Complete Guide To The Cavapoo: Grooming, Health and More

Part Miniature or Toy Poodle, part Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, the Cavapoo is a dapper little dog with a teddy-bear face and a merry temperament. Playful and attentive, they’re adaptable pets perfect for any family.

Cavapoos are particularly popular in my veterinary practice and I’ve seen them for several years now. They have quite a lot of variety in their looks but they are wonderful pets and companions.

How Big Does A Cavapoo Get?

Hybrid Cavapoo pups share similar features, but their genetic expression is unpredictable, so the results of mixing breeds can be surprising. The offspring of two petite dogs, Cavapoos are compact, weighing 12-25 pounds and standing 11-15 inches high. Since both Poodles and Cavs have long ears, dark eyes and medium to long coats, these traits are common among all Cavapoos — where offspring differ is in color and coat texture.

What Does A Cavapoo Look Like?

Coats vary between curly on the Poodle’s side and wavy on the Cavs. Colors reflect the variety among Poodles and include:

Black and TanMany more…

Cavapoos can be difficult to differentiate from Miniature Poodles depending on how they’re groomed and may resemble similar breeds from the Havanese to the Shih Tzu.

What Is The Personality of A Cavapoo?

Poodles and Cavalier King Charles Spaniels have similar personalities, so there’s more consistency among Cavapoos than other designer hybrids. Born of two intelligent, loyal, fun-loving breeds, Cavapoos learn quickly. They form lasting bonds with their families and like to be included in activities — they don’t like to be left home alone.

But their energy and athleticism will depend on which parent they take after. Bred to hunt, Cavs are more athletic and might prefer a more active family. Not prone to aggression, a well-trained Cavapoo is a trustworthy companion for children and a courteous apartment dweller.

What Are The Grooming Needs Of A Cavapoo?

The Cavapoo’s coat is similar to the Poodle’s and needs consistent grooming. They shed infrequently, but their curls are prone to matting, and they attract debris.

Long coats should be brushed every other day to remove knots before they turn into mats. A bath every two to four weeks is ideal. Regular conditioning discourages tangles.

Like Poodles, Cavapoos are prone to tear staining on their cheeks — daily cleansing controls it without the use of potentially toxic bleaching products. Preventing ear infections is also a must with long-eared breeds. Their ear canals get little air, so yeast and bacteria are quick to grow — cleanse them at bath time.

Cavapoos are active but rarely get enough vigorous exercise to keep their nails short. Long hair on their feet hides them from view, so they can overgrow without being noticed. Examine them weekly and trim off the excess.

Cavapoos are not low-maintenance dogs, so many owners opt for professional grooming. A short puppy cut is adorable and makes maintenance simpler. The dogs feel more comfortable and always look their best.

How Much Exercise Does A Cavapoo Need?

Cavapoos are highly diverse. Energetic, they excel at canine sports — many are agility champions — but they’re equally happy with once-a-day walks or a romp in the park. Adaptable, they’re a good fit for adventurers to homebodies.

Make sure when you do take your Cavapoo outside for a walk to use a harness and not a collar. It’s safer for the dog and provides more control for the owner.

What Kind of Dog Food Is Good For A Cavapoo?

Most small kibble dry dog foods will be suitable for a Cavapoo. These little dogs have a pretty small mouth so large kibble will be a lot more difficult to chew.

Grain-free diets are a myth. Please do not feed your dog a grain-free diet unless there are specific food allergies that would benefit from a grain-free diet. Always consult your veterinarian before you decide to make any major diet changes.

Some good brands that I recommend include:

I usually tend to go with the bigger dog food companies because of the amount of time and money they have to research and test their products. They also have a stronger history of safe foods (very rarely will they have recalls) over the newer, more boutique-style dog foods.

It is important always to give your dog high-quality dog food. Monitor the number of treats and “people food” you give your dog to keep him healthy and fit. Keeping your dog at a healthy weight is the best and easiest way to extend the life of your Cavapoo. 

How Long Does A Cavapoo Live?

My experience is generally 13-15 years of age.

What Health Problems Can Cavapoos Have?

Cavapoos, being little dogs, suffer from the same issues that many other small dogs do. The most common ones that I see in my practice include:

  • Dental Disease
  • Luxating Patella
  • Elbow Dysplasia
  • Heart Murmurs as they age
  • Obesity

Try not to let your little Cavapoo fly off the bed or couch on a regular basis. They’re small but they are still capable of developing neck and back pain issues due to chronic abuse of these areas from jumping off of tall objects.

Where Can I Find Out More About The Cavapoo?

Cavapoo Bible (Amazon)

The Cavapoo Handbook (Amazon)

Where Can I Find a Cavapoo?

Breed List From Cavapoo Love

There isn’t a great independent source of info comparing Cavapoo breeders. You’re going to have the do the work and research on your own. Thankfully, the AKC has put together a nice article on how to evaluate a dog breeder that you can study.

Interesting Facts about Cavapoos

Cavapoos have a short history, but did you know?

• They’re Allergy-Friendly

Dogs may be our best friends, but up to 10-percent of us are allergic to them. Cavapoos, one of many designer hybrids, were bred specifically to shed less. While no dog is completely hypoallergenic, both the Poodle and Cavalier King Charles Spaniel are known to produce less dander, thought to be the cause of most allergy symptoms.

• Cavapoos Are Known by Many Names

Cavapoos don’t have a unique origin. They were first produced in the United States in the 1950s, but there are hundreds of breeders worldwide, each with a different idea of what to call this delightful dog. Other monikers include Cavadoodle, Cavoodle, Cavapoodle and Cavadoo.

They’re At the Top of Their Class

Cavapoos are the product of two gifted breeds. Poodles rank second on the list of most intelligent dogs — Cavalier King Charles Spaniels rank in the top 25-percent at 44. Highly responsive to training, Cavapoos can be successful in any living environment.

• Cavapoos Aren’t AKC-Recognized

The AKC only certifies pure breeds, so while Cavapoos aren’t papered, their parents should be. Organizations recognizing Cavapoos include the American Canine Hybrid Club, the Designer Breed Registry and the Designer Dogs Kennel Club. For access to their canine sporting events, any dog can be enrolled in the AKC’s Canine Partners program.

• Hollywood Loves Hybrids

Hybrid dogs are popular among celebrities for their distinctiveness. Famous owners include Aussie A-lister Hugh Jackman, British actress Angela Griffin, former Prime Minister of Australia, Julia Gillard and international superstar Katy Perry.

• They’re Instagram Stars

Cavapoos share more than a quarter-million followers on Instagram. Whether they’re showing off the latest fashions or traveling the globe in search of adventure, they’re amassing fans and contributing to the popularity of the breed. Check out Graham’s latest antics in Houston or the ball-obsessed Miss Coffee from Melbourne.