Cavoodle is a mixed breed companion dog, crossed between a Poodle and Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. They are one of the most popular designer breeds in Australia and much of the world! His personality, intelligence, and hypoallergenic traits make him extremely popular all over the globe.
History of the Cavoodle
Where did this cheerful dog come from? These guys are believed to have made their first appearance in the United States during the 1950s. Other sources say the very first litter of Cavoodles was born in Australia around the same time.
Regardless of the origin, Standard Poodles were crossed with Cavalier King Charles Spaniels to produce the Cavoodle!
Jump ahead forty years or so. The first-ever recorded litter of Cavoodles was born in Australia! Designer breeds, in general, were skyrocketing in popularity during the 1990s.
How do you figure out your pup’s temperament? Simply combine the traits of either parent breed! These will give you an overview of hereditary predispositions. The ‘nurture’ aspect (how you raise your pup) is far more influential when determining personality traits.
Standard Poodle: Viewing against the Border Collie for the most intelligent dog breed on Earth, saying this designer breed is extremely intelligent would be an understatement. He’s highly trainable and catches on to tasks quickly.
Poodles are alert and active, always willing to jump at the next task you have set for them! The Poodle is a loyal breed and tends to bond well with human family members.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel: This miniature breed is fearless far beyond his diminutive size! This makes him very sociable, while both affectionate and playful under the right handler. Though they don’t quite match the Poodle’s intelligence, these guys are always eager to please their human companions!
When it comes to ‘nature’ and hereditarily predisposed personality traits, your Cavoodle dog is going to combine the best of those traits above! He’ll be eager to please, playful, and good-natured. Bonding with human companions will come quickly, and he’ll prove a fantastic companion for the kids!
When you socialize a dog, you are teaching him to gladly accept and enjoy being around:
- Other animals
- Strangers and kids
- All types of environments (ex. the crowded airport setting)
- Neighbors and friends
- Outside passers-by
- Any other environment or encounter you can imagine!
This is the process of teaching a dog to behave well in his environment.
This is the nurturing portion of the ‘nature vs. nurture’ part of personality development. Dogs are very social animals, and this part of training is integral to their psychological development!
Socialization alone could be the factor that determines whether your dog grows to be aggressive and constantly anxious or well-behaved and friendly around everyone! It doesn’t matter the breed here. If you fail to socialize your Cavoodle dog early and well, all the above personality traits could be worthless.
Socialization is best begun early, right after a puppy has gotten all his core vaccines and is safe to mingle with other animals. You want to start socializing your Cavoodle puppy between 12 and 16 weeks.
It’s essential to expose young puppies to many stimuli (people, places, and things) to reduce the possibility of fearful responses. When puppies grow and mature, they are most effectively socialized, localized, and habituated to these stimuli (Horwitz, Debra. DVM). – VCA Hospitals
Common Health Problems
Unfortunately, most dog breeds have their share of health concerns. The Cavoodle is a healthy mix overall but could still inherit medical conditions from either parent.
Ear infections are more common in any dog breed without standing spitz-type ears. It’s easier for bacteria to accumulate. Your dog’s ears may need regular checking!
Cataracts just describe a thickening or hardening of the lens in the eye. The normally clear lens becomes cloudy, and your dog’s quality of vision suffers. Most dog breeds that reach a certain age will suffer cataracts and vision loss.
This is the most common neurological condition seen in all dogs. Epilepsy describes continuous seizures in dogs. Many things can cause this, but the most common cause is heredity.
This is another perfect reason to ensure a strong, healthy family history before purchasing your pet! You also want to ensure the parents were genetically tested.
Imagine a normal ball and socket joint, like your (or a dog’s) hip. The head of the femur (ball) articulates wonderfully with the acetabulum of the pelvis (socket).
Imagine the socket was too small and didn’t cover the femur head that’s supposed to fit there. The two bones become loose, which means the joint is loose. It no longer works as it should.
Injuries, like strains or tears, are more common. Your dog suffers from mobility problems. The animal becomes more likely to develop arthritis with each new injury!
This describes Hip and Elbow dysplasia.
Progressive Retinal Atrophy
This covers a group of disorders that can cause wasting in the eye’s photoreceptor cells. They degrade over a period, ultimately resulting in blindness for your dog. Blindness is usually considered ‘early-onset.’
This is usually hereditary, meaning it’s inherited from parent to offspring. It’s more common in Cavalier King Charles Spaniels.
Professionals will always advise against breeding any dogs with this disorder. If your pup was bred responsibly, the chances of contracting it are rare!
With this disorder, a cyst filled with fluid can form on the spinal cord. The cyst can grow large enough to compress on the spinal cord and begin to cause nerve damage. It can lead to a change in mental activity and an increase in pain.
This disorder is more common in Cavalier King Charles Spaniels than Poodles. It probably won’t be fatal but can become very painful for your dog if medically treated.
The Cavoodle mixes’ life expectancy is generally believed to average out around 10-14 years. They are small-medium dogs and tend to live longer than larger breeds. Still, their overall life expectancy can depend on the parent breeds.
Standard Poodle: 12-15 years
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel: 9-14 years
10-14 years is a pretty good average between those two! These dogs are generally healthy and should give you a nice lifespan.
Coat and Color
Most Cavoodles look a little like fuzzy teddy bears! As mixed breed dogs, the coat types will depend upon genetics passed from the parent, whether Poodle or Spaniel. Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are double-coated breeds, while Poodles are single-coated.
These cavoodle coats tend to be shorter in length, almost scruffy, and resemble other wire-haired breeds. These Cavoodles will tend to shed more dander but require less time spent grooming than the other two coat types.
Fleece coats are most common with first-generation Cavoodles and fleece coats have a loose curl, wavy type look to them. These are soft and feel silky to the touch!
Fleece-coated Cavs won’t shed much but can become problematic if not groomed regularly. You might see little balls of hair wandering around! These are also a good choice for allergic owners, as they’ll shed very little dander.
These dogs have a more tightly curled look to them. Some wool-coated Cavs are even double-coated! Most, however, are still considered hypoallergenic and non-shedding. Still, this coat type is thought of as best for the allergic owner.
Imagine a lamb with his soft wool, thickly textured coat!
Because these are mixed breeds, they can come in any coat color the parents might exhibit! It depends on both heredity and genetics passed from parent to offspring. Let’s look at the parent breeds!
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Though these guys can come in a wide variety of colors, only four are accepted by the American Kennel Club. This includes black and white, tan and black, Blenheim (chestnut & white), and ruby.
Believe it or not, 10 colors are accepted as standard with this breed, though you could get several more! This includes apricot, black, blue, brown, cream, grey, red, silver, silver-beige, and white.
There may be even more color combinations with the standard and toy versions of the breed.
In most circumstances, your breeder might try and select for a certain coat color when pairing parents, if possible. This limits an already limited selection even more, so it might not always be possible.
Cavoodle Size and Appearance, Height, and Weight
Since this is a mixed breed, Cavoodle size will again depend upon the genetics he or he inherited from the parents. What generation is the little one, and how much Poodle or Spaniel went into him? Let’s look at the individual breeds.
Standard Poodles stand at least 15 inches at the shoulder. A poodle should weigh between 45 and 70 pounds as an adult. This is a medium to large dog breed.
You also have the option of selecting a miniature Cavadoodle bred from a miniature poodle mix. These normally weigh between 10 and 15 pounds.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
The CKC Spaniel is one of several spaniels, standing between 12-13 inches at his withers. He’ll weigh between 13 and 18 pounds and falls under the small group.
Most Cavoodles are bred to be smaller than their Poodle parent. An average weight between 9 and 25 pounds is expected for a Cavoodle full-grown. They might stand somewhere between 9-14 inches at the shoulder when fully grown.
Feeding Your Cavoodle
The basic nutrition this breed needs to thrive isn’t any different from any other dog breed. Recommended caloric intake might be lower because it is a smaller breed than most. Dogs are scientifically classified as carnivores and find most of their essential amino acids in animal meat protein. For very active dogs you may consider high-protein dog food.
Dogs also find valuable nutrients from fruits, vegetables, and even grains! A well-balanced mixture of ingredients should be part of your dog’s diet. Be cautious when eliminating an ingredient.
Start by looking at the feeding guidelines on the dog food package, but take this information as a suggestion rather than a requirement since those guidelines may result in larger than necessary portion sizes (Reisen, Jan). – American Kennel Club
The math might be a little tricky, and this is just an average because no dog is the same. You can calculate your dog’s resting energy requirement calories daily!
Multiply your dog’s weight in kg. raised to the ¾ power by 70. This will give an idea of your pup’s daily caloric needs! For a 22 lb. Cavoodle, this should look like:
70(10) ¾ power = 400 Calories daily.
You can then further multiply this number by another set to better estimate daily energy requirements. You can find these values here.
Source: Hummel & Trueman Hospital for Companion Animals, Ohio State University
Most Cavoodles have moderate grooming requirements. You’ll need to brush your pet at least once a week to keep up with any possible danger. Clipping/trimming your Cav pup at least once every 6 weeks is recommended. Professional grooming is recommended.
Of course, this is going to depend upon the coat type you’re dealing with. Most Cavs will be single-coated breeds, inheriting the trait from their Poodle parents. Though they usually won’t shed, they still require brushing.
Hair coat types can shed more. CKC Spaniels do shed quite a bit. This trait can be passed down, though most cavoodle breeders won’t select for it.
Bathing once every 2-3 weeks, or once a month, is usually recommended. Some sources can recommend twice a month, but there is a drawback to frequent bathing.
Remember, dogs don’t scrub themselves clean in the wild. If you scrub your dogs close to the skin with shampoo, you’re washing away essential oils that protect the skin. This is fine if it isn’t too frequent. Your pet might begin to suffer from bathing too often.
Training your Cavoodle
How much experience do you have training and raising dogs?
Cavoodles are extremely intelligent dogs and highly trainable! Thankfully, they inherit their intelligence and trainability from their Poodle parents, one of the most intelligent breeds on Earth. Cavoodles have a strong desire to please and can be easily motivated by the right handler.
That said, your ability to train any breed, no matter how intelligent, depends more on you as the teacher and handler. Are you using proper training methods? Are you consistent, and do you reinforce your training positively?
How much exercise does Cavoodle need?
Cavoodles are a mix between a high-energy breed (Poodle) and a medium-high energy small breed (Cavalier King Charles Spaniel). Most Cavs will be considered medium-energy and not extremely active. You can probably get away with 30 minutes of exercise daily for a full-grown Cavoodle.
Your pet is still a highly intelligent breed and will need plenty of mentally challenging enrichment activities to stay happy! Play games with your puppy. Socialize your pet with other people and dogs. Teach your dog agility. The list is endless!
There is a huge Cavoodle price range here! You could pay anywhere between about USD 1,500 to USD 9,000 for Cavoodle puppies! Designer breeds in general often average higher in cost. Then the price you pay will depend upon both your Cavadoodle breeder or breeding program and demand.
You might find yourself on a waitlist even with a high-priced breeder! Factors that contribute to this can be:
- Breeder accreditations & affiliations
- Breeder experience
- Genetic testing
- Lineage (proven show line)
- Cost of veterinary care
- Cost of housing
- Any prior training & socialization
- Supply & demand
- Rare traits or colors
Most cavoodle breeders don’t breed their own pets. They will usually need to find a tested/proven & medically sound breeding bitch or stud. Since dogs can’t give birth to an endless supply of litter, high-quality mothers will cost more.
You’ll probably pay around USD 250 but could spend between $50 and $350 at an American animal shelter. This cost covers veterinary care, housing, feeding, vaccinations, shelter operations, etc.
Pros and Cons of Owning
|Low shedding, usually hypoallergenic dogs
(Less likely to cause an allergic reaction)
Adaptable to apartment life
|Toy Cavoodles aren’t always recommended for young children.
Very expensive to breed
We’ve covered several more common questions and concerns below!
Are Cavoodles high maintenance? Do Cavadoodles shed?
Though this ultimately depends on what you consider high maintenance, most owners would say “No”! Cavoodles don’t shed much dander. Not only are they very capable of learning new tasks, but these dogs are also very eager to please their handlers.
Recommended vaccinations don’t differ from other breeds, and (assuming you’ve gone with a reputable breeder) you’ll have a generally healthy dog! Of course, these dogs may face their share of possible medical issues, but every dog does.
Are Cavoodles good pets?
This is a matter of perspective up to the handler. These dogs can indeed make fantastic pets! They are very intelligent, sociable, and playful.
The environment a dog is raised in will determine as much of its personality as the individual breed. The answer is up to you!
Are Cavoodles barkers?
They certainly can be! These dogs are often very vocal, especially when left alone. Separation anxiety can become a problem for the breed. Therefore, proper desensitization training is so important! You can’t separate any dog for long periods of isolation without first preparing him.
Good socialization is especially important to prevent bad barking behavior! A dog accustomed to every experience in his environment doesn’t have any reason to fear it.
Cavoodle adults might bark more than many other breeds. There is still a huge nurture/training factor.
Can Cavoodles be left alone?
Ideally, no dog should be isolated alone for more than a few hours. These dogs can be left alone for a limited time if they are properly trained. If you don’t teach your dog to accept isolation, your Cav could develop separation anxiety.
If you want to know more, investigate crate training or desensitization training. You’re going to need to desensitize your dog to periods of isolation. Even then, they are very social breeds and cherish contact with their families!
What problems do Cavoodles have?
They can be genetically prone to developing various issues, just like any dog breed. Most of them are listed above. If well-bred by an ethically responsible, professional breeder, many hereditary health issues won’t be a problem.
Make sure your breeder is accredited with a professional organization and is willing to offer medical paperwork as well as a family history!
Are Cavoodles easy to potty train?
When it comes to training any dog breed, the experience of the human handler is a much larger factor when determining how long training will take. Thankfully, there is only one universally accepted potty training method out there.
All you must do is follow this method to the letter! Whether or not your Cavoodle can learn quickly depends on you.
In general, however, these are highly intelligent breeds and very trainable! Your pup is capable of learning new tasks, like house training, better than most other dog breeds.
Can a Cavoodle be an outside dog?
What do you consider an outside dog? Most dogs would be happier inside with the family rather than confined outside with limited social contact. The Cavoodle is no exception here and is more sociable than many other breeds!
The main issue you would get when asking any dog breed to live outside, whether it be a Siberian Husky, Spaniel, or Poodle, is behavioral. Dogs are social animals and need social contact to be truly happy. They also require proper exercise so they won’t get isolated by themselves.
Most Cavoodles are single-coated breeds and don’t tolerate colder temperatures well. You don’t want to leave your Cav outside for a length of time in anything under 45* Fahrenheit (7 Celsius) and you could consider a heated dog house.
Why shouldn’t you buy a Cavoodle?
Cavoodles are fantastic dogs, but there are two sides to every argument. This could be the best dog you’ve ever raised. No one is saying they won’t turn out to be wonderful companions!
Let’s explore the main argument against these dogs, or rather designer breeds in general.
Millions of dogs continue to be euthanized annually in America alone, not considering the rest of the world. Many dog lovers are against the breeding of designer breeds like Cavoodles and Cavapoos.
Purchasing dogs from breeders will encourage the breeding of more dogs. So many dogs are already either being destroyed or winding up homeless strays. The individuals who think this way would prefer you adopt shelter animals or seek purebred dogs for the purpose they were meant to serve because you need them.
The goal is to limit breeding and solve the animal overpopulation crisis.
Of course, this doesn’t reflect our opinions!
You also should never buy a Cavoodle breed from an amateur “backyard” breeder and breeding should always be a profession conducted by educated and experienced professionals. It should never be a hobby or “side gig.”