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13 mins read

How to Find the Best Cavoodle Breeders

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The skyrocketing popularity of the Cavoodle over recent years and inflated prices associated with the ‘pandemic puppy’ during Covid means that there are now more Cavoodle Breeders than ever before.

While this has pushed the price of some Cavoodle puppies down, puppy buyers now need to troll through more ‘puppies for sale’ ads than ever before.

Sadly, with the increase in the number of breeders breeding Cavapoos, there are now many more scammers, puppy farms, and backyard breeders.

Many of these breeders are uneducated, inexperienced and have no understanding of the importance of desensitisation programs in puppy-rearing practice.

Consequently, there is an increased number of Cavoodles with behaviour and health problems being produced.

Scarily, more than 1000 dog attacks were reported in the past 3 months in NSW alone. Dog trainers are attributing this increase to irresponsible breeding practices that occurred during the Coronavirus pandemic. 

To minimise common behaviour problems, when searching for a Cavapoo puppy, it is critical that you first consider if one will suit your lifestyle.

Secondly, you will need to find a breeder who has an understanding of the socialisation periods of puppies and applies this knowledge in their puppy rearing.

This breeder should have a comprehensive plan in place to build the life skills of confidence, optimism, flexibility, independence and tolerance to frustration in their puppies. As if this wasn’t responsibility enough, this breeder must also have a thorough temperament testing plan that is carried out before deeming their dogs fit for breeding. 

Similarly, the best Cavoodle breeders temperament test each puppy to ensure they are suitable for their new home.

To be informed on how to find an ethical Cavoodle Breeder, read on.

We’re going to discuss:

*How to find a reputable breeder

*What a registered breeder actually is

*Hallmarks of an Ethical Breeder

*How puppy scams work, what to look for and how to avoid being scammed

*Cavoodle cost

*Identifying a puppy farm operation

*Authentic small boutique breeders

*Common problems in Cavoodles and how to avoid them

Finding a reputable Cavoodle breeder

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A reputable breeder is one that has a sound reputation for breeding puppies that are healthy. They provide their clients with the support and information required to raise their Cavoodle puppy successfully.

Breeder testimonials and reviews are a great place to start but keep in mind that surprisingly, many puppy buyers still believe it is ethical to buy a puppy through a commercial breeding facility.

Commercial Breeding facilities are otherwise known as ‘puppy mills’ or ‘puppy farms’ and can house upwards of 200 breeding dogs.

It has been shown that breeding dogs kept under these conditions suffer from mental health conditions such as decreased training ability and persistent fears and phobias.

Similarly, the puppies sold in these facilities and pet shops have been shown to have an increased likelihood of showing behaviour problems like aggression, separation anxiety and difficulty in toilet training.

We all know someone who has purchased a Cavoodle puppy from a pet shop, this shows that not all puppy buyers’ reviews and testimonials should be trusted. 

Finding a reputable Cavapoo breeder is a process that takes time. Often the best breeders will have a waitlist and if they are responsible and ethical in their breeding practice they will not be breeding more than 2-3 litters per year.

When dog breeding is done well, it involves many hours of labour-intensive time spent –

*Cleaning

*Preparing meals (some breeders just feed cheap commercial kibble and wet food but the best breeders are passionate about nutrition and include human-grade meats, vegetables and supplements)

*DNA testing & analysing results (Genetic screening for Cavoodle diseases such as blindness is critical but the most experienced breeders also test for coat traits to ensure they are informed about the likelihood of their pups’ shedding or being hypoallergenic).

*Temperament testing (puppies and parents) to avoid producing puppies with common behaviour problems.

*Training (adult dogs in their care and puppy training programs that start at birth for pups that they are raising).

*Grooming (adult dogs and regularly exposing any puppies that are in their care to grooming tools and routine).

*Vet visits (puppy microchips and vaccinations, adult dogs yearly health checks and immunisations).

*Professional development (the best breeders are always learning).

*Studying genetics (being abreast with any new diseases or traits associated with the Cavoodle breed and researching new genetics for their breeding programs).

*Interviewing, meeting with and educating the public about the breed.

*Networking with other breeders and of course providing lifelong support to all their puppy buyers.

Anyone can have a litter of Cavoodle puppies and call themselves a dog breeder but it is a mammoth commitment and responsibility when it’s done ethically and responsibly.

Who are Registered Cavoodle Breeders and are they always ethical?

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Many Australian puppy buyers are content with buying from commercial breeding facilities and pet shops; therefore, it is not surprising that puppy buyers also place way too much value on whether a breeder is ‘registered’.

It’s a common misperception that registered breeders are responsible and ethical when in fact anyone can become a registered Cavoodle breeder.

There are many businesses that profit off, breeders paying a yearly fee to be able to say they are registered with them and although they claim to enforce a code of ethics and abide by state legislation, such businesses and companies provide nothing more than a marketing service for many unscrupulous backyard breeders and puppy farms.

Most don’t require that any health testing is undertaken on breeding dogs and don’t follow up on how many litters are being produced by female dogs and how often.

Providing breeders pay their yearly fees, they can continue to claim that they are a ‘registered breeder’. Sadly, marketplaces like Gumtree require that anyone selling a puppy must be a registered breeder, so these so-called registering bodies, end up making a fortune without implementing anything of substance to ensure ethical breeding practices are taking place.

Given that anyone can become a registered Cavoodle breeder, before considering buying from one, ensure you do your due diligence and don’t trust that any health checks have been carried out or that you’ll be buying from a reputable breeder.

Finding Reputable Cavoodle Breeders – A Checklist

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  1. Breeder DNA tests their parent dogs for genetic diseases affecting the Poodle and Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. Commonly used DNA testing laboratories include Embark, Animal Genetics and Orivet.
  2. You will receive copies of the parent’s DNA test results and these can also be viewed before committing to purchasing a puppy.
  3. The breeder carries out temperament testing on their breeding dogs and puppies.
  4. The breeder has a practical understanding of the stages of puppy socialisation and development. They apply this understanding to the development and application of their puppy-raising program.
  5. The breeder allows visits to their home (once puppies have received their 6-week vaccinations) where prospective puppy buyers can meet the parents of the puppies and see the conditions in which the puppies are being raised.
  6. By the age of 6 weeks, the breeder has an understanding of the unique personalities of each puppy and can discuss their potential suitability to various lifestyles.
  7. The breeder has a process to ensure puppies are placed in suitable homes, matching coat, temperament and size traits with those suiting the puppy and the buyer’s needs. This is generally not possible before the age of 6 weeks.
  8. The breeder has hip scored at least one of the parent dogs; Cavoodles can be affected by hip dysplasia.
  9. The breeder has a vet check their Cavoodle puppies for hernias, heart abnormalities, luxating patellar, correct mouth/bite, healthy eyes, ears and that the testicles have descended in male puppies. A health report is provided to puppy buyers and any health issues are fully disclosed and noted in the contract of sale.
  10. The Breeder has an ABN and provides a contract of sale which outlines their health guarantee, the price paid for the Cavapoo puppy, buyer requirements and obligations, the date that the puppy left the breeder’s home, microchip number, colour, breed mix etc.
  11. The breeder starts grooming puppies from around 1 week of age with nail trims, hygiene trims, baths, blow dries and clippers being introduced before 6 weeks of age.
  12. The breeder is passionate about feeding their breeding dogs and puppies a nutritionally balanced, complete and varied diet.
  13. The breeder provides environmental enrichment for their dogs and puppies.
  14. The breeder does not house their dogs in kennels and has a guardian program for their breeding dogs to ensure they all receive the care, love and attention they deserve.
  15. The Cavoodle breeder provides a comprehensive puppy pack that includes items such as: puppy food, a soft bed, a collar with a bell for safety, harness, blanket with mother’s scent, a toy and long-lasting treat chews. Most importantly information on puppy care, training, feeding, grooming and a puppy shopping list of items they recommend to help the puppy and owner in this transition.

Trademarks of the Best Ethical Cavoodle Breeders

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The best Cavoodle breeders are passionate about the breed. They enjoy talking about all things associated with the Cavoodle including the breed’s temperament traits, lifespan, health & behaviour problems, feeding, development, training, grooming and more.

While passion is important, it must be paired with experience and knowledge about canine genetics, dog behaviour, health screening and of course the time and resources to implement best practices.

The most caring breeders have dedicated spaces in their homes where their puppies are raised, benefiting from exposure to household sounds, people and experiences.

Healthy, well-adjusted Cavapoo puppies also need to spend time outside, playing and exploring on a variety of surfaces including grass.

Responsible breeders start toilet training their Cavoodle puppies from the age of 3 weeks, setting up their puppy play area with distinct areas for sleep, play, food/water and toilet.

The best Cavoodle breeders keep the non-toilet areas meticulously clean, this helps set the puppies up for success.

Puppies raised in filthy conditions associated with puppy farms and backyard breeders will be confused about where to go to the toilet. Confusion occurs because clear and distinct areas for toilet and sleep/play/eating have not been established by their breeder. They therefore won’t seek out the scent of the space that is their designated ‘potty’ area resulting in the soiling of the house.

Cavoodle Puppies for sale and Avoiding Puppy Scams

Whether you’re looking for Cavoodle puppies for sale in NSW, Newcastle, Sydney or Australia-wide, to avoid being scammed always arrange to meet the puppy and at least one of its parents at the breeder’s home.

This also helps to ensure the well-being and welfare of the dogs involved in the breeding program that you’d be supporting should you purchase a puppy from this breeder.

Similarly, whether you’re searching for Cavoodle puppies for sale for $1500 or under $1000; always expect the parents of your puppy to be DNA tested and your puppy vet checked with a health guarantee and contract of sale from the breeder.

How much does a puppy Cavoodle cost?

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Cavoodle puppies vary in price depending largely on the breeder’s reputation, experience, and location. Some puppies with certain traits are in higher demand than others with rich ruby red, chocolate and merle-coloured Cavoodle puppies being among some of the most popular puppies available.

A true mahogany red Cavoodle puppy can be over $4000.

The Covid-19 pandemic saw Cavoodle puppy prices skyrocket, with some puppies selling for as much as $10,000 at the height of the Coronavirus lockdowns. Sadly, many Cavoodle dog owners with a pandemic puppy, have reported separation anxiety and barking as a common behaviour problem.

With owners being home during the Covid lockdowns, this contributed to a lack of puppy training with the core life skill of independence in mind, these dogs then struggled to be left alone when their owners went back to work.

Thankfully, the best dog behaviourists and trainers can modify these behaviours but many Cavoodles have also been re-homed or surrendered to rescue organisations because their owners cannot remedy their behaviour problems.

The coat type of a Cavoodle can also significantly affect the price, with easy-care smooth-coated Cavoodles generally being the cheapest and available for under $1500.

Fleece or wool-coated puppies are generally highly sought after due to their low to non-shedding coats.

The size of the Cavoodle can also affect the price, with tiny toy cavoodles or teacup cavoodles maturing to between 2.5kg and 5kg fetching as much as $6000.

Miniature-sized Cavoodles maturing to between 6kg and 12kg can generally be found for less than $3500.

Experienced dog owners will understand that the true value of a puppy lies in its sound genetics, calm temperament, health testing of lineage, mental & physical nourishment in its first weeks of life and the breeder’s goodwill.

All of these factors contribute to the ease with which the Cavoodle puppy will settle into its new home and how it will handle or react to stressful or new experiences in its lifetime.

Identifying Cavoodle Breeders that are running a puppy farm

The best cavoodle breeders treat their dogs as pets
Breeders that are running puppy farms or mills will generally not allow visitors to meet their dogs or view their breeding setup.

Many will claim that they don’t allow visitors because they need to protect their puppies from potentially fatal viruses like Parvo Virus however if they are responsible breeders, their breeding dogs will be vaccinated.

Similarly, puppies are vaccinated at 6 weeks of age, making it possible and beneficial to their socialisation, to meet new people around this time.

Other unscrupulous breeders won’t allow visitors for security reasons, claiming that thieves could visit their puppies and then plot to steal them.

Keep in mind that the best cavoodle breeders have a waiting list for their puppies and build relationships with the people they have on their list. This allows them to filter out potential intruders from the genuine loving homes that they are seeking for their puppies.

A big red flag is a Cavoodle breeder that offers to deliver a puppy or using the excuse of being based in a rural area, they offer to meet you halfway and you collect the puppy from their car. Not only could you be buying a puppy from a large-scale breeding facility but such arrangements do not allow puppy buyers to meet and screen the parents of the puppy for any health or behaviour problems.

What is a Small Boutique Breeder?

Cavoodles can vary in size from 4kg up to 15kg!
The definition of a small boutique breeder will vary depending on your expectations. But, small boutique breeders will generally have 2 to 5 dogs in their care at any one time. This allows them to provide the time and care required to meet the needs of these dogs. The dedication of the breeder will be reflected in the happy, confident temperaments of the dogs and puppies in their care.

When defining what a small breeder means to you, consider what you would expect the minimum amount of time devoted to each animal should be, when in someone’s care.

If you think dogs should be walked twice a day, brushed 2-3 times a week, sleep on your bed, attend weekly obedience or agility classes and receive home-made meals, your definition of a small boutique breeder might be someone who has 1 to 2 dogs and breeds 1 litter per year.

Are Cavoodles worth the money?

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A well-bred and raised Cavoodle puppy will become a cherished family companion. The Cavalier King Charles Cross Poodle mix breed isn’t Australia’s most popular dog without reason.

With the price rise associated with the Covid-19 pandemic, many new breeders sprung up, increasing the supply of Cavapoo puppies. This increased supply, combined with families setting their sights on travel post-lockdown, has created lower market demand for pet dogs.

Cavoodle puppies can now be found for sale at prices as cheap as $1500 on Gumtree but a quality puppy from an established reputable breeder will cost anywhere from $3000 to $5000. When considering if a Cavoodle is worth the money, it’s important to factor in the costs associated with caring for one.

The fleece and wool-coated Cavoodles require 6 weekly trips to the groomer, at a cost of around $80 per groom. Similarly, such coats also require a thorough brush and comb-through at least twice a week to prevent matting.

For Cavoodle owners that are time-poor, this can be an inconvenience and result in the dog needing a shorter hairstyle to make grooming easier. With a shorter trim, your Cavoodle might not look like the teddy bear we all envisage them to be.

If your dream Cavoodle, looks like a real-life teddy bear, be prepared to put in the time, effort and money to maintain their coat’s upkeep.

If you’re time-poor and don’t mind having a Cavoodle that sheds; consider investing in a Smooth-coated Cavoodle. These dogs have a Cavalier King Charles-like coat and brushing only takes 5-10 minutes a couple of times per week. They also don’t require extensive grooming every 6 weeks or so, in fact, they can be groomed at home.

Short-coated Cavoodles are generally much cheaper than fleece or wool-coated puppies, so they might be worth considering if your budget for a Cavoodle is $1500 or even under $1000.

What Problems Do Cavoodles have?

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Before searching “Cavoodle breeders near me” it’s important to have an understanding that not all Cavoodle breeders are breeding mentally and physically sound dogs.

Cavoodles can suffer from all of the health and behaviour problems associated with their parent breeds. Some of the conditions known to affect Cavoodles include:

  • Luxating patellas (loose kneecaps) – Depending on the severity of the luxation, surgery may be required and can cost $2000 for one knee.
  • Hip Dysplasia (loose hips) – The best breeders hip score their breeding dogs, to prevent their puppies going on to develop this problem.
  • Mitral Valve Disease – the mitral valve can wear out due to the high pressure of oxygenated blood being pumped from the left ventricle to the rest of the body. Early signs are a heart murmur. 
  • Eye diseases – cataracts and PRA (progressive retinal atrophy) blindness – Ethical breeders DNA test their breeding dogs for the genes associated with PRA. The results of this test should be included in your puppy pack.
  • Idiopathic Epilepsy – an electrical malfunction in the brain.
  • Syringomyelia – inherited from the Cavalier King Charles who has a large brain for its size. This results in the cerebellum partially blocking the flow of cerebral spinal fluid. This then triggers the formation of fluid-filled pockets in the spinal cord. This damages the spinal cord, causing pain and neurological disorders.
  • Atopic Skin Disease – where the immune system attacks the sebaceous glands in the skin leading to hair loss.
  • Tracheal Collapse – narrowing of the windpipe that prevents the Cavapoo from inhaling oxygen and also regulating their body temperature.
  • Separation Anxiety – a behaviour problem that manifests as barking, whining, scratching, abnormal repetitive behaviour patterns, digging etc. Although, training your Cavoodle to be okay with being left alone is helpful, genetics plays a big role in determining the overall temperament of a dog.

Given that Cavoodles are predisposed to various health and behaviour problems, it’s important to find a breeder that conducts all the relevant health testing and also offers a 12-month health guarantee for hereditary conditions with the sale of their puppies.

Conclusion

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Although Cavoodles are Australia’s most popular pet dog, they do have a number of problems to be aware of. 

Post-Covid lockdowns, there has been an oversupply of Cavoodle puppies for sale and the cost of acquiring a Cavapoo has never been cheaper. 

Despite some Cavoodles being available for under $1000, in 2022 there are now many more potential traps that uninformed puppy buyers can fall prey to. 

Although opportunistic puppy scammers still exist, there are now more backyard breeders and puppy farms to also filter through. 

Buying a puppy from an irresponsible or unethical breeder could cost you more over the lifespan of your Cavoodle. Vet bills associated with common Cavoodle health problems can cost thousands of dollars but most are preventable with ethical breeding practices.

Puppy buyers can help to ensure that their Cavoodle puppy is worth the money a breeder is asking by cross-checking breeding practices against our reputable breeder checklist.

Sadly, many puppy buyers still consider it ethical to purchase a puppy from a pet shop or commercial breeding facility. This is despite it being known that such dogs have an increased risk of developing health and behaviour problems. Given this is the case, breeder reviews and testimonials should not replace buyers doing their due diligence to ensure they are not supporting puppy farms and unscrupulous breeders.

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