The Cavapoo is a mixed breed dog with one Cavalier King Charles Spaniel parent and one Poodle parent.
Breeders hope that Cavapoo puppies will unite the sweet and gentle personality of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel with the dignified athleticism of a Poodle.
But in fact this isn’t the only possible outcome!
What’s In This Guide to the Cavapoo
- Cavapoo At A Glance
- In-depth Breed Review
- Cavapoo Training And Care
- Pros And Cons Of Getting A Cavapoo
Before you purchase a Cavapoo, you’re going to want to know a few things.
Some of the most common questions people have include
- What’s the difference between a Cavapoo and a Cavoodle?
- How big do Cavapoos get?
- Are Cavapoo puppies easy to train?
- How much walking does a Cavapoo need?
- Are Cavapoos good family dogs?
- How much does a Cavapoo cost?
Cavapoo: Breed At A Glance
- Popularity: Ascending
- Purpose: Companion dog
- Weight: 6-18 lb, depending whether a toy Poodle or Miniature Poodle is used
- Temperament: Sharp, athletic, and charming
Cavapoos are part of a growing trend for mixed breed or “designer” dogs. LINK.
Since they can’t be registered with any of the main kennel clubs, it’s hard to estimate how many Cavapoo puppies are born every year.
But one thing is certain: we’re seeing more and more of them!
Cavapoo Breed Review: Contents
- History and original purpose of the Cavapoo
- Fun facts about Cavapoo
- Cavapoo appearance
- Cavapoo temperament
- Training and exercising your Cavapoo
- Cavapoo health and care
- Do Cavapoo make good family pets
- Rescuing a Cavapoo
- Finding a Cavapoo puppy
- Raising a Cavapoo puppy
History and original purpose of the Cavapoo
The origins of many designer dogs are lost to history.
However, an Australian crossbreeding program running in the 1990s is often credited with producing the first Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and Poodle cross.
The breeders were probably hoping for small, fun dogs that didn’t shed much and were good for families.
But to gain a deeper understanding of what Cavapoo dogs will be like, we can examine the history and purpose of their parents too.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniels were named after the 17th century British monarchs King Charles I and his son Charles II.
Both men were fans of black and tan toy spaniels – some people said the second King Charles was more devoted to his dogs than his country!
This introduced domed skulls and flatter faces, and the older type of spaniel nearly disappeared.
In the 1920s, a cash prize was offered to British breeders who could revive the older style of toy spaniel.
This is when the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel breed diverges from the English Toy Spaniel.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniels were recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1995.
Poodles likewise have a noble history – they have been recognized by the AKC since 1887.
Poodles are actually retrievers.
They may have an aristocratic reputation, but they participate in AKC hunt tests and agility competitions.
What’s the difference between a Cavapoo and a Cavoodle?
Cavapoo and Cavoodle are both names for the Cavalier/Poodle mix.
This easy-to-nickname breed is also known as a Cavipoo, Cavadoodle, Cavapoodle, and a Cavadoo.
Fun facts about Cavapoos
- At the time of writing in 2019, Cavapoos seem to have a higher profile in the UK than the US.
- But that’s starting to change, and Cavapoos even have a children’s book dedicated to them in the US now.
- Cavapoos are often classed as teddy bear dogs!
- And finally, the dating app Dig owes its beginnings to a Cavapoo named Layla.
- When Layla’s owner discovered that too many people on dating apps make false claims about being dog lovers, she started a new platform for people who really care about dogs to find romance – aww!
Cavapoo puppies can take on the physical attributes of either Cavalier King Charles Spaniels or Poodles, and it’s hard to predict which breed they’ll take after more.
Generally Cavapoos have sweet expressions and sturdy little bodies, like both of their parents.
Their coat will be long, and ether wavy or curly.
In terms of color, it be one of the tasteful, muted color tones associated with a Poodle: blues, grays, silvers, browns, cafe-au-laits, apricots and creams.
Or it can be come in the rich browns and black of Cavalier King Charles Spaniels.
What’s more, Cavapoos can inherit the white parti-color patches of a Spaniel over any of their possible base colors – making some truly unique combinations!
But if you’re looking for a hypoallergenic Cavapoo, there’s no guarantee.
While some people believe a Poodle’s coat is hypoallergenic, scientists say there’s really no such thing.
How big do Cavapoos get?
Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are usually no more than about 12–13 inches high at the shoulders.
Tipping the scales at 13–18 pounds, they are categorised as a toy breed.
But a big determiner of your Cavapoo puppy’s adult size will be whether their other parent was a toy or miniature Poodle.
Miniature Poodles are usually about 10–15 inches tall at the shoulders and weigh 10–15 pounds.
The diminutive toy Poodle is less than 10 inches tall, and weighs as little as 6 pounds.
Cavapoo weight and height can vary, but a general rule of thumb here is to look at the measurements of their parents.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are graceful, sweet, and gentle, and make good companion dogs for households of all ages.
They do have some sporting ancestry, so they enjoy chasing squirrels and such.
They are famed for adapting to their owner’s lifestyle, and their capacity for an active lifestyle or a life of lounging around.
Poodles on the other hand are known for their intelligence, athleticism, and strength.
These are agile dogs with great tracking instincts, and nothing less than an abundance of activity and play will do.
At home, Poodles are people-oriented, affectionate, and proud. But they are prone to shyness while out and about.
A Cavapoo is likely to be good with children and other pets.
Their personality will be sweet and loving, but you won’t know until they’re grown up how willing they are to just kick back and relax. Some Cavapoos will be brimful of Poodle energy!
And others might inherit a Poodle’s reserve around strangers. You’ll need to be prepared for any combination of Poodle and Cavalier King Charles Spaniel traits.
Training and exercising your Cavapoo
Cavalier King Charles Spaniels excel at obedience, rally, and agility training, and make great therapy dogs.
Poodles benefit from agility, obedience, tracking and retrieving activities to test both their mental and physical prowess.
With small dogs like Cavapoo puppies, it can be tempting to skip over some areas of training.
After all, when they get into trouble you can just scoop them out of it.
Training and socialization helps dogs of all sizes to adjust more confidently to new social situations.
Are Cavapoo puppies easy to train?
Both Poodles and Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are eager to please their handlers, which makes them great candidates for early training and socialization.
They will respond quickly to positive reinforcement training, and learn new commands rapidly.
How much walking does a Cavapoo need?
Fully grown Cavapoos need 40-60 minutes exercise a day.
It’s best to split this into two or three shorter walks.
Back at home, your Cavapoo will also demand time and attention for playing games.
And enclosed yard where you can play fetch is perfect for this.
Cavapoo health and care
Besides providing fun and exercise, you Cavapoo will also rely on you to look after their diet and grooming, and look out for signs of illness.
Feeding your Cavapoo
Cavapoos need a healthy balance of proteins, fats and carbohydrates in their diet.
As growing puppies, you’ll also need to make sure their diet contains the right ratios of calcium and phosphorous for healthy bone development.
Once they’re settled into your home, you’ll be able to make decisions about feeding them dry, wet, raw or home cooked meals.
Our puppy feeding guide can help you with these decisions, as well as feeding schedules.
The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel has long, silky hair that requires regular brushing and an occasional bath.
They do shed, especially with the change of seasons.
Poodles require even more grooming – daily brushing, in fact, to prevent matting.
This is one reason that owners often choose to keep Poodle hair trimmed short.
But Poodles don’t shed much, at least!
Cavapoo shedding depends on what type of hair genes your puppy inherits.
No matter what, you should brush every day or two to prevent matting, or see a professional groomer.
You’ll also need to perform regular nail trims and ear checks.
And finally, Cavapoos may get reddish tear stains, which you might prefer to treat.
Cavapoo health problems
All dogs can get sick, but dogs with purebred parents are also more prone to specific congenital diseases which have become widespread in their parents’ breeds.
Both Poodles and Cavalier King Charles Spaniels have certain inherited health issues you should know about.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel health
A significant health problem for the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is syringomyelia.
In this complicated condition, the shape of the skull is too small to properly accommodate the brain, which blocks the flow of spinal fluid.
Affected dogs experience pain in the forelimbs, shoulder, neck, and pelvic limbs, but treatment is limited.
Another problem for Cavalier King Charles Spaniels is mitral valve prolapse. In this heart condition, blood leaks back into the atrium of the heart from the blood vessels which serve it.
Eventually this may cause heart failure.
As there isn’t much genetic diversity in the Cavalier population, it is difficult to remove these conditions by breeding away from them.
However, this shouldn’t stop good breeders from health screening their dogs, so that you can make an informed decision about bringing a puppy home.
Poodles are at risk for autoimmune disorders including Addison’s disease, and sebaceous adenitis, an inflammatory disease of the hair follicles.
They are prone to a bleeding disorder called von Willebrand’s disease and a bleeding disorder of the hips called Legg-Calvé Perthes.
Poodles are also at risk for epilepsy, hip dysplasia, and dislocating kneecaps.
They may suffer a heart defect called atrial septal defect.
How long do Cavapoos live?
Cavalier King Charles Spaniels have an average lifespan of 10-12 years, which closely the reflects the average life expectancy across the whole dog population.
But Poodles boast some of the longest life expectancies in dogdom.
Miniature Poodles live for 14 years on average, and up to 18.5.
Toy Poodles live longer still – up to 19 years!
Do Cavapoos make good family pets?
Cavapoos are great companion dogs.
They are friendly and good with kids and other animals. Their playful energy means they make a great addition to family life.
They are also small, which has practical advantages in terms of how much space they need in the home and car, how much they cost to feed.
Their size means they’re unlikely to knock over small children or elderly people, but you’ll need to be careful to protect them from larger dogs and boisterous games.
Rescuing a Cavapoo
Lots of people looking forward to owning a dog are are interested in adopting their new friend from a rescue shelter.
There are lots of advantages to this, and some special considerations to bear in mind as well. We’ve looked more closely at all of them in this article.
At the bottom of this page we’ve also included a list of shelters which might have Cavapoo dogs – let us know in the comments if we’ve missed a great one near you!
Finding a Cavapoo puppy
Although not a pure breed, you’ll have no trouble finding Cavapoo breeders online or in person.
You’ll likely encounter some premium prices for your designer puppy, though.
This is when you’ll need to sort the good breeders who charge a reasonable fee for health screening and veterinary care from the puppy farms who breed fashionable dogs cheaply and try to sell them at top dollar.
Make sure you’re dealing with a responsible breeder, bringing up Cavapoo puppies in a safe and nurturing environment.
Ask to meet your puppy’s parents and observe their living conditions.
Raising a Cavapoo puppy
Caring for a vulnerable Cavapoo puppy is a big responsibility.
Our puppy pages have tips and advice on all stages of rearing a puppy and puppy development.
You can also watch this lovely video of Luna with her owner, to see what goes into a day with a Cavapoo dog!
Pros And Cons of Getting A Cavapoo
There’s a lot to think about before you bring home a Cavapoo, and we’ve covered a lot of ground in this article!
Here’s a summary of the pros and cons of getting a Cavapoo:
- Poodles typically demand more exercise and engagement than Cavalier King Charles Spaniels – you won’t know until they’re grown up how much energy your Cavapoo has.
- Poodles can be nervous of strangers, and your Cavapoo might inherit this shyness.
- Cavalier King Charles Spaniels have a high frequency of hereditary illnesses.
- These small dogs fit easily into all kinds of households.
- They are usually outgoing and playful and fun.
- Cavapoo puppies are easy to train and pick up new commands quickly.
Comparing the Cavapoo with other breeds
Cavapoos aren’t the only popular mixed breed with either a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel or a Poodle parent.
In these articles, we put them head to head against some other cute contenders, so you can see how different mixes measure up.
Cavapoos aren’t the only small, smart and friendly dog.
You might also like to consider one of the following:
Cavapoo Breed Rescues
There are very few rescues shelters dedicated to specific mixed breeds.
But that doesn’t mean Cavapoos never need a second chance at a forever home.
Make contact with local shelters in your area and talk to them about the kind of canine you’re hoping to find.
You might also have success approaching rescue shelters usually dedicated to either Poodles or Cavalier King Charles Spaniels.
NorCal Poodle Rescue in North California specializes in rehoming Poodles and their mixes.
In the UK, Doodle Trust specializes in rehoming Poodle crosses of all types.
The national breed club for Cavalier King Charles Spaniels includes welfare and rescue services, who might also know about mixed breed pups looking for a home.
If you know about a Cavapoo rescue shelter which we haven’t included here, please tell us about them in the comments!
Is a Cavapoo right for me?
Most Cavapoos are created by mixing Cavalier King Charles Spaniels and either Miniature or Toy Poodles.
They’ll generally have a moderate activity level, and may be pretty smart.
They make good companions for families.
These are adorable, fun little dogs, with sweet expressions and loving temperaments.
But remember, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels particularly suffer from health issues that may be passed down to your Cavapoo.
Do you have the time and energy to train a Cavapoo properly?
If so, the Cavapoo might be for you!
Do you have a Cavapoo at home?
Do you call them a Cavapoo or a Cavoodle?
And do they remind you more of a Cacavlier King Charles Spaniel or a Poodle?
Tell us all about them in the comments!
This article has been extensively updated and revised for 2019.
References And Resources
O’Neill et al. (2013). Longevity and Mortality of Owned Dogs In England. The Veterinary Journal
Adams VJ, et al. (2010). Results of a Survey of UK Purebred Dogs. Journal of Small Animal Practice.
The Poodle Club of America, Health Issues in Poodles.
Cowan, S. M. et al (2004). Giant platelet disorder in the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. Experimental Hematology, 32(4).
Pederson, H. et al (1999). Echocardiographic mitral valve prolapse in Cavalier King Charles Spaniels: epidemiology and prognostic significance for regurgitation. The Veterinary Record, 144(12).
Rusbridge, C. et al (2007). Syringomyelia in cavalier King Charles spaniels: the relationship between syrinx dimensions and pain. Journal of Small Animal Practice, 48(8).
Rusbridge, C. & Knowler, S. P. (2004). Inheritance of occipital bone hypoplasia (Chiari Type I Malformation) in Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine, 18.