The Cavachon is a delightful crossbreed between the King Charles Cavalier Spaniel and the Bichon Frise.
Aiming to combine the astoundingly cute appeal of both breeds into a single dog, it’s no wonder that this crossbreed is well-loved by many.
But there is much more to this breed than just their appearance; prospective owners can’t let themselves get drawn in just by looks alone!
In this guide to the Cavachon we will cover everything you need to know.
From their temperament, to their health issues, we’ll help you make an informed decision as to whether this breed is right for you.
So let’s get started!
Where Does The Cavachon Come From?
Sadly, the Cavachon is a relatively recent crossbreed and therefore doesn’t have much of a concrete history yet.
However, we can still get a good background on the breed by looking at the long histories of the Cavachon’s purebred parents!
Origins of the King Charles Cavalier Spaniel
The King Charles Cavalier Spaniel originated from breed fanciers attempting to revive the Toy Spaniels that were incredibly popular among British nobility from the 17th to 19th century.
The toy spaniels held this popularity for two centuries.
But once the toy breeds of the east, such as the Pug and the Shih Tzu, were introduced into Europe, the toy spaniels lost their throne as the preferred companion breed of the aristocracy.
Before long, the breed had severely dwindled and rendered nearly extinct.
However, in the 1920s, breed fanciers had a resurgence of interest in the toy spaniels of old, and succeeded in bringing them back.
The Cavaliers you see today are the result of that effort.
Origins of the Bichon Frise
As for the Bichon Frise, they find their ancestry within Tenerife hundreds of years ago.
Back then, they developed alongside the ancestors of other popular breeds such as the Bolognese and the Maltese.
One of the most popular breeds with the sailors came to be known the Bichon Tenerife, the ancestor of the breed we see today.
In the 13th century, the Bichon Frise found itself within the lap of luxury within the courts of European nobles. They were especially popular amongst the French.
Sadly, during the French Revolution in 1789, many members of the breed quickly found themselves on the streets after their noble owners were executed or imprisoned.
But this wasn’t enough to keep this dog down!
Due to their natural ability to entertain, coupled with their striking appearance, the Bichon quickly found itself working with street entertainers and making a living.
From here on, the Bichon has faced its fair share of ups and downs but always used its infinite charm and intelligence to pull through to the modern day.
Fun Facts About The Cavachon
- Cavachons could potentially be hypoallergenic.
- The Cavachon is thought to have first appeared within the 1990s.
- This cross loves to cuddle!
As a crossbreed, the Cavachon may take on aspects of both parent breeds.
This can include physical characteristics, temperament, and potential health issues.
Therefore, we can only offer information as to what you may be able to generally expect to see within this breed.
As for their height, the Cavachon tends to range between 9.5 to 13 inches. As both parent breeds are small, the cross is too!
Weight wise, you can expect a range of 12-18 pounds as both parent breeds have similar weight ranges.
When it comes to physical characteristics, it’s possible for the long floppy ears of the Cavalier to make an appearance.
And the coat may be either silky smooth of moderate length or curly and fluffy like the Bichon. It’s possible for the coat to be somewhere in-between these two types!
Potential coat colors and patterns include
- Full white
- Ruby, and
- Black and tan.
It’s also possible for the white coat to have apricot or cream shadings.
The Cavalier and the Bichon have quite similar personalities and temperaments in many ways.
Both have the potential to be incredibly sweet and affectionate dogs who love to cuddle and play with their favorite humans.
Both are well-behaved and friendly towards strangers, be they people or other dogs.
Therefore, provided neither parent has any glaring temperament issues, and that you raise your Cavachon lovingly with a lot of training and socialization, you can expect to see these positive traits form.
However, the two parent breeds also commonly suffer from separation anxiety.
This is also likely to be passed down to puppies of the Cavachon mix and may be an issue that you need to take action to alleviate.
This is not a breed that cannot be left alone in the house for hours on end. If you are a busy family who commonly leaves the house empty, this may not be the right breed for you.
It’s ideal to have at least one person home with the Cavachon at all times to help keep the dog calm. Long periods alone can cause negative anxious behaviors to form.
One instinctual behavior that may be inherited from the Cavalier in particular is an urge to follow scents, or to “hunt”.
They can get so caught up following a scent or chasing a small animal that they may become unresponsive to verbal commands!
Therefore, to be safe, it’s important to keep your Cavachon on a leash unless you are in an area that you know is secure.
Training Your Cavachon
As both parent breeds love to make their owner happy and are highly trainable, you’ll soon find that the Cavachon is similar!
The Cavachon can be very intelligent, and its willingness to learn can make training quite straightforward and easy in most cases.
However, there is one area of training that both parent breeds and the Cavachon frequently stumble on, which is housebreaking.
Both parent breeds are notorious for being difficult to housebreak at first, and the same goes for the Cavachon.
With repeated training and patience, you will soon begin to make some progress.
The key is to not give up or get frustrated with your Cavachon. Like with all training, positive reward-based methods are the best for the job!
For more information and help on training a puppy, check out the guides below!
If you find that you are struggling to train this breed, do not give up!
This will make things a lot worse in the long run and may lead to the Cavachon puppy learning negative behaviors and habits that will be a lot harder to break later in life.
Instead, it is better to seek help from a professional if you find that you are struggling.
Every breed requires thorough obedience and socialization training from a young age to mature into a well-behaved and positively tempered adult.
As for the exercise requirements of this breed, you may find that they are more active than you’d expect!
The Cavachon loves to play and has spurts of energy throughout the day.
A daily walk, with some indoor or outdoor play, is usually sufficient for this small and happy breed.
Sadly, the Cavachon has some health concerns that you should be aware of before making any decisions. However, it is important to note that they are a relatively healthy breed!
The Cavachon may be predisposed to various health conditions that are common within both parent breeds. These concerns include:
- Patellar Luxation – a condition where the kneecap easily slides out of place, causing sudden pain and lameness.
- Hip Dysplasia – a developmental disorder where the hip does not develop correctly, leading to early onsets of arthritis.
- Cardiac Issues – heart problems such as heart murmurs and mitral valve disease can be at increased risk within this breed.
- Syringomyelia – a very serious condition where fluid-filled cavities develop within the spinal cord. It can cause symptoms such as constant scratching around the neck area and intense pain. It’s a worsening condition that can sadly lead to paralysis.
- Cataracts – same as the human eye condition, clouding of the lens causes vision loss.
- Dental disease – it’s particularly important to brush the Cavachon’s teeth and keep their dental health in good shape, as this breed is predisposed to dental problems.
To minimize the risk that these health issues will appear within your Cavachon, it is important to purchase the puppy from a trustworthy breeder who can prove the genetic health of their parent dogs.
Many of the health risks outlined above can be inherited directly by the Cavachon from its parents if they are sufferers. Therefore, it’s very important to ensure that this doesn’t happen!
Cavachons commonly live for 10 years and longer.
Cavachon Grooming & Diet
As for the grooming requirements of this breed, it is dependent on the kind of coat the Cavachon has inherited.
If the silky long coat of the Cavalier is present, then simple regular brushing and the occasional bath will be enough to keep it in top condition.
However, if the Bichon Frise coat is present, they ideally need to be brushed through every day and require a bath and a clipping every month.
You may either learn to do this yourself or hire a professional groomer.
Be aware of the amount of time and possibly money you may need to spend on grooming the Cavachon and consider whether that is a good fit for your family situation.
The Cavachon will do well on high-quality dog food. Just ensure that you keep those teeth in top condition.
If you require dietary advice for your Cavachon, speak with your vet!
Do Cavachons Make Good Family Dogs?
The Cavachon can be a delightful toy breed, however, they may not fit into every family.
Therefore, it is very important to ensure you consider that you have the correct family situation before jumping straight into purchasing a Cavachon puppy.
This breed requires that they are never left alone for an extended amount of time, so you must take this into consideration.
Ideally, there should always be someone around to keep them company!
Along with this, their grooming requirements could potentially be very high. They may require professional grooming if you are unable to do it yourself, which may be financially significant.
They also tend to be good with kids, but remember that they are quite small! Children should be taught to be as gentle as possible to avoid accidentally injuring this breed.
We whole-heartedly recommend this breed to those who are looking for a charming and entertaining toy breed to enter their family and can fulfill their needs.
Rescuing a Cavachon
If you decide to rescue a Cavachon rather than purchasing a puppy from a breeder, there are a few things to keep in mind.
Rescuing comes with its pros and cons.
On the good side, you will be most likely receiving an adult dog that you will be informed all about beforehand.
Any existing health or temperament issues should be made clear to you by staff, and you will be able to make an informed decision as to whether this dog may be right for you.
As many health and behavioral problems don’t become apparent in puppies until a few months in, this can be a good way of avoiding that risk.
On the bad side, many dogs end up in rescue due to such health and temperament issues in the first place. You may have to be ready for a rough road in some cases!
If you do decide to adopt, you will be interviewed by staff who will attempt to ascertain whether you are a good fit for the dog.
They will ask you questions about your current family situation and previous experience with dogs.
From there, you may be allowed or denied the adoption of the dog.
It’s important to note that some rescue centers have a reputation for being overly strict, denying potentially good homes for their dogs over minor and easily solved problems.
If you are denied adoption of a Cavachon yet felt that there were no issues, don’t get discouraged! Just try elsewhere.
Finding a Cavachon Puppy
If you decide to go down the route of purchasing a puppy from a breeder, it is imperative that you find a reputable and trustworthy breeder.
Unfortunately, there are many bad breeders out there, who will happily disregard the welfare and genetic health of their litters for more efficient sales. Breeders such as these are informally known as “puppy farms”.
Avoiding such breeders should always be your top priority when purchasing a puppy of any breed.
The dogs they sell are usually unhealthy, untrained, and have severe behavioral problems due to the poor treatment they received from the breeder.
It’s also important to avoid buying puppies from pet stores; sadly, many buy their dogs from the puppy farms we just mentioned above.
Instead, search for a breeder who is recognized by one or more reputable breeding societies. Another good sign can be good feedback from previous customers.
For more information on how to find a great breeder and to ensure you receive a healthy and loving puppy, check our guide here!
Raising a Cavachon Puppy
Even for the most experienced dog owners, raising a puppy can sometimes seem like an insurmountable task with how boisterous and mischievous they can be!
Luckily, we have some resources that can help! See below for our guides on how to properly care and train a puppy.
Cavachon Products and Accessories
If you decide to go with this breed, there may be some products and accessories that you may be interested in!
Here is a guide to grooming the Bichon Frise coat that contains some recommendations for quality grooming tools you will need for it. If your Cavachon has the coat of a Bichon, this guide will be relevant to you!
Another guide here goes into more grooming tools in general, which may also prove useful!
You may also be interested in a harness as opposed to a leash. Take a look at our article here on the pros of harnesses.
Pros and Cons of Getting a Cavachon
Here is a quick summary of the pros and cons of this crossbreed.
- A potentially lovely and cuddly companion that fits well into many families
- Can be good with kids, provided that they treat the Cavachon in a gentle manner
- Easily fulfilled exercise requirements
- Intelligent and quick to learn in most respects
- Relatively healthy breed providing you take the proper precautions when purchasing a puppy
- If trained and socialized well, they are friendly with other dogs and strangers.
- Separation anxiety can be a big issue
- Potentially high grooming requirements which may require the hiring of professionals
- Notoriously hard to housebreak.
Similar Breed Mixes and Breeds
Before you decide too hastily, it’s always a good idea to check out some similar mixes and purebreds! Here are a few below:
Unfortunately, there aren’t any rescue centers devoted to rehoming solely dogs of this cross. However, you may have luck searching in rescue centers dedicated to the parent breeds. See below!
If there are any more rescue centers you know of that you’d like to add to the list, let us know below!
Is a Cavachon Right For Me?
Ultimately, only you can answer that question. Consider the pros and cons of this breed, and whether you will be able to fully care for it.
Their grooming requirements can be high and possibly financially significant and they also require human company as much as possible.
If you have the right family situation for this cross and raise them correctly, you may find a lovely companion in the Cavachon.
What do you think about this cross? Good, bad?
Let us know below!
References and Resources
- American Kennel Club.
- Harasen, G, 2006, Patellar luxation The Canadian Veterinary Journal.
- Summers, JF, et al, 2015, Prevalence of disorders recorded in Cavalier King Charles Spaniels attending primary-care veterinary practices in England Canine Genetics and Epidemiology.
- Parker, JE, et al, 2011, Prevalence of asymptomatic syringomyelia in Cavalier King Charles spaniels Veterinary Record.
- Balogh, DG, et al, 2016, Clinical results of single-session bilateral medial patellar luxation repair in 26 small breed dogs The Canadian Veterinary Journal.
- Gough, A, et al, 2018, Breed Predispositions to Disease in Dogs and Cats John Wiley & Sons.