Havapoo vs Cavapoo: Which Breed is Right for You?

With so many wonderful Doodle mixes to choose from it can be very difficult to decide which one is right for you. In this article, we have compared two of the smaller Doodle breeds to try to help you choose which one to go for. The Havapoo and the Cavapoo are both small, incredibly cute dogs and understandably it could be very difficult to choose between them.

The one obvious difference between a Havapoo and a Cavapoo is that although they are both half Poodle, the other parent breed is different. The Havanese and the King Charles Spaniel are the respective second parent breeds of these two adorable Doodles.

The Havapoo is a cross between the delightful little Havanese, one of the very few breeds to originate from Cuba. They are a small and sometimes even toy breed from the Bichon family, bred as a companion dog. The Poodle is usually of the toy variety, but the miniature Poodle can also be used.

The Cavapoo is a cross between a toy or miniature Poodle and the extremely popular Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, also bred as a companion dog. Favored by King Charles I is what gave this breed their name the name. The Cavalier is a small dog but larger than the Havanese. Read on to discover the differences and similarities between these two canine charmers.

Havanese History

The Havanese is a tiny dog hailing from Cuba. When Colombus claimed Cuba as Spanish in 1942 many of the Spanish settlers that came to the island brought small companion dogs with them. These lap dogs were the forefathers of what became the Bichon family of dogs.

As trade was limited the dogs brought to Cuba interbred and over many years developed into the Havanese that we know today. By the 1800s these cute little lap dogs could be found on the laps of many wealthy aristocrats and were eventually exported gaining AKC recognition in 1995.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel History

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a miniature Spaniel bred solely as a companion dog, unlike the other members of the Spaniel family who were all bred as sporting dogs. He is a relatively new breed created less than a century ago. Although tiny Spaniels, the forefathers of the merry little Cavalier, can be seen in paintings dating as far back as the 16th century.

These little Spaniels were favorites of the English Royal family and it is believed that a Cavalier belonging to Mary Queen of Scots even walked with her to her beheading! It was her grandson, Charles 1 who gave his name to the breed that has gone on to be one of the most popular small companion dogs in the world.

Havapoo and Cavapoo Size


The Havanese is a petite dog with both males and females standing between 8.5 and 11.5 inches tall and weighing between 7 and 13 pounds. For this reason, when breeding Havapoos, Toy Poodles are often used meaning that the Havapoo really is a diminutive Doodle standing 10-15 inches tall and weighing 11 to 27 pounds (Toy Poodles stand up to 10 inches in height and miniatures up to 15 inches and weighing between 11 and 27 pounds.


The Cavalier is a small but rather square dog standing between 12 and 13 inches tall and weighing 13 to 18 pounds. As he is a little larger than the Havanese either Toy or Miniature Poodles can be used to breed the Cavapoo. As such, there is a little more variation in size with this Doodle mix. The Cavapoo is usually up to around 13 inches tall and weighs between 11 and 27 pounds however I have personally seen some individuals that are larger than my Cockapoo female.

Havapoo and Cavapoo Colors

The Havanese comes in white, black, black and white, black and tan, sable, grey and tan which means that you can find Havapoos in any one of these colors including parti colored.

The Cavalier King Charles can be Blenheim (red and white), ruby (solid red), tri-color, or black and tan so you also get a huge variety of colors to choose from with a Cavapoo. Even tri-color is possible and highly sought after with some breeders commanding very high price tags for more colorful puppies.

Havapoo vs Cavapoo Coat Type


The Havanese has a long silky coat that is low shedding and can be either straight, wavy or curly with wavy being the desired look for the show ring. He is always furnished so no matter which generation of Doodle you go for, you will never find an unfurnished or flat-coated Havapoo.

The coat does require lots of daily maintenance, brushing and combing right down to the skin, and regular trimming or clipping. The Havapoo sports a soft silky coat and is usually wavy or curly and considered hypoallergenic which makes him a great choice for allergy sufferers.

He is always low to non-shedding unlike some of the other Doodle breeds that may still shed despite being part Poodle if the other parent breed has a shedding coat.


The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel has a long silky coat with feathering to the backs of the legs, the ears, and the tail and does molt. He is non-furnished or open-faced meaning that he does not have the beard, mustache, and eyebrows typical of Doodle breeds.

Depending on the generation the Cavapoo can be either straight, wavy, or curly-haired and can be furnished or occasionally (most likely in F2 or multigenerational Cavapoos) flat-coated (unfurnished). The Cavapoo, except for the unfurnished variety, should be minimal shedding and backcrossed to the Poodle can be hypoallergenic but this should never be taken as a given.

Temperaments of the Havapoo and the Cavapoo


The Havanese is a friendly, outgoing little dog. As befitting of a breed created purely to be a companion dog. He is also lively and despite his diminutive size he needs a reasonable amount of exercise and will keep up with dogs much larger than himself out on walks.

He is intelligent and highly trainable, much like the Poodle, and loves to learn new tricks. As to be expected from a dog bred as a lap dog the Havanese does not like being left alone and can suffer from separation anxiety. He does like the sound of his own voice somewhat and although too tiny to be a guard dog he can make a great watchdog as he is sure to bark and let you know if anyone is approaching.

Sound familiar? It may do if you are already accustomed to the Poodle personality as many of these traits are similar in both breeds. The Havapoo as you might expect is a lively, friendly, playful affectionate little dog who loves to be with his owners.


The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a sweet and gentle little dog who is eager to say hello to anyone he meets making him a great companion but a useless watchdog. He is only moderately energetic which means he can be a good choice for apartment living as long as he gets a walk every day if you don’t have access to a fenced in yard.

He is easy to train and wants to please. However, as he is still a Spaniel, albeit a small one, he can have a tendency to chase small animals and birds and so keeping him on leash unless you are certain of his recall is a good idea.

Crossing the jolly Cavalier with the charismatic Poodle results in an affectionate, cheerful sweet-natured little soul who is intelligent and sociable. Some Cavapoos do like to yap like their Poodle parents (Poodles do like to tell you all about everything) however others are calmer and quieter like the Cavalier.

This little Doodle is a great choice for most people as he is small enough for any home and makes a great pet for children and the elderly. With both breeds, it is essential to take care around very young children though as our little Doodle friends can easily be injured by unintentional rough handling or being stepped on.

Feeding Needs of the Havapoo and the Cavapoo

Feeding any small dog means that you need food that is high in calories as small dogs have a faster metabolism than larger ones. Therefore, with either a Havapoo or a Cavapoo it is important to feed a high quality, calorie-rich food that contains plenty of protein or fat.

You can choose complete raw food, canned or kibble but with the latter two be sure to choose food that is specifically for smaller dogs. If kibble is your choice you will need to select small bite kibble as the larger pieces can be difficult for smaller mouths to accommodate.

Small breeds reach their adult size much more quickly than large dogs so by around 8 months your Havapoo or Cavapoo will already be at his full size. Therefore if feeding canned or kibble you can change from puppy food to adult food at this time, unlike a larger breed who may require puppy food up until two years of age.

As puppies, small breeds have really tiny stomachs so splitting the daily quota of food into four meals is a must. You may think he is not eating much but even a tablespoon full of food is enough to fill him. As he matures you can reduce his feeds to twice a day.

With all puppies, you need to feed approximately 7% of his bodyweight reducing to 3-4% when he is an adult. Take care not to let your Havapoo or Cavapoo become too fat as obesity is a problem in small dogs. Often because the amount they need to eat looks like so little food to us that many owners tend to overfeed.

Havapoo vs Cavapoo Exercise Needs

Even though these are small dogs both the Havapoo and the Cavapoo do require exercise every day. Both breeds need a minimum of two walks of around twenty minutes each per day or a longer walk of an hour as well as regular access to the outside. The opportunity for playtime with you or other dog friends is also extremely important.

Despite being the slightly larger of the two, the Cavapoo may be content with slightly less exercise than the Havapoo. If the weather is bad or you are pushed for time, he is more than happy to curl up on the sofa with you.

The cheeky Havapoo, whilst also happy to be a couch potato sometimes, is more likely than the Cavapoo to try to entice you into a game. This maybe by stealing something to encourage you to chase him if he hasn’t quite burnt off enough energy to be happy to chill out.

Health Issues of the Havapoo and the Cavapoo

Both the Havapoo and the Cavapoo can suffer from an array of health problems typical to smaller dogs although the Havapoo is predisposed to less problems than the Cavapoo.


The Havanese can suffer from deafness (usually white ones) so it is important if choosing a pup with a white Havanese parent that the parent has had a hearing test. Cataracts can also be a concern, along with hypothyroidism and patella luxation so genetic health testing is key when choosing a puppy.


Unfortunately, the Cavapoo, whilst not being prone to deafness, is also prone to eye problems. Other issues are hypothyroidism, patella luxation, and heart problems (mitral heart valve disease) which are prevalent in Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. Therefore buying only from breeders who can show health certificates for both parents is absolutely essential.

Havapoo vs Cavapoo Quick Reference


Although the Cavapoo is slightly larger there is little difference between the Havapoo and the Cavapoo so size alone is not necessarily helpful in choosing between these cute little Doodles. If you choose either you will have a lap dog sized Doodle.

If you have young children perhaps a Cavapoo bred from a Miniature Poodle and a Cavalier would be a wise choice as this creates a slightly larger and less delicate Doodle than the Toy variety or the Havapoo.


Whilst the Havapoo does have a wide variety of color choices the Cavapoo has more, including the rarer tri-color.

Coat Type

More variety in coat type will be found in the Cavapoo based on the genetics of the King Charles Cavalier. You will also see flat-coated Cavapoos which are a greater trigger risk to those with allergies. Both the Havapoo and the Cavapoo will need regular grooming, trimming, and clipping to keep the coat matt free and looking at its best.


The Havapoo and Cavapoo have similar temperaments and are both companion dogs who are prone to separation anxiety. The Havapoo is likely to be the better watchdog of the two but there are no guarantees that your Cavapoo won’t also like the odd yap!


Feeding needs are similar in both breeds due to their size. Ensure that they are being fed a quality food that is high in protein and calorie-dense. However, be careful not to overfeed.

Exercise Needs

Whilst both the Havapoo and the Cavapoo require daily exercise the Havapoo is the most energetic of the two and is likely to need the most outdoor time.

Health Problems

Whilst the Havapoo tends to have fewer problems both breeds have a predisposition to various health issues that are prevalent in their parental lineage. Whilst hybrid vigor should go some way in minimizing these risks you should ensure never buy your puppy from a breeder who cannot provide health certificates for the parents.

In Summary

In summary, these two small Doodle mixes are both wonderful little dogs that can make perfect pets for many families. Similar in size, personality, and appearance it really boils down to which one appeals to you personally over the other.

Either way, if you choose a Havapoo or a Cavapoo you won’t go wrong. It may even just come down to which is more readily available when you decide to look for a breeder or a puppy.

The Cavapoo is better known as the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is more commonly seen than the Havanese and I believe it is for this reason and this reason alone that you will probably find more Cavapoo puppies available for sale than Havapoo puppies.