Buy your cavoodle puppy from an ethical breeder
Buy your cavoodle puppy from an ethical breeder

Are Cavoodles good dogs?

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Is a Cavoodle a Good Dog?

I’ve been a breeder of the occasional cavoodle litter over the past 7 years in Sydney, Australia. During this time I’ve come to know their strengths and weaknesses quite intimately. They are not a purebred and perhaps the most positive aspect of this cross is that they are good family dogs and most have a non-shedding coat. Inexperienced breeders that pair dogs without first carrying out genetic testing can produce puppies that shed heavily and have a smooth, cavalier like coat. 

Is a cavoodle a good dog?
Cavoodles are intelligent, generally non-shedding & affectionate

The cavoodles’ small size makes them good for apartments. Because cavoodles are available in toy and miniature sizes, to gauge adult size, enquire with breeders about the weight and height of the parents. Some toy poodles are a tiny 3.5kg while some mini poodles are over 10kg! Similarly, cavalier king charles spaniels have a lot of variation in their size, some dogs are a mere 4kg while others are a large 14kg. Meaning cavoodles can vary greatly in size from as small as 3kg up to around 15kg. 

When comparing the toy cavoodle vs mini cavoodle, the main difference is in the adult size of the dog. In my experience toy cavoodles can be 3-7kg while miniature cavoodles are 8-14kg. Some owners report that their toy cavoodle is yappy, while mini cavoodles are less so. 

Cavoodles can vary in size from 4kg up to 15kg!
Cavoodles can vary in size from 4kg up to 15kg!

When you bring your puppy home from the breeder, start training independence using positive reinforcement.

This will help to prevent separation anxiety when you need to leave them home alone. Separation anxiety in cavoodles is common, they love to be with people. Crate training and growing positive experiences where your puppy is independent of you at home is vital. Failure to do so, will result in noise complaints from neighbours and poor mental health outcomes for your companion.

Trained cavoodles can be calm
Trained cavoodles can be calm

Keeping a cavoodle entertained while you’re working can be achieved by providing food puzzles, stuffed Kongs, licky mats, snuffle mats, and long lasting chews like raw meaty bones, deer antlers, goat horns and bully sticks. 

Cavoodles can be entertained, preventing barking
Cavoodles can be entertained with food puzzles

Cavoodles are generally good with cats when they are raised with them. If you bring home an adult cavoodle, slowly introduce the cat and the dog, with the dog on-leash and feeding treats when your cavoodle looks away from the cat or shows calm behaviour. 

Being a designer breed, cavoodles are not a registered breed. They are produced by crossing the cavalier king charles spaniel with a toy, miniature and on rare occasions a standard poodle. The aim of this breeding was to create a dog that was low to non-shedding. Cavoodles are not double coated and most first generation cavoodles do not shed, however breeders producing second generation cavoodle mixes, will produce 25% of puppies in a litter that are heavy shedders and smooth coated like a cavalier king charles spaniel. Some families prefer the smooth coated cavoodle as their coat requires less grooming. Conversely, many owners consider this offset by the cleaning needed to manage the hair that they shed around the home. 

Smooth coated cavoodle puppy
A smooth coated cavoodle puppy – this coat will shed

Therefore if you’re wanting a puppy that doesn’t shed, you should focus on finding either a first generation cavoodle puppy or an f1b cavoodle puppy. F1b cavoodles are the result of breeding a cavoodle to a poodle. This combination ensures that the offspring will be very low to non-shedding. With puppies having a combination of curly/wool and fleece coats.

There are exceptions to this, some inexperienced breeders are utilising poodle studs that do not have two furnishing genes. Such stud dogs will produce first and f1b puppies that shed.

Find a breeder near you that DNA tests their dogs for both diseases and coat texture traits such as the RSPO2 gene (furnishings & improper coat). F1b puppies cannot be smooth coated, heavy shedders. So while most cavoodles do not shed a lot, for families with allergies and asthma, the F1b generation cavoodles would be the most hypoallergenic. 

Cavoodles can be noisy
Cavoodles can be barkers, particularly if they’re not trained to be calm and comfortable existing independently of you

In terms of what problems the cavoodle has, a common complaint among owners in cavoodle dog owner groups is that they are noisy and frequently bark when left alone. As mentioned above, this can be prevented through crate training.

The best cavoodle breeders treat their dogs as pets
The best cavoodle breeders treat their breeding dogs as pets

Responsible breeders train their puppies; positive exposure to crates, small periods of time (10-20 minutes, under supervision for signs of stress) spent away from littermates in a crate with a tasty chew and place training are important life skills that puppies benefit from experiencing from 6-8 weeks of age. As part of our puppy raising program, we also include opened crates with treats inside; this provides puppies with lots of positive exposure to crates from 4-8 weeks of age. 

Ethical breeders train their puppies
Ethical breeders train their puppies and provide stimulating, enriched environments

It’s important to be aware of the common problems that owners report with cavoodles, including –

  • Ear infections – keep your cavoodles ears clean with Epi-otic ear cleaning solution. Keep ears dry in between cleans and avoid getting water in their ears during grooming. Clean ears with Epi-otic after your cavoodle goes for a swim.
  • Allergies – common in many dog breeds. Cavoodles can itch, chew their feet, get hot spots and suffer with yeast infections as a result of food or other allergies to the environment. Stress can also result in these symptoms and should be ruled out before medicating for allergies. 
  • Barking – often the best way to stop a cavoodle from barking, is to block the view the dog has of passers-by. Cultivating a calm environment with minimal distractions can also help with this. Don’t underestimate the power of rewarding your cavoodle for any calm behaviours they offer. Dogs become more of what they do everyday. 
  • Digging – to stop a cavoodle digging in the garden, supervise their time outside or provide a sand pit with treats and toys hidden for them to find. Digging is fun and cavoodles love water and digging – it can get messy but it’s part of their telos!
  • Joint issues – ensure your cavoodle puppy doesn’t run up and down steps, run on slippery floors or jump down off the lounge. Puppy joints are still developing for at least the first 12 months of life. A combination of wear and tear on joints and genetics, can result in dogs having back leg problems like luxating patellars (knees) and hip dysplasia.
  • Cavoodle teeth problems – dental hygiene can be maintained by feeding raw meaty bones, preventing the build up of plaque. Puppies can sometimes have base narrow canine teeth, but most grow out of this when their adult teeth come through. Breeders should discuss this with puppy buyers, supporting and informing them of the potential treatment cost should the adult teeth not correct.
  • Cavoodle stomach problems – some owners report that their dogs have sensitive tummies; suffering from diarrhoea if they are fed certain foods. It’s possible to feed single protein foods such as Prime 100 and in doing so ascertain what proteins your dog is allergic to.
  • Toy cavoodles suffer with similar health issues and problems as second generation cavoodles.
  • Scarcity of ethical breeders and over-supply of puppies by private sellers on Gumtree. There are many hurdles to finding a responsible breeder who carries out health testing, it pays to be informed. Ethical breeders test for patellar luxation, offer a contract of sale, health guarantee, eye & heart vet check, hip scoring and DNA testing. Puppy farms and inexperienced backyard breeders might be offering puppies at a cheap price but what you save initially might be offset by expensive vet bills over the lifespan of your cavoodle. 
Cavoodles are great family dogs
Cavoodles are great family dogs

The best registered, ethical cavoodle breeders in Australia will not be pumping out multiple litters of puppies each year. Committing to caring for a dog (the mother) for a minimum of 2 years and raising a litter of puppies well including supporting new owners for the life of their dog, cannot be done well on mass.  This practice takes resources, experience and time. A breeder that thinks the process stops once the puppies leave their care, is not a responsible breeder. 

A common practise among boutique, in-home breeders is to utilise guardian homes. Our guardian home program allows  breeding dogs to live a full life with a family and after a maximum of 3 litters, these dogs are retired, desexed and go on to live life with the same family that raised them. Guardian homes also allow us to dedicate all our time and resources to the puppies in our care, without having to meet the needs of a kennel full of breeding bitches. Having said this, we still only have 1-2 carefully planned litters each year. Dog breeding done well is a huge commitment. 

Ask all the questions and if your gut feeling is that something isn’t right, don’t support the breeder. Buying from unethical puppy farms or backyard breeders will only keep those people in business. 

Are cavoodles good dogs?
Cavoodles are smart and learn quickly using positive, play based dog training methods

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