The Cavachon: Ultimate Breed Guide. Characteristics and Facts

Among the many ‘hybrid’ cross-breeds that have become popular in recent years, one of the cutest has to be the Cavachon. This small and friendly dog is perfect as a family pet, and makes an excellent addition to the family even in the smallest of homes.

Intelligent, easy to train and with a coat that sheds very little, the Cavachon is a perfect dog where children are concerned, so let’s have a look at what makes this wonderful little animal the right choice for you.

Origins of the Cavachon Cross Breed

One of the smaller of the cross-breeds, the Cavachon is carefully bred from a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and a Bichon Frise. These well-bred dogs inherit the characteristics of both parents, and are therefore friendly, enjoyable animals that will suit family ownership.

Bred with a non-shedding coat in mind – in fact, they do shed, but much less than your average dog – the Cavachon is in many ways the ideal cross-breed, being small enough to suit any home and bright enough to train well. The combined nature of the parent dogs adds to the attraction.

Unlike many of the cross breeds, the Cavachon is not bred from a poodle, yet this should not deter you. The first examples were bred in the mid 1990’s and since then, this small and lively breed has gained in popularity and become one of the favourites for single people and for families.

By choosing a Cavachon puppy from a reputable breeder – we recommend never buying from a pet shop – you get the added satisfaction of knowing that the parents have been carefully selected. So, if you think a Cavachon may be the dog for you, read on and we will give you all the information we can on these beautiful, fun and enjoyable dogs.

Cavachon Breed Characteristics

If you are looking for a small cross-breed, one that will be a welcome addition to the family, you can be sure that a Cavachon is a great choice. This little dog will ender itself to everyone in the family and a well-trained Cavachon will be excellent with children.

Hybrid dogs are bred from parents of two breeds – in this case the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and the Bichon Frise – and as with all hybrids, it is important that the parents are carefully selected so the puppies have the right temperament. A reputable breeder will be able to give you the assurances that this is so.

Let’s have a look at some basics of Cavachon characteristics, starting with the positives:

Pros

  • The Cavachon is a good size; it’s a small enough dog to be easy to handle, but a little bigger than a toy dog.
  • This is a very friendly breed and one that will be great with children and other dogs if correctly trained.
  • The Cavachon is very easy to train thanks to its intelligence
  • This is a dog with a low-shedding coat, so people with allergies can own them
  • Cavachons are adaptable, so if you live in a flat you can happily own one as long as you give it the exercise it needs
  • You will enjoy many years of fun with what is a very enjoyable dog to own

Cons

  • The Cavachon is loyal to the extent that it will not like being left alone for long periods
  • It has a coat that is quite high-maintenance, so will require grooming on a regular basis and professional attention every now and then
  • As with all breeds, there are certain hereditary diseases and ailments that the Cavachon can suffer from, so talk to your breeder for reassurance 

In short, the Cavachon is a pretty, enjoyable and friendly animal that is easy to train and loyal, and one that will make an excellent pet for the discerning owner.

General Appearance

Make no mistake, when you first meet your Cavachon puppy you will be hooked! These are very attractive dogs, with lovely thick coats, pretty and endearing faces, and large eyes, and they grow into very beautiful animals that everyone will remark upon. The texture of a Cavachon’s coat tends to be standard – soft and silky – and they have the long ears that make spaniels such adorable animals. This small dog will never cease to make you smile, and you will be continually enchanted by its appearance.

As with all cross-breeds there is no breed standard, so one Cavachon will be different to another, but they do tend to be beautifully coloured, inheriting this from the parent animals.

Cavachon Colours

The Cavachon naturally inherits its colouring from the parents; the Bichon Frise is famed for its beautiful white coat, while the Spaniel can be found in a variety of colours. Your breeder cannot guarantee the colour of each litter, but here is a quick look at the main colours that Cavachon’s tend to carry:

  • White – a white Cavachon is a very attractive animal, and this coat colour will have been inherited primarily from the Bichon parent. Be aware that white dogs are higher maintenance than some darker colours – especially if outdoor waling is part of the routine!
  • Brown – a lovely brown coat is a feature of some Cavachons, and can be a very attractive colour indeed. The shade can vary depending upon the colour of the Spaniel parent.
  • Red – this is a variant of the brown and is a lush and warm colour that is extremely attractive. It is not the most common colour, but is one that when you see it, you will absolutely love
  • White with other colours – the very nature of the breed means that you can often get a dog that is predominantly white, yet has patches of apricot, brown, black or tan markings, and these are also very attractive dogs.
  • Tricolour – think of a standard King Charles Spaniel and you probably think of this colour coat, and it is one of the most popular for a Cavachon.

The colour of each litter cannot be determined in advance, so you should consider options and not stick to just one, as all are very attractive coats indeed. The above are not a strict set of rules either, so you may find a black Cavachon, for example, or one with more unusual colours – the choice is yours.

How to Groom a Cavachon

The Cavachon has a medium-length, soft and silky coat that is largely inherited from the bichon fries. They are not difficult animals to keep, but they do need regular grooming if they are to look their best. Brushing for a few minutes a day is recommended, and it can be a fun way for the children to enjoy time with the dog if supervised, but it is also recommended that you have your Cavachon groomed by a professional once in a while. This means you not only have a beautiful dog, but a dog that is also happy and comfortable.

The Temperament of a Cavachon

When choosing a dog, one of the most important factors is the temperament of the breed, especially if there are children and other animals in the home. The Cavachon is, without any doubt, a very sweet-natured dog that will fit in with any family environment, and one that will be easy to train and will bring many years of pleasure.

Of course, the temperament of an individual dog cannot be guaranteed. However, the choice of spaniel and bichon parents is made for a reason, as both are generally well-behaved and friendly breeds, so you should be able to get a puppy that fits your requirements.

The Cavachon has become one of the most popular small cross-breeds for a reason; it is so friendly that it will very quickly form a strong bond with its owner, and loves to cuddle up when it needs a bit of human company. There is no inherent aggression in these dogs, and they are fantastic with children and will happily integrate with other pets if taught from an early age.

If you are looking for the perfect family dog, or one for a single person or first-time dog owner, the Cavachon is an excellent choice. It will fast become one of the family, and will want to be involved in everything that goes on in the home. Few dogs are so loyal, so expect to be giving your Cavachon a good deal of your free time!

The Cavachon has another attractive feature in that it is among the smaller of the cross-breeds; this makes it ideal for those who live in smaller homes, even flats and apartments. Be aware that it will need regular exercise – although not to the extent of many larger dogs – so you will need to take it on walks where possible. This is, of course, one of the many pleasures of dog ownership, and is good for the owner too! It is a playful dog, so the children can look forward to many hours of fun with your Cavachon puppy.

There is one thing you need to be careful of, and that is leaving your Cavachon alone for long periods. This is not a breed that will take kindly to being left alone, as it is one that is very fond of human company, so if you are at work all day every day, this may not be the dog for you. Although a quiet dog, a Cavachon that is left as such will resort to barking for attention, so please bear this in mind when making your decision.

The Cavachon, being purposely bred from two intelligent breeds, inherits that intelligence, the result being a dog that is easy to train, friendly and responsive to instruction. Train your puppy from an early age and you will be rewarded with unyielding loyalty, and you will also find that as it is a dog that is very aware of its environment, it will soon alert you if anyone unwanted is on your property!

If you follow our tips on training – read on for those – and select a well-bred dog from a reputable breeder, you cannot go wrong with a Cavachon, and you will enjoy what is one of the most charming and attractive of all the breeds available.

Living with a Cavachon

If you are going to get a dog, it makes sense to talk to people who know what it is like to live with one – especially if you are a first-time dog owner. A Cavachon is, to all intents and purposes, an easy dog to live with thanks to its intelligence and good nature, but it is still worth talking to others who have such dogs, and to the breeder who will be able to give you all the information and advice you need.

We mentioned intelligence; this is a trait that is bred into the Cavachon, and it is a very welcome one, too. The fact the dog is bright means it is very receptive to training, and will quickly begin to learn what is right and what is wrong. Be aware that you will find your Cavachon wants to be with you everywhere, and we mean everywhere!

If you live on your own and are looking for an ideal dog, it doesn’t get much better than a Cavachon. This is a small dog that will be perfectly suitable for a small home – even a flat or apartment – as long as it gets the attention and exercise it needs, and will make a great companion. It also likes to be entertained, so play with your Cavachon frequently and teach it some fun tricks. Indeed, this is a very playful breed, so you really need to be able to set aside some one to one time for you and your dog.

A problem with some dogs is that they will instinctively chase other small animals; this is what is known as the ‘prey driver’. A Cavachon is an attractive option as it does not possess a strong prey drive, and if well trained, will not bother with cats or other animals it may come across. There may, however, be occasions when something takes its eye and it wants to investigate, as this is just a natural instinct in dogs. Good training should ensure you can call your dog back successfully.

The Cavachon is also a quiet dog, so you should not be troubled by incessant barking. Like all dogs, it will most likely bark when excited, but if it has been trained from an early age, will know to stop when told to. If you find your Cavachon is making a lot of noise, you might want to look around and find out why; perhaps you are leaving it lone too often, as they are very sensitive to separation and can suffer from anxiety.

Your Cavachon will enjoy going out for walks, so be prepared to spend a lot of time in the great outdoors! Of course, this is one of the joys of owning a dog, and you will have considered this already. One thing that can be a problem is dogs that like water; some will head for the nearest river or pond without hesitation. A Cavachon is not a particularly keen water dog, but you may get one that is! Make sure you train it well to come back when called, and be prepared for the famous shake!

In short, a Cavachon is a good-natured little dog that is at once very attractive and extremely friendly, and a loyal friend that will be an excellent companion for you and for all the family for years ahead.

Training Your Cavachon

We’ve already mentioned that the Cavachon is a very intelligent breed, and this makes things much easier when it comes to training. This wonderful small dog will respond very well to instruction, and it is essential that you commence training very early. Start simple, instil into your dog that you are the boss – but in a positive and friendly way – and build up to more instructive training as the dog gets older, and you will end up with a very loyal, enjoyable a friendly family pet.

It’s important to remember that a puppy is on a steep learning curve. You can’t expect a Cavachon puppy to behave as you wish immediately, it needs to be taught, and you can expect to have to deal with the inevitable accidents in the early days. Good training will eliminate this, and the dog will learn right from wrong.

It is important to lay down the ground rules early, as your dog needs to know that you are the one who is in charge. This doesn’t mean being harsh with the animal, but teaching it from an early age to know what to do when you tell it. The usual simple commands – sit, stay, come and so on – should be instilled into the puppy, and you may be surprised how quickly your Cavachon learns.

It is a mistake to appear over-aggressive towards your dog, one that will result in a negative result in training, so here’s a few words of advice on what not to do when you are training your Cavachon puppy:

  • Shout – You may need to raise your voice at times, but harsh shouting will never result in the reaction you are intending. It may result in the puppy being frightened of you, which you certainly don’t want.
  • Use physical reactions – A light tap is all you should ever do to discipline your puppy; hitting it hard will not work in any way.
  • Lock it away – Never shut a puppy away on its own for being ‘naughty’; remember, the dog is just young and has a lot to learn, and the Cavachon is known for anxiety.

On the other side, here’s some advice about what will help with your training routine:

  • Start early – this is an essential in dog training; the earlier you start training your puppy, the sooner it will learn how to behave.
  • Socialize – it is very important that you get your Cavachon puppy to socialise early in its life, both with people at home, elsewhere, and with other dogs and animals. This will help it know how to handle such occasions in later life.
  • Be positive – Your Cavachon is an intelligent animal and will notice how your tone of voice and attitude changes; make sure you adopt a positive tone when training the dog, and things will be a lot easier.
  • Patience – be prepared to take the time – and to make the time – to spend with your dog on a regular basis. Training a puppy will take a long time, it has a lot to learn, and you can have a lot of fun with your new dog when you get into a training routine.

Training a dog – any dog, not just a Cavachon – takes time and effort, so if you don’t have the time to spare, perhaps you should be looking at a different type of pet. If you are willing to put the time and effort in, however, the result will be a wonderful, friendly and beautiful Cavachon that will be with you for a long time.

Cavachon Health Care

Your Cavachon needs exercise and attention if you are to enjoy the company of a well-trained, friendly and healthy dog, and you should ensure that the puppy gets all the relevant immunisations and ongoing boosters when required. Your breeder will also be happy to advise on what food is best for your dog at different stages in its life.

A healthy and well cared-for Cavachon will have a life expectancy of between 10 and 12 years, so be prepared for a long time with great company from your new dog. Also, talk t your breeder about the potential hereditary diseases and conditions that can be found in Cavachons – and in all breeds of dog; there are a few that are seen occasionally, but careful breeding should ensure there is minimal risk of your puppy being one of the unlucky ones.

Getting Your Own Cavachon

It is possible to find a Cavachon that has been rejected by its owners, and to rescue it. This has the advantage of reduced cost, but also has the disadvantage that you don’t know the background of the dog, or why its previous owners no longer wanted it.

We strongly recommend you source a carefully bred Cavachon puppy from a reputable and experienced breeder, and be prepared to travel to find the one with the best experience and reputation. Be aware that a Cavachon puppy will cost you anywhere between £500 and £1000, depending on the colour and breeding of the dog, so it is by no means a minor investment. It is, however, a guarantee that you will have a great deal of fun and enjoyment with your new, beautiful and loyal four-legged friend!

Breeds Similar to the Cavachon

The market for cross-breeds has expanded greatly in recent years, so if you are not already fixed on getting a Cavachon, there are others to choose from. The Labradoodle, for example, is one of the larger breeds, a cross between a Labrador and a Poodle, and is a very loyal, loving and fun dog to own, but one that needs a lot of exercise and attention. The Cavapoo is another alternative – the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel crossed with a Poodle – and is a medium-sized cross-breed, and a very sweet-natured dog that is perfect for families. There are many more, so you might want to check them out before you make your decision.

Cavachon Last Word

A Cavachon, thanks to its small stature and wonderful temperament – not to mention the fact it is a very beautiful dog – makes an excellent choice of family pet or would be an ideal dog for s single person living alone. Find the right breeder, train your dog and keep it fit and healthy, and you will enjoy many years of companionship that simply can’t be found elsewhere!

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