Cavoodle playing in the leaves

The Cavoodle Breed Profile -
Meet The Cavalier Cross Poodle

Vital Stats

Dog breed groups

not registered

Height

25 to 35 cm

Weight

2 to 8 kg

Life span

10 to 18 years

The cavoodle is one of the most popular designer dogs in Australia. Do you know anything about this novel breed? We’ve reviewed everything there is to know about the Cavalier poodle mix so you can decide if it’s the right fit for your home.


The Toy Cavoodle

Cavoodle running


Cavoodle Temperament & Personality

Child Friendliness

Dog Friendliness 

Cavoodle Exercise Needs

Cavoodle Intelligence and Trainability

Cavoodle Grooming Needs 

Cavoodle Health Issues

Apartment Friendly

This crossbreed, also known as the cavapoo, is a mix between a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and a miniature poodle. The resulting dog is medium to small, fluffy and active dog. Today we’ll go over everything you need to know about this new crossbreed.

Cavoodle Temperament & Personality 5/5

Considering both the Cavalier and the poodle are known for their gentle and loyal nature, it’s no surprise this crossbreed is also well-tempered.

The Cavoodle has some traits from the poodle and others from the Cavalier, but since this is a new crossbreed, you’ll never know what side you’re getting.

First, we have the poodle. This is an active, charismatic dog that oozes self-confidence and enjoys spending time with people. Poodles have very distinct personalities and tend to consider themselves as equals within their family. This can offer many funny moments, but also means they need consistent, positive training at a young age to behave in a home setting.

Then, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a lap dog with all the instincts of traditional spaniels. These little ones thoroughly enjoy cuddling and tend to be people-loving as well, but also run behind any scent that interests them. Both of these dogs are very family-oriented, and do best when they spend most of their time with their humans.

Neither of these breeds are particularly fond of strangers, but when properly socialized they’ll tolerate new people easily.

Given their gentle temper, we’re giving this breed 5 out of 5 stars.

Child Friendliness 5/5

Both of these breeds are great with children of all ages. In fact, this is one of the reasons for the rising popularity of the Cavoodle in Australia. These smart pups are small enough to be cuddly, and very easy to train. Some people have even chosen Cavoodles as their kid’s first dogs.

Of course, keep in mind their small size if you’re considering this crossbreed for your family. Younger kids can be wobbly on their feet, and at less than 30 cm tall, Cavoodles can get hurt easily. Supervising your kids and dog is essential to avoiding accidents, but it can also be good to wait until the kids are older. An older kid or teenager will be more mindful of a Cavoodle’s size, and keep an eye out for their location before making sudden movements.

Of course, if you intend to be the primary caregiver of your Cavoodle, then the age and accident risk won’t be such a big issue.

Since this breed is remarkably friendly towards kids, we’re giving it 5 out of 5 stars.

Dog Friendliness 4/5

Again, the only way to know about a crossbreed’s temper and behaviours is by looking at its parent breeds.

For starters, Poodles tend to be boldly self-confident, which can result in excessive barking and even some mouthiness towards other dogs. In contrast, cavvies love to be part of a pack and enjoy making strong bonds with other pups.

Overall, both parent breeds are friendly towards other dogs, but would rather spend time with humans than with other pets. This means your Cavoodle will generally be a good option if you have dogs or other pets. However, remember that regardless of a breed’s inclination, early socialization is key to adequate behaviour.

Socialization is especially important to avoid excessive barking, which can be a problem with toy dogs like the poodle and the Cavalier.

Considering the Cavoodle tends to be amicable, we’re giving it 4 out of 5 stars.

Cavoodle Exercise Needs 3/5

When considering how much exercise will your Cavoodle need, it’s important to look at the parent breeds. Both the poodle and the spaniel are active breeds. However, the poodle in particular is a very athletic, smart dog that needs consistent physical training. These pups were bred for hunting until not so long ago, and those instincts are still there. Toy poodles are easy to neglect when it comes to exercise, because they can run around the house and burn part of their energy. However, this isn’t enough to keep their minds and bodies busy.

If left to their own devices and without proper exercise, poodles will get bored. In turn, this can foster undesirable behaviour like anxiety, destructive behaviours, and even aggression.

In contrast, cavvies can be active, but also fit well with more sedentary ways of life. This breed was created using chase dogs to make a lap dog that would look like a spaniel in a much smaller package. In general, Cavaliers enjoy moderate activities as long as their heart is in good condition. Keep in mind their hunting instincts can get the best of them, so don’t walk them off leash.

PRO TIP: To avoid unwanted troubles, give your Cavoodle pup short walks every day and one or two intense sessions per week. This should be enough to keep their body healthy and mind entertained.

Because exercise is easy to accomplish with this breed, we’re giving it 3 out of 5 stars.

Cavoodle Intelligence and Trainability 5/5

Both poodles and cavvies are smart, easy to train breeds. Because of it, the Cavoodle is also relatively easy going when it comes to training.

In general, these pups enjoy pleasing their owners and following directions. They are very smart and tend to quickly understand what’s needed of them. In spite of this, some light repetition isn’t a problem, which might come in handy if you’re still unfamiliar with your dog’s physical cues during training.

Considering their child friendliness and willingness to please, Cavoodles are a good option for novice dog owners. Of course, this mix still needs the same socialization and positive training as others. But their gentle and cooperative nature doesn’t demand a strict, consistent schedule like more independent breeds such as the Staffy.

Since Cavoodles are eager to please their owners and enjoy spending time with you, we’re giving this breed 5 out of 5 in this category.

Cavoodle Grooming Needs 3/5

If you’re thinking about the Cavoodle due to the so-called ‘hypoallergenic poodle coat’, this isn’t the right choice. For starters, there’s no such a thing as a hypoallergenic dog coat. This myth came to be because of poodle’s curly hair. The curl keeps hair from shedding all over the furniture, and owners started to think this meant poodles didn’t shed.

Poodles do shed, and in fact they need extra grooming and care to detangle their curls. On the other hand, the main allergen in dogs is in their dandruff and saliva. Unfortunately, poodles have the same amount of dandruff and drool as any other dog breed. This means if you or someone in the family is allergic to dogs, Cavoodles and poodles will cause a reaction.

Cavoodles have a mixed coat with a texture that depends on which side they take after. In general, this fluffy crossbreed has a medium to short coat, with different natural lengths throughout.

This means you’ll need to brush your dog daily if the coat is curly, and at least 3 times a week if it’s on the straighter side. You might also have to invest in monthly haircuts, particularly to cut the bangs and ensure your dog can see well. Cavoodles also have a double coat, so they’ll shed hair year-round and a lot more during spring time.

Considering its grooming needs, we’re taking off 2 stars.

Cavoodle Health issues 2/5

Unfortunately, this crossbreed has some serious health issues that come from intense inbreeding from the Cavalier side. If you’re thinking about getting a Cavoodle, it’s important to consider the possible health conditions of your future pup.

Like with other breeds, Cavalier breeders tried to accentuate the signature physical traits of these dogs. One of the distinctive features of this breed is their small, rounded head. However, inbreeding and careless breeding has led Cavaliers to be prone to syringomyelia. In short, this is a congenital ‘mismatch’ between the skull and the brain, and many times the spinal cord is also compromised.

Although this condition is generally rare, syringomyelia is very common in this breed. Plus, the chances of a Cavalier mix developing this condition are high. In fact, according to the NGO Cavalier health, researchers estimate more than 95% of Cavaliers have malformations in the junction between the brain and the spine [1]. On top of it, this condition appears more severely and frequently in each succeeding Cavalier generation. This means dogs now have these issues more frequently than 10 years ago.

Syringomyelia is extremely serious, and treatments are very limited. Dogs with malformations have tender necks, severe pain in the head, and other neurological symptoms like seizures and body shaking. Since this condition worsens with time and there’s no cure, many dogs with it are placed in hospice care, and euthanized to avoid further suffering.

Cavaliers are also more prone to a heart condition called mitral valve disease. This is one of the breeds most likely to develop this malformation. Pups with this condition start with a small heart murmur, but it slowly progresses to hinder quality of life. In fact, according to experts, mitral valve disease tends to become fatal within one to three years of diagnosis and is the top cause of death for the breed [3]. Other heart conditions are also common.

Of course, Cavoodle puppies also bring poodle genes. This popular breed is generally healthy, but they are more prone to hormonal imbalances. In general, poodles are more likely than other breeds to suffer from Addison’s disease and thyroid problems [4]. Before adopting a poodle or a poodle mix, make sure your pup and its parents have been tested for possible hereditary diseases. Cavoodles are prone to eye conditions -like retinal atrophy- on top of the issues mentioned above.

Considering the very serious health conditions in Cavalier genes, we’re taking off 3 stars.

Apartment Friendly 4/5

If you’re looking for a puppy that will be happy in a flat, the Cavoodle could be a good choice. Given their size, smaller living spaces are often enough to keep them lightly active and entertained.

If you offer your new pup the recommended amount of exercise, apartment living is possible. Your Cavoodle puppy will enjoy jumping on and off the couch and following you around. However, remember the poodle in them leads to occasional unnecessary barking. If this isn’t handled through training, it can become an issue, so make sure to redirect the behaviour if you live close to your neighbours.


Finding A Cavoodle Puppy

Cavoodle Puppy waiting patiently

If you’re considering bringing this cute pup into your home, you might be looking into buying a Cavoodle puppy. Before you jump in, there’s a couple issues you need to think through:

First, we have the price. This crossbreed has risen to popularity, particularly since many celebrities are adopting Cavoodles. Unfortunately, this also means they’ve become a hot commodity, like chihuahuas in the early 2000’s. In Australia, Cavoodle prices can reach up to $7000, sometimes even more.

On the other hand, you’ll have to consider where you get your Cavoodle puppy. This is a new crossbreed, and because of it there are no official registered breeders. The problem with it is that you’ll only find puppies coming from amateur breeders and puppy mills. Both of these options mean your future pup won’t be adequately tested for health concerns, and its parents are subject to harsh living conditions. Plus, puppy mills are very problematic from an ethical standpoint, you can read an in-depth article here.

One of the issues with puppy mills is that people still buy Cavalier puppies at very high prices, so there are many unscrupulous breeders that don’t take health concerns into account. When purchasing a Cavalier or one of its mixes, you’re helping perpetuate the vicious circle of breeding unhealthy, unhappy dogs. Because of it, we cannot recommend purchasing a Cavoodle pup from a ‘breeder’ or puppy mill.

If you’re interested in this breed, it might be worth it to try your luck at a rescue.


Rescuing A Cavoodle

With higher popularity comes higher abandonment rates. Like with other breeds that suddenly become fashionable, crossbreeds like the Cavoodle are slowly more common at local rescues. Rescuing a Cavoodle puppy is a good option if you’re interested in the breed but don’t want to support puppy mills or sketchy non-registered breeders.

Visiting your local RSPCA or rescue group is a great place to start. However, there are also breed-specific rescues that might have the Cavoodle pup you’re looking for. Here are some that you could check out:


Final Thoughts

Even though the Cavoodle is a loyal, cuddly pup, we cannot recommend you buy one. Like all ‘designer dogs’, there are no registered breeders for this mix and your pup won’t have reliable health testing. Likewise, so-called ‘breeders’ don’t take responsibility for the health of their litters like registered breeders do. Buying from puppy mills perpetuates the exploitation of dogs, disregarding the health of litters and parents alike.

Plus, the cavalier in particular is a breed with plenty of health issues due to decades of careless breeding. The majority of these dogs come to the world with inherited malformations that cause a great deal of pain for the dog and expenses for their families. Buying a puppy from a breed with these kinds of issues will only reinforce the problem.

If you’re interested in a Cavoodle or small crossbreed dog to bring into your life, look into adoption from your local rescue. Adopting a puppy mill rescue, or an abandoned ‘Christmas gift’ is as rewarding as getting a ‘brand new’ puppy, but you won’t be feeding dangerous designer dog breeders or puppy mills.

FAQ

What size is a full-grown Cavoodle?

Cavoodle size depends on different factors, mainly the size of its parents. While Cavalier King Charles Spaniels stand at around 30 to 33 cm, toy poodles are bred to be around 25 cm tall.

This means your cavapoo puppy can grow up to be anywhere from 25 to 30 cm tall. On the other hand, it’s important to take into account the poodle type used in the cross. Miniature poodles stand a bit taller than their toy counterparts, so a cavoodle with miniature poole in it will definitely be closer to medium.

How long do Cavoodles live for?

As with all dogs, your Cavoodle’s lifespan depends on its inherited health issues as well as its lifestyle. Like with other crossbreeds, your Cavoodle pup will have a lifespan within the ballpark of its parent breeds.

Considering poodles live between 10 and 18 years, and Cavalier King Charles Spaniels live 12 to 15 years, you can expect your Cavoodle to live around 15 years.

However, if your dog inherits any serious health condition -particularly common among Cavaliers- their lifespan would be severely affected. Cavalier mixes with heart or neurological conditions can live as little as 3 to 5 years, depending on the issue.

References
  1. Cavalier Health. Chiari-like malformation and syringomyelia in the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. 2004. https://cavalierhealth.org/syringomyelia.htm#IN_DEPTH:
  2. VCA hospitals. Syringomyelia and Chiari-like malformation. https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/syringomyelia-and-chiari-like-malformation
  3. Bowen, jill. Heart disease is top cause of death in Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. The Roanoke times. https://roanoke.com/archive/heart-disease-is-top-cause-of-death-in-cavalier-king-charles-spaniels/article_e5c317dd-1244-57ca-9d6e-8278f60bb7cd.html
  4. The poodle club of America. Health concerns. https://poodleclubofamerica.org/health-concerns/
Eloisa Thomas

Eloisa Thomas is a dog lover & anthropologist. She enjoys writing content that will actually help people understand their dogs better. Eloisa is able to use her expertise to write informative posts on canine behaviour and training.

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