoallergenic dogs so that they could be an ideal companion for allergy sufferers.
One of the first designer dog breeds to be created, Cavapoos are loved for their temperament, size, and incredibly cute looks. They are slowly emerging as a recognized distinct dog breed.
1. Appearance, Coat, Color
The most dominant features of this mixed breed depend on the parents they take after. However, Cavapoos do tend to have adorably huge, dark, and deep-set eyes set above a short and tiny snout on a round face with long, floppy ears and a black button nose.
These notoriously cute dogs come in a variety of coat textures and colors.
Their coats are often smooth and soft, all thanks to their Cavalier King Charles Spaniel parent breed. They can either have a long and wavy or short and curly coat, a characteristic derived from their Poodle parent breed. Though less prone to shedding, their coats do require regular grooming.
Some of the popular coat colors of this breed are chestnut, gold, fawn, brown, cream, and chocolate. Cavapoos can either have one solid color or a blend of 2–3 colors. There are also chances of the coat color changing with age.
2. Size and Lifespan
Cavapoos are small- to medium-sized dogs whose size may vary depending on whether their Poodle parent was a Miniature Poodle or Toy Poodle.
Generally, the size ranges between 13 and 16 inches for Miniature Cavapoo or between 11 and 14 inches for Toy Cavapoos. Their weight also depends on the Poodle parent, but typically it’s from 11 to 25 pounds.
A Cavapoo’s average life expectancy is 12 to 15 years. Make sure to provide them with quality dog food, adequate supplements, and probiotics from an early age so they have a great start in life.
Cavapoos are widely popular because of their amicable, kind, and sweet personalities that appeal to most people. Though small in size, these loyal bundles of joy are full of energy. Playful, outgoing, and affectionate, their boundless energy coupled with their small size sometimes causes trouble with other dogs as Cavapoos often tend to forget their size.
With their laid-back nature, they can adapt to any place, be it an apartment or the countryside.
Their cheeky and lively personality can often test your patience but in a fun way. However, their constant shrill whines can sometimes get annoying. It’s advised to not take them to places where there are noise restrictions.
More importantly, their intelligence and their kind and sensitive temperament make Cavapoos exceptional therapy dogs.
4. Family Compatibility
Their gentle and upbeat temperament makes Cavapoos great family pets. With their sweet and friendly personality, they can easily get along with other pets and children.
Not only are Cavapoos people-oriented and intelligent, but they are also adaptable and easy to handle, making them a great choice for new dog owners. Loyal and affectionate, they love to spend every spare minute with their family and get involved in all the house activities.
Whether it’s quietly sitting on your lap in the evening or keeping company while you read a book or play family games, Cavapoos will quickly become part of your family.
Care and Maintenance
1. Food and Diet
It’s important to ensure that your Cavapoo has an age-appropriate diet. An ideal diet would be full of energy-rich content, targeted for a small- to medium-sized dog. On average, a Cavapoo eats around one cup of food each day. High-quality kibble can provide all the required nutrients.
Cavapoos are prone to obesity, so monitor their diet closely and don’t provide too many treats to your furry friend.
You can also give your dog canned, frozen, or wet food. Try out different types of food initially and see what they like or don’t like. You can eventually create a routine as they need consistency in their diet. Constantly changing their food can upset their stomach.
The quality and quantity of food provided can impact your Cavapoo’s size, activity level, health, and metabolism. If you’re not sure of the quantity, it’s better to check with your veterinarian.
The exercise needs of Cavapoos are moderate. This is because although a Poodle needs more exercise to disperse its energy, a Cavalier King Charles is more easy-going and laid back.
A Cavapoo’s exercise needs depend on its dominant parent breed traits. Although they are mostly calm and docile, their energy levels can be pretty high for a dog of its size. Most of the Cavapoo breeds are medium-energy dogs and need around one to half-hour of exercise daily.
Along with physical exercise, they also need mental stimulation. You can play fetch with frisbees or use rope toys to play tug-of-war, or even use toys that you can fill with treats.
Cavapoos are incredibly adaptable, so you don’t need to worry too much about their surroundings. They can survive well in independent homes as well as apartments without a backyard. However, if there’s no backyard, make sure to give them adequate exercise in parks and take them for walks daily. Hide and seek or treasure hunt games can also keep them entertained.
Cavapoos are a great choice for first-time dog owners as they are very intelligent and comparatively easy to train.
Just like other breeds, Cavapoo breeds respond well to positive reinforcement-based training methods. Since they crave affection and appreciation from their owners, encouraging the desired behavior with praise or a treat can help reinforce that behavior.
Remember, harsh treatment doesn’t go well with Cavapoos. Consistency is key, and daily training sessions of ten to fifteen minutes with a gentle hand are recommended.
Close bonding with their owners also means that Cavapoos are very prone to separation anxiety. So, if you’re thinking of appointing a trainer, make sure that they are trained in dealing with separation anxiety.
Cavapoos get along well with strangers, so you don’t need to have to go to lengths to socialize them. That being said, Cavapoos are so friendly that they may even greet an intruder with a tail wag, so they don’t make for great guard dogs.
Craving for love and affection, Cavapoos thrive on socialization. They tend to flourish in homes where they receive lots of attention.
When left alone for too long, they are capable of destruction by chewing their way through cushions and sofas.
With their soft, medium-length fur, the grooming demands of Cavapoos are generally minimal. Their Poodle parent breed ensures that they don’t shed too much, which makes them ideal for people with allergies.
However, that doesn’t mean they don’t need regular brushing. To prevent matting of their wavy curls and to maintain the coat’s shine and health, brush their coats once to twice a week.
Not only are the matted furs uncomfortable and at times painful, but they can also make the skin beneath susceptible to infections. You can also avoid matting by getting their fur trimmed short as some dogs may require more grooming, especially if they have longer hair.
Their narrow and small jaw makes them prone to dental infections and plaque buildup, so they need regular dental cleaning.
They also tend to have tear stains that can be cleaned with a damp cloth. Or you could buy specialist doggy wipes from pet stores.
Ear cleaning and the occasional nail clipping are some of the other grooming needs of a Cavapoo.
Owing to their mixed breed, Cavapoos have a lower probability of developing health problems compared with their parent breeds.
However, they can be prone to some common diseases found in Poodles and Cavalier King Charles Spaniels.
1. Progressive Retinal Atrophy
Also known as progressive rod and cone degeneration (PRCD), this is an ocular disorder that can cause blindness in severe cases. It’s a hereditary, genetic disorder and its cause has not yet been established.
Some common symptoms are night blindness, reluctance to go outside when it’s dark or dim, reluctance to explore new places or even go downstairs.
This is a disease that affects both eyes, and there is no known cure or treatment. But you can still improve the quality of life of an affected Cavapoo by making small changes to the environment like rearranging your furniture.
2. Luxating Patella
Also known as slipping kneecaps, this is a common condition in small and crossbreeds. It is caused by an injury or a kneecap malformation. Here, the kneecap groove is shallow because of which the kneecap jumps in and out of place.
It is a painful condition that can make the dogs lift their affected leg up, leading to lameness. Surgery is one of the best ways of curing this. However, treatment by using anti-inflammatory drugs is also possible.
3. Congenital Heart Defects
Mitral valve disease is one of the most common congenital heart issues that Cavapoos may face. It’s a condition where a dog’s heart valve malfunctions and doesn’t fully seal when closed.
It is caused by the high pressure created when the heart’s left ventricle pumps out blood to the body. This results in contraction of the valve, in turn leading to its wear and can eventually cause leakage.
Atopy is a skin allergy that occurs when a dog inhales airborne substances like pollen or dust or consumes a substance to which they are sensitive. Its allergic reaction causes severe itching.
5. Dental Disease
Periodontal disease causes inflammation of the tissues surrounding a tooth. It can affect either one or two teeth or, in some cases, the entire mouth.
If untreated, it can cause loss of teeth, severe oral pain, and other dental diseases along with other complications in the body.
Pros and Cons of Getting a Cavapoo
• Loyal, friendly, and social, they make for great family dogs.
• They are very adaptable to situations and surroundings and get along well with people and other pets.
• Cavapoos are hypoallergenic dogs that don’t shed much.
• They are relatively low maintenance.
• Susceptible to separation anxiety and hence need a lot of attention. Can turn destructive if left alone for long.
• Prone to heart conditions, eye problems, and dental disease.
• They need regular exercise to dispense their high energy.
• Tough to housetrain. Will require a fair amount of time and patience.
If you’ve been struggling to name your Cavapoo dog, here are some popular names for you to choose from:
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How Much Does a Cavapoo Cost?
Reputable breeders usually charge between $1,200 and $2,000 for a Cavapoo. Apart from the breeder’s reputation, the pedigree of the parents and a few other factors can affect the final price of the breed. Be cautious if the breeders charge less than $1,200 or significantly more than $2000.
Few other costs you may have to factor in are a dog bed, leash, crate toys, and treats. You will also need to consult a veterinarian for vaccinations and regular checkups. All these costs can range anywhere between $1,000 to $1,500 in the first year and around $500 to $1,000 the years after that.
2. Should You Buy or Adopt?
Cavapoos are popular mixed breed dogs. Hence, it shouldn’t be difficult to find one either from a local breeder or through adoption from a rescue shelter. Though Cavapoos were created as a designer breed, unfortunately, many have now ended up in rescue shelters.
However, if you do choose to buy from a breeder, make sure they are reputable as the breed’s popularity has made them a widespread choice for puppy mill breeders. Adoption prices are generally less than what you’ll end up paying a breeder.
A general rule of thumb is to avoid pet shops if possible and avoid breeders who don’t allow you to see the parent breeds.
If you’ve decided to get yourself this breed, we would recommend adoption.
A Few Parting Words
With their gentle and affectionate nature, Cavapoos make for excellent family dogs. Smart, playful, and cuddlesome, they can be great as low-allergen pets and are an absolute bundle of joy, for normal families or even for those with disabilities. With this comprehensive guide on the Cavapoo breed, you can now decide if this breed is the right choice for you.