The Cavapoo is a hybrid cross between a purebred Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and a purebred Toy or Mini Poodle. It has a lot of the temperament of its parent breeds – sweet-natured, friendly, affectionate, inquisitive and alert. It is also a sociable animal that thrives on human companionship. As a descendant of two breeds that are both sociable, affectionate, and good-natured, it is impossible for the Cavapoo not to be charming. This outgoing temperament does not make the breed a good watchdog. A hybrid’s appearance can vary from dog to dog depending on the parent breeds but in general, a Cavapoo has a compact face with large eyebrows and long ears. An adult Cavapoo typically weighs 10 kilograms and stands between 28 – 38 cm from withers. It can inherit the silky textured coat of the Cavalier King Charles or the wavier coat of the Poodle and comes in a multitude of solid colours or particolours, but the most common colours are black, white, chestnut and tri-colour.
The Cavapoo is one of the first hybrid dogs developed for a specific purpose. It was developed in the United States during the 1950s to produce a small companion dog that sheds very little to none, has lower health issues that is highly adaptable to live in any home setting. The demand for crossbreds, especially companion dogs peaked during the 1980s which made the Cavapoo one of the highly sought-after dogs in the United Kingdom and Australia.
The Cavapoo is a companion dog that will do well inside the house but will suffer if left outside, especially during hot weather conditions, where it can suffer from heat stroke. Its sweet and gentle attitude makes it a wonderful therapy dog for people suffering from anxiety and depression. Overall, the general temperament of a hybrid dog will depend on the temperament of the parent breeds. Ideally, a hybrid dog should inherit all the desirable behaviour from both parents but it is nearly impossible to know in advance which of these characteristics it will receive from its parents. Some Cavapoos will tend to be more Poodle-like in character while others will behave more like a Cavalier King Charles. Because of this physical and behavioural variations, a potential owner of a Cavapoo should be familiar with the parent breeds before getting a puppy.
The Cavapoo is intelligent, thanks to its parent breeds but it has the potential to become independent at times and will just gladly be snoozing on the couch or on his owner’s lap as opposed to following what the owner wants it to do. It is smart and inquisitive enough to learn quickly so training and socialisation must begin early in the life of the Cavapoo. Firm, gentle training will benefit this breed the most, coupled with positive reinforcements such as praise or treat.
The Cavapoo is fairly easy to groom and does not require too much time to care for. Quick daily brushing will do in order to keep the coat clean and tangle free. The coat may need to be clipped a few times a year to keep the dog in a healthy shape. Check and trim the toenails when necessary. Inspect the ears for any sign of infection and clean using a mild ear cleaning solution when necessary. Clean only the areas that are visible and never go beyond what you can’t see.
Some of the health issues known to have affected the Cavapoo include Syringomyelia, a disorder in which a cyst or cavity forms within the spinal cord which cause neurological damage. Another health concern is mitral insufficiency or mitral valve disease, a heart condition where the mitral valve does not close properly when the heart pumps out blood resulting in heart murmurs. Dry eye syndrome, curly coat and episodic fall, all inherited from the Cavalier King Charles are also known health issues. The long-lived Cavapoo has an average lifespan of 10 to 15 years.
The Cavapoo’s exercise requirement is very minimal as a small breed. It needs daily short walks or a simple game of fetch or any other similar physical and/or mental stimulation. With that being said, it is a perfect companion pet for someone who lives in an apartment, condominium or in a small house. It is also one of the best choices for a fairly inactive owner who wants to own a dog.
This fun-loving breed loves to play and can be a very good companion with older children who are mature enough to handle a delicate small breed. Small children need to be supervised when around the Cavapoo because an accidental fall on the Cavapoo may hurt the dog. It will do well with other dogs in the house. Early socialisation with different animals will also make the Cavapoo get along well with other dogs outside its home.