A Brief History
Also known as Cavadoodle, the Cavapoo is a hybrid or designer dog created by mixing the Poodle with a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. The result of this pairing is an intelligent, playful, outgoing, compassionate, loyal and very adorable dog. The Cavapoo got its origin in Australia in the 1990s and was an instant success story. It didn’t take long for their popularity to soar in both the UK and the United States as well.
The perfect match will result in a litter with puppies that have the loyalty, energy, and playfulness of the Cavalier with the intelligence and hypoallergenic coat traits of the Poodle. When the designer dog trend first began, Cavapoos were some of the first designer dogs created.
Temperament – Personality
The Cavapoo has a friendly, loyal and affectionate personality. They’re good-natured dogs that are quite sociable with people, dogs, and other pets. Their friendly personality does not deter them from being good watchdogs in the home. They’ll bark when strangers come to the home or if they hear strange noises.
They do best when they’re around people and not left home alone for long stretches. Cavapoos are not happy when they’re being ignored and often suffer from separation anxiety when left alone. This separation anxiety may result in the Cavapoo whining, barking, howling or chewing on things around the home. Fear not…with some good socialization, training, and proper exercise, these habits can be greatly reduced or even eliminated.
Is the Cavapoo a Good Family Dog?
The Cavapoo’s personality makes them a great family dog. They have the high-energy drive needed to keep up with older children while also possessing the gentleness and protective nature towards the younger ones. They’re the happiest when they’re the center of attention from all family members.
Is the Cavapoo Good with Kids?
Cavapoos are not only good family dogs but also dogs that are very good with children. If there were a checklist to determine qualities that make the Cavapoo a good dog, every box would be checked. Cavapoos are gentle and loving while also being playful and active. They seem to know what personality they should exhibit based on the child.
Because of their small size, they are quite attractive to small young children that might try to pick them up. Although Cavapoos are very good with kids, young children should be monitored when they’re with the dog and taught to treat this dog with the same respect they would treat a large dog.
Cavapoos come in one of three coat types: hair, fleece or wool, although, fleece is the most common. Regardless of which coat type the Cavapoo has, the dog looks like a fuzzy teddy bear. They also come in a variety of different colors, including, gold, black, white, tricolor (black, white and tan) or Blenheim (brown and white).
The size of the Cavapoo depends on the size of the parents. Since either a Toy or Miniature Poodle may be used, their size can vary. Their weight ranges from 7 to 18 pounds and they usually stand between 9” to 14” tall at the shoulder. The Cavapoo’s coat may be curly, silky or wavy. Their long ears are probably one of the Cavapoo’s most distinctive features.
Do Cavapoos Shed?
Since Cavapoos may come in one of three different coat types, their ability or tendency to shed will depend on the coat they possess. Fleece coats, which are the most common, are low-shedding and require regular clipping to keep them that way. Fleece coats have either a curl or loose wave to them and feel very soft to the touch.
Hair coats may shed more but also require less brushing and clipping. The hair coat has a wiry and rough feel to it. Wool coats have tight curls and require brushing daily or frequent haircuts or both. Because wool coats release the least amount of dander and shed very little, they are the best coat type for people with allergies.
Care and Maintenance
The type of coat type the Cavapoo has plays a role in the amount of care and maintenance the dog requires. It also determines who often the dog’s coat should be brushed or trimmed to prevent tangling and matting. They also need their nails trimmed regularly and their ears clean to prevent infections. Cavapoos do best when kept inside the house. Although they enjoy playing outside, they don’t do well when left outside alone for longer periods. Because of their short muzzle, they are very sensitive to heat.
Socializing & Training
The Cavapoo requires socialization at an early age to ensure it grows to be a well-balanced dog familiar with different types of people, animals, situations, and environments. The earlier the socialization begins, the better it is for the dog. Socialization should include taking the dog to the park where he will be around other dogs and other people.
Taking Cavapoo for walks in the neighborhood will also help him get accustomed to his surroundings. You might also want to take them places that have loud noises to get them used to the noise. Lack of socialization often results in the dog becoming afraid of new things and barking or shying away with fear.
Want to learn more about socialization? Check out our complete Socialization Guide & 80+ Point checklist, here.
Training the Cavapoo is just as important as socialization and should begin at an early age. Despite being friendly and easy-going dogs, many owners claim that Cavapoos are hard to housetrain. Housebreaking the Cavapoo is best done with crate training. They are also sensitive dogs that don’t respond well to yelling or harsh punishments or reprimands.
Training sessions work best when they’re short and end with positive reinforcement or treats. However, the training must be consistent. Cavapoos also respond well to praise and petting.
Food and Nutrition
Giving your Cavapoo a good nutritious diet is probably one of the best things you can do for him. They’re a small breed dog and should have dog food that’s specially made for small breed dogs and for the appropriate age. As a rule of thumb, small dogs like Cavapoos should get about 40 calories for each pound of dog weight. A 15-pound Cavapoo should get about 600 calories per day.
Most dog foods will list the serving size and the number of calories per serving size to make it easier to feed your Cavapoo the correct amount. Cavapoos should get about 480 to 950 calories per day when they’re puppies and about 300 to 600 when they’re adult dogs. Their daily requirements vary a lot on their size, which is also determined by whether the parent is a toy or miniature Poodle.
If you implement treats into the training program, make sure you offer nutritious treats and treats that will not pose a choking risk. Your veterinarian may be able to offer suggestions on the brand and type of dog food and dog treats that are best for your Cavapoo.
Speaking of training & treats…these are my dog Oliver’s favorite training treats, on Amazon. They’re small and perfect for giving lots during training sessions, yet full of good natural flavor without nasty fillers.
Cavapoos are adorable little dogs that respond very positively to treats, so it’s even more important to make sure they get nutritious snacks as much as possible. Cavapoos do have a predisposition to over-eating, so it’s important that when they do eat, it’s healthy food to prevent the dog from becoming overweight.
Do Cavapoos Need to be Groomed & Bathed?
Cavapoos do need to be groomed and bathed, but the frequency in which they’ll need it has a lot to do with their coat type. Keep in mind also that because they are a mixed breed you may not know what type of coat they’re going to have until they’re older. Cavapoos with wavy or curly coats will need regular brushing to prevent the hair from getting tangles and knots.
Two areas that are important to pay attention to are the armpits and the ears. Hair seems to grow long in the armpits and should be brushed and/or trimmed. The ears should be cleaned and wiped with a damp rag. Make sure they’re dried thoroughly to prevent ear or yeast infections from developing. Cavapoos are very susceptible to developing ear infections, so cleanliness and keeping them dry is very important. Many Cavapoo owners also have the dog’s teeth cleaned.
There really isn’t any certain haircut specific to Cavapoos. Most owners use a teddy bear clip, which keeps leg and body hair short and the face round. The ears are generally kept straight and long like the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. Cavapoos usually need to go to the groomers every 8 to 10 weeks but only need to be bathed every 2 to 3 months.
Like training and socialization, grooming should begin at a very young age. The earlier in life the Cavapoo gets introduced to basic grooming, the better behaved he’ll be at the groomers.
How Much Exercise Do They Need?
Cavapoos may be mellow, gentle and affectionate dogs that are perfectly content laying with you on the couch, but don’t let that fool you. They have a high-energy drive and love running around as much as possible. They should have at least 30 to 60 minutes of good exercise every day but will not complain at all if they get even more.
Don’t feel compelled to limit the exercise to just daily walks or running around the yard. Cavapoos are intelligent dogs that love brain games and mental stimulation. Despite how much the dog will enjoy food-filled treats and games, keep them to a minimum to prevent overeating because this dog will not walk away from a delicious treat.
Cavapoos love daily exercise and literally thrive ongoing for daily walks or family playtime, which might include playing fetch, jumping or just romping with the children. Because they’re such high-energy dogs, you might feel as though they never tire out. You can read more about exercise and get some fun ideas, here.
Interactive toys and puzzles are a great way to help provide the Cavapoo with the extra stimulation and satisfaction he may require after this daily exercise. He may not yet be 100% tired even if his owner is!
Health Issues – Common Health Issues and Any Special Needs
Cavapoos generally have a lifespan of 10 to 14 years. Being a mixed breed dog may benefit the dog health-wise in that they’re not prone to certain breed-related health issues. Poodles, for instance, are prone to developing epilepsy. A purebred Poodle will have an even better chance of getting the disease because both parents are Poodle. Cavapoos have the advantage of being two different breeds of dog. Nonetheless, there are still some common health issues known for Cavapoos.
- Heart defects
- Luxating Patella
- Eye Conditions such as Progressive Retinal Atrophy and cataracts
- Hip Dysplasia
- Ear infections
Responsible breeders will often have the parents undergo genetic screening to determine if the parents are healthy from certain diseases such as hip dysplasia or genetic eye problems. This is beneficial because the breeders are then able to offer the buyer some sort of guarantee in writing.
Roles – What is This Breed Best Suited For?
The Cavapoo is a breed that is well-suited for many purposes. While their gentle, loving and playful nature make them ideal family pets, their intelligence, high trainability, and loyalty make them great service dogs. In addition, their ability to get along great with kids of all ages make them good companion and therapy dogs.
Although their small size may make the idea of Cavapoos hunting almost unbelievable, some Cavapoos enjoy hunting, especially in the water. Although this may come from both sides of the family, let’s not forget that Poodles used to be great water hunting dogs! There really are very few purposes that the Cavapoo dog cannot fulfill.
How Much Does a Cavapoo Cost?
Upon deciding to buy a Cavapoo, don’t be surprised to find that the cost of a Cavapoo varies by many factors. These factors include;
- Breeder’s reputation
- Breeder’s location
- Puppy’s lineage
- Size of litter
- Supply and demand
- Socialization and training
- Age of puppy
When we think in terms of crossbreed dogs, we generally think of dogs that are cheap because they’re not purebred. While this was usually the case in the past, it’s not often the same today, at least not with the Cavapoo dog. Cavapoos cannot be registered with the American Kennel Club because they’re a mixed breed dog, but the parents may be purebred and registered with the AKC in their respective breed registry (Poodle or Cavalier King Charles Spaniel).
Cavapoos may be registered with the International Designer Canine Registry. This may also affect the cost of the Cavapoo. The average price for a Cavapoo is around $1,100, and this is for a Cavapoo without breeding rights and one that’s not show-quality. Cavapoos can cost anywhere from $1,000 to $10,000 or more. Cavapoos may also be registered through these agencies.
- American Hybrid Club
- Dog Registry of American, Inc.
- Designer Breed Registry
- Designer Dogs Kennel Club
Finding Reputable Breeders or Adopting
Once you decide to buy a Cavapoo, the biggest decision will probably be whether to get it from a breeder or through adoption at a rescue. Buying from a breeder can prove very time-consuming because you’re going to want to make sure you only deal with a reputable breeder. Unless you know the breeder personally, it can be difficult knowing if you’re dealing with a reputable and honest breeder.
Your vet or local animal shelter may be able to offer recommendations or offer help in locating reputable Cavapoo breeders. The Internet is also a great resource for information as well as a place to find reviews or recommendations on breeders. A list of Cavapoo breeders can be found at BreedersClub.net.
How do you know if the breeder is reputable and honest or just another scammer or puppy mill? If the breeder shows any of these signs, you’re probably best staying away.
- The breeders won’t let you come to see his kennel.
- The breeder can’t show you the puppy’s mother and father.
- The kennel is not clean and orderly.
- The breeder deals with more than one breed of dog.
- The price of the puppies is too good to be true.
- The breeder is not willing to give any kind of guarantee.
- The breeder insists on a deposit without providing a receipt.
- The breeder is hesitant or unwilling to answer all your questions.
Adopting a Cavapoo is another way to become an owner of one of these beautiful dogs. The downside is that you probably won’t have your choice of a puppy because it will most likely be coming from a rescue or shelter group. AnimalLeague.org offers information on finding Cavapoos through shelter or rescue groups. You’ll be expected to pay adoption fees, which cover the cost of medical care and sterilization, but you’ll also be saving a dog from euthanasia. The price to adopt a Cavapoo can range from about $250 to $800.
Real Owner/Breeder Recommended Supplies
We’ve scoured the web to compile the most recommended supplies by actual Cavapoo owners and reputable breeders. We’ve taken it a step further and have personally researched each product to ensure it’s worthy of our stamp of approval as well. If you don’t see something you’re looking for here, be sure to check our personal recommended products page.
Rich and I both use and recommend this crate (here’s the 24″ version on Amazon) regardless of breed. It’s durable, secure, easily collapses for transport, and has 2 doors.
Most owners and groomers recommend a slicker brush for a Cavapoo, which makes sense because slicker brushed work well on dogs mixed with the Poodle. This slicker by Chris Christensen (see them on Amazon), is recommended by professional groomers all over because of their quality and because each pin is rounded on the end. This is important to avoid discomfort when you’re brushing them.
Groomers will tell you that a good comb is just as important as a brush…I have to agree. They make brushing soo much easier, too. I like to use the comb first, to make sure all the tangles are out, and for sensitive areas like around the face. Here’s the comb I personally use.
The Cavapoo Handbook
Looking for a book that gives you all the ins and outs on the breed? This 5-star Amazon Bestseller by Linda Whitwam is full of information and tips from experts with 100s of years of combined experience. It’s available on Amazon in both Paperback and Kindle versions.