Cavapoo Breed Guide: An In-depth View

The Cavapoo, Cavadoodle, or the Cavoodle is a mixed breed dog. This Cavalier King Charles Spaniel / Poodle cross is considered to be a small breed dog, perfect for families or as companion dogs.

Want to know more? Our complete guide to the Cavapoo will answer everything you need to know before plunging into the world of dog parenthood. History, grooming, training, and health, you need to read on to find out all there is to know about the glorious Cavapoo.

Playful, outgoing, gentle, and loving, these little bundles of pure joy will have you wrapped around their squishy paws and drowning in their dreamy eyes within minutes.

Cavapoo Quick Facts

Parent BreedsCavalier King Charles Spaniel & Poodle
Height9” – 12” (22cm – 20cm)
Weight9lbs – 25lbs (4kg – 11.5kg)
Size ClassSmall
Lifespan12-15 Years
Other namesCavoodle; Cavadoodle
TemperamentSensitive; Affectionate; Sweet-Natured; Energetic
Best suited toFamilies
NB: Sizes and weights of crossbreed dogs can vary greatly outside the averages given

Cavapoo Breed History

It is believed that the Cavapoo was originally bred in the 1950’s in the US in order to create a small low shedding companion dog, using a Miniature Poodle and a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. They gained in popularity in the 1990’s when they started appearing all over America and the UK.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel History

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are registered within the “toy” group of purebred dogs. They can be traced back to the 16th Century and were held in high regard. In general, it was only nobility and royalty who owned this sporting toy breed.

This working dog was used to flush out game, owing to their high energy and small frame. In the evenings, they were happy to snuggle down in front of the fire on their owner’s lap.

Originally this breed was named the King Charles Spaniel and had a rounded head with a longer muzzle, but with influence from Asia, the breed was purpose fully bred to have a domed head and short muzzle (in an attempt to match the popularity of breeds like the Pug and Japanese Chin / Japanese Spaniel). This more “appealing” breed characteristic meant that the resulting dogs were named the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel to distinguish them from the original “older” type of spaniel.

Occasionally, nature will produce a “throwback” with the long muzzle, harking back to the original King Charles Spaniel.

Poodle History

Poodle Puppy

Poodles are widely used to cross breed with many different breeds. The variation in size that the Poodle comes in means they can be used to produce a huge array of different crossbreeds by matching their size with that of another breed.

Poodles are considered to be “non-shedding” but this is not true. They do shed their hair, but the hair will just drop into the coat rather than on the carpet.

We have a brilliant article on Poodles here if you would like to know more.

The ideal size of Poodle used to produce the Cavapoo is the Miniature, although occasionally a Toy sized Poodle is used to produce a “Teacup” sized Cavapoo.

Different Cavapoo Generations

These little fluffy babies come in a variety of different generations, with the F1 (straight 50/50 cross) being the most popular. This cross also happens to be the healthiest and the generation that benefits most from Hybrid Vigor, given the array of complicated health conditions that both parent breeds can suffer.

We have an incredibly informative and easy-to-understand article explaining everything about the different Cavapoo generations.

Cavapoo Temperament

“Strangers are just friends you haven’t met yet” is the Cavapoo’s motto for life.

This friendly, sweet, affectionate dog will melt your heart with its loving nature and puppy-like features. Cavapoos often display very little prey drive but do like to play and chase just like any dog that has been bred from dogs of working heritage.

Adaptable, sociable and the natural ability to bond remarkably with other household pets make this breed a perfect family addition. Cavapoos tend to do incredibly well in a therapy vocation or companion capacity due to their insatiable need to be near people. They love to be curled up on a lap and be stroked for hours while they snooze.

You will need to be patient though, as Cavapoos tend to take longer to toilet train than many other breeds. Their natural “pack” instinct can leave them vulnerable to separation anxiety too and do not do well left for long periods of time.

Due to the Cavapoo’s friendly disposition, they do not make great watchdogs. They seem to put their trust in strangers and don’t tend to bark a lot at unfamiliar outside noises.

Sizes: Can A Different Sized Poodle Be Used?

The Cavapoo is classed as a small dog, as the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and the Miniature Poodle are both small breeds. Most litters will have a Miniature Poodle parent as both sire and dam will be roughly the same size.

Multigenerational breeding can mean that some litters can be born from the Toy Poodle. Artificial insemination can also be carried out when breeding with Toy Poodles. Although it is widely frowned upon to try to breed a litter of “Teacup” sized Cavapoos, as the health issues are increased in the resulting puppies.

Personally, I like the regular-sized Cavapoo – small enough to flop on your lap but not so big they cut off the circulation to your legs!

Coat Type and Maintenance

Grooming Tools

Cavapoos come in lots of beautiful colors, including cream, fawn, gold, tan, chocolate, red, white, and black/tan/white (tricolor).

To predict the color of a litter of crossbreeds is like trying to pin the tail on the donkey though as the very nature of crossing two different breeds will be like flipping a coin on the outcome.

Maintenance of a Cavapoo coat will range from bi-monthly grooming appointments to just a quick brush once a week. Either way, you will need a brush that is suited to the coat type your particular Cavapoos has.

If you have never had to groom a dog or have always had dogs that require zero grooming (you very sensible people!) and would like to know more about the grooming tools needed to maintain a Cavapoo coat, I highly recommend reading this article on Best Brushes for Cavapoos.

To best understand what the Cavapoo coat type will be, you need to first understand the coat types of both parent breeds.

Poodle Coat

Tight curls and a high tendency to matt, the Poodle coat is considered the most hypo-allergenic coat. They have “hair” instead of “fur”, with no soft fluffy undercoat. The Poodle does shed its hair, but it sheds within itself. This means Poodle-type coats will need daily brushing to remove the dead hair and occasional home-snipping, but always a regular slot at the groomer.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Coat

These dogs are double-coated (topcoat of water-resistant guard hair and a soft, thick undercoat). The undercoat can become matted if it isn’t regularly raked through with a de-shedding tool. The topcoat of silky hair can be prone to knotting and knots may need to be snipped out with a good pair of dog-specific scissors.

Side note on de-shedding and raking: One of my dogs needs regular raking through and it is messy! I mean, white fluff everywhere! Up your nose, down your top, all over your trousers. It is not a pleasant job at all – But the results are well worth it. I do it about every 8-12 weeks.

Cavapoo Coat

Now you know a little about both parent breed coat types, you will know what to expect from your Cavapoo’s coat. Toss a coin and there you will have your answer!

They may have a double coat that will need to be raked. They may have a silky topcoat that will need to be monitored for knots. Or your Cavapoo may take more of the curly genes and need regular grooms.

Cavapoos are known to be better for people with allergies as, with the Poodle thrown into the DNA mix, there is a lower possibility for triggers.

The other point you will need to consider is that as the Cavapoo is a long-haired breed, and they have large round eyes, therefore you may find that a lighter color coat will show the tearstains up a bit more.

On the plus side, whatever their coat, they are only a small dog, so grooming appointments are on the less expensive side. If you decide to groom yourself, their size and trusting loving nature will mean that it will be fairly easy and quick to groom them.

How Much Exercise Does a Cavapoo Need?

Being small dogs, the Cavapoo will only need short walks to keep them happy. They only have little legs!

Try to fill up the “exercise” with stimulation games to exercise their mind too as these dogs are really intelligent and may bore easily. Hide and seek with treats, puzzle toys, or training them to do a job will keep them happy and satisfied.

Health of The Cavapoo Breed

As we have said before, when trying to predict anything about a crossbreed, you need to consider the parent breeds to get an idea of what possible could affect your pooch.

Most importantly, it is the health and happiness of our dogs that must be paramount. We have compiled a brief list of more common health issues that affect the Cavapoo’s parent breeds.

Miniature Poodle Health

  • Chondrodysplasia – An inherited deformity that can mean they are more prone to disc disease, often resulting in lameness, pain, or in severe cases, paralysis.
  • Addison’s Disease – Adrenal gland issues causing lethargy, intermittent shaking and a slow heart rate.
  • Thyroid Issues – Decreased or increased production of the hormone thyroxine.
  • Hip / Elbow Dysplasia – Underdeveloped or over developed joints where the ball of the joint does not sit in the socket correctly.
  • Epilepsy – regular or infrequent seizures ranging from the dog being in a trance-like state through to full on whole-body shaking.
  • Tracheal Collapse – This is due to the fragility of their necks and being walked on a leash attached to their collar. Harnesses worn around the dog’s body will avoid this happening.
  • Ear Infections – Bacterial or fungal. This is caused by the hair growing inside the ears leading to poor air circulation.
  • Skin issues – Including infections, diseases and allergies.
  • Luxating Patella – Regular dislocation of the kneecap

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Health

  • Mitral Valve Disease (MVD) – Almost 50% of Cavaliers will develop this disease by the age of just 5 years old.
  • Luxating Patella – Regular dislocation of the knee cap.
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) and / or Cataracts – Eyes begin to take on a cloudy appearance and the eyesight slowly deteriorates.
  • Syringomyelia – Worsening neck pain, eventually leading to freezing of the neck. This shortens life expectancy of this breed by around 5 years.
  • Skin issues – Including infections, diseases and allergies.
  • Epilepsy – Regular or infrequent seizures ranging from the dog being in a trance-like state through to full on whole-body shaking.
  • Ear Infections – Bacterial or fungal. This is caused by the hair growing inside the ears leading to poor air circulation.
  • Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD) – Rupture of the disc(s) in the spine leading to pain, damage or paralysis.

Cavapoo Health

After this rather dauting list of the variety of health issues affecting both parent breeds, you can start to see some similarities in the issues affecting both breeds. This will obviously lead to a possibility that the Cavapoo will be equally prone to these issues too.

The sensible thing to do is educate yourself in the health of both parent breeds and keep these issues in mind with your Cavapoo. None of the issues listed are definite, and some are even avoidable through good diet and exercise.

My Labradoodle (Labrador Retriever x Standard Poodle) has many issues, including skin allergies, recurring ear infections, pancreatic issues, and more recently, arthritis. The reason I wasn’t beside myself with sadness at the prospect of life-long medication, is that I researched both parent breeds to within an inch of my life. I looked at the most common issues affecting both breeds and prepared myself to deal with them if my dog had inherited these issues.

How Best to Feed Your Cavapoo?

These dogs are small and will therefore benefit from a good quality dry food designed with small dogs in mind. Cavapoos will not be able to eat large kibble.

As this breed can be prone to allergies and digestive issues, (both the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and the Miniature Poodle can suffer allergies) a grain free variety of kibble would be potentially avoid the possibility of any reaction. (My Labradoodle is highly allergic to grain. He displays symptoms of diarrhoea, dry dandruff-type skin, ear infections and is just generally fairly itchy.)

Raw feeding is becoming increasingly popular among Cavapoo owners. If you decide to feed raw, then you will need to feed smaller boned meat like chicken wings or sardines in order for them to be able to crunch the bones and swallow without choking.

Smaller breed dogs will benefit from you chopping the food up into smaller pieces for ease of eating. This advice isn’t just restricted to small dogs. Amusingly, I have to chop up meat into small pieces for my 68lb (31kg) dog as he is a precious diva and doesn’t like to chow down on a whole hunk of meat. He has immaculate manners!

Whichever food type you decide to go with, it is important to feed a nutritionally balanced diet, which should include:

  • Biologically Appropriate Protein – Muscle growth and repair.
  • Carbohydrates – Energy (Although too many carbs and not enough physical activity to burn them off will pile on the pounds).
  • Vitamins and Minerals – Sodium, potassium, calcium, B12 etc.

Please, please, please, I beg of you, read up and educate yourself and your family on foods that are harmful to dogs, as there is a fair number of foods that can be fatal. As the Cavapoo is a smaller breed dog, it wouldn’t take a great deal of contraband food and a misplaced treat-giving gesture from a family member to make them sick, or worse. The main toxic foods (but by no means just limited to) are:

FoodActive ToxinResult
Onions, Garlic and ChivesThiosulphateGastrointestinal issues; Damage to Red Blood Cells
ChocolateTheobromineKidney Failure
Macadamia NutsNot KnownWeakness in Limbs; Vomiting’ Diarrhoea
Corn on the CobThe “cob” can easily cause a blockageIntestinal Blockage; Undigestible
AvocadoPersinVomiting and Diarrhoea
Artificial SweetenerXylitolHypoglycaemia; Liver Failure
AlcoholAlcoholCentral Nervous System Damage
Cooked BonesCooked Bones SplinterPerforation of the Gut
Grapes / RaisinsUnknownKidney Failure

Is A Cavapoo Right for Me / Us?

Cavapoos are extremely adaptable dogs and will thrive in a home filled with family and all the hustle and bustle that comes with running a busy home. They are gentle, reliable, and calm around children of all ages. They will equally settle into a companion role, where they live with just one person as they are very loyal creatures and form strong bonds with their owners very quickly.

Cavapoos tend to suffer separation anxiety so will not do well in a home where they are left for longs periods of time. They are also really sensitive little souls and can pick up on tension, bad feeling, or arguing, resulting in a loss of confidence and they will become very withdrawn and shy.

As these dogs are very easy to train and pick up tasks quickly, they will suit being therapy dogs and will live for the attention and constant company that this worthwhile role entails. Their gentle loving personality means they will put any person who approaches them at ease and due to their kind sociable nature, Cavapoos interact well with lots of different people and surroundings.

Cavapoos are well known to make successful therapy or service dogs and will adapt quickly to all sorts of various lifestyles.

Whether you have a massive garden, a small yard, or even an apartment, the Cavapoo will be happy wherever he is, just as long as you are there too.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Much is a Cavapoo?

The Cavapoo is in the top 20 crossbreed dogs, both in the US and in the UK, this dog’s price tag reflects this. They can cost nearly twice as much as a Cockapoo and up to three times as expensive as the Labradoodle.

Do Cavapoos Smell?

This breed should not have a “doggy” smell. However, given its propensity to skin infections and the long-haired nature of the breed, if your dog does start to smell, it will be down to either an issue that needs veterinary care or just a good shampoo and groom.

Do Cavapoos Shed?

This depends on how much of the parent breed is inherited. With an F1 (straight 50/50 mix) there will be a chance of them being non to low shed, like the Poodle. But also, as the other parent breed, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, is a high shedder, there is also a chance you will need to be investing in a good vacuum and lint rollers.

When to Spay or Neuter my Cavapoo?

Some people neuter or spay pretty soon (under 9 months). Some like to wait until the pup has grown fully into an adult (over 12 months).

Recommendations can vary, with some vets advising to spay or neuter whilst they are young to achieve a positive effect on your Cavapoo. Other veterinarians recommend waiting until the dog has fully developed until spaying or neutering.

A consultation with a professional, who has examined your dog and has listened to your personal circumstances and also if there are any behavioral issues your dog is displaying, will be able to give you tailored advice on this subject.

Can Cavapoos be AKC and KC Registered?

No, they cannot. Cavapoos are not officially a “breed” and therefore are not eligible to be registered with the AKC or the KC. They can, however, be registered with the American Canine Hybrid Club.

When will my Cavapoo Puppy Stop Teething?

Puppies are born with two sets of teeth. They feel pain and discomfort when the adult teeth start pushing through at around three to seven months of age, much like human babies.

Biting and nipping will be partly down to their discomfort, so some frozen chew toys will soothe their gums.

Teething can lead the Cavapoo to play a little more aggressively and will probably bite their humans. Those puppy teeth are sharp! Therefore, this needs to be dealt with patiently and calmly, by using diversion toys from something they shouldn’t bite, to something they are allowed to bite.

After around seven months, the adult teeth will be settled in and this behavior should calm down.

Will a Cavapoo Make a Good Running Partner?

Although their little legs don’t look like mean running machines, they are actually incredible runners with lots of stamina and love to zoom and run.

That said, please wait until your dog’s bones and joints are fully formed, they have gone for a medical assessment to make sure their joints are strong enough to run and keep to short jogs with plenty of “sniff” stops and lots of chances for your Cavapoo to check their “pee-mails”. Remember to take plenty of water as they can dehydrate quickly.

Our full guide on running with your Labradoodle can offer many more tips and advice on running with your Doodle. However, whilst much of this advice is generic you will have to factor in the size difference between the two breeds.

Popular Cavapoo Names

One of the absolute most exciting (and stressful) jobs when you get a new puppy, is naming them!

When you choose a name for your Cavapoo, it should be one that all the family agrees on, it should be a name that you can say easily and quickly, and the name should not be similar to a command.

I regretted calling my Labradoodle Bruno, as I use the word “No” a lot like a command to let my dogs know to “stop what they’re doing and come away”. I often find myself shortening his name to a stern “BRU” then a pause, then another firm “NO”.

Here are a few names on the “popular” list for Cavapoos:


How do I Find a Cavapoo Breeder and How do I Know They are Reputable?

First of all, try to avoid the advertisements in shop windows, newspapers or social media for Cavapoos that are “Available Now”. A really good, experienced breeder will have a list of potential owners even before they have mated their dog.

When you find your perfect puppy, always visit in person. You should feel comfortable and have a good feeling as soon as you walk into the breeder’s house. Go with your gut.

Pups should always be viewed with their mother, be clean and active and be at least 8 weeks old and fully weaned and partially toilet trained.

Health testing and hip/elbow scores should be available for both parents upon request, as should their AKC or KC registration papers if your Cavapoo is an F1.

Try to find a breeder near to you, so you can go for unlimited “pre-visits” to really get a feel for the kind of household your pup (who you are paying good money for) has been raised in. The type of noises, kind of treatment, and way in which the pups are handles will imprint on their minds forever.