Cavachon Dogs

Kelly Roper
Cavachon; copyright © Jaime Staley-sickafoose | Dreamstime.com

The Cavachon is not a pure breed. Rather, it's a "designer dog" combination of Bichon Frise and Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. The result is a sweet-tempered, fuzzy ball of fluff that can make a lovely companion for the right person.

Cavachon Characteristics

Since the Cavachon is a combination of two separate breeds, there is no authoritative breed standard for them. However, the Cavachon Club of America has put together some very basic guidelines for the desired conformation and temperament.

Size

Cavachons are small dogs, which makes them a nice choice for people who live in small apartments or houses, as well as for people who travel extensively in recreational vehicles. When fully grown, these dogs tend to range in height from 12 inches to 13 inches.

Coat

Cavachons tend to have soft, silky coats with slight waves. Standard colors include:

  • White
  • Apricot and white
  • White with black or black and tan markings
Tricolor Cavachon Pup; copyright Jaime Staley-sickafoose at Dreamstime.com

Temperament

If you're looking for an aggressive guard dog, this designer combination is definitely not the right choice for you. Rather than being aggressive, Cavachons are quite the opposite. They are gentle, accepting and tolerant (for the most part). This makes them a good pet option for families with children, as well as for households where there are other pets.

Exercise

Cavachons are generally energetic, but not hyperactive. Moderate daily exercise is usually enough to help them burn off some of their excess energy. A daily walk and a game of fetch or some other activity will provide some mental stimulation as well.

Attention Needs

Cavachons tend to be cute, friendly animals that can make excellent companion animals for the right person or family. They have loving personalities and form close bonds with their human companions. They crave companionship and attention, and they like to be active. If you want a small pet that will be an affectionate and loyal sidekick, a Cavachon might fill the bill.

Cavachon Puppies

Apricot and White Cavachon Pup; Jaime Staley-sickafoose at Dreamstime.com

Need TLC

Coming from two toy breeds, Cavachon puppies are still relatively small when they're old enough to go to new homes, typically weighing around four to five pounds. They need to be handled with care, and it's best to give them a crate of their own so they have a secure place to sleep.

Training

These puppies are smart and relatively quick learners, but you need to be very consistent during training so your pup understands what you want from her. Cavachons learn best when the training is initiated very early on, and the earlier the pup is introduced to obedience training and socialization, the faster and more effective the results will be.

Choosing a Healthy Cavachon Puppy

Before you choose a puppy, make sure there are no obvious signs that the animal is sick. The signs of a healthy Cavachon puppy include:

  • Pink, clean gums
  • Pale pink, clean inner ears
  • Clean, shiny and thick coat
  • Clean, dry tail and anal area
  • Bright, clear eyes
  • Alert and curious behavior
  • Clean, moist nose

Grooming Needs

Even though Cavachons have quite a bit of hair, they do not shed very much at all. As with several of the designer dogs, some breeders and owners assert that these dogs are hypoallergenic to some degree and cause less reaction in people who have dander allergies.

Even if they don't shed, these dogs are quite hairy so grooming is a must. Without proper care, their coats can become quite matted and dirty. You'll need to plan on devoting time to brushing your pet regularly or to paying for frequent grooming care. Some of these dogs may require trimming from time to time.

Health Concerns

Cavachon pup; Image used with permission of Judy Hahn of Glenedon Cavachons

Cavachons tend to have many of the same health problems shared by other small dog breeds. They have a proclivity for ear infections because of the hair that grows inside of their ears, so owners need to be prepared to clean the ears on a weekly basis, and watch diligently for any signs of infection. Use Oti-Clens or another canine ear cleaning solution several times each week as a preventive measure. If an ear infection does develop, you'll need to seek veterinary care for your pet.

Typical health concerns to be aware of include:

  • Heart murmurs
  • Flea allergies
  • Eye ulcerations due to hair rubbing the corneas

Finding Reputable Cavachon Breeders

Some breed clubs offer a list of approved breeders, but unfortunately, this isn't the case with Cavachons. The Cavachon Club of America is still in its infancy and currently has no certified breeder profiles available. This means you'll have to seek out breeders and screen them on your own to make sure you're getting a healthy, well-socialized puppy or adult.

Sometimes the best way to find a breeder is through a referral from another Cavachon owner, and you can connect with other fanciers of these dogs through Facebook's Cavachon Forum. Although LoveToKnow does not endorse any breeders and urges using caution when making online purchases, there are also breeder websites, such as Gleneden, The Monarchy or Briarthorn, that offer puppies with a health guarantee. Below, you'll find some useful questions to help you screen breeders.

Questions to Ask the Breeder

  • How long have you been breeding Cavachons?
  • How often do you have litters?
  • Do you breed any other dogs?
  • Are the pups or dogs socialized?
  • Has the pup or dog been seen by a veterinarian yet?
  • Which vaccinations has the puppy or dog received?
  • Has the dog been de-wormed?
  • Have any of the puppies from the litter been sick?
  • Does the breeder supply a health guarantee?
  • What is the dog's family history?
  • Can you see the dog's parents?
  • Which type of food is the puppy or dog currently eating?
  • Does the breeder belong to a breeder's club?
  • Can the breeder provide you with a list of references from recent sales?
  • Does the breeder require you to spay or neuter the dog by a certain age?

Questions a Reputable Breeder Should Ask You

Cavachon Pup with a Ball; copyright Jaime Staley-sickafoose at Dreamstime.com
  • Have you ever had a dog before?
  • If so, which type and for how long?
  • Which type of house or apartment do you live in?
  • If you live in an apartment, does your landlord allow pets?
  • Do you have any other pets?
  • Do you have a fenced in yard?
  • Do you leash your dog when you take him for a walk?
  • Do you have any children?
  • If so, how many and what are their ages?
  • Are the children educated about dogs and how to treat them?
  • Are you planning to spay/neuter your dog?
  • Are you familiar with the dog laws in your community?
  • Do you plan to obedience train your puppy?
  • Can you afford the costs associated with raising a puppy?

Will a Cavachon Be a Good Fit for You?

Take the time to learn more about which kind of puppy behavior to expect before making a firm decision. When you're certain that this is the right kind of canine companion for your household, locate a reputable breeder or rescue organization and choose your new pet.

Cavachon Dogs