Your holistic guide to parenting Cavoodles

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Reviewed by our experts. More info
Louise Hawkins
happy cavoodle puppy running through short green grass

Whether you’re in the early stages of considering a puppy or already have a dog, this is your comprehensive guide to parenting cuddly, curly-haired Cavoodles. Our holistic approach covers your pup’s whole health from diet and nutrition to physical and mental wellbeing, including:

  • What does a Cavoodle look like?

  • Caring for a Cavoodle puppy

  • How to train a Cavoodle

  • How to groom a Cavoodle

  • Exercise requirements for a Cavoodle

  • Feeding your friendly Cavoodle

  • Cavoodle wellness from tail to snoot

  • Cavoodle FAQs

What does a Cavoodle look like?

Cavoodles are small to medium-sized dogs with round faces, brown eyes and floppy ears.

Their coats are usually distinctively soft, thick and wavy and come in a variety of colours including black, tan, gold, red, ruby, apricot, white or a mixture of colours.

the top breed takeaways for cavoodles

What is a Cavoodle mixed with?

Cavoodles are also commonly known in the USA as Cavapoos, but essentially they describe the same designer hybrid between a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and a Poodle.

Their precise origin is unconfirmed, but they were first officially bred to combine the confident and calm temperament of the spaniel with the intelligence and hypoallergenic coat of the Poodle.

Not all Cavoodles have the same genetic blend and can display different qualities of their Spaniel and Poodle parents, even within the same litter.

F1 Cavoodles are first-generation dogs bred from a purebred Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and a Poodle and often display an even mix of both breeds.

F1B Cavoodles are dogs bred from an F1 Cavoodle and a purebred parent. If the second parent is a Poodle, the litter is likely to have more dominant Poodle characteristics including a more hypoallergenic coat that sheds less than an F1 Cavoodle. If the parent is a Spaniel, the litter is likely to have straighter coats that shed slightly more.

F2 Cavoodles are dogs bred from two F1 Cavoodle parents. The ratio of genetics is the same as the F1 Cavoodle and are likely to have low-shedding fur and range in appearance.

F2B Cavoodles are bred from an F2 parent and a Poodle or Spaniel parent to increase the characteristics of the chosen second parent.

F3 Cavoodles are also known as multigenerational dogs that have been bred from any generation of Cavoodle from F2 and F2B and beyond.

How big does a Cavoodle grow?

A Cavoodle is fully grown between the ages of 8-12 months old. Their mature size and weight depend on their parents and if they have been bred from a Toy or Miniature Poodle.

‘Toy’ Cavoodle:

Height: 28-35cm

Weight: 4.5 – 7kg (approx)

‘Mini’ Cavoodle:

Height: 35-45cm

Weight: up to 12kg (approx)

How long does a Cavoodle live?

Cavoodles can live between 10-14 years. It’s possible to help your pup to live a long and healthy life through a holistic combination of a nutritious diet and lifestyle choices like exercise and mental stimulation.

Caring for a Cavoodle puppy

If you’re a first-time puppy owner, Cavoodles make a great first dog thanks to their easygoing temperament and their trainability. Whether you’re an experienced dog owner or just getting started, here’s what to expect as a Cavoodle parent.

Exercising a Cavoodle puppy

How much exercise does a Cavoodle puppy need?

These cute bundles of fur are energetic, intelligent and social pups. When they’re still a puppy it’s important not to take them on long walks or runs as it puts strain on their joints and growth plates. Instead, take them for several short walks and playtime at the park each day.

A general rule of thumb is 5 minutes of exercise for each month of age until they reach adulthood. Adult dogs will appreciate two 30-minute walks a day and can even enjoy a short run with you.

What size harness do I need for a Cavoodle puppy?

Enthusiastic puppies will often pull at their collar and lead until you’ve both mastered loose-leash walking.

A harness is a great way to train your pup to walk without pulling because it allows for an even distribution of pressure across their body, rather than just around their neck, giving you more control.

A ‘Toy’ Cavoodle puppy is likely to need an XS harness, while a ‘Mini’ Cavoodle puppy is likely to need a S harness. Always measure your pup to get their size according to the manufacturer’s guidelines and consider trying on a few at the local pet shop to get the right fit and style.

Training a Cavoodle puppy

With the intelligence of Poodles and the eager but calm temperament of Spaniels, Cavoodles are very trainable dogs. With any kind of puppy training, it’s about consistency, repetition, positive reinforcement…and a lot of patience!

How to toilet train a Cavoodle

Puppies can hold their bladder for approximately one hour for every month of age, so your puppy will need to eliminate frequently throughout the day and night. Each time is an opportunity for training.

Successful toilet training relies on positive reinforcement to mark good behaviour. As soon as your puppy goes to the toilet in the desired area, reward them with praise and affection or a treat. Make sure you reward them right after they’ve relieved themselves so they connect it to the action.

Cavoodles learn quickly, but accidents do happen. Continue with consistent and patient training with praise and rewards and they’ll be house-trained in no time.

How to stop Cavoodle puppies from biting

It’s well known that puppies bite — it’s one of the ways they learn about the world and how to interact with other dogs and humans. But those little teeth are very sharp!

When your puppy was part of a litter, their brothers and sisters would yelp if play got too rough which would teach them the boundaries of behaviour. What puppies want the most is to have fun playtime with you, their beloved owner. You can recreate similar boundaries by ending your interactions with them each time they bite. They soon realise that biting has a negative consequence.

Another method is to provide toys or chews with different shapes and textures to gnaw on. This will give them an alternative outlet for their urge to bite and chew, instead of your hand or brand new shoes!

When do Cavoodle puppies calm down?

Cavoodles won’t reach maturity until they’re between 18-24 months old. This is when you should notice more settled behaviour.

How to train a Cavoodle

Cavoodles are smart and eager to please and respond well to positive reinforcement during training. They’re also known to be a friendly, sociable breed that makes excellent family or therapy dogs.

Why does my Cavoodle lick so much?

Cavoodles often express themselves through licking. Over time you can learn what they’re communicating with you, though some licks may be more obvious than others.

If your dog licks you, it could be for one of the following reasons:

  • To show affection — a behaviour learned from their mother.

  • To communicate a need or desire, such as going outside or needing water.

  • To show excitement or boredom as a release of energy.

  • To show empathy. Some dogs know when our mood or emotion changes and deliberately interact with us.

  • To taste your salty skin, or to lick the water off you after a shower or bath.

If your dog licks themselves, it could be because:

  • They’re grooming or cleaning their body.

  • They’re anxious and soothing themselves by licking.

  • They’ve got itchy or irritated skin which may be a sign of a hot spot, allergic reaction or flea allergy dermatitis.

Incessant licking does warrant a trip to the vet to check for any underlying health issues.

Do Cavoodles make suitable guard dogs?

Known to develop strong bonds with their family, Cavoodles can show loyal and protective behaviour. They may bark when visitors arrive at the door, but they’re not known to be an aggressive breed.

How long can you leave a Cavoodle alone?

As an affectionate and social breed, Cavoodles prefer not to be left alone for long periods — a characteristic associated with Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. Don’t leave Cavoodles alone for more than eight hours, and check in every few hours if you can. If their need for companionship is not met and they often feel lonely, this can lead to developing separation anxiety.

How to stop a Cavoodle from barking or whining

Cavoodles can be fairly vocal dogs that bark and whine to communicate needs like hunger and boredom. Try to get to the bottom of their reason for barking by giving your dog more mental stimulation or by establishing a feeding routine, so they know when to expect their next meal.

They’re smart dogs so you can train them with a ‘quiet’ command to reduce their barking if their needs have been met.

Why is my Cavoodle aggressive?

This breed is known for its friendly and affectionate demeanour. They can be vocal and protective, but this rarely extends to aggression. That being said, any litter inherits their parents’ traits, including temperament. This is why it’s important to meet the breeder and the dam and sire before buying a puppy, if possible.

Other reasons for signs of defensive behaviour are if your female Cavoodle is in heat, or if your dog is unwell or injured. Dogs of any breed can also become territorial about food or high-value toys, but consistent training can discourage these undesirable behaviours.

How to teach children to be gentle around Cavoodles

Young children move erratically and unpredictably, which can be concerning for dogs. Teaching your kids how to read your dog’s signals and be gentle when petting is important for the whole family.

One method is to use a stuffed animal to demonstrate how to pat and stroke lightly with a flat palm. Any form of hitting, poking, stomping, jumping or pulling should be discouraged calmly and firmly.

Children should also be taught not to engage with their dog when they’re eating, drinking or sleeping as this can lead to territorial behaviour.

Another important lesson for your child is how to greet all dogs respectfully. Standing still with an open hand invites the dog to sniff without forcing them to interact. If the dog backs away, this suggests discomfort and is a good opportunity to teach your young one how to notice and respect the dog’s boundaries.

How to groom a Cavoodle

Cavoodles need to be groomed to keep their coats in top condition. Regular brushing, and a trim every six weeks or so will prevent it from matting.

It’s important to get your puppy used to the grooming process from an early age, so they become accustomed to the sensations, sounds and smells. They may not require a groom when they’re very young, but by desensitising them to the experience they’ll be more comfortable with it when they’re older.

If you’d like a fuss-free option, you can always take your Cavoodle to a groomer. However, if you’d like to take care of grooming yourself, here’s where to begin:

How to clean Cavoodle eyes

Gently wipe their closed eyes using a clean cloth and warm water to remove any discharge or debris.

How to clean Cavoodle ears

Check their ears regularly as part of their health and grooming routines for prevention. Get your pup used to their ears being touched from an early age so they’re used to being handled.

To clean their ears, use a clean, damp cotton pad to wipe the outer area and the visible part of the ear canal, but avoid inserting anything into the ear canal itself, as this can cause damage. Only clean their ears when required, as overcleaning can disrupt the natural balance of bacteria or cause inflammation.

For a more thorough clean, use a vet-recommended ear-cleaning solution.

If your dog scratches or rubs their ears a lot, they may have an ear infection that requires attention from your vet.

How to groom a Cavoodle face

Cutting your Cavoodle’s facial hair can be challenging, which is why it’s important to familiarise them with grooming from a young age. Before you begin grooming your pup, take them for a good walk to burn off any excess energy which will help them to keep calm.

Use a slicker brush to groom their hair in the direction of growth so that you can see what needs to be trimmed. Groom around your pup’s eyes and muzzle with clippers or thinning shears, so they can see clearly and can keep their face clean and mat-free.

How to brush a Cavoodle

Curly Cavoodle hair can be susceptible to matting if it isn’t trimmed or groomed regularly. Once a week, use a slicker brush to remove tangles, loose hair and debris from their dry coat.

Regular brushing is also an opportunity to check your dog for parasites, grass seeds, scratches or hot spots.

How often should you wash a Cavoodle

Unless your pup has been rolling in something dirty or stinky, you should only wash them once every four to six weeks. Only use a dog-friendly shampoo that doesn’t irritate their skin or eyes.

Why is my Cavoodle shedding?

Cavoodles are low-shedding dogs that may lose a few hairs here and there.

Poodles are also a low-shedding breed but Cavalier King Charles Spaniels have coats that shed. If your Cavoodle has inherited more Spaniel traits than Poodle, they might be more prone to shedding. Regular brushing to remove the loose hairs should keep this under control.

Why does my Cavoodle smell?

Clean and healthy Cavoodles, like all dogs, have a slight doggie aroma. But if your pup has a particularly unpleasant odour, it might be caused by one of the following reasons:

  1. Irregular grooming. Cavoodles need to be groomed regularly to remove tangles and debris from their coat. Irregular grooming can lead to smelly matted hair.

  2. Ear infections. Ear mites can be identified by the malodorous dark brown, waxy discharge in your pup’s ear. A quick trip to the vet should address the issue relatively quickly.

  3. Oral health. All dogs should have their teeth brushed regularly. If your dog has smelly breath, they may have a dental issue, like gingivitis, that requires further investigation by your vet.

  4. Skin infections or allergies. All dogs can suffer from allergies that trigger hives. When these are scratched, they are vulnerable to developing skin infections that can smell if left untreated.

  5. Digestive issues. A diet that’s high in wheat, corn, or legumes such as beans, peas and chickpeas can affect your pup’s digestive system, leading to unpleasant gas or anal gland issues. Feed them a fresh, wholefood diet, like Lyka, which is more digestible and less gassy!

Tips for Cavoodle nail clipping

Nail trimming should be a part of your regular routine. Like grooming, introduce your puppy to the process and tools of nail trimming early on, so they’re more comfortable with the experience.

When clipping your dog’s nails, it’s important to avoid cutting the quick which contains nerves and blood vessels. If you hold your dog’s paw up to the light you can usually see a darker section inside the nail — this is the quick.

An easy way to avoid the quick is to use a specifically designed dog nail clipper that contains a safety guard. If you’re in any doubt, it’s better to trim too little, than too much. An alternative to nail clippers is a pet nail grinder, which is like an electronic nail file.

If they find nail trimming unpleasant, distract them with a chew or a toy and remember to reward them at the end to establish a positive relationship with the process.

Exercise requirements for a Cavoodle

Cavoodles are a small breed that only needs a moderate amount of space, making them ideal for houses and apartments. They’re lively and enthusiastic dogs that requires daily exercise and plenty of mental stimulation at home.

How much exercise does a Cavoodle need?

30-60 minutes of exercise per day should keep your Cavoodle fit and healthy.

How far can a Cavoodle walk?

Cavoodles can easily walk up to 3 miles a day, spread across their daily walks. They can be walk-trained and gradually build up to longer distances. But bear in mind that they are small dogs with short legs, which can make distances more challenging.

How fast can a Cavoodle run?

Cavoodles can run between 10-20 mph over short distances and can be trained to increase their fitness and stamina to enjoy a quick run with you.

Feeding your friendly Cavoodle

The foundation of excellent health and wellbeing comes from a nutritious, complete and balanced diet — for pups and their parents alike!

Free-feeding often leads to unnecessary weight gain, and as a small dog breed, a ‘one size fits all’ approach to feeding can affect their health. Portion control and food quality are necessary factors for good health.

Dry food often contains addictive sugars and sodium that increase palatability and long shelf life but often trigger inflammatory responses in a dog’s skin and gut that can cause lasting, irreparable damage.

Lyka’s vet-formulated meals are complete and balanced, and chock full of bioavailable, wholefood ingredients and essential vitamins and minerals. Our food is delivered to your door in convenient, personalised portions based on their breed, age, life stage and health — ideal for your little pup.

What to feed your fussy Cavoodle

If you have a fussy pup, keeping them interested in their meals can be a challenge. Some Cavoodles can get bored of the same food every day, so a diverse diet with a range of tasty recipes, like Lyka, could be the solution you’ve been looking for.

Encourage a healthy appetite by giving them sufficient exercise every day and not too many treats, and establish a good feeding routine so your dog can focus on their food in a safe spot without distractions.

Cavoodle nutrition FAQs

Why is my Cavoodle not eating?

If your Cavoodle isn’t eating their food and isn’t known for fussiness, there might be another cause of their inappetence.

Most dogs get used to a routine in a familiar environment. If things change, this can trigger anxiety which can affect their appetite.

If their routine is stable, your pup might be experiencing an oral health problem that is causing pain or difficulty when they eat. Likewise, there might be an underlying gastrointestinal illness that’s causing the problem. As always, if you are concerned about your dog’s health, visit your vet for medical advice and treatment.

Have you changed their diet recently? This could be another reason for their inappetence. If you have changed your Cavoodle’s food from kibble to fresh food, a gradual transition period is highly recommended. It can take some time for your pup to get used to new tastes, textures, ingredients and nutrients.

Why is my Cavoodle eating grass?

It is common for dogs to eat some grass on occasion. There are many theories about why they have the urge to graze on a blade or two, including a need to add dietary fibre to aid digestion, to benefit from nutrients that their normal diet lacks, or simply out of boredom.

Check that your Cavoodle’s diet is nutritionally balanced and complete, and contains the right amount of fibre. If you suspect boredom is the reason, make sure they’re getting enough exercise and opportunities for enrichment to keep their mind and body alert and active.

If you’re still concerned, we recommend speaking with your vet.

Common health issues for Cavoodles

Cavoodles from good breeders are generally known to be healthy. But with any designer breed, they can inherit the predisposed health conditions of their parents.

Before planning a litter, reputable breeders will consider the health and temperament of their sires and dams to breed favourable characteristics. Always check the health of the puppy’s parents before selecting your new pup.

This breed is known for their sensitive stomachs. Kibble often inflames their digestive system due to the high salt and carbohydrate content, leaving the potential for lasting damage. That’s why it’s important to feed your pup fresh, lightly cooked, human-grade food that’s highly digestible and free from pro-inflammatory ingredients.

Cavoodles have also been connected to some common health concerns including skin conditions, and hereditary joint and connective tissue problems.

Health issue #1 — skin allergies and itchiness

Cavoodles can be prone to both food and environmental allergies which often trigger hives and itchy skin conditions like Atopic Dermatitis. Ear infections, incessant licking or over-grooming, and inflammation are also common signs of an allergic reaction.

Allergies trigger a pup’s immune system which releases histamines to defend the body against the invading allergen. It’s these histamines that cause the red, itchy and inflamed skin. The gut microbiome helps to modulate the immune system, making gut health vital for allergen defence.

Boost their gut health and their immune response with a fresh food diet that contains skin-enriching nutrients, including:

  • Omega 3 Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs): Known to boost skin and coat health.

  • Spirulina: A powerful superfood that contains high levels of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and has been shown to reduce allergic inflammation.

  • Shiitake mushrooms: A bioactive, antihistaminic food that can boost your dog’s immune response against an allergen.

We only use grass-fed, free-range, barn-raised or wild-caught animal proteins that are less prone to inflame the skin than grain-fed proteins.We also stay away from pro-inflammatory starches and lectins and other common allergens used in commercial pet food like wheat, corn, soy and dairy.

Health issue #2 — heart conditions

Mitral Valve Disease (MVD) is the most common cardiac illness in dogs, though it tends to be more prevalent in smaller breeds. Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are especially prone to MVD which means that Cavoodles can inherit this disease too.

Mild cases of MVD may not show any noticeable signs in your pup and it’s usually identified during a routine health check by your vet. The disease is degenerative but it progresses slowly. However, it can lead to congestive heart failure (CHF). Always, check with your vet if you have any concerns about your Cavoodle’s health.

Dogs with MVD and CHF are usually advised to eat a low-sodium diet as too much salt increases their blood pressure and puts their heart under more stress. Processed food, like kibble, often contains more salt than the recommended daily amount for dogs. It makes dry food tasty, but it’s extremely unhealthy.

Support your dog’s heart health by feeding them a fresh, wholefood diet that contains powerful ingredients known for their cardiovascular benefits:

  • Mushrooms: Bursting with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals for cardiovascular health.

  • Broccoli: A rich source of potassium for a strong heart rhythm and optimal blood pressure.

  • Chia seeds: Small but mighty, these tiny seeds have been shown to reduce blood pressure.

Health issue #3 — joint issues

Hip dysplasia and patellar luxation are two common genetic joint issues experienced by Cavoodles.

Hip dysplasia describes the abnormal development of the ball and socket hip joint. When a dog develops this condition, their hip socket is usually shallow and flattened which causes the hip ball to slip. Joints like these often develop arthritis as the body tries to compensate for unstable movement.

Although there is a genetic link to hip dysplasia, it can also be caused when puppies grow too quickly as a result of too much calcium or protein in their diet.

Patellar Luxation is another term for a dislocated kneecap. Like hip dysplasia, this can be caused by abnormal joint development, this time of the knee groove where the patella sits. Poodles are amongst some of the small breeds that have a higher rate of developing this joint issue.

To keep joints healthy, it’s important for your Cavoodle to consume anti-inflammatory foods with the right ratio of omega fatty acids. Lyka meals, for example, contain an Omega 6 to Omega 3 ratio between 3:1 and 3.6:1: much lower than the AAFCO recommended ratio of 30:1\.

Our in-house Integrative Veterinarian, Dr. Matthew Muir and our veterinary nutritionist have determined this range from their clinical insights and appraisal of up to date scientific evidence.

We use fish oil and sardines that are full of omega EFAs to support common joint ailments in Cavoodles. Our recipes also contain a variety of vegetables and plant superfoods rich in antioxidants and phytochemicals to assist in protecting joints and joint fluid by decreasing free radicals.

We’ve selected these powerful wholefood ingredients for our recipes too:

  • Coconut: Full of potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties to support supple joints.

  • Quinoa: A natural source of manganese, vital for healthy bone development.

  • Turmeric: Contains the active ingredient curcumin which has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties to fight chronic inflammation and symptoms of arthritis.

Each meal is portion-controlled to keep your pup at their ideal weight and reduce strain on joints. You can even select our lower fat Kangaroo, Chicken, Turkey, Fish and Beef recipes for greater control of your Cavoodle’s diet.

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Cavoodle FAQs

Still have unanswered questions? Check out our FAQs below.

Are Cavoodles hypoallergenic?

Cavoodles are generally regarded as being hypoallergenic dogs because their coats shed relatively little, thanks to their Poodle genes. However, this trait can vary depending on the generation and the dominant parent characteristics.

Are Cavoodles good with cats?

Known for their friendly temperament, Cavoodles can be good with cats and other pets, provided they are carefully socialised with them from an early age.

Where should my Cavoodle sleep?

Cavoodles are companion pets, so they aren’t suited to living in kennels outside. Before you get your puppy, decide where you want them to sleep so that you can be consistent in your training. Provide a comfortable bed that can be situated in a warm spot away from cold drafts and intense heat — as dogs with short muzzles, they don’t like extreme temperatures.

You may decide to crate-train your dog, which can help with initial toilet training. By creating a positive and comfortable space for your pup, their crate becomes their designated safe place to rest and sleep, like a den.

When should I desex my Cavoodle?

Generally speaking, most Cavoodles are desexed once they stop growing.

But it is very important to consult your veterinarian about the best time to desex your dog. They’ll consider your Cavoodle’s age, size and overall health before providing personalised advice.

For how long is a Cavoodle pregnant?

A Cavoodle can be pregnant for around 63 days or nine weeks from conception.

Parenting a Cavoodle comes with many decisions. Lyka exists to make mealtimes easy, with tailored meal plans delivered to your door. We’re proud to be fueling Cavoodles across Australia — from energetic pups, all the way through to dogs in their golden years. Join our pack of proud Cavoodle parents today.

This article was reviewed by Lyka's veterinary and nutrition experts

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