Cavapoo dog laying on illustrated couch

Cavapoo

For loving companionship, few breeds compare to the smart, cuddlesome, and playful Cavapoo. This crossbreed might also be a good choice as a low-allergen pet.
Cavapoo
Breed Group
Dog Size
Other Traits
Temperament

Cavapoo

height
  • 9-14 inches
weight
  • 8-25 pounds
life span
  • 10-15 years
breed size
  • small (0-25 lbs.)
good with
  • children
  • seniors
  • families
  • dogs
  • cats
temperament
  • outgoing
  • gentle
  • friendly
  • playful
  • anxious
intelligence
  • high
shedding amount
  • seasonal
exercise needs
  • medium
energy level
  • active
barking level
  • when necessary
drool amount
  • low
breed group
  • hybrid
coat length/texture
  • long
  • medium
  • curly
colors
  • black
  • gray
  • red
  • brown / chocolate / liver
  • fawn
  • cream
  • white
other traits
  • hypoallergenic
  • requires lots of grooming
  • low prey drive
  • good hiking companion
  • apartment-friendly
  • easy to train
  • strong loyalty tendencies
  • prone to health issues
  • loves water
  • good for first-time pet owners

What's a Cavapoo? She's the popular, heart-melting designer crossbreed offspring of a Cavalier King Charles spaniel and a miniature or toy poodle. A friendly social butterfly, she's gentle with people and other pets and loves to be where you are all the time! A Cavapoo is a terrific pup for first-time dog owners, families in search of an adorable playmate for children, or seniors who want an endearing companion.

Another reason these dogs are often in high demand is the belief that their low-shedding poodle genes increase the likelihood that Cavapoos are hypoallergenic. While the Mayo Clinic stresses that no dog is allergen-free, some people might have less reaction to the proteins found in a Cavapoo's dander, saliva, and urine.

Appearance

A Cavapoo dog's round eyes are like liquid chocolate—soft, warm, and inviting. They're deep-set above a tiny short snout tipped with a black button nose. From her Cavalier King Charles spaniel and poodle parents, a Cavapoo inherits long, silky, flopped ears that frame her face and sometimes tufted fur around the mouth that forms a fuzzy little mustache, too. 

Blonde cavapoo tilts head at camera
With her manageable size and lapdog tendencies, a Cavapoo can thrive in nearly any home, including small apartments.
| Credit: Steven B Gold / Shutterstock

A Cavapoo's coat features wavy, smooth curls that are uber-fluffy and pleasant to touch. Both her parents provide extensive color combinations, but it's unlikely she'll be tricolor like a traditional Cavalier King Charles. Instead, Cavapoo colors are often in a range of solid hues, including black, gray, red, brown, tan, beige, and white. Some Cavapoo puppies are born with fur of one color, such as reddish-brown, but as they mature, their coats change into another color! You might also find a Cavapoo with a different tint around the muzzle, on the ends of her ears and paws, and on her chest.

A Cavapoo's size varies based on whether she has a miniature or toy poodle parent, so height ranges between 9–14 inches, and weight averages 8–25 pounds. While she's not exactly a small toy breed, she'll be a "If I fits, I sits" lapdog, no matter what!

Temperament

Patrick Singletary, DVM, owns Good Dog Veterinary Care in Marietta, Ga. He says this designer doodle crossbreed was developed to enhance specific qualities. 

"Cavapoo breeders have produced a hybrid from the gentle but fun-loving disposition of a Cavalier King Charles spaniel and the non-shedding, hypoallergenic miniature poodle," he says. This means a Cavapoo can be your loyal BFF and dedicate sweet attention to you and your family. She's sensitive to human moods and understands right away when you need extra doggie love.

Strawberry blonde cavapoo wearing collar with bone on it vertical portrait
Honey-colored indoor portrait of cavapoo
Left: Cavapoos are happy-go-lucky and form strong bonds with their humans. They're an ideal pup for a first-time dog owner! | Credit:  jonaldopc / Adobe Stock
Right: Cavapoos are considered hypoallergenic dogs. And while no pup is completely allergen-proof, a Cavapoo may be a good choice for an owner who tends to sniffle and sneeze around dogs. | Credit: bonandbon / Shutterstock

Poodles are one of the smartest dog breeds, and the Cavalier King Charles is rather bright too. So with this lineage, your Cavapoo is likely easy to train, but needs consistent positive reinforcement to shape her behavior and strengthen her bond with you. 

Some Cavapoo breeders might teach basic skills once the pups are approximately 8 weeks old, but you'll have a much better-behaved pooch if you continue her training with puppy kindergarten and other behavior classes after she gets her vaccinations at 10–12 weeks. Because she needs a moderate amount of daily exercise, use it as bonding time and add a tricks or skills session afterward to help keep her engaged and responsive. She'll love the attention and the opportunity to show you what she can do! Cavapoos can also channel their abundant good vibes and intelligence into becoming exceptional therapy dogs

A Cavapoo's strong attachment to humans means she may develop separation anxiety if left alone too long. While she usually gets along well with cats and other dogs, especially when socialized as a puppy, simply having these critters in the house won't curb her desire for your attention. A distressed Cavapoo can default to undesirable behaviors such as excessive barking, chewing, and digging.

Strawberry blonde close-up cavapoo
Credit: Hannah Boyd / Shutterstock

Living Needs

Singletary says that while Cavapoos do well in many environments, from apartment living to large properties, they still need plenty of designated activity and mental stimulation. 

While a Cavalier King Charles is more laid-back, a poodle appreciates having more exercise. Your Cavapoo's personality might be a little of both. Regular walks are always good, and they're easy for children and seniors to do two or three times daily. Entertaining agility, treasure hunt, and games such as hide-and-seek also help keep your Cavapoo in top form and reinforce important social connections. 

All her fluffy fur doesn't necessarily mean a Cavapoo will be comfortable in temperature extremes. In winter, you might need to outfit her with special boots and snuggly, warm sweaters for extra protection. In summer, you can trim her body coat to allow for better cooling, and provide plenty of shady spots, water, and chilled toys, too.

Fluffy blonde cavapoo puppy held by woman
As with all breeds, Cavapoo puppies benefit from early socialization and consistent positive reinforcement training.
| Credit: Yih Chang Chew / EyeEm / Getty

Cavapoos love to play at dog parks for for small dog breeds, but they still want you to be part of the action. It's best to keep her on a leash when out on walks—while she doesn't have a high prey drive, her natural spaniel tracking genes might prompt giving chase to a zippy squirrel, chipmunk, or rabbit!

Care

It's a good thing this dog loves people, because Cavapoo grooming requires a lot of attention. Let's start with that luxurious coat.

"Be prepared for continuous grooming, and save accordingly for this important aspect of maintenance," Singletary says. "Regular grooming can prevent infections of the ears, eyes, and skin, so it shouldn't be overlooked as an important aspect of your dog's health." Frequent brushing—at least three times a week—with a slicker brush and de-matter should be on the schedule for a quality coat, along with professional grooming every six weeks or so. Matting around the tail, hindquarters, and lower belly is particularly common, and some dogs are quite sensitive in these areas, so keep that in mind. 

Do Cavapoos shed? A little, usually in the spring and fall. Consistent grooming habits help minimize the floof. 

Blonde curly cavapoo lays in human bed
Looking for a snuggle bug? The Cavapoo's got you (and your lap) covered!
| Credit: NeonJellyfish / Getty

Many people believe these and other designer hybrids with poodle genes are good choices because they don't shed as much, which hopefully means fewer allergens and less mess. But reduced Cavapoo shedding isn't a guarantee against allergic reactions. It really depends on how a person's immune system responds to the Can f1 protein present in an animal's dander, saliva, and urine. A veterinarian can test your Cavapoo for this protein level and provide recommendations. 

Singletary also advises Cavapoo owners to brush their pup's teeth daily. "They have the propensity for dental disease that progresses faster than most breeds," he says. "Regular preventive care like teeth brushing, proper chew toys, dental treats and, of course, annual professional teeth cleaning will help you protect your dog's teeth and gums."  

Certain purebreds and crossbreeds, including Cavapoos, sometimes develop reddish-brown tear stains. There are numerous reasons why, according to VCA Animal Hospitals. Usually you can wipe them away with a warm, wet cloth each day. 

Health

To know how healthy your Cavapoo will be—and this is essential, because she could be your faithful, loving companion for up to 15 years!—we first have to understand the process of cross-breeding dogs.

"The basic concept of breeding and genetics is that the strongest traits (phenotype) … will be passed on to the offspring," Singletary says. "Dogs have 39 chromosomes. When a male and a female are bred, they have to pass along 20,000 genes that will be carried on all 39 chromosomes for each of their puppies. These genes make up the genotype. There will also be bad genes passed along, which leads to specific health problems in certain breeds. These 'bad genes' are passed down from generation to generation."

Singletary adds that when he talks with a client about what health concerns to be aware of in their Cavapoo adult dogs, he discusses both parent breeds, because there's no way to predict which genes are passed on to the pup.

Strawberry blonde cavapoo lays on rocky beach shore
A Cavapoo loves her people so much, she can develop separation anxiety if left alone for too long. But her small size means it's easy to bring her along on adventures!
| Credit: Charmian Perkins / Getty

Although Cavapoos are generally healthy pooches, here's what you should know:

Singletary also points out that both breeds might have joint issues, such as hip dysplasia, as well as patella luxation, which is when the kneecap pops out of place. VCA Hospitals indicates many small and toy breeds have a genetic predisposition for luxating patella

Ask your vet to check your Cavapoo for allergies, too. Singletary says poodles and their hybrid offspring are often more susceptible to food and environmental allergies. "Additionally, regular flea and tick prevention is important to prevent flea allergy dermatitis for any dog, but especially in a dog with a higher risk for allergies in general."

Vertical portrait of blonde cavapoo in grass
Credit: Mint Images / Getty

History

Few designer hybrid dogs have distinctive origins, but there's a long and detailed history for both Cavalier King Charles spaniels, which are part of the toy group; and poodles, which are categorized in the non-sporting group.

Singletary explains the breeding science for developing Cavapoos: "In genetics, F1 hybrid refers to a breeding of two individuals to create a crossbreed or hybrid. For instance, a Cavalier King Charles spaniel bred with a miniature poodle will produce an F1 offspring, the Cavapoo," he says. "F2 hybrid is created from breeding two F1 hybrids together—breeding an F1 hybrid Cavapoo with another F1 hybrid Cavapoo to create an F2 Cavapoo. Knowing these intricacies is important because of inbreeding."

Because of the potential for low-allergen benefits, Cavapoos are in high demand. Singletary recommends taking your time choosing a new pup, especially when evaluating breeders and Cavapoo costs.

"Selecting any dog should be done over months to years, depending on the time someone has to devote to research and vetting a breeder. This is especially true for hybrid breeds," Singletary says. "I feel breeders should strongly vet their prospective puppy owners as well. If the breeder is asking you tough questions, then they're likely passionate about what they do and have the health and wellness of their dogs at the forefront of their minds." 

While he believes a lot of time, knowledge, and passion goes into creating and maintaining a successful breeding operation, "there are also some awfully inflated prices for hybrid dogs." Before your heart is set on a particular designer crossbreed, Singletary advises you to consult a theriogenologist (reproductive specialist) or a dog-specific veterinarian to gain knowledge about what to ask breeders and what to look for in certain hybrid lines.

Singletary also extends a word of caution regarding Cavapoo selection because many hybrid breeds are the product of puppy mill schemes. This means they might not be born into a healthy environment with a focus on their well-being. Here are some warning signs of a potential puppy scam

  • A breeder offers multiple mixed breeds for sale. 
  • You’re not allowed to visit the breeder or don’t receive satisfactory answers to your questions about their lines of dogs. 
  • A breeder offers to ship puppies.
  • A website states specific wait times for puppies.
  • A website has vague contact information, such as no phone number, no email, doesn’t offer video or in-person previews of your pup and her environment, and so on.

Fun Facts

  • A Cavapoo has many aliases: Cavadoodle, Cavoodle, Cava-doodle, Cavipoodle, and Canoodle. (Okay, we’re kidding about that last one.) Basically, any derivative of the names Cavalier King Charles spaniel and poodle will do!
  • People often wonder about Cavapoos vs. cockapoos. Although they share a miniature or toy poodle parent, cockapoos have a standard cocker spaniel as their other parent, which introduces completely different characteristics.
  • Cavapoos are huge Insta-influencers! More than 50,000 people follow the exploits of Enzo and brother Rumi on What Enzo Did; With Love Kaden and Adalynn also celebrates the special bond between these fuzzy siblings; and Cooper the Cavapoo, "a chicken nugget with legs," is an adorable model.