Cavapoo: Dog Breed Profile

Characteristics, History, Care Tips, and Helpful Information for Pet Owners

Cavapoo puppy playing with a jacket.


Sandra Standbridge / Getty Images

Known for their loving, affectionate nature, the Cavapoo (sometimes called Cavadoodle or Cavoodle) is a breed that has been seeing increasing popularity in US homes the past few decades. They adapt well to most settings and their playful and easygoing personalities make them a great addition for most families with children.

Breed Overview

Group: Not recognized by the AKC
Height: 11 - 14 inches (male); 9 - 11 inches (female)
Weight: 10 - 20 lbs (male); 9 - 15 lbs (female)
Coat: Medium length, wavy coat
Coat Color: Cream, fawn, chocolate, gold, chestnut, tri-color; Can be solid or have white markings
Life Expectancy: 12 - 15 years

Characteristics of the Cavapoo

Affection Level   High
Friendliness  High
Kid-Friendly High
Pet-Friendly  High
Exercise Needs  Medium
Playfulness  High
Energy Level  Medium
Trainability High
Intelligence  High
Tendency to Bark Low
Amount of Shedding Low

History of the Cavapoo

The past few decades poodle mixes, including the cavapoo, have become incredibly popular in the US. The idea of a poodle mix is to blend the personality traits of one breed, in the case of the cavapoo the good-naturedness of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, with the low shedding and hypoallergenic traits of poodles. Although the sudden popularity of cavapoos may make them seem to be a recently created breed, it is believed that they were first bred in the 1950s in Australia.

Cavapoo Care

Cavapoos have soft, medium-length fur that can range from wavy to curly. They are know for shedding very little, making them an ideal breed for those with allergies to pet dander. Their lack of shedding doesn't mean they don't need routine brushing, though. If a cavapoo isn't brushed out at least once to twice a week, their wavy curls may start to mat. Aside from being uncomfortable and sometimes even painful, mats can make the skin underneath prone to infections. Some owners may opt to have their cavapoo's fur trimmed short into a 'puppy cut' to also help prevent matting.

Your cavapoo should get his/her nails trimmed routinely to prevent them from snagging or breaking on something. They also need their ears cleaned out to prevent infection as well as to clean and pluck out the fur that grows in their ears. Being a smaller breed dog, cavapoos are prone to dental disease. Brushing your cavapoo's teeth daily (or as close to once a day as you can manage) with dog friendly toothpaste can help keep your dog's teeth clean and healthy. Dental disease is not merely a stinky, cosmetic issue. Your dog's gingival tissue is vascular and it is the number one area in your dog's body where bacteria can enter the bloodstream. This can lead to painful tooth abscesses but can also lead to a heart condition known as endocarditis, which is inflammation of the heart muscle. Proper dental hygiene is especially important for breeds that are susceptible to having bad teeth, like the cavapoo.

Cavapoos can be quite energetic and excitable. They prefer being with the company of their owners and family rather than in their kennel, so prepare for them to be over the moon when you come home from being out. They certainly have the energy to keep up with playful children, but as with all pets, make sure that your children have adult supervision when playing with your cavapoo. Keep in mind that cavapoos are on the smaller side, so there can be risk of injury from a playful child that gets a little carried away with their rough housing. Despite their high energy, they actually have moderate exercise requirements, only requiring daily walks. This, combined with their small stature, makes them suitable for urban/apartment life.

Cavapoos are both highly intelligent and highly trainable. As with any breed, cavapoos can be easily trained in basic obedience with positive-reinforcement based training methods. Being closely bonded to their owners, they are always seeking to please their owners. Marking a desired behavior with a treat or praise can help reinforce good behavior so your cavapoo can better know exactly how they should behave to please you. Because they are so closely bonded to their owners, though, they are also prone to suffering from separation anxiety. Finding a positive reinforcement based trainer with certifications and experience in dealing with separation anxiety is crucial. Avoid trainers that use 'aversives' or 'corrections' as these corrections can actually increase stress levels in an already anxious pet. The world of dog training, sadly, is not regulated, meaning there are no minimal requirements to call yourself a trainer. So when you are seeking a trainer, especially when there is a behavioral problem to address, be sure to look for certifications, credentials, etc.

Common Health Problems

Cavapoos are prone to diseases seen commonly in both Cavalier King Charles Spaniels as well as poodles. As their popularity in the US has grown, more and more cavapoo breeders have cropped up. Reputable breeders will screen their cavapoos, spaniels, and poodles for these illnesses and will not breed dogs that have a disease that has a genetic component. Health problems commonly seen in cavapoos can include:

Diet and Nutrition

Cavapoos tend to thrive on a diet made for smaller to medium sized, high energy breeds. Although the weight range for the breed doesn't seem that large, it can actually vary by a large percent! A 9 lb cavapoo is much smaller than a 20 lb cavapoo, and as such, will require much less food per day. Depending on the size of your cavapoo (and their activity level throughout the day) they may require anywhere from 1/2 C to 1 C food per day. Although they have a high energy level, if they are overfed (either with their daily food consumption or just extra cookies each day because they are just so darn cute) they can become overweight. Your veterinarian can help give you insight into how to help get the extra weight off your cavapoo, if this is the case.

  • Affectionate with everyone

  • Don't shed

  • Size and adaptability make them good for urban life

  • Weekly to twice weekly brushing required

  • Prone to separation anxiety

  • Prone to dental disease, heart conditions, and eye problems

Where to Adopt or Buy a Cavapoo

Cavapoos are a relatively popular designer breed. Finding one shouldn't be as much of an issue as finding other, rarer breeds. The challenge is finding a reputable breeder. The breed's popularity makes them a popular choice for puppy mill breeders. General rules of thumb to avoid purchasing from a puppy mill is to avoid purchasing from pet shops (unless you live in a city in which pet shops are legally required to sell only shelter pets) and avoid breeders that don't let you see the parents and where they are kept. Despite being considered a designer breed, cavapoos are also surrendered at shelters and rescues just as other breeds unfortunately are. So if you are looking to rescue or adopt, finding one in a local shelter or rescue group should not be that difficult either. Speak to your veterinarian and local animal shelters about where to find a cavapoo if you are wanting to add one to your home.

More Dog Breeds and Further Research

The cavapoo isn't the only poodle mix out there. Before you decide on getting one, research the pros and cons of the cavapoo and compare them to the pros and cons of these similar breeds:

There is a wide variety of dog breeds out there and an equally wide variety of poodle mixes. With just a little research, you can find the right breed for your home.