Poodle vs Cavapoo – Which one is Right for You?

While researching the Cavapoo you may come across, time and time again, reference to just how great Poodle genetics and traits are and why they are added to hybrids. But what happens when you then start thinking “well if Poodles are so great why don’t I just get a purebred one?”.

Before you collapse in a heap and start your dog search from scratch, read on and we will lay out an easily digestible general comparison between the Cavapoo and Poodle.

Spoiler alert, personally I love them both. However, like all breeds, there are some differences that may make one or the other more appealing for your own life and family.

Quick Glance Comparison

WeightStandard: 45lbs – 70lbs
Miniature: 12lbs– 20lbs
Toy:  6lbs – 9lbs
Mini: 13lbs – 25lbs
Toy: 7lbs – 13lbs
HeightStandard: 15″ – 24″
Miniature:  11″ – 15″
Toy : Up to 10″
Mini: 12″ – 16″
Toy: 9″ – 12″
LifespanStandard: 10 – 14 years
Miniature: 14 -17 years
Toy: 14 – 18 years
Mini & Toy:  12 – 15 years

Poodle History

While the rise of Poodle crossbreeds or “Doodles” took off in earnest in the later 1990s/ early 2000s, the Poodle has been popular in its own right in Europe and America for centuries. 

The largest offering, the Standard Poodle has its origins as a working water dog. Intelligent and loyal, they are large athletic dogs who would accompany hunters and retrieve game from rivers and ponds as required.

It was the Poodle’s intelligent nature and propensity for picking up training that saw them begin to appear in circus shows in Europe from the late 1800s. This led to the desire to breed them into smaller variations for ease of transport. As soon as the rich and wealthy saw these smart, cute little dogs they were quickly in demand as companion-style lap dogs.

Poodles continue to be popular to the current day. However, unlike “Doodles” they are purebred, meaning they can only occur when one Poodle is paired with another. They continue to be shown regularly in dog shows and agility events where they are sure crowd-pleasers.

For more Poodle-specific information, be sure to check out our other resources including The Poodle: From History to Health and Poodle or Doodle – A Big Question Answered.

Cavapoo History

Unlike the purebred Poodle who descends from long lines of Poodle-only parentage, the Cavapoo is a hybrid or mixed breed of a Poodle parent and a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel parent.  This results in adorable offspring which, due to a combination of the different coat styles of the parent breeds, often takes on a shaggy teddy bear-like appearance.

While the cross of Poodle and Cavalier King Charles Spaniel has likely occurred occasionally throughout the years, it is only from around the early 1990s that breeders began actively mixing the two and raising the profile of the Cavapoo.

The benefit of adding Poodle coat qualities often resulted in reducing the shedding associated with the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.

For a more in-depth breakdown of all things Cavapoo, be sure to check out our other article, Cavapoo Breed Guide: An In-depth View.

Poodle Coats – Colors, Type, and Maintenance

The Poodle coat is arguably one of the most instantly recognizable in the world. Certain grooming preferences only serve to make them stand out even more. Think shaved muzzle and feet with perfectly shaped pom poms. Some people even go to the extreme of turning their white- or light-colored Poodles pink!

Pink is not a natural Poodle color, however, it can feel like they come in about every other shade including Black, Blue, Silver, Gray Cream, White, Brown, Red, Apricot, Café Au Lait, and Silver Beige. Poodles can also come in mixed or parti coloring, often with large areas of white coat broken up by patches of another. In some instances, Poodles can also display tricolor markings.

A true purebred Poodle coat will consist of human-like, tightly curled, hair rather than fur. There can be some variation across the body and hair may be smoother around the muzzle and ears. The key difference in a Poodle coat is that they do not experience shedding in the same volume as most other breeds. Hair can still occasionally break as part of normal growth however the Poodle will need daily grooming to help remove this otherwise, they will be prone to matting.

Less common is the “corded” Poodle. In these Poodles, owners allow their softer curl pattern to develop into long ringlet curls which can then be coaxed into tight cords, similar to dreadlocks. While this seems like a quick fix to avoid daily brushing, these still need additional care and groomers’ visits to trim off dead ends and keep the skin underneath the dreads healthy.

Cavapoo Coats – Colors, Type, and Maintenance

As detailed above, Poodles come in a whole wealth of color options meaning that a Cavapoo hybrid has the potential to show any one of the color options of the Poodle. The most common variations include cream, fawn, chocolate, gold, chestnut, and white.

Many people choose the Cavapoo as a non-shedding alternative to the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel however it is always worth remembering that not all Cavapoo’s will inherit trademark Poodle curls. Cavapoo’s can take after the Cavalier and have longer, flatter coats which may still shed quite considerably.

For the most part though, Cavapoo’s will exhibit a mix of their two parents’ coat types. Think soft wavy approaching curly hair-type coats. They have a propensity to be fluffy, which while adorable can make them susceptible to matting. Regular brushing and grooming visits are a must.

Poodle Sizes

Poodles come in a variety of sizes. As a purebred dog, there are criteria set by kennel clubs to differentiate between each category. For the most part, there are three recognized sizes of Poodles, the Standard, the Miniature, and the Toy.  In Europe, there is also often a fourth category of “Moyen” which translates to “middle” or “Medium” and indicates a size between the Miniature and Standard.

  • Standard Poodle: 15 to 24 inches in height, 45 to 70 pounds in weight
  • Miniature Poodle: 11 to 15 inches in height, 12 to 20 pounds in weight
  • Toy Poodle: Up to 10 inches in height, 6 to 9 pounds in weight

The different size options available in Poodles is often appealing as it makes the breed accessible to individuals with different sized living space. Plenty of space and a good-sized yard? Get yourself a Standard. Apartment living with limited outdoor space? Think Toy!

Cavapoo Sizes

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel comes only in one size which is relatively small and for the most part, breeders will match it to the Miniature Poodle to create a Mini Cavapoo.  In some instances, a smaller Cavalier may be bred to a Toy Poodle to create a Cavapoo that may be smaller again in size.

It would be rare to see a Cavapoo with Standard Poodle parentage due to the large variation in size compared with the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel parent.

  • Mini Cavapoo:  12 to 16 inches in height, 13 to 25 pounds in weight
  • Toy Cavapoo: 9 to 12 inches in height, 7 to 13 pounds in weight

Poodle Temperament

Intelligent, faithful, alert, and trainable are all words used by owners to describe their Poodles. In all size variations, they are active dogs who will require mental as well as physical exercise. Often the Poodle is loyal to their own family however, may appear timid or nervous around new people. This is the root of the perception that the Poodle is aloof, as they often make people work for their affections.

Incredibly bright, if not given a well-rounded socialization and training program in their early months, they can develop a touch of anxiety. Luckily their intelligence also lends itself well to reward-based training which a Poodle will thrive on.

Cavapoo Temperament

Sociable, friendly, and affectionate. The Cavapoo takes the more laid-back traits of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel to temper some of the nervousness of the Poodle. The result is a hybrid dog that wants to meet everyone and everything in the dog park.

This can make your little Cavapoo a touch on the intense side and good early training around doggy manners is often needed. They do inherit a dose of Poodle brains though and coupled with the working dog heritage of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, you have a dog who will soak training up like a sponge.

Poodle Exercise Needs

The amount of exercise a Poodle needs will be dictated somewhat by its size. A Standard Poodle is an incredibly athletic and active dog and will need upwards of one hour of exercise a day as a base and access to a decent outdoor space. The smallest of Toy Poodles however may be happy with a 20-to-30-minute walk and some at-home games.

Poodles will enjoy games and training meaning this can be used to mentally tire them out on days where there are just not enough hours in a day to fit in a long walk.

Cavapoo Exercise Needs

Often referred to as a little “pocket rocket” do not let the Cavapoo’s smaller stature fool you, especially in puppyhood. These can be incredibly active little dogs that will be always on the move.

The good news is this generally subsides after the first year and you will be left with a companion dog who needs light to moderate exercising. One to two short walks a day will be enough for your Cavapoo if they have access to a yard and plenty of interaction with their humans to tire them out.

Cavapoo’s who are on the larger size will also quite happily rise to the challenge of hikes or moderate jogging.

Poodle and Cavapoo Feeding requirements

The bigger the dog the bigger the food bill and it is a pretty sizeable comparison for a 70 pound Standard Poodle and a 15-pound Cavapoo. Both breeds do well on dry, wet, or combination foods with some owners adopting raw diets.

While a Cavapoo may require in the region of one cup of food a day split over two meals, the Standard Poodle will need something in the region of 2.5 to 3 cups per day.

Poodle vs Cavapoo Health

Cavapoos benefit from the health phenomena known as “hybrid vigor” where mixing two purebred lines allows the opportunity to “breed out” some of the more common conditions which can become associated with either breed. If the problem is present in both parent breeds though it can still be passed on.  As such Cavapoo’s can experience some conditions affecting their bones, hearts, and eyes that occur in both Poodles and Cavalier King Charles Spaniels.

The purebred Poodle, while largely considered a reasonably healthy pure breed, does have a higher instance of certain conditions affecting their bones, hormonal systems, heart, and eyes. Some Poodle lines also have a higher instance of Epilepsy. Deep chested Standard Poodles can be susceptible to bloat. Good screening by breeders though can assist in avoiding most of these and many conditions are treatable.


Cost can vary dramatically, in Poodles in particular. Certain top-quality breeders will cost upwards of 50% to 60% more. Poodle size and coloring can also massively vary the associated price tag.

At the time of writing the cost of a Mini Cavapoo puppy and a Miniature Poodle puppy is fairly similar however there is much more variation in the upper end of Poodle costings as many people are looking for a certain pedigree in their purebred Poodle. You can expect to pay more for a Toy Cavapoo than a Mini due to them being less regularly bred.

This is only a rough guide and costs can vary locally due to demand and availability. It is always worth checking with local shelters or re-homing organizations in case they have the perfect little Poodle or Cavapoo just waiting to join your family.

In Summary

We would love to give you the definitive answer as to which breed is best for you. Unfortunately, only you yourself can make that decision. Hopefully though, our in-depth guide will enable you to figure out whether the Poodle – be it Standard, Miniature, Toy –  or the Cavapoo fits best with your lifestyle and accommodation.