Updated - Oct 13th, 2022
Teddy bears, adorable, cuddly, smart – these all describe the Cavapoo, a cross between a miniature poodle and a King Charles Cavalier Spaniel. Known for their pleasant dispositions, these dogs effortlessly take their place in any family. Their low-shed coats make them a good choice for allergy sufferers, too!
The Cavapoo breed is a devoted companion who’s always willing to romp after the kids or snuggle on the couch. Let’s investigate this designer/hybrid breed to see why they’re becoming more popular as both therapy dogs and family pets.
1. All the names for a Cavapoo
This delightful breed has some pretty creative names. The most common are Cavoodle, Cavadoodle, Cadoodle. There’s an almost unending list of nicknames for this breed, because there are so many ways to combine the words “cavalier” and “poodle.” All these nicknames point to the cuteness of the breed and its easy-going temperament.
2. History of the breed
The Cavapoo has a noble parental background.
The Poodle is a water dog, skilled at flushing and retrieving fowl from the water. They’re excellent swimmers and hunters with high intelligence. Considered an upper-class dog, Europeans prized them as hunters and liked to include them in family portraits.
During Roman times, the Romans bred Cavaliers to be companion dogs who could warm the laps of nobility. In the 1700s, King Charles the 1st loved them so much the breed was named after him. In the 1940s, they made their way to the United States. The AKC recognized the King Charles Cavalier Spaniel as an official breed in 1995, and they became the 140th recognized breed.
Cavapoos first appeared in Australia in the 1990s, after the Labradoodle and Goldendoodle gained a popular following. They became one of Australia’s most popular dogs, even though they were a newer designer breed. The AKC doesn’t recognize hybrids as breeds, but in 2009 the International Designer Canine Registry approved the crossbreed for registry.
Their low-shed coats, high intelligence, and loyal, sociable temperament and energy proved to be an excellent mix for family-oriented dogs. They were easy to train, got along well with all family members (even other four-leggers) – and best of all, those with dog allergies could tolerate them with fewer symptoms.
3. The Cavapoo has no breed standards
Standards for the breed are difficult, as puppies can take after either parental breed. But whichever parent they resemble, you’ll get a fuzzy-faced teddy bear that thrives in a family setting, including one with young children.
4. Cavapoo size
The Cavapoo is a cross between a miniature poodle and a medium-sized Cavalier. They range in size from 9 to 14 inches tall and weigh between 7 and 18 lbs. Cavaliers don’t have toy poodle parents – their parents are always miniature poodles. Toy poodle lines are in-bred and therefore have too many inherent health problems.
5. Coats of many colors
The colors of the parents determine the colors of the pup. Cavapoo puppies come in a variety of colors. The most common are gold, black, chestnut, cream, white, or a tricolor of black, tan and white. Most are a blend of white and a dominant color.
6. Cavapoos can have different coats
Depending on which parent breed a Cavapoo takes after, they can have three kinds of coat:
- Hair: This is a wiry and tough coat that’s low-shed. It’s more of a terrier look with furnishings. This coat type requires the least amount of grooming.
- Fleece: This is the loose, wavy coat we know and love. It requires grooming more often and is less allergy-friendly than the other types. Cavapoo parents clip dogs with this hair type every 8 weeks to maintain their teddy bear appearance.
- Wool: This is a tightly-curled coat that takes after the poodle parent. It’s low-shed and very allergy-friendly. These dogs also need to be clipped to maintain their teddy bear looks.
No dog is completely hypoallergenic. The common claim that a Cavapoo is hypoallergenic can be misleading. Allergies come from the dander, dead skin cells that slough off and gather on the fur of an animal. Dogs with tight coats like the poodle shed less, leaving behind less hair in an environment. We consider those coats more allergy-friendly than their counterparts with straight hair or high-shed coats.
7. Cavapoos are family-oriented and full of energy
Cavapoos were bred to combine the low-shed coat, gentle nature and intelligence of the poodle with the playful, energetic, loving disposition of the Cavalier. The result is a people-oriented dog that develops strong bonds with their families and wants to be included in all family activities.
Cavapoos love kids both large and small and get along well with other four-leggers in the household. But that pleasant, people-focused personality makes them lousy watch dogs.
They also have a high prey drive, since they come from hunting backgrounds. Small animals and birds may inspire them to give chase.
Cavapoos have loads of energy. They need daily exercise and lots of mental stimulation like trick training or intelligent toys. Not known for being barkers, they grow bored when left alone too much, resulting in barking and destructive behavior. These dogs LOVE brain games and romping through the yard after kids. In addition, your Cavapoo will need lots of attention from you to remain well-balanced.
8. Cavapoos adapt well to many living situations
Their smaller size and quiet demeanor makes them adapt well to a variety of living situations. But they need daily exercise and lots of attention to keep them from barking and annoying neighbors. Thirty minutes of energetic playtime per day keeps them calm and happy. When left alone, intelligent toys and a variety of chews and toys will keep them busy and out of trouble until you come home.
9. Lifespan of the Cavapoo
This mixed breed produces smaller dogs. Thus, Cavapoo lifespans are longer than a large breed dog. You can expect the average lifespan of a cavapoo to be 10-14 years.
10. Cavapoos are sensitive to the moods of their humans
Since they come from people-oriented parent breeds, Cavapoos don’t react well to harsh voices, harsh training methods and disharmony. Their high intelligence makes them easy trainers that respond better to positive reinforcement. A calm, soft response to any misbehaviors will get you the result you want much sooner than harsh or extreme reactions.
11. Cavapoos can outlive their parents
Hybrid vigor, or heterosis, develops when you breed two unrelated purebred breeds that don’t share common health issues (and this happens in all species, and even plants). This cross-breeding gives their offspring vibrant health benefits that allow them to enjoy longer life spans than their parents. If you breed a Cavapoo to a Cavapoo, you lose much of the heterosis, which is why reputable breeders are so careful about parental lines when breeding.
12. Cavapoo health
Even though they have hybrid vigor, Cavapoos have developed some health and anatomical issues. These are the most common:
- Patellar Luxation: A kneecap issue that is painful and sometimes requires surgery to correct.
- Mitral Valve Disease: A heart murmur caused by leakage into the mitral valve. If not caught and treated, it can develop into congestive heart failure.
- Hip Dysplasia: A congenital hip problem that can cause pain and lead to difficulty walking. We associate this issue with larger dogs, but it’s common in smaller breeds as well.
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy: A degenerative disease that affects the photoreceptor cells in the eyes. If left untreated, it will lead to blindness.
- Tracheal Collapse: A problem that causes the trachea rings to lose rigidity and strength. This can make breathing difficult.
Regular veterinarian check-ups can help you diagnose these problems early, allowing for intervention before a condition worsens. Enrolling in health insurance for your dog from puppyhood ensures that decisions about health care are easier to make, letting you focus on your dog’s health needs instead of the cost of vet care.
13. Cavapoos love to eat
The Cavapoo is a hearty eater who will eat whatever you put in front of them. It’s great to have a dog that isn’t a picky eater, but they can easily put on weight. To avoid a chunky Cavoodle, follow a 90:10 ratio of food and treats. Their daily dog food should comprise 90% of their daily calories while treats and snacks should only amount to the remaining 10%. This should keep your cavapoo at a healthy weight.
An eager eater can also swallow things that aren’t appropriate. Watch your dog and pick up anything that could harm them if ingested. Be mindful of where you leave shoes, towels, or small kid toys or they could end up in your dog’s mouth.
14. A Cavapoo is not an outdoor dog
Cavapoos are not outdoor dogs. They love to be outside for playtime, but they’re too small for extreme temperatures. Nor are their temperaments suited to being alone outdoors all day. They prefer to be wherever you are and will make better pets when they’re included in all family activities. If they must be outside in extreme weather, make sure it’s only for short periods or they could bark for attention.
15. Designer dogs are expensive, and the Cavapoo is no exception
Cavapoo litters are 2-8 pups large. The Cavapoo is one of the first of the hybrid or designer breeds and the smaller cousin of the cockapoo. You can expect to pay $1,200-$1,800 for one.
There are rescues for these dogs, and you can find them in shelters as well. If you want a Cavapoo without the steep price tag, check out those options first and rescue or foster a Cavapoo.
16. Cavapoo Clubs
These organizations recognize the cavapoo breed:
- The American Canine Hybrid Club (ACHC,)
- The Designer Dogs Kennel Club (DDKC)
- Dog Registry of America, Inc. (DRA)
- Designer Breed Registry (DBR)
17. Cavapoos are Instagram influencers too!
If you need an extra dose of Cavapoo cuteness, follow the exploits of “Cooper the Cavapoo,” known as the “chicken nugget with legs”, or join the 50,000 followers of Rumi and his brother Enzo. I’m sure there are many more on all social media platforms, all displaying the crazy antics of this designer breed.
18. Cavapoos are attentive service dogs
If you need a smaller service dog, consider a Cavapoo. Easily trained and attuned to the needs of their companions, Cavappos serve as PTSD dogs, trauma dogs, depression dogs, and therapy dogs. Give your Cavapoo a job and he’ll rise to the challenge!
Is the Cavapoo your perfect dog?
Cavapoos are intelligent and easily trainable. They bring energy, devotion, and allergy-friendly coats to the table. This cross between the poodle and the King Charles Cavalier makes a wonderful pet in so many ways. If you need a constant companion who will not only cuddle you but amuse you with their clowning antics, look no further than the Cavapoo. This fuzzy-faced teddy bear will charm your heart!