Pet Road Test: Cavoodle
Breed: Cavoodle (Cavalier King Charles Spaniel x Miniature Poodle)
Temperament: intelligent, seeks human companionship, friendly
Lifespan: 10-14 years
Recommended for: everyone, especially families The Cavoodle is a cross between the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and the Miniature Poodle – and whilst the concept of the ‘designer dog’ is nothing new, (‘purpose-bred’ cross breeds have been very popular for about 15 years with sales steadily increasing), the varieties being produced still result in the occasional little gem like this one.
Many Cavoodle pups are born with long, soft floppy ears, large brows and a compact, round face – giving the dog an eternal puppy appearance. However, if you’re interested in purchasing a designer dog, be aware that a great deal of variability can occur amongst the pups. Although all are undoubtedly very cute, not all dogs will look alike. Variation amongst the litter is influenced by the genetic contribution of each parent so some pups will appear more Poodle-like, others more like a Cavalier.
Colours can range to anything from solid black, white, blenheime (chestnut and white), tri-colour (black, white and tan) or gold all over.
Adults will range in height from 30-35 cm (12-15′), the smaller size an influence from the Cavalier contribution.
Following on from the success of the Spoodle (a Cocker Spaniel x Poodle), breeders of the Cavoodle set out to bring out the best of the Cavalier and Poodle breeds and produce an intelligent, compact and healthy little animal with a wonderful temperament.
So why choose these particular breeds? The Cavalier is one of Australia’s most popular purebred dogs, and rightly so. Deliberately bred as a companion dog, it has an adorable temperament and is gentle and compliant around children. The Miniature Poodle is another popular small breed and is known for its intelligence and loyalty. Miniature Poodles are also known to have ‘neurotic’ tendencies, especially if over spoilt by their owners. However the crossbreed is likely to have this tendency diminished with the contribution of the Cavalier’s laid back temperament. Regardless, it is important to not spoil the dog excessively.
From the day that you take delivery of your Cavoodle puppy, it will do all that it can to be with you. These dogs prefer people to other dogs. Some owners may find this tendency to be always with them absolutely delightful. Others may find it a bit irritating. However, if you want a faithful, gentle dog that is always with you, Cavoodles are a good choice.
Cavoodles are usually quite intelligent but they are not as biddable as many other breeds. That is, during training they may not wish to comply with your commands.
Fun and positive reinforcement is the key to success, not strong discipline. Your puppy may be 9-12 months old before the penny drops that co-operation with their owner is the key to a happy life.
While Cavoodles are incredibly friendly, they may totally dominate their owner at the same time. Always make sure that you initiate the play times – and expect the dog to always walk behind you – not in front as a pack leader.
Regardless of the puppies appearance, the coat will shed and regular grooming is required. Those animals with a poodle-like coat will need brushing around three to four times a week, a cavalier coat perhaps only once a week. Clipping may be necessary three to four time a year. Poodle-like coats, whilst perhaps requiring clipping more often, are less inclined to shed as much as the Cavalier.
The poodle-like coat is very much inclined to get knots in it which quickly become large lumps of fibre if they are not removed. This coat also attracts snags of twigs, leaves and other garden materials that must be groomed out. A visit to a dog parlour may be needed every month or two – on top of the grooming at home.
These dogs love human contact and being groomed, so this can be a mutually enjoyable activity while watching TV etc.
Health and lifespan
Each of the Cavalier and Poodle breeds are predisposed to certain health problems, particularly the Cavalier. However the Cavoodle is less likely to suffer such problems due to the benefits of ‘hybrid vigour’. Hybrids benefit from a more diverse genetic makeup than purebreds, and are often not susceptible to conditions which may afflict the parent breeds.
Still, choose your breeder carefully when buying a pup. Responsible breeders are screening parents to eliminate known genetic problems such as luxating patellas (slipping kneecaps), eye defects and congenital heart problems. Sadly, some people still seem less concerned with diseases and more concerned with selling puppies. Owners can expect a healthy dog to be a member of the family for around 10-14 years.
This lovable little canine is suitable for all age groups and most lifestyles. Thanks to the influence from its parents, the Cavoodle is an intelligent dog, not as hyperactive as some other cross breeds and adores human companionship. Great for small homes with little or no backyard, however these dogs will still benefit from a regular walk or fun in an open space.
The Cavoodle is far more healthy and active than either of its parent breeds. Do not expect a lazy couch potato, rather expect a fun-loving pet that likes exercise and will create its own fun (i.e. destroying things) if you neglect it.
Many pet stores, especially the larger franchises, specialise in Designer Dogs. However always satisfy yourself that the pups are from healthy parents.
National Contact: Australian Association of Pet Dog Breeders www.aapdb.com