All About Cavachons By Actual Owners [The Ultimate Guide]


All about cavachons the ultimate guide

We are delighted you found this page and want to learn more about Cavachons. We love the breed and adore our 4-year-old Cavachon, Kirby. We are pleased to bring you the ultimate guide to all things Cavachon and share information on this fascinating breed.

What’s A Cavachon

A Cavachon is a mix of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and the Bichon Frise. A small dog, they are compact, spunky dogs that inherit the best traits of both popular breeds. 

Cavachons – A Short History 

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a relatively new breed first recognized by the British Kennel Club (BKC) in 1945. Several decades later, the American Kennel Club (AKC) classified them as its 140th breed in 1996. 

One of the larger breeds in the toy group, Cavaliers, combines the pleasant and loving nature of a toy breed with the athletic capabilities of a sporting dog. They are medium-energy dogs that will always be game for a playful romp but are just as happy cuddling with you on the couch.

The earliest record of the Bichon Frise dates back to the 14th century. The Bichon is an adorable pure white toy breed that is playful, loving, and suitable even for inexperienced dog owners. 

First brought to the US in 1956, Bichons became recognized in 1973 by the American Kennel Club in the Non-Sporting Group. 

Cavachons are the best of both these breeds. First bred by Gleneden Kennels in Berryville, Virginia, in 1996, Cavachons are now considered a designer dog breed and rapidly growing in popularity. 

Temperament

Cavachons are an adorable, intelligent breed that does well in smaller spaces like apartments. Friendly, playful, and loyal, Cavachons don’t like being alone for too long and will do best in households with present family members. 

Their amicable personalities usually have them getting along with children and other pets. They love attention and playtime and will happily cuddle on your lap if you let them. They are easy to train and aim to please, making them ideal for inexperienced or first-time dog owners. 

Appearance

photo of Cavachon Bianca
Our Cousin’s Cavachon Bianca (Gone but Never Forgotten)

Because they are a mixed breed, the coat of a Cavachon can vary in length with different levels of waves or curls. Their coats come in various colors such as white, cream, or pied and can contain several markings of tan, red, black, and apricot. They are usually dual or tri-colored and rarely have pure white coats. 

Cavachons are small dogs, with the males tending to be slightly bigger. A female Cavachon usually measures about ten inches at the shoulder and weighs between ten to fifteen pounds. Males are taller at 12 inches at the shoulder and weigh between 12 to 20 pounds. (Source)

They have brown, expressive eyes, a soft, gentle expression, and a black nose. 

They are a low-shedding breed, making them suitable for people with allergies. Although they shed less, frequent brushing is still required to remove dead hair and skin from their coats that might cause mats and tangles. 

Exercise And Diet For Your Cavachon 

These little fluff balls are medium-energy dogs and don’t need too much exercise. They do well with a daily walk of about half an hour to an hour, supplemented by loads of playtime in between. They love their naps almost as much as they love playtime! 

They are curious and playful and probably won’t say no to a game of fetch or tug. Ball games will help them burn energy and keep them mentally stimulated. They are well suited for apartments as long as they get adequate exercise. 

Most Cavachons are natural swimmers and love getting in the water. Swimming is an excellent activity that promotes muscular development and cardiovascular health. 

Cavachons can be prone to obesity, especially when not exercised adequately. They should be fed a high-quality brand of kibble that consists of protein, fats, and nutrients for small breed dogs. 

The lack of regulation has proven unsuccessful in controlling the quality of dog food. Often containing toxic chemicals, preservatives, antibiotics, and other undesirables, cheap dog food can also contain fillers such as soy, grain, and corn. 

Be sure to pick high-quality food only. Cavachons are small dogs that don’t eat much, so the price difference is well worth the health of your furry friend. 

The amount of food to feed depends on your Cavachon’s weight, physical appearance, activity levels, and age. When in doubt, check with your veterinarian on the appropriate amount to feed. 

Have a Cavachon that gobbles food? Eating too fast can lead to health complications like bloat, gastrointestinal complications, and obesity. 

Slow bowls are an excellent way to hit the brakes on the gobblers. They are full of ridges and maze patterns that can slow the rate of eating up to ten times. The bonus is that puppies have a ton of fun and mental stimulation chasing kibble around the bowl! 

This bowl by Outward Hound is reasonably priced and is BPA, PVC, and phthalate-free. 

Health And Medical Issues

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and the Bichon Frise have a few common health problems that Cavachons might inherit. Some issues might include:

Hip dysplasia: A genetic condition where the ball and socket joint in the hips do not fit perfectly. Instead, they grind against each other and cause pain and discomfort over time. 

Heart murmur: Sometimes benign, this cardiovascular problem can surface in some dogs and resolve in time. Most dogs diagnosed with heart murmurs can still lead a whole and happy life. 

Congestive heart failure: This condition happens when the heart muscle cannot pump sufficient blood. 

Ear infections and eye problems: Like most dogs with downturned, floppy ears, Cavachons are at greater risk of ear infections and need close monitoring. 

Other rarer diseases include bone deformities, skin allergies, cataracts, Cushing’s disease, trachea complications, and liver problems. 

Bonus Tip: Kirby is currently suffering from a collapsing trachea. Cavachons have sensitive throats, so try to outfit them with a harness and steer clear of the choke and training collars. 

How Long Do Cavachons Live?

Cavachons live for about 10 to 15 years. (Source

They are relatively healthy dogs that can be with you for a long time if proper care and maintenance are given. Some have even been known to live to 18 years! 

Grooming 

Although Cavachons shed very little and have low maintenance coats, they still need the occasional trim at a professional groomer every two to three months. They need regular brushing several times a week to remove dead hair and skin and manage any tangles. 

To prepare your Cavachon for regular grooming, care must be taken to introduce him to the idea early on. 

Properly introducing your Cavachon to grooming will result in him lying passively and enjoying the attention, while if incorrectly done, it can lead to fear and trauma. A squirming, panicky dog is no fun to groom! 

Grooming includes coat maintenance, nail clipping, teeth maintenance, cleaning the ears and eyes, and bathing. 

Start with lots of affection and visually inspect your Cavachon’s coat, looking out for tangles. Check for flea bites as Cavachons are susceptible to fleas. If there is any skin irritation or swelling, this could indicate fleas, and you might need to take your Cavachon to the vet. 

Move on to brushing the coat and if he starts to fuss or seems wary of the brush, go slow and treat and praise generously. Clip away any hopeless tangles that are lost causes, and use a brush with soft and rounded bristles to avoid hurting the sensitive skin. 

If you feel confident enough to trim the coat, take some fur off the length of the coat around the body to keep it short enough to avoid tangles. Carefully cut the hair from around the eyes, so his vision is unimpeded. 

Unless your Cavachon is exceptionally active on asphalt or rough terrain, chances are he’ll need your help keeping his nails short. Excessively long nails impede their gait and can lead to posture and arthritic problems. 

The nail’s quick or the blood supply is the pinkish area in the center of the nail. You can take off the bits of the nail right until the start of the quick. If you accidentally nick it, the quick will bleed. This bleeding can be stopped by Kwik Stop, any other product with styptic powder, or homemade cornstarch and baking soda remedy.

Daily brushing of your Cavachon’s teeth will ensure healthy gums and teeth for years to come. Use a canine toothbrush and some flavored toothpaste and treat lavishly after each session. 

Your pup will soon get used to daily brushing and even look forward to it. Dental bones are excellent chew toys for keeping teeth clean. 

Clean the eyes regularly, checking for any debris or hair that might hinder your Cavachon’s vision. Like some other small breeds, Cavachons are prone to eye problems and dry eyes. 

Clean the ears regularly with an ear cleaning solution to prevent the buildup of wax and dirt. Drop a few drops of ear cleaner into the ears and massage to get the solution to the far reaches of the ear canal. Wipe gently and let your pup shake out the excess liquid.  

We always try choosing organic products over non-organic products, particularly when they have frequent and intimate contact with Kirby’s skin. Natural Mullein’s Organic Ear Oil cleans with natural extracts from olive, grape seed, onion, garlic, lavender, and tea tree oils. 

Related Post: Do Cavachons Have Dew Claws?

Bathing 

Our Cavachon Kirby Taking A Bath

Cavachons are clean dogs that require fewer showers than other breeds. The weather plays a significant role in dictating the frequency of baths. Your Cavachon in cold, dry winters might need a bath every two or three weeks, while several baths a week might be necessary during a hot, humid summer.

Have a fussy pup that doesn’t like baths? This nifty little treat mat from Aquapaw will keep your pup occupied and calm during his bath. Stick frozen peanut or any smushed food onto this FDA-grade silicone mat and keep him busy while you bathe away. 

We like using only organic shampoos without harmful ingredients. Commercial dog shampoo laden with chemicals can lead to eye, skin, and mouth irritation for dogs, resulting in Fido hating his bath times. 

One of our favorites is this 100% natural shampoo from Earthbath that contains plant-derived cleansers, rosemary oil, and aloe vera. Their matching conditioner will have your Cavachon smelling like vanilla and almond, all without contact with parabens, synthetic and toxic dyes, sulfates, or phthalates. 

If you are going to give your Cavachon a trim as well, bathe him before the haircut. Dirt and tangles can clog clippers and make trimming a pain. 

Bonus tip: Cavachons can be prone to tear stains. Kirby had them for a long time before we figured out that giving him purified water fixes that. This tear stain remover from NaturVet also has been effective in removing stains. 

Who Are Cavachons Good For?

They are perfect for seniors that want a low-maintenance, easily-trained breed. Cavachons can get immensely attached to their humans and want them around all the time. They like being around people and won’t do well in empty households. 

Cavachons will suit owners that are retirees. They are small dogs that won’t yank you about too much on walks, are eager to please, and seldom have significant behavioral issues. In addition, they have medium energy levels and require minimal exercise. 

Cavachons are also well-suited for families. Because of their small size, rough play by young children might hurt them, so be cautious if you have boisterous kids in the household. Their amicable, tolerant nature makes them ideal for families with kids. 

First-time dog owners will find Cavachons a dream. Stubborn at times, Cavachons are generally trainable dogs that love to please and will work for treats. 

Their laid-back nature leads to almost no genetically predisposed behavioral problems while they remain intelligent with high levels of cognitive development. 

Are Cavachons Hypoallergenic?

Yes! Cavachons get their hypoallergenic coats from the Bichon Frise genetics. Cavaliers aren’t known to be hypoallergenic, but Bichons have been classified as a hypoallergenic breed by both the British Kennel Club and the American Kennel Club.  

Did you know about 10% of the population of the US is allergic to dogs? And with 90 million dogs in the US, that means that some dog owners have found breeds that they don’t react to. 

When you think about allergies to dogs, you might be thinking of the hair. While that plays a part, dander plays an even bigger one. 

Dander from a dog is the microscopic bits of skin shed by all animals with fur and feathers. More allergic reactions are triggered by dander than actual hair. 

I used to be one of the sad dog lovers that wheezed and sneezed every time I got near a dog! My eyes watered so much I couldn’t see, and my mouth and throat itched for several hours even after leaving the presence of the dog. 

So when I met my cousin’s Cavachon, Bianca, I was hesitant to get too close. However, after a while, the dreaded reaction that I was waiting for didn’t come. Astonished, I cuddled Bianca and played with her for hours, with absolutely no reaction.

Still skeptical, we went for a search and eventually found Kirby. To this day, I haven’t even had a whiff of an allergic reaction. And he sleeps on my bed! 

Are Cavachons Good With Other Pets?

Cavachons are tolerant, friendly dogs and can get along with pretty much anyone as long as they are introduced and socialized right. 

They have a low to moderate prey drive and can be stopped from chasing other smaller animals like cats. 

If you have another dog, introducing your new Cavachon sets the tone for the rest of their relationship. Having two dogs introduced can be a tricky one depending on the temperament of each canine. 

Do it right, and they can be best friends and playmates. Set the wrong tone, and they could be mortal enemies for the foreseeable future. Here are some tips to ensure that your two favorite furballs set off on the right foot. 

  1. Have them meet on neutral ground. Your existing pup will naturally feel territorial at home, and his guarding instincts will kick in at any new threats.
  2. Let the dogs meet several times in neutral territory before bringing them home.
  3. Be sure to pay the new dog some attention in neutral territory to show the existing dog that you now have a new pack member. 
  4. Go on pack walks and have both dogs a distance apart, slowly decreasing the distance until they can walk side by side.
  5. Make sure to keep both dogs leashed to maintain control in case of any aggression.
  6. When you get home, let the new dog in first before the existing dog.
  7. Remove all toys, food, and stimulants that might trigger the existing dog’s territorial instincts.
  8. Separate them if you are unable to supervise them.
  9. Some stiff body language and mildly aggressive behaviors like growling are typical, even after days of knowing each other. It is their way of communicating, and they might work it out without a fight. 
  10. Watch their body language carefully and calmly separate them when you see more aggression like hackles rising, teeth-baring, and prolonged staring. 
  11. If a fight breaks out, separate the dogs and keep them apart in the house until they are calm again. Be patient. Calming down from a surge of adrenalin can take a while, and they can remain agitated for hours. 
  12. Feed them far apart in separate corners of the house.

Are Cavachons Suitable For Apartments?

Yes! Cavachons are small, medium-energy dogs that do well in apartmentsprovided they have adequate exercise. An hour walk a day or two 30-minute walks with plenty of playtimes in between, and they should be happy puppies. 

They are a dream to potty train, making it easier for apartment-dwellers without a backyard. Cavachons have small bladders and need to go potty every few hours, so be prepared for two to three short walks a day for an adult Cavachon and a walk every three hours or so for a puppy under a year old. 

Alternatively, use puppy pee pads in the same corner of the house to establish a routine. 

Cavachons are also moderately vocal dogs. Their guarding instinct comes from the Bichon Frise genetics, and they are likely to be good alert dogs. They are rarely incessant barkers unless bored or under-stimulated.

How Much Do Cavachons Cost?

First bred in 1996, Cavachons were bred to be spunky, fun dogs that fit into most lifestyles. Now, Cavachons are considered a designer breed and can cost anything from $400 to $2,000. A Cavachon from two show-quality parents can cost up to $6,500! 

Several factors can cause a vast price difference. Breeder standards, bloodlines, and breeder location all play a part in the cost of Cavachon puppies. 

Selecting an ethical breeder is of utmost importance. We try to be objective but cannot condone the practices of puppy mills and backyard breeders that breed for maximum profit without regard for the welfare of their animals. The Humane Society has a pretty detailed guideline on what to look for in an ethical breeder.

In addition to the purchase cost, the initial costs of bringing a new puppy home can run from $500 to $1,000. You’ll need:

  • A crate or gates to limit their range of destruction! 
  • Bedding. Puppies love to chew, so hold off on the expensive dog bed if you are bringing home a puppy.
  • Chews and toys
  • Grooming supplies
  • Cleaning supplies. Puppies will have accidents – lots of them. 
  • Food and treats
  • Bowls
  • Leash and collar (or ideally, a harness)
  • Poop bags

The maintenance cost of having a Cavachon in your household is minimal. They are small dogs, and their food consumption won’t break the bank. Barring emergency circumstances, here are the additional costs associated with a new puppy.

  • Vaccinations 
  • Training
  • Spaying or neutering
  • Pet insurance
  • Puppy damage. Unless you watch them like a hawk, puppies often find ways to destroy your stuff! 

Final Thoughts

Being big Cavachon fans, we love sharing our information and experience with this captivating breed. What’s there not to like? They are adorable, gentle dogs that are likely to get along with everything and everyone. 

They require a small amount of exercise and are easy to maintain, even for the inexperienced dog owner. We hope you have enjoyed learning more about Cavachons as much as we enjoy sharing our fascination with them! 

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