Dog Breed Profile: Health and Fitness Tips for French Cavapoos
Close to the Cockapoo, the Cavapoo is a cross breed between the Poodle and the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and goes by several names including Cavoodles particularly in Australia.
The Cavapoo naturally existed for many years but was first bred in the 1950s in America. However, it wasn’t until the 1990s where they became increasingly popular, particularly in Australia where they were extensively bred by designer breeders to create a combination of the outgoing and calmer nature of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel with the intelligent and low shedding qualities of the Poodle.
The result, an adorable, kind hearted breed who are extremely people-oriented and thrive in a home environment. Social dogs by nature, Cavapoos are very popular with first time dog parents, given that they are not left on their own for long periods of time because Cavapoos are known to suffer from separation anxiety.
They make excellent family pets and they are good with children. Adaptable little dogs, Cavapoos don’t mind living in a smaller home setting who they share with other dogs. If you’re looking for a breed who will be playful, loyal and enjoy snuggles on the couch, then Cavapoos may be the breed for you.
Size & Colour
Cavapoos are a relatively new breed and only bred through toy or miniature poodles with the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. Depending on the size of the Poodle parent, Cavapoos are small to medium size dogs, generally 33 - 45 cm tall for both male and females. Most weigh between 9 to 25 pounds when they are fully grown and if bred from a Toy Poodle, you will expect a smaller Cavapoo than if they were bred from a miniature poodle.
They have adorable round faces with floppy ears and a compact, sturdy body. Known for having endearing large eyes, the Cavapoo will vary in characteristics because they may inherit a more poodle-like appearance or a cavalier-like appearance.
However, Cavapoos will generally fall into a couple of colours and colour combinations. This includes;
- Blenheim - Chestnut and White
- Tricolour - Black, White and Tan
When it comes to the coat of the Cavapoo, because they are a cross breed from 2 pure breeds, the type of coat they have will vary from dog to dog - some leaning towards the Poodle and others to the Cavalier. Some will have a straighter, silkier coat that resembles the Cavalier and others will have a wavy, curlier coat that resembles the Poodle.
Cavapoos will have a soft double coat with an insulating layer that makes up the undercoat. Their double layered coat makes them more able to tolerate moderate cold and hot temperatures, more so the curlier the coat.
Cavapoos are thought to be hypoallergenic but it all depends on whether they lean more towards the Poodle or not. Poodles are considered to be the most hypoallergenic dog breeds, but no breed is truly hypoallergenic because all breeds produce allergenic substances - it’s just Poodles produce less, which is the same for Cavapoos. However, all Cavapoos will generally have a low shedding coat which is why they are still very popular with allergy sufferers.
The maintenance level of a Cavapoo will all depend on which parent breed they lean closer to. If their coat resembles more of the Cavalier, then a weekly brush or twice a week would be sufficient. If their coat is closer to the poodle then they would benefit from a daily brush which will prevent tangles from forming in their beautiful locks. Generally, the curlier the coat, the higher maintenance.
Whether they lean closer to the Cavalier or the Poodle, a two-sided bristle and pin brush is the perfect tool for their double layered coat. Both sets of bristles will help to remove loose guard hairs from their undercoat and the pin side will help prevent matting, especially for fluffier coats.
If your Cavapoos’ coat is long and curly, then they will require a visit to the professional groomers every couple of weeks to prevent it from overgrowing and obstructing their vision. You should also gently clean under their eyes with a clean, damp cloth because Cavapoos are known for developing tear stains under their eyes.
How often you bathe your Cavapoo will all depend on their coat, some owners will bathe their Cavapoo every 2-3 weeks and others, a couple times a year. The curlier the coat, the more you will have to bathe them, but keep in mind that too much bathing is bad because it will strip away essential oils from their skin - making them dry and itchy. You should aim for every couple of weeks but more frequently if your dog loves rolling in mud!
Every week you should check your Cavapoos’ ears for signs of infection, trim their nails when they are long and check their teeth for any plaque build-up. This is because they are prone to suffering from dental issues so their teeth should be kept clean so there’s a lower chance of a problem occurring. Check out our Dental Collection Here.
While they are small dogs, don’t be fooled because Cavapoos need more exercise than you think. They are athletic and can gain a good amount of muscle weight which is why you should take them on two walks a day, each around 15-30 minutes long. Generally they would benefit from a shorter walk in the morning and a more interesting, longer one in the afternoon/evening with some playing sessions in between.
Lively and inquisitive dogs, they would benefit from a garden so they can blow off excess energy. Just make sure the garden is secure because they will find a way out! While they need a good amount of physical exercise and high energy playing sessions, Cavapoos are intelligent breeds that they have inherited from the Poodle, so mental stimulation is a must! Hide and seek and puzzle games will make them happen and well rounded pets.
It’s important to mention that you should not over exercise your Cavapoo especially when they are a puppy. Over-exercising at a young age will damage ligaments and joints because of the amount of pressure that is placed on them.
The average life expectancy of a Cavapoo is between 13 and 15 years when properly cared for. They are prone to the same health issues that Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and Poodle face in their lifetime.
This includes thyroid issues, epilepsy, retinal atrophy and hip dysplasia that is seen in Poodles and syringomyelia and mitral valve disease (MVD) that is commonly seen in Cavaliers. Other health issues also include congenital heart attacks, progressive retinal atrophy and slipping kneecaps. This doesn’t mean that your Cavapoo will have any of these health issues, it just means that they CAN suffer from one or more issues in their lifetime, just like all dogs.
It is also important to note that Cavapoos have short muzzles which makes them susceptible to heat exhaustion in the Summer. It would be ideal to walk them in the morning and the evening, rather than midday during hot weather.
Would You Suit a Cavapoo?
Always do your research if you plan to get a dog to see if you would suit their requirements so they can be properly looked after. If you are getting a Cavapoo puppy, make sure you go to a trusted and reputable breeder.
Cavapoos are lively, social small dogs who love affection and anything that will keep their mind and body occupied. They provide lots of personal time and interaction with their owner which is why teaching them tricks would not only be a great bonding experience but it will satisfy their intelligent little minds!
Remember, don’t be fooled due to their small size, Cavapoos need a good amount of exercise that will keep them happy and well rounded. Want to know more about different dog breeds? Have a look at our previous breed profile on the French Bulldog. Did you know they were a status symbol in the 1800s and 1900s?