Cavoodle | Cavalier King Charles and Poodle Hybrid

The Cavoodle, also knowns as the Cavapoo, is a designer breed that is the offspring of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and the Miniature Poodle. Very popular in Australia, this hybrid pet is gaining ground in other countries as well.

Unlike some hybrids bred for looks or competitive advantage in certain dog sports, the Cavoodle is bred with perfect companionship in mind. Both of the parent breeds show remarkably similar characteristics in temperament, so the offspring have the same predictable and desirable qualities.

Let’s take a peek at the parent breeds in turn first, and then take a closer look at the Cavoodle.

CAVALIER KING CHARLES SPANIEL

History

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, also known as the Cavie, is so named because of sharing a long lineage with the more flat-faced King Charles Spaniel.

During the sixteenth through eighteenth centuries, a variety of toy spaniel breeds were very popular in the Courts of Europe. The most famous of which were those of the Stuart period, and many paintings from the time depicted the original King Charles Spaniel, named after the Monarch and his favorite pets.

Since this was a time before kennel clubs to protect and develop toy breeds, the fashions of the day had major impact on such canines, and as such the King Charles Spaniel changed over time to have a strikingly flat muzzle, still characteristic of the breed today.

In the 1920’s a revival of interest in a breed that was more representative of the dogs portrayed in paintings such as “The Cavalier’s Pets” by Sir Edwin Landseer. They had a longer, pointed muzzle shape. Dedicated breeders, using King Charles stock, selectively bred until in 1928, a new breed standard was developed.

The CKC was officially recognized by the Kennel Club in 1945, and the AKC in 1995. It is now one of the top 20 most popular breeds in the United States.

Temperament

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is one of the most affectionate, gentle and sweet breeds. They have a strong desire to please and a sensitive nature that makes them respond very well to positive training methods.

Generally calm in sprit, the Cavie is highly adaptable to a variety of situations, particularly if properly socialized and exposed to new situations when young. One potential problem can be resource guarding their favorite person. Make sure you do not encourage any less than ideal behavior when a Cavie is in a lap.

Happy go lucky and playful, the Cavalier King Charles is a charmer with everyone. Trusting and confident, the Cavie approaches new people with an open heart and a loving smile. They make excellent therapy dogs for this reason.

The Cavie also gets along well with other pets and children. They tend not to yap just for the sake of barking. However, they do have a strong need to be around their loved ones, and tend towards separation anxiety if left alone for long periods of time.

Size

Cavies are small and charming little pets. Fully grown they are between 12-13 inches high and about 13-18 pounds. Their small stature and low exercise needs makes them a very popular breed for apartment living and senior owners.

Coat and Appearance

The AKC standard for the King Charles Spaniel includes four color variations. Blenheim is a rich chestnut pattern on a pearly white background, probably the most popular color variation. Tricolor, Ruby and Black and Tan are also recognized.

The coat is silky and straight to slightly wavy with feathering at the ears, legs, tail and chest. The medium length of the coat is surprisingly easy to maintain as long as you keep up with regular brushing a few times a week.

In addition, keep up with the Cavie’s ears by giving a regular cleaning as they are prone to ear infections.

Health and Life Expectancy

The Cavalier does have a number of hereditary conditions worth noting. Heart, neurological and eye problems are possible, even in very well bred CKCs. In addition, skin problems and allergies tend to be fairly common in the breed. Expect to buy a high-end quality dog food and potentially higher than average vet bills.

These toy sized pups can also gain weight easily. Although they do not need tremendous amounts of exercise to thrive in terms of temperament, they should have enough to maintain top condition. Brisk long walks, a romp at the dog park, or a workout on the treadmill daily will bring out the best in this breed.

The average lifespan is 10-12 years, however, healthy Cavies have been known to live older than 15 as well. Keeping them in good weight

PROS

  • Does not require much exercise or space, making them an excellent choice for apartment pets.
  • Because they attach to their people quite easily, Cavies are excellent choices for off leash pals.
  • Relatively quiet and fantastic with other pets and children, you would be hard pressed to find a better family companion.
  • A happy go lucky attitude and compact size help the CKC to be an excellent travel buddy.

CONS

  • Relatively high incidence of congenital health concerns. Be sure to screen your breeder well and get an honest appraisal of the health conditions in your pup’s specific lineage.
  • The Cavalier is prone to separation anxiety because of their strong drive for company.
  • Long silky coat does require regular brushing to stay in top condition.

MINIATURE POODLE

History

The Poodle has a lineage that is rich with water dogs from a variety of nations including France, Germany, Russia, Hungary and likely Asia as well. The ancestry is long, as well as somewhat contested.

The breed we know today, including all three sizes of Poodle (toy, miniature, standard) is a product of the refinement of the breed largely in France and Germany, who both claim origin to the breed.

The original size was the standard, and like other rough coated water dogs, the Poodle was developed for use as assistance in hunting and retrieving water fowl. The thick coat provides extra warmth and protection from water logging. Excellent swimmers, ease of training, and high endurance were also important traits for the original breed.

The Toy and Miniature Poodle were developed from the Standard Poodle in France during the 18th century. They also became popular as performers in circuses and other entertainment venues. Poodles remain popular choices for several sports because of their superior athleticism, desire to perform, ease to train.

Temperament

All of the Poodle sizes are best known for being exceptionally bright pups. They are a bit more high-strung in general than the Cavalier, showing a more discerning taste with new people and sometimes with other dogs. They can become possessive concerning their owners if that kind of behavior is not discouraged.

These extremely intelligent pups do not require a ton of exercise, but will do best with moderate amounts, and plenty of mental stimulation. They take quickly to tricks and seem to love to perform for a reactive audience.

These furry friends do need plenty of socialization from an early age to turn into confident adults. Be careful not to reward barking in puppies because this can lead to an overly talkative problem barker as an adult.

Size

The Miniature Poodle is between 10” to 15” at the withers and typically weighs between 15 to 17 pounds. They are small enough to travel easily and make excellent companions for people that lead active lifestyles on the go.

Coat and Appearance

All of the colors accepted by the AKC standard for Poodles are solid come in just about every possible shade. The coat should be consistent, curly, and may be trimmed and styled into a variety of different adorable cuts.

Because the hair on Poodles grows long instead of breaking off like most fur, this is one of the breeds known to be hypoallergenic. Although it is dander rather than fur that triggers most allergic reaction, less fur around your home tends to reduce the overall dander. Many people with dog allergies find the Poodle a tolerable living companion as a result.

Health and Life Expectancy

Toy and Miniature Poodles tend to have long lifespans, typically 13-15 years.

Health problems such as progressive retinal atrophy, trichiasis, lacrimal duct atresia and epilepsy are not unheard of with this breed. Be sure your breeder shares openly about the health outcomes of their bloodline.

PROS

  • These extremely intelligent little guys are a snap to train.
  • Although they do require daily exercise, their small stature means a vigorous game of fetch down the hallway can be enough to satisfy daily exercise needs.
  • Miniature Poodles have a great temperament for kids and other animals in general. Be sure to socialize early and often.
  • One of the hypoallergenic breeds, many that suffer from dog allergies may find that Poodles do not trigger major allergic reactions.

CONS

  • Although day to day grooming is easy, do expect to take this breed to the groomer for a trim every 6-8 weeks.
  • Some Poodles can be annoying barkers, especially if barking is inadvertently rewarded in puppies.
  • Separation anxiety can be an issue with these smart and social canines.

CAVOODLE

As we turn to the Cavoodle, you have probably already noticed that both the CKC and the Miniature Poodle share a lot of excellent temperament qualities that make them great companions. As a result, they have a surprising consistency of temperament, particularly for a hybrid breed.

Here is a closer look at the details of this designer dog:

Temperament

This hybrid breed generally does extremely well with small children and other dogs. They have a trusting and inquisitive spirit, tending towards happy go lucky. Although Poodles can sometimes be a bit high strung and a little hesitant with new people, the gentler and more accepting attitude of the Cavalier seems to win the day with most Cavoodle puppies.

These tend to be sensitive and light-hearted canines. They respond best to consistent and positive training methods with a focus on keeping things fun and engaging. Short attention spans, particularly for puppies is not a sign you have a stupid dog – it is a sign that he is smart enough to bore easily.

Make sure to use positive training methods with these soft spirited beings. They are easily scared into being overly submissive and fearful dogs. Give them lots of opportunities to succeed and plenty of praise and pets when they are on the right track.

Expect a puppy that will win your heart and a loyal companion that will always be interested in your comings and goings. If you are looking for a personality that is both deeply affectionate and capable of being the family goof-ball, then the Cavoodle is an excellent choice for your next pet!

Size

The height of the Cavoodle typically ranges between 12-15”. They are small enough to toss in the car and up for any adventure. Keep them well socialized and you will find that a Cavapoo is the star of the show wherever he goes!

Coat and Appearance

The coat of the Cavapoo is non-shedding like their Poodle parents. The tradeoff here is that the hair will grow until cut, requiring periodic trips to the groomer and regular brushing. Unlike the Poodle, you won’t be able to tease the hair into fancy styles. Alternatively, you could buy a dog clipper and clip them yourself and save a heap of money long term.

They are quite soft to the touch, carrying the silky quality of the Cavie’s coat over. Colors include a wide variety of shades common to the Poodle as well as the Cavalier. Apricot, chestnut, white, black and even a tri-color is possible. The famous Blenheim color pattern from the Cavie is a favorite as well.

Health and Life Expectancy

Both of the parent breeds rank relatively low on overall health due to a variety of congenital health problems. The hybrid Cavoodle does seem to be healthier in general, although due to a lack of strong health history in this new designer breed, there is not yet a great deal of data on health issues over the long term.

The life expectancy of these small dogs is 13-15 years. Since both parent breeds are prone to obesity if not properly exercised and fed to keep them in good condition, they are likely to get heavy. Letting any K9 carry too much weight is a major contributor to a shorter lifespan.

PROS

  • Bred specifically as a companion, the Cavapoo is very well suited for families with small children, seniors and disabilities.
  • Hypoallergenic and low shed coat.
  • Adaptable nature makes these pets a very good choice for people that want a buddy to take with them wherever they go.
  • Very easy to train and a joy to handle.

CONS

  • Long growth hair does require regular professional grooming.
  • As with both parent breeds, they thrive with companionship and will suffer if left alone for long periods of time.

A Note of Caution

In places like Australia where this designer breed is quite popular, there are serious breeders that are doing their best to responsibly breed Cavoodles from parent stock that represent the best of their respective breeds.

On the other hand, the explosive popularity of new dog breeds often leads to unethical breeding practices such as puppy mills and a disregard for the long-term health or wellbeing of puppies. Here are some tips for best buying practices:

  • Look for breeders that have a long history of working with either of the parent breeds. They should show medical records and demonstrate that they are concerned not just with a profit, but an overall healthy and happy puppy.
  • You should always visit the premises of any breeder you are planning to buy a puppy from. Besides getting a chance to meet the parents and assess your new friend while they are still with their litter mates, you will get to inspect that the facility is clean with ample room provided for happy and healthy dogs.
  • Ask for references. Your breeder should have these on hand and be happy to provide you with contact information for previous customers willing to speak to their experiences. Consider it a major red flag if you run into a breeder unwilling or hesitant to provide references.
  • Breeders that show an interest in your home and who verify that you have the necessary resources to provide adequate care for your new pup are not being nosey – they are doing due diligence to protect their line of puppies. Consider it a bonus when a breeder requires you to provide a reference, or do an onsite visit to your home as part of the purchase.

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