Cavapoo

Ana Oliveira
Dr Ana Oliveira (DVM, University of Lisbon)
 
Photo of adult Cavapoo

The Cavapoo is a crossbreed that results from breeding a Poodle and a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. Cavapoos were initially created to be hypoallergenic dogs and thus the ideal companion for people with allergies. However, their sweet disposition and friendliness soon made them popular among all dog lovers.

Because the Cavapoo is a crossbreed, every dog is unique, though it has become increasingly more consistent in terms of temperament and looks. Cavapoos are extremely social and easy-going, getting along well with humans and animals alike.

About & History

Cavapoos, also known as Cavoodles or Cavoos, are among the first “designer dogs” that were created by mixing two dog breeds. For this crossbreed, breeders started experimenting by mixing a Poodle with a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and therefore achieve a new type of dog that would combine the characteristics of both dog breeds. The main goal was to create a hypoallergenic dog for people with allergies, as both the Poodle and the Cavalier are dog breeds with a lower propensity for triggering allergies in susceptible people.

Breeders first started this crossbreed in the 1950s, in America. Soon Cavapoos grew more and more popular, due to their loving temperament and docility. Though both Toy and Miniature Poodles can be bred to create a Cavapoo, responsible breeders use the Miniature, rather than the Toy, as it is less prone to hereditary health problems.

Over the years, as Cavapoos become more and more selected, their looks, temperament, and size will tend to become more consistent. Although it will probably take many generations, this consistency will hopefully lead to their recognition as a breed. Today, however, every dog may still turn out different – in appearance and character – but one common feature will remain, the Cavapoo’s gentle nature and friendliness towards people and other animals.

Appearance

Cavapoo Large Photo

With its large, adorable eyes, the Cavapoo is a small dog with physical features that may resemble either the Poodle or the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. Depending on the size of its Poodle parent, Miniature or Toy, the Cavapoo’s size will differ accordingly. Cavapoos may have a wavy or silky coat that can come in different colours:

  • Chestnut
  • White
  • Black
  • Gold
  • Chestnut and white (Blenheim)
  • Black, white, and tan (tricolour)

Cavapoos have long, floppy ears, and a round face. Although it was initially created to have a hypoallergenic, low-shed coat, not all Cavapoos are so, with some actually shedding more than their parents. Their size usually varies between 28 and 35 cm (11-14 inches) for the Toy Cavapoo and between 30 and 40 cm (12-16 inches) for the Miniature Cavapoo. Their weight ranges from 5 to 10 kg (11-22 lb).

Character & Temperament

The Cavapoo is known for its exceptional temperament, which makes it a great family pet. Cavapoos are extremely friendly and sweet, getting along well with children and pets. Having little prey drive, these are ideal dogs for sharing a home with other furry pets. Intelligent and people-oriented, Cavapoos are a great choice for first time dog owners, as they are adaptable and easy to handle.

Because they are so fond of people, they may develop separation anxiety when left alone, which should be tackled early from puppyhood, as to prevent such episodes. Training, with positive reinforcement and gentle treatment, will help raising a healthy, well-rounded dog. Despite their short attention span, Cavapoos are generally easy to train, as long as consistency is kept. House-training may be more difficult, typically requiring more time than other dogs usually do. Patience and understanding are a must, as they will eventually learn.

Loyal, very social, and kind, the Cavapoo also makes a good therapy dog. Cavapoos are also good watchdogs, making sure their owner is warned of any visitor that is arriving. Aside from this task, Cavapoos do not bark excessively.

Trainability

Photo of Cavapoo puppy

Cavapoos are intelligent dogs that learn quickly. As with any other dog, consistency and repetition is paramount. Daily training sessions of 10 to 15 minutes are recommended and a gentle hand is preferred.

Cavapoos do not respond well to harsh treatment. House-training may require a little bit more patience, as they may be slower to learn. Perseverance is a must, as potty-training may take a while longer than owners would like.

Health

Cavapoos usually live long lives of 13 to 15 years. Because they are a mixed breed, they will have less tendency to have health problems than their parents. This is due to the “hybrid vigour”, which is the improved function of all biological systems, resulting from the mixing of the genetic contributions of both parents. Regardless, Cavapoos may be more prone to some health issues, as follows:

  • Progressive retinal atrophy – Also known as progressive rod and cone degeneration (PRCD), progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) is a group of degenerative eye diseases that may lead to blindness in dogs. This is a genetic, hereditary disorder and its causes are not yet fully understood. Some of the most common symptoms include night blindness, reluctance to go down stairs, explore new areas or simply going outside when it is dark or dim. PRA has no cure and it affects both eyes. While no treatment is currently available, some changes (such as rearranging the furniture) may be implemented in the environment of a dog with PRA, aiming at improving its quality of life.
  • Luxating patella – Luxating patella, or slipping kneecaps, is common among small dog breeds and crossbreeds. It results from a malformation of the kneecap or an injury and leads to the kneecap jumping out of place sideways. Luxating patella causes pain and lameness, with dogs holding their affected leg up, whenever this occurs. Surgery is a possibility, but treatment is usually symptomatic, with the use of anti-inflammatory drugs to relieve the inflammation associated with this condition.
  • Congenital heart problems – Mitral valve disease is one of the congenital heart problems Cavapoos may have. This results from the high pressure created when the left ventricle of the heart pumps out blood to the body. This contraction may lead to the wearing out of the valve, which over time will tend to leak. This leak is associated with a murmur that may be auscultated at the vet consultation.

Exercise and Activity Levels

Cavapoos require moderate exercise. They are a small crossbreed and thus do not require high physical activity. Nevertheless, they do need at least one long walk each day. While a short morning walk will suffice, a longer, more interesting walk in the afternoon, with some level of stimulation, both mental and physical, will keep them healthy and alert dogs, able to develop their full potential.

Grooming

Cavapoos are considered a low-maintenance crossbreed. A weekly brush will keep their coat healthy and shiny and prevent knots. However, because every dog may be different, those with longer hair may require a little more grooming and a monthly clipping or trimming may suit them best. Also, Cavapoos have a tendency for having tear stains, which should be cleaned with a damp cloth when needed. Teeth brushing, ear cleaning and the occasional nail clipping, as needed, sum up the rest of a Cavapoo’s grooming routine.

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