1. Key Breed Facts
2. Breed Characteristics
3. Looking for a Cavachon ?
8. Intelligence / Trainability
9. Children and Other Pets
11. Caring for a Cavachon
15. Average Cost to keep/care for a Cavachon
The Cavachon came about by crossing two pedigree dogs namely the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel with the Bichon Frise. These little dogs were first developed in the States, but quickly became extremely popular in other areas of the world, including here in the UK thanks to their adorable looks and charming natures. Cavachons are not recognised as a breed in their own right by The Kennel Club or some other international clubs. However, breed clubs have now been established in many countries of the world with an end goal being to ensure breeders adhere to good practice guidelines so these delightful dogs are responsibly bred, especially as for the moment there are no set breed standards.
The breed was first developed in the States with the first Cavachon appearing on the scene in 1996 when two pure breeds were crossed, namely the Bichon Frise and the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. The result was a delightful and charming looking little dog that inherited many of their parent breeds' physical traits. For the moment, they are classed as "designer dogs" and as such Cavachons are not recognised as a breed by The Kennel Club here in the UK.
As previously mentioned, Cavachons are new to the dog world, but their popularity continues to grow thanks not only to their adorable looks and puff-ball coats, but also because they are considered as being "low shedders" which means anyone suffering from allergies may not be quite as affected when they come into contact or live with a Cavachon, although it tends to be the dander a dog sheds that is usually triggers allergies in people. With this said, the Cavachon has become a very popular choice both as a companion dog and as a family pet both here in the UK and elsewhere in the world.
Height at the withers: Males 31 - 33 cm, Females 31 - 33 cm at the withers
Average weight: Males 4.5 - 9.0 kg, Females 4.5 - 9.0 kg
Cavachons are small dogs that boast extra fluffy, thick coats which can be quite wavy or curly. They have inherited many of their physical traits from their parent breeds, being the Bichon Frisee and the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. A result of the cross is a delightful dog with extremely expressive eyes and a cute face. Although small in stature, these little dogs have an athletic look about them. They have the long, floppy ears of the Cavalier and they have inherited their medium to long silky, soft coat from both parent breeds.
Because there is no set breed standard as such, every Cavachon is slightly different with the one consistency being in their coats, its texture and colour. Bichons have lovely white coats and Cavalier King Charles Spaniels boast having gorgeous coats that can either be white and tan or white and apricot, they can be a rich ruby red, a beautiful blenheim colour or they can have tri-coloured coats. As a result, Cavachons can be many different colours which includes the following:
When it comes to coat texture, this too can vary quite a bit with some dogs having straight hair whereas other dogs might have wavy to quite curly coats. However, their coats grow very quickly in the first few months of their lives which means puppies need to be brushed frequently and gently to keep things tidy to prevent any matts and tangles from forming. If a dog's coat is going to be curly or wavy, this usually happens when they lose their puppy coats and their permanent ones grow through which is typically when they are around 4 to 6 months old.
Cavachons are compact, nicely proportioned little dogs that boast short, strong front legs and nicely rounded bodies with level backs and slightly tucked up bellies. The hindquarters are compact with dogs having bushy tails that they carry hanging down when relaxed, but raised when excited or alert. They have lovely, large, round and very expressive eyes, a trait that adds to their adorable looks. Their feet are quite large for such small dogs with nice, firm pads and strong nails.
When it comes to temperament, the Cavachon boasts having a gentle, affectionate and kind nature. They thrive on human company although they enjoy being around other dogs and pets as well. They have become known as real lap dogs never turning down an invitation to cuddle up with an owner whenever they can.
Cavachons form very strong bonds with their families and love nothing more than to be involved in everything that goes on in a household. They adore playing interactive games because of they boast being fun-loving, bouncy characters by nature with the added bonus being they have inherited the intelligence of both parent breeds which makes them easy to train.
They are also very aware of their environments and will quickly let an owner know when there are strangers around although, these adorable, charming dogs are in no way very good watchdogs thanks to their size and their affectionate, social natures. Cavachons are a great choice for first time owners thanks to the fact they are intelligent little dogs and they love nothing more than to please which means when well cared for and properly socialised, they are easy to train and a joy to have around.
However, there is a downside to living with a Cavachon which is that they do not like to be left on their own for long periods of time simply because they thrive on human company. As such, they are a good choice for families where one person usually stays at home when everyone else is out of the house which helps prevent a Cavachon from getting bored and developing separation anxiety and any other unwanted behavioural issues.
Cavachons are intelligent and they pick up new things very quickly, but this includes the good and the bad. With this said, training a Cavachon is usually a fun, enjoyable experience because they are so receptive when it comes to staying focused on a person they have formed a strong bond with. These little dogs thrive on getting things "right" and love nothing more than receiving as much praise from their owners as possible when they do.
They respond very well to positive reinforcement training and being so smart and sensitive by nature, Cavachons do not answer well to any sort of harsh correction or heavy handed training methods which could end up with one of these little dogs becoming shy, retiring and timid. At the other end of the scale if a Cavachon is allowed to get their own way a little too often, they can develop behavioural issues which includes Small Dog Syndrome, something to be avoided at all costs.
However, puppies and young Cavachons must be well socialised once they have been fully vaccinated which has to involve introducing them to as many new situations, strange noises, people, other animals and pets as possible so they mature into well-rounded, confident adult dogs. Some Cavachons have proved difficult to housetrain, but with patience, perseverance and a lot of understanding they can be taught to do their "business" outside, it might just take a little longer than with other breeds.
Cavachons are known to be good around children and they like nothing more than to play interactive games with them. However, because they are such small dogs, children have to be taught how to behave and how to handle them to prevent them from injuring or scaring these little dogs. With this said, any interaction between dogs and children should be well supervised by an adult to make sure playtime does not get too boisterous.
Cavachons are social dogs by nature and as such they usually get on well with other dogs, more especially if they were well socialised from a young age. They are also known to be good around cats they have grown up with in a household and will usually be nice towards other pets although care should always be taken when they are together just to be on the safe side.
For further advice please read our article on Keeping Children Safe around Dogs.
The average life expectancy of a Cavachon is between 10 and 12 years when properly cared for and fed an appropriate good quality diet to suit their ages.
Like so many other breeds, the Cavachon is known to suffer from a few hereditary health issues that affect their parent breeds which are worth knowing about if you are planning share your home with one of these fun-loving, charming little dogs. The conditions that seem to affect the breed the most include the following:
As with any other breed, Cavachons need to be groomed on a regular basis to make sure their coats and skin are kept in top condition. They also need to be given regular daily exercise to ensure they remain fit and healthy. On top of this, dogs need to be fed good quality food that meets all their nutritional needs throughout their lives.
When a puppy starts to lose their fluffy puppy coat and their adult coat starts grows through, they are quite high maintenance when it comes to keeping things tidy and looking good. Cavachons are considered to be "low shedding" but this does not mean their coats don't need to be frequently and regularly brushed. Because some dogs suffer from tear staining quite badly, it's also important to keep their eyes nice and clean by regularly wiping them with a damp, soft cloth.
They also need to be professionally groomed trimmed every 4 to 8 weeks which makes keeping their coats tidy that much easier in between visits to the grooming parlour. With this said, it's important to introduce a Cavachon puppy to all the tools needed to groom them and to make a grooming session an enjoyable experience so that dogs look forward to being brushed. Older dogs usually enjoy the one-to-one attention they get when they are being brushed and it strengthens the bond they form with their owners. It's also important to note that puppies shed more when they start to lose their puppy coats which is the best time to get them used to having their ears, paws and other parts of their bodies touched.
It's also important to check a dog's ears on a regular basis and to clean them when necessary. If too much wax is allowed to build up in a dog's ears, it can lead to a painful infection which can be hard to clear up. In short, prevention is often easier than cure when it comes to ear infections.
Cavachons have lots energy and love nothing more than to be playing interactive games with their owners. They are very playful and fun-loving by nature which makes them such a pleasure to have around. They need to be given at least 30 minutes exercise every day and they also need a lot of mental stimulation because they are such smart characters. If a Cavachon does not have enough to do, they quickly get bored and will find new ways to entertain and amuse themselves which could see a dog developing some destructive behaviours around the home. They could also start to suffer from separation anxiety if they are not given enough daily exercise and attention. They are highly adaptable little dogs that are just at home living in an apartment in town as they are living in a house in the country, but they do need to be kept busy both mentally and physically for them to be truly happy little dogs.
A shorter walk in the morning would be fine, but a longer more interesting one in the afternoon is a must. These dogs also like to be able to roam around a back garden as often as possible so they can really let off steam. However, the fencing has to be extremely secure to keep these fun-loving little dogs in because if they find a weakness in the fence, they will soon escape out and get into all sorts of trouble. It's also important to make sure a Cavachon does not get cold during the chillier winter months, because they really do feel the cold.
With this said, Cavachon puppies should not be over exercised because their joints and bones are still growing and too much pressure on them could result in causing a dog a few problems later on in their lives. They should not be allowed to jump up or off furniture nor should they be allowed to run up and down the stairs for this reason.
If you get a Cavachon puppy from a breeder, they would give you a feeding schedule and it's important to stick to the same routine, feeding the same puppy food to avoid any tummy upsets. You can change a puppy's diet, but this needs to be done very gradually always making sure they don't develop any digestive upsets and if they do, it's best to put them back on their original diet and to discuss things with the vet before attempting to change it again.
Older dogs are not known to be fussy or finicky eaters, but this does not mean you can feed them a lower quality diet. It's best to feed a mature dog twice a day, once in the morning and then again in the evening, making sure it's good quality food that meets all their nutritional requirements. Cavachons are known to prefer smaller meals being sporadic eaters. It's also important that dogs be given the right amount of exercise so they burn off any excess calories or they might gain too much weight which can lead to all sorts of health issues. Obesity can shorten a dog's life by several years so it's important to keep an eye on their waistline from the word go.
If you are looking to buy a Cavachon, you would need to pay anything from £375 to over £1000 for a well-bred, healthy puppy. The cost of insuring a male 3-year-old Cavachon in northern England would be £17.79 a month for basic cover but for a lifetime policy, this would set you back £41.22 a month (quote as of June 2016). When insurance companies calculate a pet's premium, they factor in several things which includes where you live in the UK and a dog's age and whether or not they have been neutered or spayed.
When it comes to food costs, you need to buy the best quality food whether wet or dry, to feed your dog throughout their lives making sure it suits the different stages of their lives. This would set you back between £20 - £30 a month. On top of all of this, you would need to factor in veterinary costs if you want to share your home with a Cavachon and this includes their initial vaccinations, their annual boosters, the cost of neutering or spaying your dog when the time is right and their yearly health checks, all of which quickly adds up to over £800 a year.
As a rough guide, the average cost to keep and care for a Cavachon would be between £50 to £80 a month depending on the level of insurance cover you opt to buy for your dog, but this does not include the initial cost of buying a pedigree puppy.
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