The Ultimate Guide to Cavoodles
The Cavoodle is a cross of two highly popular breeds: the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and the Poodle. This mixed breed shows numerous favourable traits, the result of the mixed dog families.
Cavoodle Breed History
While Cavoodle puppies are extremely popular in Australia, plenty of evidence indicates that the breed actually came into existence in the U.S. At the same time, some sources state that the first Cavoodle litter happened in Australia. In either case, the time for both alleged cases were around the 1950’s.
The first litter was actually recorded four decades later in the 1990’s. Unlike the first Cavoodles ever, this recorded litter doesn’t leave room for controversy: it was born in Australia.
The Cavoodle doesn’t have a standardised appearance like many older breeds. However, certain characteristics appear common enough to be considered standard.
The breed is shorter compared to the average dog height and has a comparatively long body when measured from head to tail. This ratio is primarily due to the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel genetics.
The Cavoodle has higher-set ears which start above its eyes and reach past the chin. The breed has a mildly elongated neck which transitions seamlessly into a straight back. The tail is long, usually hanging freely between the dog’s hock joints.
A large part of the Cavoodle’s charm comes from its expressive, round, and large eyes. The eyes stand out in contrast to the breed’s short muzzle which can sometimes reach medium length. In terms of the jaw, Cavoodles have somewhat overshot jaws that feature a scissor bite. This trait is also owing to the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.
When moving, Cavoodles have a free and elegant motion without any obstructions. Their stride receives the main drive from the rear legs and brings their solid stride length to the forefront. The front side has a straight-boned structure, while the hindquarters are muscled and well-developed.
Cavoodle Coat Colour and Grooming
Cavoodles come in various coat colours:
- Black and white
- Black and tan
The coating can come in three types: hair, fleece, and wool.
Hair coats are relatively short, scruffy, and wiry. This coating type resembles the one found on Jack Russell Terriers. Cavoodles with hair coats often emit a typical odour and may shed more compared to other variants. In terms of grooming, they require the least time and effort.
Fleece coats are the common trait of the first generation of Cavoodles. This coat type is soft and silky to the touch while sporting a loose curl or wavy appearance. The shedding is minimal, although it may increase without proper grooming. In that case, the coat might shed in smaller balls of hair. Regular shortening is a necessary part of grooming for this coat type.
Wool coats are thick, soft, and tightly curled. This coat type mostly feels like lamb wool. The wool-coat variant of the Cavoodle is considered non-shed. However, it’s worth noting that even coat types with the least possible amount of shed will still release some hair over time. Still, wool-coat Cavoodles are thought of as the ideal choice for allergy-prone dog owners.
When it comes to grooming, all coat types will require regular maintenance. Ideally, they should be groomed about four times a week to avoid matted fur, tangling, and knotting. This is important because Cavoodles have an undercoat in addition to the outer coating.
Outside regular grooming, Cavoodles should be taken to a professional every month to two months. They should receive their first professional grooming when 16 to 18 weeks of age to let the dog get accustomed to the groomer.
Cavoodles may come in two sizes, depending on how large the Poodles in their line were. There are Mini and Toy Cavoodles with the Mini type paradoxically being the larger variant.
Mini Cavoodles come from a background that includes a Miniature Poodle. They may reach up to 40 cm in height on average or 45 cm if they have slightly longer legs. Mini Cavoodles are sportier and more agile, making them better suited for outdoor ventures.
Toy Cavoodles unsurprisingly come from Toy Poodles. They can reach a maximum height of 35 cm, although they can be as short as 28 cm. A Toy Cavoodle will be more of a lap dog than an avid walker or runner.
Cavoodle Breed Pros and Cons
The pros of Cavoodles include:
- Higher life expectancy
- High intelligence
- Lower shed
- Easy training
- Mild temperament
Cavoodles can have a longer lifespan, ranging from 13 to 15 years. Both the Poodle and the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel have a life expectancy of up to 15 years, which is where Cavoodles get their inherent longevity.
Cavoodles are very intelligent, drawing from their Poodle legacy. Poodles are among the leading breeds worldwide, second only to Border Collies. As a result, Cavoodles don’t fall far behind.
In terms of shedding, Cavoodles are popular for their low-shed traits. This coat feature is inherited from the Poodle. In addition, Cavoodle’s coat may be hypoallergenic, although this isn’t always the rule.
The Cavoodle is very sociable and will get along with practically everyone, including the elderly, kids, strangers, and guests. Furthermore, the breed is quite friendly to other pets and may play in peace even with cats.
Cavoodles are easy to train due to their natural intelligence. They may show great results after a series of shorter training sessions.
Finally, the Cavoodle can adapt to most living conditions. They’ll be very comfortable in larger homes but won’t mind living in smaller apartments. The breed also enjoys backyards, although Cavoodles can manage without it.
Although Cavoodles have plenty of advantages, the breed also comes with particular cons:
- Exercise is necessary
- Sensitive to noise
- Can’t bear high heat
- Impossible to register with kennel clubs
- Require regular grooming
While Cavoodles aren’t as active as some other breeds, they still need daily exercise. This may include walking sessions of at least half an hour as well as playing with the dog either in indoor or outdoor settings.
The lack of regular exercise may lead to some common symptoms like tail chasing, anxiety, excessive barking, destructive chewing, and even aggressive behaviour.
Cavoodles don’t like loud noises and may get scared by them easily. Unfortunately, this may make them unsuitable for families with small children.
This breed is also extremely sensitive to high heat. They must never be left outside for longer during summertime. If the Cavoodle gets overheated, they could experience severe health complications or even die.
Kennel clubs worldwide don’t recognise mixed breeds or crossbreeds. This means that a Cavoodle can never get registered with a kennel club.
Lastly, Cavoodles require regular grooming without exception. They need proper maintenance to keep their coat fresh and beautiful, as well as for the dog’s overall health.
The Cavoodle personality may be described in two words: intelligent and gentle. Overall, the breed is agreeable with people and other pets and displays an even temper. Their energy levels may range from low to fairly high. Regardless of energy levels, Cavoodles will always be low in aggression, making them ideal for younger dog owners. However, a Cavoodle can also make a perfect companion for elderly persons due to their people-oriented temperament.
The particular personality traits will largely depend on which side of the Cavalier-Poodle mix gets more pronounced. The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is an excellent family dog that shows great affection to all family members. On the other hand, Poodles may require more stimulation and exhibit a high-strung temperament.
Cavoodles can be quite athletic with high agility and speed. This makes training essential for the breed. Due to their high intelligence and eagerness to please the owner, Cavoodles will be easy to train. If done early enough, the training can channel the dog’s energy toward constructive behaviour.
The Cavoodle isn’t aggressive or prey driven. This breed won’t bring unwanted “gifts” from the street or try to escape. However, these positives will only become pronounced with proper training. Without it, Cavoodles, like many other breeds, may show destructive behaviours like garbage rooting or chewing the furniture to the point of causing damage.
Cavoodles are extremely friendly, easy-going, and bright, making them very sociable. They’ll be eager to play with other dogs, even the larger breeds. In interaction with cats, a Cavoodle will let the feline set all of the rules, avoiding any potential conflicts.
As is natural for most dog breeds, they’ll act somewhat differently with rabbits, birds, and other smaller animals. While the Cavoodle will maintain its playful attitude, the play might involve chasing since the dog will likely perceive the small animals as tiny, living toys.
Since the Cavoodle is quite gentle, it gets along with children perfectly. However, the relationship will depend more on how well-behaved the child is. With more aggressive or louder children, Cavoodles might become scared and shy away from further interactions.
When it comes to the regular child behaviour, Cavoodles will usually put up with more than many other breeds. They might try to sneak away if the child is acting particularly annoyingly, but they’ll show a very high limit of what they’ll endure.
Since Cavoodles are protective of their families, they might try to warn family members of any perceived danger including strangers. In such cases, the Cavoodle may bark, although they likely won’t get obsessive with that habit.
On the other hand, the Cavoodle’s instinct to protect doesn’t make it a good guard dog. They may make some noise but will generally display next to no aggression towards intruders.
One downside of the Cavoodle’s friendly and sociable nature is that they can’t tolerate being left alone for longer periods. In fact, Cavoodles may develop separation anxiety, especially if they aren’t trained and socialised properly. If the Cavoodle takes more after their Poodle parent, it might require plenty of special treatment and attention.
While Cavoodles benefit from regular walks and training, they’ll also have no problem relaxing throughout the day. This is because of the mix between the very different personalities of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and the Poodle.
Cavalier Spaniels are extremely laid-back and may even seem spoiled. In contrast, Poodles love excitement and fun. As the middle ground between the two, the Cavoodle will enjoy lounging as much as playing and long walks.
Cavoodles are very much like companion dogs, owing to the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel background. The Poodle side gives this breed a higher sense of loyalty, making them very affectionate towards their families. They can develop a strong connection with family members and won’t react changing their surroundings if the entire family is with them. In other words, Cavoodles are ideal for trips and vacations of any length.
The Cavoodle is generally quite robust and healthy. Of course, their health will be improved with proper care and may suffer if their needs are left unattended. Cavoodle bodies have a relatively natural shape that ensures free movement and doesn’t have exaggerated features.
The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel does have a shorter muzzle which is sometimes considered brachycephalic. However, this feature is far from the flat face trait seen in the Pekingese or the Pug. Furthermore, the mix with the Poodle results in a slightly longer muzzle, ensuring the Cavoodle offspring can avoid common issues resulting from flat face deviations.
Naturally, care and prevention can only reinforce the Cavoodle’s natural tendency towards good health. This is true for all breeds and applies to Cavoodles just as well.
The crossbreeding between the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and the Poodle results in a reduced risk of particular health concerns. The Poodle genetics are largely responsible for such improvements while the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel entered the mix mainly for its temperament.
Since Cavalier King Charles Spaniels and Poodles come from different lineages, they have plenty of genetic diversity between them. In Cavoodles, this diversification may stave off various negative health effects caused by line breeding or inbreeding among each of the parent breeds.
It should come as no surprise that a Cavoodle will inherit specific health benefits only if it comes from healthy parents. If either parent is unhealthy, the Cavoodle offspring likely won’t benefit from the genetic diversity.
Cavoodles can sometimes be prone to a condition known as progressive retinal atrophy or PRA. This condition causes the dog to lose their sight over time, leading to blindness as the dog gets older. However, PRA isn’t too common in first-generation Cavoodles.
Yet, both Poodles and Cavalier King Charles Spaniels may have PRA as a recessive genetic trait. If both parents have the condition, the Cavoodle has a greater chance of inheriting it.
Breeders usually screen the dad for PRA. If that parent doesn’t carry the faulty gene, the puppies won’t be affected by the condition.
Another health issue with Cavoodles may stem from their tendency to lead a less active life. Without proper exercise and in combination with overfeeding, Cavoodles can easily get overweight. This may lead to a variety of health problems, including respiratory, heart, and joint issues.
Luckily, Cavoodles aren’t particularly prone to gaining weight. If exercised regularly, they’ll stay lean and healthy.
In terms of basic care, Cavoodles don’t require too much effort compared to other breeds. They don’t have extreme proportions in any body part, which means no special care will be necessary.
The Cavoodle will need vaccination when 6, 12, and 16 weeks of age, followed up by yearly boosters. Other treatments will include products against worms and fleas. Spot on products are more efficient in that regard than flea collars.
Depending on the area, the Cavoodle might require a preventative treatment against the heartworm.
It would be best to perform regular checkups with the veterinarian. Ideally, the same veterinarian should examine the puppy as soon as it becomes a member of the household.
The Cavoodle usually weighs between 4 and 11 kilograms. Based on that measurement, the dog would require up to 500 calories daily. The absolute minimum for the lightest Cavoodles is about 200 calories per day.
Underfeeding and overfeeding can lead to serious health issues, so developing healthy feeding habits with proper amounts of food is necessary. There are two approaches that have proven effective in that regard:
The Cavoodle can be fed according to numbers or based on the dog’s look.
The first approach takes into account exact quantities of nutrients and calories which may be calculated by the dog’s weight. However, the second approach is guided by a much more straightforward rule: how the Cavoodle looks.
Dog owners can easily recognise whether their pup is gaining too much weight or becoming too skinny. That’s why the visual method might be quite reliable in determining food amounts.
Other aspects that may affect feeding include size, age, activity level, and health. Bigger and younger dogs will need more nutrients than smaller and older Cavoodles. Similarly, a Cavoodle that receives plenty of exercise will need to eat more than a more dormant pet.
When it comes to food selection, Cavoodles, like all dogs, will enjoy a diet rich in meat protein. The amino acids from the diet will improve the body’s ability to build muscles, ligaments, tendons, and cartilage. A healthy diet will also keep the Cavoodle’s coat, skin, and nails healthy, as well as help maintain a good hormonal balance.
Other essential nutrients for Cavoodles include carbohydrates and minerals. The former will provide ample energy while the latter will maintain healthy bodily functions.
Dry food containing these nutrients will be an excellent choice, as long as it follows the rule of containing 95% or more of the named ingredients.
Cavoodle Suitability With Children and Other Pets
As mentioned, a friendly, family and people-oriented temperament counts among the main traits of Cavoodle personality. The breed has very low aggression, which means they’ll get along with other pets and children. In fact, Cavoodles will endure plenty of kid shenanigans before they decide their limit is reached.
And even if the Cavoodle reaches the limit, they will never try to bite or show other types of open adversity. Instead, the pup will simply find an opportunity to sneak away.
Cavoodles are playful and accepting of other dogs, regardless of their size. The Cavoodle will also get along with cats just fine since the dog will let the cat take initiative of their relationship. While Cavoodles won’t show open aggression towards smaller pets, they might see them as toys and promptly give a playful chase. In such cases, it’s best to moderate the Cavoodle’s behaviour to avoid any incidents or injury to either pet.
Overall, Cavoodles are extremely friendly. Although they might bark at strangers or intruders, they’ll be more likely to show a cheerful attitude even towards them after raising the initial alarm.
Cavoodle Australian Rescue Groups and Breeders
There are several rescue groups and breeders in Australia that deal either with Cavoodles exclusively or include several similar breeds.
The Cavalier Rescue group primarily focuses on the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. However, the group also cares for rescues from Cavalier cross breeds, which includes Cavoodles.
Cavoodle rescues can also be found outside of dedicated groups on websites like Adoptapet, SPCA, and Petfinder.
The choice of Cavoodle breeders is much broader. A partial list of breeders includes:
- Rockley Valley Park Cavoodles, based in Fosters Valley, NSW
- Homestead Puppies, based in Melton South, VIC
- Harley & Co Cavoodle Breeder, based in Brisbane, QLD
- Brisbane Cavoodles, also from Brisbane, QLD
- Pretty Fluffy Cavoodle Puppies, Brisbane, QLD
- Adelaide Hills Cavoodles, based in Mylor, SA
- Cavoodled by Enza, based in Melbourne, VIC
- Candy’s Cavoodles, based in Southwest Brisbane, QLD
Intelligent, friendly, adjustable, and mild, the Cavoodle seems like an ideal dog breed for any household. Owing to their mixed heritage, Cavoodles can express unique traits that make their parent breeds so popular. At the same time, the Cavoodle has a particular character of its own.
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the breed is that it can get accustomed to any level of everyday activity. While Cavoodles will enjoy exercise, they won’t suffer during downtime as may be the case with, for instance, terriers.
With only a few potential health risks, good natural build, and a considerable lifespan, the Cavoodle is a perfect companion that will stay with the owner for a long time. If cared for properly and engaged in the right way, the pup will stay lively, happy, and healthy, bringing joy to you.