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Key Breed Facts
Intelligence / Trainability
Children and Other Pets
Caring for a Cavapoo
Average Cost to keep/care for a Cavapoo
Breed Specific Buying Advice
The Cavapoo is a cross between two pure breeds, namely a Poodle and a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. They are sometimes called Cavoodles in a few parts of the world which includes Australia, but are more commonly referred to as Cavapoos in the UK. They are one of the first "designer dogs" to appear on the scene when they were bred in America during the 1950's.
Reputable breeders use Miniature Poodles which they cross with Cavaliers because Toy Poodles are prone to suffer from more hereditary health issues which they could pass on to their offspring. Cavoos are now an extremely popular choice whether as a companion or family pet thanks to their loyal, kind, placid and extremely sweet natures with the added bonus being they are thought to be "low shedding" dogs. Cavapoos are the smaller cousins of the Cockapoo and can either have a silky coat or a wavy coat depending which of their parent breeds they have thrown to, but both coats are quite high maintenance on the grooming front.
Cavapoos were first bred in American during the 1950's by breeders who wanted to create a low-shedding dog that would be an ideal choice for people who suffer from allergies. Poodles were used to create Cavapoos for this reason. It was not very long before these charming little dogs found their way into the hearts and homes of many people not only in the United States, but over here in the UK and elsewhere in the world thanks to the fact they inherited many of their parent breed traits.
However, as with many cross breeds or "hybrid dogs", there is never any guarantee as to which traits and characteristics a Cavapoo might inherit from their parents, but this has not affected their popularity. Responsible breeders now use Miniature Poodles to cross with Cavalier King Charles Spaniels because Toy Poodles are known to suffer from more hereditary health concerns which they could pass on to puppies.
Cavapoos are known to have kind, affectionate, loyal natures and although they have been around since the fifties, they are not as yet recognised by The Kennel Club here in the UK (June 2016), nor is the Cavapoo recognised by other international dog clubs. However, as time goes by and with careful, selective breeding, a consistency in the Cavapoos looks, temperament and size might be achieved which could as a result mean they would eventually be recognised as a breed in their own right, but this could well take several generations.
Today, the Cavapoo remains one of the most popular new breeds on the planet even though it’s a bit of a gamble as to how puppies turn out when it comes to size, looks and temperament. With this said, every dog is unique and this applies to these little dogs that over time have proved themselves to be kind, loving and charming companions and family pets to have in a home.
Height at the withers: Males 33 - 45 cm, Females 33 - 45 cm
Average weight: Males 5 - 10 kg, Females 5 - 10 kg
Every Cavapoo is slightly different when it comes to colour, size, shape and coat texture because it all depends on their parent dogs and whether or not they are first generation Cavoos. They are thought to be hypoallergenic, although it has to be said, that although they have inherited this from their Poodle lineage, it is the dander a dog sheds that is partly responsible for triggering allergies in people. With this said, the Cavapoo is still considered to a low-shedding little dog and one that’s become a popular choice with people who suffer from allergies.
A lot of Cavoos have cute round faces with floppy ears which are soft to the touch. They have very endearing large eyes, full of expression which adds to their adorable looks. However, some puppies inherit a more Poodle like appearance whereas others will lean towards the Cavalier when it comes to physical traits.
When it comes to coat colours, the texture and length of a Cavapoos hair can be quite different from dog to dog with some leaning towards the Poodle and others having more of a Cavalier type coat. As such some Cavapoos can have silky coats which they inherit from the Cavalier whereas others have a wavier coat which is a good indication they have thrown more to the Poodle. When it comes to colours, Cavapoos come in a variety with the most commonly seen coat colours being as follows:
A Cavapoo's gait is bouncy and when they move they do so positively, covering a lot of ground when they do. Many dogs inherit the high stepping gait of a Poodle which adds to their elegant looks.
It is really important that potential owners contact reputable Cavapoo breeders when thinking about sharing a home with one of these sweet natured dogs. The reason being that although there is not set "breed standard" because they are not recognised as a breed by the Kennel Club, it is essential that good breeding practices be adhered to so that no exaggerations are bred into puppies. It is also crucial that both parent dogs be tested for the relevant health concerns associated with their breeds.
The Cavapoo can inherit many of the characteristics and personalities of their parent breeds and they are renowned for being affectionate, friendly and loyal companions and family pets which is why they have consistently been among the most popular cross breeds around both here in the UK and elsewhere in the world for such a long time. They are renowned for being extremely sweet-natured which means they get on with everyone and everything.
They become totally devoted to their families, loving nothing more than to be part of a household and involved in everything that goes on in the home. They are also known to get on well with children and when well socialised from a young age, they like being around other dogs and pets too. In short, a Cavoo is an all-round, highly adaptable small dog and one that fits in with most lifestyles with no trouble at all because they are so adaptable and versatile.
The only downside to sharing a home with a Cavapoo is that they thrive on human company and hate being left on their own for any extended periods of time. As such, they are happy when they live in a household where one person usually stays at home when everyone else is out. If left to their own devices for long periods of time, these charming small dogs can quickly develop some unwanted behavioural issues which can be hard to correct. This includes excessive barking, being destructive around the home and suffering from separation anxiety.
They are clever dogs having inherited their intelligence from both parent breeds and as such they need to be given the right amount of daily exercise and mental stimulation for them to be truly happy, well-rounded and obedient dogs. When a Cavapoo is well socialised from a young age and correctly trained using positive reinforcement methods, they are a real pleasure to have around and many of these charming dogs do a great job as therapy dogs.
They are known to be sensitive dogs by nature and as such they do not answer well to any sort of harsh correction or heavy-handed training. When a puppy or young dog gets things wrong, it's never a good idea to tell them off harshly, even if they've had an "accident" indoors. Cavoos do respond very well to positive reinforcement training methods and will quickly pick up on what is being asked of them because they love to please and like nothing more than to receive praise and a treat as a reward.
Cavapoos are a great choice for first time dog owners because they are so amenable and sweet natured. They thrive on being around people and are therefore very receptive to learning new things and adore the one to one attention they are given when being trained.
Being such social dogs by nature and as previously mentioned, Cavapoos tend to get on with other dogs and animals. They do not have a very high prey drive, but this does not mean a dog won't chase the neighbour's cat if ever they get the chance to. A well trained and socialised Cavapoo can be taught not to chase another animal providing their education was started early enough when puppies are the most receptive to learning the rules.
Cavapoos are playful and they enjoy taking part in lots of canine sports and playing interactive games like "fetch". Being energetic, they excel at activities like agility and thoroughly enjoy the attention they are given when being trained and when they are taking part in competitions, shows and events.
Cavapoos are extremely adaptable and are just as happy living in an apartment in town as they are living in a house in the country, providing they are given enough daily exercise and mental stimulation to prevent boredom from setting in.
Cavapoos are not known to like the sound of their own voices too much and can be taught not to bark for the sake of it. With this said, if a dog is left on their own for long periods of time or they are unhappy in their environment, they may well start to bark which is their way of showing they are stressed out and that they would like a little more attention.
Many Cavapoos do like water and will happily jump in to have a swim more especially when the weather is hot. Some dogs, however, are not that keen and don't even like to get their feet wet and should never be forced to take swim. It is always a good idea to keep a Cavapoo on a lead when walking anywhere near more dangerous watercourses just in case they decide to leap in.
Cavapoos are good watchdogs and will quickly let an owner know when there are strangers about or when something is going on in their environment that they don't like.
The fact that Cavapoos are a cross between a Poodle and a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel means these charming dogs are intelligent. Therefore, they are very trainable and teaching them to do things is an enjoyable experience all round. However, a Cavoo's training must start the moment they arrive in a new home because they younger a dog is, the easier it is for them to learn new things. It would be a mistake to wait too long before starting their education, but with this said the first stages of their education which is when they are being taught the "ground rules" should never be too intensive, but rather an enjoyable, fun experience for all concerned.
Once a puppy is older and they are fully vaccinated, their training can start in earnest. Enrolling a puppy into a puppy class when they are around 10 to 12 weeks old goes a long way in successfully socialising them so they grow up to be confident, outgoing mature dogs. Their training not only has to start early, but it has to be consistent for dogs to understand what is expected of them. Cavapoos like to know their place in a pack and are never happier and more obedient than when they know who they can look to for direction and guidance.
Cavapoos can be a little naughty when it comes to house training but with patience, perseverance and understanding, they can be taught to do their “business” outside, it might just take a little longer than with other dogs. They respond well to positive reinforcement training and enjoy the one-to-one attention they are given when they are being taught new things.
Once a dog is older, they can be taught other more complicated commands to ensure they grow up to be more obedient and well-behaved.
Cavapoos have earned themselves the reputation for being both wonderful companions and family pets because they get on well with older children who know how to behave around small dogs. Younger children can be a little too boisterous and noisy for a Cavoo to cope with and as such, care has to be taken when they are around toddlers and very young children. In short, they are not the best choice for families with very young children in the home. It's best for any interaction between dogs and kids to be supervised by an adult to make sure things stay calm and playtime does not get too lively which could end up with someone getting scared or hurt. The problem is that Cavoos are so cute that children of all ages cannot help approaching them a little too quickly which tends to frighten these little dogs.
Cavapoos are friendly dogs by nature and if well socialised from a young age they generally get on well with other dogs. If they grow up with other pets in the house, they usually tolerate being around them and this includes a family cat. However, care has to be taken when they are around smaller pets, bearing in mind that a Cavapoo would think nothing of chasing a neighbour's cat even if they get on with the family cat.
For further advice please read our article on Keeping Children Safe around Dogs.
The average life expectancy of a Cavapoo is between 13 and 15 years when properly cared for and fed an appropriate good quality diet to suit their ages.
Like so many other breeds, the Cavapoo is known to suffer from a few hereditary health issues that commonly affect their parent breeds which are worth knowing about if you are planning share your home with one of these charming dogs. A reputable breeder would always have their stud dogs tested for any health issues that are associated with the breeds because this is the only way of reducing the chances of their offspring inheriting any of the known disorders and health issues. The health concerns that are known to affect the Poodle and the Cavalier are as follows:
Cavapoos have short muzzles and as such they are extremely sensitive to heat so during the hotter summer months, care should be taken to ensure a dog does not overheat which they can do all too quickly and easily which could prove fatal.
Cavapoo Puppies would have had their first vaccinations, but it's essential for them to have their follow-up jabs at the right time with the vaccination schedule being as follows:
There has been a lot of discussion about the need for dogs to have boosters. As such, it's best to talk to a vet before making a final decision on whether a dog should continue to have annual vaccinations which are known as boosters.
A male Cavapoo can safely be neutered when they are 6 months old and females can be spayed when they are 6 months old too.
As with any other breed, feeding the correct amounts of food every day and giving a Cavapoo the right amount of daily exercise will ensure they remain fit and healthy. It is also important not to offer too many "food treats" which could upset their daily calorie intake and lead to a dog putting on too much weight. Obesity is a serious health concern which can shorten a dog's life by several years.
Some Cavapoos can develop allergies and it can be very hard finding out just what triggers them. It's a good idea to keep a diary of when a dog's allergy flares up and when it is at it's worse because the more information a vet can be given, the easier it would be for them to discover what the triggers are, bearing in mind that it could still take quite a lot of time and effort to do so. Some of the more common triggers for allergies include the following:
As previously mentioned, reputable breeders would always have their stud dogs tested for health conditions associated with the breed.
For Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, the relevant health schemes available for the breed are as follows:
With Mitral Valve murmurs, there are different grades of the condition which a vet would be able to test for. The different grades are as follows which indicate the severity of a dog's condition and how much the valve is leaking:
The recommended health tests for Poodles are as follows:
Where Poodles are concerned, it is mandatory under the Kennel Club rules for Assured Breeders to have all dogs tested using the following scheme and they recommend other breeders also follow suit:
Other tests that Miniature Poodles should undergo before being used in a breeding programme to produce Cavapoos are as follows:
Cavapoos are not recognised by the Kennel Club and therefore there are not breed specific breeding restrictions in place.
Because the Cavapoo is not a recognised breed, there are no KC Assured Breeders at the current time.
As with any other breed, Cavapoos need to be groomed on a regular basis to make sure their coats and skin are kept in top condition, bearing in mind that they are high maintenance and benefit from being professionally groomed several times a year. 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 to suit the different stages of their lives.
Cavapoo puppies are adorably cute so it is too easy to spoil them when they first arrive in their new homes. However, it would be a mistake to let a puppy get away with too much because it could lead to serious behavioural problems further down the line which could be hard to correct. It's important to set ground rules, limits and boundaries right from the word go so that a Cavapoo puppy knows what is expected of them and who they can look to for direction and guidance.
Puppy-proofing a house and the garden must be done well in advance of a puppy's arrival which means setting up a quiet area for them to nap in as well as safe places for them to play even when they cannot be watched over. The quiet area should not be too out of the way because a puppy needs to know someone is around and it's a good idea to be able to hear them so if they do get into trouble, it does not turn into a more serious situation. With this said, the quiet area should be out of the way of too much traffic which could disturb a puppy and prevent them from napping when they need to.
All electric cables and wires need to be put out of harm's way because all puppies like to chew and gnaw on things which could end in disaster if they do so on a live wire. Garden tools and other implements also need to be put away to prevent a young puppy from injuring themselves when they are outside.
There are certain items needed to take care of a puppy which should be purchased in advance of them arriving in their new homes. The things needed are as follows:
All puppies are sensitive to loud sounds which is why it's important to keep the noise down in the home. Music should not be played too loudly and the volume on a television or other device should not be set too high which could stress a little puppy out and prevent them from napping bearing in mind that a puppy can sleep for anything up to 21 hours a day.
Puppies are always vaccinated before they are sold, but as previously mentioned, it is up to their new owners to make sure they are given their follow-up shots at the right time which should be as follows:
When it comes to boosters, it's best to discuss these with a vet because there is a lot of debate about whether a dog really needs them after a certain time. However, if a Cavapoo ever needed to go into kennels, their vaccinations would need to be
Like all other dogs, when a Cavapoo reaches their golden years there are certain changes in their looks and personalities that are to be expected. Older dogs can go grey around their faces and more especially on their muzzles. Their eyesight and vision might not be as good as it once was too. Other changes to watch out for include the following:
A Cavapoo's coat can be quite different from dog to dog. As such it depends on their coat type as to how much grooming is needed to keep things tidy. If they boast having a longer coat, then more frequent grooming would be necessary with some owners having their Cavapoos regularly clipped which makes managing things that much easier in between visits to a grooming parlour and it's best to have a Cavapoos coat professionally groomed every 4 to 6 weeks.
Their coats generally need to be brushed every day or so to prevent any knots and tangles from forming and a daily groom helps reinforce the bond between dog and owner with Cavoos loving the one-to-one attention they get during a grooming session.
Cavapoos tend to get unsightly tear stains under their eyes which need to be gently cleaned with a damp cloth on a regular basis. It's also important to check around a dog's backside and their belly because both these areas tend to get a bit dirty if not regularly washed. Males can develop urine stains on their bellies which if left for too long can get smelly and it could lead to dog's developing sores. The same applies to a dog's backside because if their hair is too long, poop can get caught in it which needs to be washed off as soon as possible before carefully trimming around the offending area.
It's essential to keep a close watch on a Cavapoo's teeth to make sure there is no excessive plaque building up on them because these little dogs are prone to suffering from dental issues and the cleaner their teeth are kept, the less chance of a problem developing.
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 notoriously hard to clear up. In short, prevention is often easier than cure when it comes to ear infections.
Having the right grooming tools to keep a Cavapoo’s skin and coat in good condition makes the task that much easier. The tools needed are as follows:
Cavapoos are lively, energetic and inquisitive little dogs. They are also very smart which in short, means they need to be given the right amount of daily exercise and mental stimulation for them to be truly happy, well-rounded and obedient 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 lively little dogs in because if they find a weakness in the fence, they will soon escape out and get into all sorts of trouble.
With this said, Cavapoo 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 very reason.
If you get a Cavapoo 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. 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.
Once a puppy is settled into their new homes, it is safe to change their diets, but as previously touched upon, it needs to be done gradually and carefully to avoid any tummy upsets. As a rough guide, Cavapoo puppies can be fed the following amounts every day to ensure they are getting all the nutrients they need to grow and develop properly:
Once a puppy is 12 months old they can be fed adult dog food as shown below.
As a rough guide, an adult fully grown Cavapoo can be fed the following amounts every day to ensure they stay fit and healthy:
If you are looking to buy a Cavapoo, you would need to pay anything from £500 to over £1000 for a well-bred puppy. The cost of insuring a male 3-year-old Cavapoo 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 March 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 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 this, you would need to factor in veterinary costs if you want to share your home with a Cavapoo 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 Cavapoo 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 well-bred puppy.