Cavachon: Breed Guide (Temperature, Personality, Feeding Etc.)

cavachon

The first time you hear of a cavachon, you may ask yourself where exactly the dog comes from because the name doesn’t exactly reveal it. A cavachon is a dog breed that results from crossing a cavalier King Charles Spaniel and a bichon frise.

While the combination may seem very arbitrary, it’s actually a very intelligent designer breed. Both King Charles spaniels and bichon frise are exceptionally well tempered dogs. Cavachon dogs, as a result, are one of the sweetest and well-mannered small dog breeds. 

They are also a relatively new designer breed. Although the cross may have existed unofficially before, a breeder in Virginia is purported to have created the first intentionally crossed cavachon in 1996, with the goal of creating a loyal companion dog with few health issues and a hypoallergenic coat.

Cavachons have since become extremely popular for the looks and their personality. The breed is recognised by international registries like the American canine hybrid Club, the international designer canine registry, and the American canine association, but not by the American Kennel Club.

Highlights about Cavachons:

  • They are also called Cavashons, Cavalier Bichons, or King Charles Bichons.
  • A full-grown cavachon stands at about 13 inches or 33cm at shoulder.
  • Being descended from King Charles spaniels and bichon frise, they inherit the temperament of lap dogs, but are also capable of being fairly active.
  • A possible source of origin of the breed in America is thought to be Central farm supplies, Iowa.
  • Cavachons come in a variety of colours ranging from white, tan, apricot, brown, black, and in combinations of 2-3 colours as well.
  • They are very intelligent and fairly easy to train and are well suited for first time owners.
  • Cavachon prices can vary vastly depending on their parents’ pedigrees. But even otherwise, they do not come cheap!
  • Cavachons do great in families and households with young children and are extremely patient with them.
  • They are incredibly loyal dogs and very attached to their owners- very attached.

Cavachon Size

cavachon bite

Cavachons often display variation in their outward appearance based on their parents. So how big do cavachons get?

Height: Both male and female Cavachons grow to about 12-13 inches or 30-35 cm, Cavachons that are descended from larger bichon frise or King Charles spaniels may be larger than average.

Weight: the average weight of cavachons is 16-20 pounds or 8-10 kg for males, and 15-20 pounds or 7.5-10 kg for females. Males are heavier and usually somewhat broader than females.

These dogs are also prone to obesity if not exercised often enough.

Conformation: Cavachon are small, well-proportioned dogs with very sweet facial features. Cavachons inherit the typical puffy cotton coat of the bichon frise, but it only retains the quality of being hypoallergenic. In appearance, cavachons have more similarity with their King Charles Spaniel parent’s coat, with medium to long wavy hair. They are still low shedding, like the King Charles Spaniel.

Typically, the color is a cream to light brown mix, with an occasional touch of black. But some special cavachons may be all in one colour, such as pure white, or fully apricot. A white cavachon looks a lot like a bichon frise. Golden cavachon are special variations who have a light, almost golden colour resembling the coat of a golden retriever, but not as yellow. They are usually more expensive and harder to find.

Cavachons have striking facial features, with large, dark button eyes and tiny pert dark noses. They are stockily built, with a broad chest and back, and wide boned limbs. Their ears are a little long and hang down the side of the head.

Cavachon Temperament and Personality

Most of all, cavachons are famous for being adorable and fun loving dogs. They love getting attention from their owners and are very affectionate. They are also very social and play well with strangers – although they might occasionally bark at people that they don’t know, if they perceive a threat.

Relationship with owners: if it weren’t for the fact that cavachons treat their entire family with the same amount of loyalty, one might almost say that cavachons are a one owner dog. They bond very closely with their owners and will happily spend every waking moment around their family.

This makes them very suited for people who are able to spend time with their dogs all day long, or at least households where at least one person will be giving the Dog company all day. Otherwise Cavachons develop separation anxiety from being away from their owners even for periods of time as small as a 2-3 hours everyday.

Although this problem can be tackled by initiating crate training with the dog when he is still a puppy, it does not prepare the dog to spend 4-5 hours per day or extended periods of time alone away from the family. Cavachons need to be around their owners. They also need a high amount of physical affection, emotional engagement, and plenty of interaction.

Relationship with children: cavachons are extremely patient, dogs who suffer the vagaries of young children’s hands with a modicum of adjustment. If they have been socialised early on, and with an adequate amount of training, they do quite well with children who are too young to give the dog clear orders.

Bear in mind however, that such young children should not be left alone with a cavachon. It may well be that the dog himself does nothing, but cavachons are small enough to be injured unintentionally by children who don’t know any better. Older children who know how to behave and how to not hurt the dog, can play for an extended period of time with him- and your cavachon will love every minute of it!

Relationship with other pets: Cavachons lack the hunting instincts of terriers and hounds. As such, they adjust very easily into households with multiple pets, especially those smaller than them. They get along well with other animals in the house if they have been socialized at an early age. Puppies that have been introduced to the idea that a cat or a bunny is not prey, grows into an adult dog who will not even think of doing them harm.

Bringing an adult untrained cavachon to a house with other pets means that you will have to work extra hard on training aggressive behaviours out of him, before you let the pets be alone together. This also applies to having other dogs in the house. Cavachons develop a bit of an attitude and may often try to vie for the position of Alpha, even with you, the owner . A dog larger than a cavachon may not react so tolerantly to repeated shows of aggression.

A good way to make sure that cavachons do not perceive other animals as threats is to take your dog out to the park or to puppy playgroups. This will allow your dog to interact on an equal level with multiple people and their dogs, and recognise them as playmates and not as a source of danger.

Cavachon Health

cavachon standing

Overall, cavachons do not suffer from a lot of health conditions. First generation mixed breeds in general are spared a lot of the congenital defects and health issues that plague purebred dogs. This rule also applies to cavachons, whose second and third generation crosses show more inherited disorders and complications.

Cavachon issues: being brachycephalic dogs, Cavachons have a short snout and a small skull, which leads them to have respiratory and vision problems in later life. Commonly occurring health issues include:

  • Tear staining because of excessive tear production
  • Dry eyes as an inherited condition from both parents
  • Early onset cataracts
  • Ear infections because of short auditory canals
  • Heart murmurs and valvular defects
  • Mitral valve stenosis
  • Portosystemic shunt stenosis, leading to liver problems
  • A patent ductus arteriosus, causing abnormal circulation depending upon the size of the defect.
  • Arrhythmias
  • Syringomyelia, a condition in which there is protuberance of spinal canal tissue through the vertebral column
  • Predisposition to congestive heart failure
  • Hip dysplasia inherited from both parents
  • Prone to ectoparasites like ticks and fleas
  • Atopic dermatitis

Although this may seem like a very intimidating list, it’s a very easy hurdle to avoid. Puppies that have been bred ethically and after getting bills of health for the parents will not inherit so many issues. And if you don’t know your puppy’s lineage, you can always take him to the vet and have him/her tested, when you suspect that a symptom may be showing.

Lifespan: cavachons have an average lifespan of 10 to 15 years. Dogs who are fed a healthy, nutritious diet with plenty of exercise and interaction, live longer too.

Cavachon Care

Despite their size, cavachons need a lot of exercise. They need to be taken out for walks at least twice a day. They do adjust well to living indoors and apartments, but it’s best to raise them and homes with a yard or at least taken to the park once a day.

They are very prone to developing separation anxiety, as mentioned before. They do not take well to being left to their own means. Cavachons are intelligent dogs and love interactive games and toys, but they are also smart enough to recognise that they are alone.

Another general rule of thumb to follow is to train your dog as early on as possible. whether it’s housebreaking or training him for basic commands, cavachons profit from being taught early. It’s also recommended that you establish a hierarchy of authority right from the beginning. Otherwise, you might find your cavachon being a little rebellious.

Cavachon Feeding

cavachon resting

As small dogs, cavachons do not need a lot of food. they need to be fed a proportionately increasing amount of food till they hit about 1-year of age. after that their metabolism evens out.

So, puppies can be fed small amounts 3 to 4 times a day, but older dogs should be fed twice a day.

An average amount of 150 grams of food is a good starting point and can be adjusted depending on your dog’s activity level. Older dogs and senior dogs need a smaller amount of food.

Cavachon Grooming

Cavachons are relatively low-maintenance dogs in comparison to their parent breeds. They are considered hypoallergenic because they do not shed fur and dander, although not completely hypoallergenic. They are tolerated well by people with mild-to-moderate allergies against animal dander.

Cavachons are fluffy dogs but do not shed in proportion to their volume. Daily brushing is not necessary, but you would do well to brush your dog at least twice or thrice a week. Their fur does not grow very quickly, so you can get away with getting them professionally groomed every 4 to 8 weeks.

They do require regular bathing with a mild shampoo formulated specifically for dogs with curly hair. You can ask your vet to recommend a shampoo specifically for your dog. This is a good precaution to take, and it prevents the development of skin allergies from repeated exposure to harsh detergent compounds in regular dog shampoos.

It’s also a good idea to brush dirt and debris out of your dog’s coat before giving him a bath. It also gives you the opportunity to get matts out of your dog’s fur coat. Older dogs naturally shed less than younger dogs do.

Cavachons are prone to developing ear infections, which is why it’s a good idea to clean your dog’s ears every 1 or 2 days. You don’t need to use an antiseptic – a simple damp cotton ball will suffice to get any stray debris out of their ears. If you noticed mites growing in there, you should get your dog checked at the vet’s. Cavachon also need their nails trimmed on a regular basis. 

Cavachon: Everything Else

There’s not a lot that you have to take into account before getting yourself a cavachon. They do not need any special set-ups, and they do not need to be groomed on a weekly basis. However they do need a lot of love and attention, so make sure that you are well placed to provide this. And then in return, you will have a furry companion who will love you to the ends of the earth.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Do cavachon dogs bark a lot?

No, Cavachons do not bark a lot. They may woof when someone is at the door but otherwise, they are very quiet dogs.

Are Cavachons high maintenance?

Not particularly. Cavachons need regular grooming but not on a weekly basis.

Do cavachon dogs shed?

Cavachons do shed, but they shed very little because of their parentage.

Is a cavachon a good family dog?

Cavachons are great family dogs. They are very loving and adore being around their owners.

Do Cavachons like to cuddle?

Cavachons love to cuddle. Given the chance, they will snuggle with their owners all day long.

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