A pair of dark soulful eyes, two floppy ears, a quick mind, the mien of a fuzzy stuffed animal
The energy and cheer of a two-year-old, the heart of a friend. Cavapoos are no doubt a collage of what a perfect pet should be.
You may call them Cavoodles or Cavadoodles, you may call them Cavoos; whichever tastes pleasant to you, the Cavapoo will respond with a happy bark.
These endearing little creatures are mixed-breed dogs sharing, in varying degrees, the genetic material of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and the miniature or toy Poodle. Cavapoos are one of the first designer dog breeds.
They might have existed naturally in other parts of the world before the 1950s, but it was during the aforesaid period, in America, they were first known to be intentionally bred. In the late 1990s, designer breeders in Australia also crossed Cavalier King Charles Spaniels with Poodles to generate this hybrid.
The aim of the cross was to spawn a breed of dog sporting the remarkable intelligence of the poodle, as well as the gentle, lovable, and vivacious nature of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.
As Poodles are less likely to trigger allergies in susceptible individuals due to their low propensity to shed, breeders also sought to beget a companion dog with a relatively low shedding coat that would make a suitable pet for allergy sufferers. Thus, the Cavapoo came to be and have become popular and accepted in many countries worldwide.
Although the Cavapoo has thrived for decades, although their winsome “pawsonality” and cuddly mien have ensnared the hearts of many dog enthusiasts, they are yet to be recognized by the UK Kennel Club and other international dog clubs because of their mixed lineage.
Nonetheless, it is hoped that over generations, with careful selective breeding, the future Cavapoo will develop more consistent features and become recognized as a breed of their own. They are, however, recognized by the Designer Dogs Kennel Club (DDKC), International Designer Canine Registry (IDCR), Designer Breed Registry (DBR), American Canine Hybrid Club (ACHC) and Dog Registry of America, Inc. (DRA).
The Parent Breed
Before venturing further down the coat of our chipper hybrid, a shallow dig into the nature of the two pure breeds whence it stems may better help us understand its traits, both the favorable and unfavorable ones.
- The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
These beautiful small dog breeds have been in existence since Roman times. They may appear in Black & Tan, Tri-color, Blenheim, or Ruby coats that they will often shed. Although little, they are notable for being very energetic, loyal, loving, and gentle. As these adorable creatures enjoy human company, they do not tolerate being left alone for long periods of time and may suffer separation anxiety.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are prone to weight gain and a number of health issues that may or may not manifest in Cavapoos. These health issues include hip dysplasia, mitral valve disease, luxating patella, syringomyelia, eye, and ear defects.
- The Poodle
They come in three sizes: standard, miniature, and toy. Cavapoos get a portion of their parentage from either the miniature or the toy poodles. Albeit, breeders usually prefer miniature poodles because of the lesser health problems associated with them when compared with the toy poodle.
The poodle is renowned for its high levels of intelligence; it was ranked the second most intelligent dog breed after the Border Collie. Apart from their intelligence, this elegant breed don a tight curly coat which is better tolerated by hypersensitive individuals because of its reduced likelihood of shedding. Poodles are very energetic and athletic. They also thrive on brain games.
Like their Cavalier King Charles Spaniel counterparts, they don’t tolerate being without company for long periods and may suffer separation anxiety. They are prone to several diseases like – hip dysplasia, eye defects, epilepsy, sebaceous adenitis, and von Willebrand’s disease.
Since the Cavapoo is a mixed breed, it cannot be guaranteed they will look a particular way. They may have more Poodle in them than Cavalier and vice versa, or they may manifest the traits of both pure breeds to fairly equal degrees.
They are small and sturdy fluffy bundles, sporting long, floppy ears and loving, black, almond eyes set in a round face.
Three coat types have been identified: Fleece, Hair and wool.
–Fleece is the commonest coat material for this breed and has a low tendency to shed. Its texture is soft and smooth and it usually comes in very loose wavy or curly patterns. Fleece coats require regular clipping for low maintenance.
–Hair coats have a rough texture and are more likely to shed compared to other coat types. On the good side, they require less grooming since they don’t grow very long
–Wool coats have tight curls and thus are less likely to shed dander. To maintain, they demand daily brushing and frequent clipping.
The dogs come in a range of colors: Chestnut, Gold, Black, White, Blenheim (Chestnut and white) and Tricolor (Black, white, and tan)
The height of a Cavapoo depends on if the parent Poodle was a miniature or a toy.
The height range of a full grown toy Cavapoo is 28cm – 35cm.
The height range of a full grown miniature Cavapoo is 30cm – 40cm.
Both male and female weigh between 5kg – 10kg.
Most have a bouncy carriage, while others may incline towards the high stepping gait of their Poodle parent.
If they are well tended to, most live for an average of 12 – 15 years. Albeit, there have been reports of some pooches living for up to 18years.
If you don’t intend to ever fall in love, beware of the Cavapoo, because they will prance about your heart, snuggle beneath its walls and leave you witless with an overdose of cuteness. Cavapoos make excellent family pets; gentle enough for young children and energetic enough to excite older children.
They are renowned for being affectionate, loyal, agile, and obedient. Although they are considered a moderate to low energy breed, they can be very playful and require daily walks and exercise, both mental and physical, to keep them healthy and upbeat.
Like their parents, these cheery canines thrive on the company of people. They desire that family members are constantly available for them, hence they might suffer separation anxiety when left by themselves for too long – barking, howling, crying, destruction and pacing are characteristic in such situations. We don’t want that, so this hybrid may not be the best choice for very busy people.
By nature, Cavapoos are very sociable and can live with each other and other animals; this, however, depends on how early the pup was socialized. They are not aggressive and have a low prey drive, that is, they have a low tendency to chase the wits out of smaller animals, especially if they socialized early enough.
You can also take comfort in knowing that our dear little fuzzy faced teddy bear will not drive your household nuts with excessive barking. It’s just not who they are.
Because of their intelligence, Cavapoos are adaptable and very easy to train, making them the perfect choice for first-time dog owners. They are mostly undestructive and have a low tendency to pull off escapes, however, because of their short attention spans, they should be kept on a leash till they are adequately trained and have mastered their environment.
Cavapoos can serve as good watchdogs. They will bark to alert you of strangers, but as they are super friendly and kind, they can easily be lured into the laps of said strangers; a belly rub would do the trick. So if you’re looking for a guard dog, a Cavapoo will not do. Nonetheless, their sweet natures make them suitable for the position of therapy dogs.
These creatures are also quite sensitive and may recoil in the face of harsh correction or austere training. So if your pup does wrong, a chilly outpour never quite solves the problem; positive reinforcement training method is a better approach as these dogs love being praised or offered treats and will try to carry on behaviors that spurn such gestures from their human owners. Really, all that these little guys want is to please you. Bow wow.
Yes, Cavapoos are gentle, kind, and tolerant of children, but it’s wise to always supervise the activities between dogs and children. Some children may get really rough with the dogs and push or frighten them into “grrrr” mode.
Certain things must be put in place in anticipation for the arrival of a Cavapoo puppy:
–A well-made playpen situated in a quiet and secure area of the yard must be set up so that the pup can nap without being startled by noise and play without the danger of an accident.
–The playpen must be within hearing and seeing range; this is to ascertain that owners are alerted when things go wrong and to assure the pup is people’s presence within the vicinity.
–Areas must be clear of electric cables and wires to prevent disasters; puppies love to chew.
–Garden tools and other implements must be placed out the puppy’s reach.
–Shallow food and water bowls made from ceramic preferably must be provided.
–Puppy must be provided quality collar and harness.
–Adequate dog crates must be installed.
–Blankets should be provided for the already installed crate.
Food and Diet
On the whole, dietary requirements vary from puppyhood to adulthood and amongst individual pooches, depending on weight, activity level, and health. There’s no one-size-fits-all in this regard. But one thing is certain; they must be raised on high-quality dog feed.
If a Cavapoo puppy is purchased from a breeder, the feeding schedule that comes with it should be adhered to to prevent digestive upsets. Following research and recommendations from breeders and veterinarians, a puppy’s diet can be gradually changed. However, if the puppy does not tolerate the change well, stick with the original feeding schedule, and make further consultation.
As Cavapoos are prone to becoming obese, like their Cavalier kin, it is important their meals meet the daily nutrient guidelines. Cavapoos are regarded as small breeds; on the average, small breeds use 40 calories per pound of body weight per day.
Puppies require about 480 – 950 calories, while mature dogs require about 300 – 600 calories. It is best to feed an adult pooch twice a day, morning, and evening. And don’t let those cute eyes cow you into handing them treats now and again. It could have dire consequences.
Below is an estimate of the dietary requirement of Cavapoo puppies at various ages:
Depending on build –
- 96g – 127g at 2 months
- 108g – 149g at 3 months.
- 113g – 159g at 4 months.
- 92g – 144g at 7 months.
- 81g – 129g at 8 months.
- 81g – 115g at 10 months.
- 80g – 114g at 11 months.
At 12 months, the feeding requirement becomes the same as for adult Cavapoos. Depending on activity level, the feeding requirement of adult dogs is estimated as follows –
- 69g – 90g at a weight of 5kg.
- 110g – 144g at a weight of 8kg.
- 138 – 181g at a weight of 10kg.
A growth chart should be used to monitor the weight gain of your dog, to ensure it is appropriate for its breed. Alternatively, you can watch out for the waistline of the dog; you should be able to see a waistline and feel the dog’s ribs.
In addition, from a bird’s-eye view, your pooch should have a figure reminiscent you of the number 8. Obesity can lead to a lot of health problems in the Cavapoo and shorten their lifespan considerably.
A daily walk of 30 – 60 minutes is mandatory to keep your Cavapoo healthy and upbeat. They also love being engaged in brain games and canine sports such as” tug” and “fetch.” From time to time, they enjoy trotting in the yard, but owners should ensure that the fence is secure enough for their sakes.
They do not require intensive physical and brain exercises, as the pressure that comes with them could result in other problems. Owners should also be careful not to engage these creatures in too many food-based games because of their propensity to gain weight.
Cavapoos do not handle heat well as their short muzzles make it difficult for their bodies to regulate temperature. Hence, to reduce the risk of their coming down with heat stress, they must not be pushed to exercise too hard on hot days; provision must also be made for shade and lots of cool water on such days.
Regular grooming of these canines is essential to their overall wellbeing and appearance. It mostly involves tending to their coats, nails, teeth, ears, and eyes. As expected, there’s no standard grooming style because of the variability of these breeds.
The type of coat a Cavapoo ends up with will determine the frequency and extent of their grooming. For coats that are likely to grow long, like fleece and wool coats, a trip to the grooming salon every 4 – 6 weeks for clipping is crucial for maintenance.
Coats must also be brushed daily, or at least, weekly, to prevent knots and tangles. Attention should be paid to the undersides, backsides, armpits, and collar regions of dogs.
Dog nails should be trimmed at least once or twice in a month to keep them nice and short.
The pooches are likely to develop tear stains below their eyes; these should be checked regularly and wiped with a clean, damp cloth when observed.
As small breeds are likely to develop dental issues, the teeth of Cavapoos should be brushed daily as instructed by a veterinarian to prevent the build-up of plaques and periodontal disease.
To prevent ear infections, the ears of these dogs must be regularly checked for debris, pests, and wax build-up, then cleaned afterward according to the recommendation of a veterinarian.
There are certain tools that make grooming much easier when available; they include – Tweezers, pin or bristle brush, scissors, detanglers, metal wide-toothed comb, slicker brush, dog-specific shampoo, and conditioner.
Grooming strengthens the bond between owner and dog, and if was initiated early enough, there’s bound to be little or no difficulty in carrying it out.
Because they are smart little guys, training Cavapoos is relatively easy and enjoyable. This training should commence when the dog is yet a puppy, so it can get used to the ground rules; lingering could be a big mistake. Using Positive reinforcement, a form of operant conditioning where the desired behavior is rewarded has proven to be the most effective approach in training Cavapoos since it augurs well with their sensitive and praise-loving nature.
The use of verbal validation such as, “attaboy!” and the likes also spurn desired behavior from them. Again, it should be noted that this breed does not respond well to harsh correction.
In the same vein, training sessions should be short, fun, and consistent because these creatures have a short attention span. It will help to organize sessions where there is little or no distraction for maximum results. Consistency of routine helps the dogs to know what is expected of them.
When it comes to house training, it may take a while for the Cavapoo to become grounded. In this regard, owners need to be patient with their pooches and gently egg them on till they are good.
Although they are not aggressive by nature, early socialization will help the dogs become more stable, outgoing, and confident. After they must have completed their vaccination, enrollment in a puppy class at 10 – 12 weeks of age can help in this respect.
As pups, they should be introduced to a range of people, young and old, dogs and other domestic animals. They also need exposure to noisy appliances and machines around them, so that when they grow, they don’t become easily perturbed by normal noise.
As the dog gets older, they may be taught other complex commands to ensure they are of good behavior.
It is expedient that appointments with the veterinarian are kept. Routinely, puppies are vaccinated before they are sold out, but it is the duty of owners to ensure the dogs complete their follow-up shots at the appropriate time, which is at 10 – 12 weeks.
Spaying and neutering.
This involves the removal of the sexual organs of the dogs. If the owner chooses to carry these out, male dogs can be safely neutered at 6 months, and female dogs safely spayed at 6 months too.
Like their parent dogs, Cavapoos are predisposed to a wide range of hereditary health conditions. Although it is hoped that with continuous selective breeding, these disturbing health issues will be effaced, some are still prevalent in this hybrid. They include –
- Luxating patella
This is the bane of many small dog breeds. There is dislocation of the knee cap that occurs due to the congenitally shallow trochlear groove of the breed. It is characterized by pain, lameness, and dogs holding up the affected limb. The treatment is symptomatic, using anti-inflammatory drugs for pain management. Surgery is also a possibility.
- Mitral valve disease
Cavalier King Charles spaniels, common ancestors of the Cavapoo, are predisposed to developing Mitral valve disease, a heart condition resulting from wearing of the mitral valve due to the increase in pressure in the left ventricle during pumping of blood.
- Progressive retinal atrophy
A group of degenerative eye diseases that ultimately result in the blindness of affected dogs. Signs include night blindness, reluctance to go down the stairs, explore new areas, or go outside when it’s dark. It affects both eyes and currently has no cure. To improve the quality of life of the poor pooch, making certain changes in the environment to reduce risks of accidents can be helpful.
- Hip dysplasia
It occurs due to improper growth or development of the hip, resulting in an unstable joint. In the long run, it may undergo arthritic changes and enervate the dog.
Other disease conditions this hybrid is genetically prone to include – Syringomyelia, cataracts, skin issues, and epilepsy.
Buying a Cavapoo
Generally, Cavapoo puppies cost between $1,200 – $1,800.
It is not unusual to jam online scammers displaying these beautiful little guys for sale at a low price. Buyers must employ discretion before carrying out online purchases. They should ensure that these pups are visited at the seller’s home before payment is made, to confirm the genuineness of trade.
Buying from reputable breeders is advised so that the welfare and breeding of the puppies can be guaranteed. Relevant documents regarding the lineage of the puppies and their immunization must be asked for, as this may help the buyer assess the risks of the dog developing certain health challenges along the line.
If you want a companion that will ignite cheer and leave sunlight trailing in your household, a Cavapoo may just be what you’re looking for. Though they are a bit clingy, these fuzzy faced pooches are intelligent, sociable and extremely lovable.
They come in a range of coloured coats that may or may not shed and require that you groom them regularly and feed them quality meals. Don’t over feed them though; they are highly prone to becoming obese and may develop several health challenges, in addition to the risks of developing those they are genetically predisposed to.
All in all, these creatures are bundles of joy.