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Are Cavapoos Intelligent? How Do You Work Out The Intelligence Of Hybrid Dog Types?

The Cavapoo is a very popular hybrid dog type that is a common sight all over the UK, and which is developed by crossing Cavalier King Charles spaniels with poodles.

One of the main purposes of developing the Cavapoo dog type was to combine all of the best traits of both breeds into one, with one of the most popular and in-demand traits in question being the poodle-style coat, which is very low shedding and often, less prone to trigger allergies.

Most Cavapoos have a coat that is somewhere between that of the poodle and the Cavalier King Charles spaniel, being looser and more relaxed than the tightly coiled poodle coat, but more curled and less prone to shedding than that of the Cavvie. However, this trait, like all others, can be very variable from dog to dog, and you can never be quite sure what you’ll get when it comes to hybrid dog traits!

This means that working out what the Cavapoo is like in other regards can be a bit hit and miss too, and there’s not a lot of definitive information around on a lot of related topics, like Cavapoo intelligence. 

If you own one or are considering buying a Cavapoo, however, finding out how clever Cavapoos are is one of the most important factors to research. This information can tell you all sorts, including how easy it will be to train a Cavapoo, what they might be capable of, and what they’re like to live with.

However, as a hybrid breed, the Cavapoo hasn’t been formally ranked for intelligence like many pedigree breeds have; so how can you tell how smart Cavapoos are? Based on the intelligence of the Cavapoo’s two parent breeds, this article may hold the answer.

Read on to find out how clever Cavapoos are and how to work out the intelligence of hybrid dog types.

How can Cavapoo intelligence be assessed?

There is a well-known and very highly regarded ranking of 138 different pedigree dog breeds based on their intelligence levels and obedience, which was drawn up by canine psychology professor Stanley Coren in the 1990s.

The information contained within the initial study was published in a book called The Intelligence of Dogs, and the results of the study are still widely used today as the benchmark of canine intelligence.

However, as a non-pedigree dog type, the Cavapoo was not assessed for intelligence within the study and so doesn’t have a ranking – so how can you work out how smart your Cavapoo is? 

Well, the two parent breeds of Cavapoos (being the Cavalier King Charles spaniel and the poodle) are themselves included within the ranking. Ergo, we can use this information to calculate where in theory the Cavapoo itself would rank, and what this means in terms of practical applications.

How intelligent are Cavapoos?

Based on the approach outlined above and assuming that the standard Cavapoo is a 50% mixture of both parent breeds – and that crossing the two parent breeds produced a hybrid dog that fell squarely in the middle of the two breeds in terms of intelligence – how clever are Cavapoos?

Well, the Cavalier King Charles spaniel falls in 73rd place in the ranking out of 138 dogs, so just a touch below the midpoint; but the poodle is right up near the top of the list, in second place in fact – the second most intelligent dog breed of all.

Ergo, based on our on-paper assessment, this would mean that if the Cavapoo was ranked within the scale in its own right, they might fall in or around the mid-30’s, somewhere between positions 34-36 or so.

As the by-breed assessment is based on assessments of 138 different dog breeds, this would put the Cavapoo well up towards the higher end of the list. Based on our theoretical assessment, the average Cavapoo is very intelligent, and would be classed within the intelligence group reserved for dogs that display above average working abilities!

How easy is it to train a Cavapoo?

Once more based on where the Cavapoo would theoretically fall on the Coren scale, there is some guidance available to indicate how fast the average Cavapoo learns, based on how many times they need to hear a brand-new command before they demonstrate understanding of it.

The above average dog intelligence group’s other members learned their new commands within just 15-25 repetitions of it, and this serves as a broad benchmark of how easy it might be to train a Cavapoo in turn.

How obedient are Cavapoos?

The Coren study also assessed how obedient the ranked dogs were too, because obedience is just as important as intelligence when it comes to working ability!

Based once more on the Cavapoo’s theoretical place in the list, the average Cavapoo could be expected to obey commands that they’re given the first time they’re asked without the need for repetition 70% of the time or better.

This means that as well as being intelligent, Cavapoos are also comparatively obedient as well!


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