The Cavapoo, also known as a Cavoodle, is a cross between the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and the Poodle. Poodle crossbreeds are meant to produce a dog with mixed traits and the Poodle’s signature nonshedding coat. As a crossbreed, the Cavapoo is not eligible for registration with purebred registries such as the American Kennel Club, but it can be registered with the American Canine Hybrid Club. The Cavapoo is not considered a purebred because it doesn’t ‘breed true, meaning that it doesn’t display a consistent set of characteristics. Like other ‘designer breeds’, the Cavapoo has seen a recent surge in popularity. Some breeders produce Cavapoos by crossing a purebred Poodle with a purebred Cavalier King Charles Spaniel (called a ‘first generation’ cross), but others allow crossing Cavapoos with Poodles or Cavalier King Charles Spaniels (called a backcross) or with other Cavapoos (called a multi-generation cross). Different crosses can result in different characteristics.
The Cavapoo has a shoulder height of 9-14 in (23-35 cm) and can weigh anywhere between 7-18 lbs. Cavapoos can vary in appearance depending on the genetic influence of the parents. Most have a compact face with long, floppy ears and large brows.
The Cavapoo is known for its soft, Poodle-like coat, though a few have the Cav’s longer, silkier, wavy coat. The Cavapoo can be a wide variety of colors including gold, black, white, Blenheim (brown and white), or tricolor (black, white, and tan). The Cavalier coat sheds, but the Poodle coat sheds little or not at all.
The Cavapoo is friendly and energetic, thriving on human companionship. It is intelligent and can be somewhat hyper. Cavapoos tend to follow their owner from room to room, eager to play or just cuddle up. They may get into mischief or snoop around where you want to keep them out. Some Cavapoos are so attached to their owners that they suffer separation anxiety, barking, and whining when their owner leaves without them.
Cavapoos make great companions for anyone, from small children to older people. They are friendly to everyone, including strangers, dogs, and other pets. Young children should be supervised around the Cavapoo to ensure they treat it with respect.
The Cavapoo requires weekly brushing as its hair tends to knot frequently. Those with a Poodle coat require more frequent brushing. The toenails should be regularly inspected for snags in the fur, which must be gently uncaught. Cavapoos require clipping several times a year. The Cavapoo has a lifespan of 10-14 years, though some live up to 20 years. Cavapoos are susceptible to health problems affecting the parent breeds, such as mitral valve disease (a heart condition), syringomyelia (a spinal condition), cataracts, or other eye problems, though generally, crossbreeds are less likely than purebreds to suffer health conditions (known as ‘hybrid vigor’).
The Cavapoo is intelligent and easily trained. A gentle and well-varied approach is recommended. Most Cavapoos can learn a wide variety of tricks and are eager to please their owner. The Cavapoo can be housetrained fairly quickly.
The Cavapoo requires daily exercise. Most of its needs can be met by indoor play, but it also enjoys walks, games, fetches, and outdoor exercise or a visit to the dog park. The Cavapoo is well suited to apartment life.