Are you torn between the beautiful Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and the fluffy Bichon Frise? Both of them are wonderful on their own so it’s really hard to choose between these two.
But if you can’t decide, we suggest taking them both. If you are able to take home two dogs then why not? Otherwise, consider a combination of these two purebreds: the Cavachon! In case you are interested in this mix, let us tell you what to expect with this adorable crossbreed.
It is believed that Gleneden Kennels, a resident of Virginia, United States was the first ever breeder of the Cavachon in 1996. The result is a dog that is easy to love with its fun-loving nature. It is very charming, so it often gets spoiled by the people who see it. Fast forward to present day, Cavachons can be seen in many countries across the globe.
A Cavachon can be registered with the International Designer Canine Registry (IDCR) to receive reliable and speedy services and to record its genetic history and lineage. Apart from the IDCR, the Cavachon is recognized by the American Canine Hybrid Club, Designer Dogs Kennel Club, and the American Canine Association.
Cavachons look a lot like the Bichon Frise but they usually inherit the coat color of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. Standing 12 inches on average and weighing 10-20 pounds, these dogs are small and can be easily transported.
First generation or F1 Cavachons only shed moderately so they are ideal for pet parents who are worried about hair and dander. This is because the Bichon Frise does not shed a lot, being dubbed as one of the best hypoallergenic breeds.
Keep in mind that not all Cavachons are equal parts King Charles Spaniel and Bichon Frise. Some of them could have 75% of one breed and only 25% of the other. If you want a pet with more of the Bichon Frise gene, ask your breeder about its lineage.
The most common coat color for Cavachons is white with marks of brown. You may also see Cavachons sporting an apricot and red coat color. It is not so uncommon to see tricolored Cavachons or those in three different colors, black, apricot, and tan markings.
The Cavachon is a great family pet because it easily gets along with anyone. Whether you are in a household full of adults or children, the Cavachon will not find it difficult to belong because it naturally enjoys being around people. They are also friendly when around other pets given that they come from breeds that naturally thrive on being in a pack.
Are they good around strangers? Yes, especially when they are exposed to new faces and places early in life. It is actually recommended for any dog breed to be socialized as early as five weeks. Both the King Charles Spaniel and the Bichon Frise are usually kind towards visitors at home. These breeds don’t often bark or howl and their offspring have a below average to very low levels of aggression.
Apart from ensuring they have enough time for socialization, the usually energetic Cavachon will enjoy lots of play time with their humans. Being playful and curious are some of the things they often inherit from their Bichon Frise parent.
Since the Cavachon is a playful one, you may want to introduce games of fetch, hide and seek, and even tug of war in his routine. These are the best types of activities, especially when it is too cold or too hot to go outside. These mixes also enjoy mental stimulation so dog brick puzzles will be perfect for them.
Cavachons thrive on regular exercise. Daily walks are not just good for their joints but also a nice way to burn the extra energy they have so they will not be bored and resort to aggression. They are great companion dogs so you will likely have a good time taking them outdoors.
Meanwhile, the fun of owning a Cavachon does not end there, because you will not only have a playful and happy dog. They can also be as affectionate, graceful, and gentle as the King Charles Spaniel. They are also quiet dogs so it would not be a challenge to raise them in an apartment.
This crossbreed is such a smart dog, much like its Bichon parent, so training will be easier than expected. Joining an obedience training class is a nice way to hone your pet’s abilities and also a good opportunity to allow socialization because there are classes that allow training more dogs all at the same time.
These are friendly even with strangers so you cannot expect these cute little buddies to be watchdogs because they are not as protective as other breeds, even though they love you. However, if your pet has more of the King Charles Spaniel in its gene, there is a chance it can be a good watchdog.
While Cavachons don’t shed, these crossbreeds actually require moderate grooming. Some pet parents even bring their pets to groomers every three months. This is because their hair requires clipping. But that does not mean Cavachons are as high maintenance as the Bichon Frise.
They are double-coated and that very soft coat you see is the undercoat. The outer coat is sturdy and a bit coarse. As puppies, you will not see their double coat right away. It will only start to show beginning the sixth month of age. From there, it’s good to prepare your shedding brush to get rid of dead pet hair without a hassle.
For Cavachons with sensitive skin, consider using a slicker brush with flexible pins. Always be gentle when brushing the coat of your Cavachon. Slicker brushes come in a range of sizes, but since the Cavachon is a small one always get a tool that will be appropriate for its size.
Cavachons should get their baths once every seven weeks. If you have an active one, you might find the need to bathe it once a month. This also depends on the kind of climate you live in. Because of their playful nature, you might find them often getting soiled, something quite evident in their light-colored coating.
Grooming is not limited to bathing the dog once a month. It also involves brushing his teeth regularly to avoid periodontal diseases. Help your pet get used to the habit of brushing by starting training at a young age. This way, he will get used to the habit of cleaning and you will not have a hard time introducing this new habit to your buddy.
As with any crossbreed, the Cavachon is a relatively healthy breed with milder temperaments than purebred dogs. Because of this, you can expect them to have a long life, perhaps even longer than their average lifespan of 11-13 years. Regardless of that, Cavachons can still inherit certain conditions from its parents so it helps to be aware of their signs:
- Hip dysplasia – while they are playful, Cavachons are not really strong breeds. You have to limit their exercise to less-vigorous activities, such as walking. Jumping can put pressure on their hips so better avoid that as much as possible. Keep an eye for a decreased range of motion, hind end lameness, and walking like a hopping bunny.
- Autoimmune diseases – there are many types of autoimmune diseases in dogs, yet it is possible for one dog to develop more than one kind. These can affect the pet’s endocrine glands, blood, skin, eyes, and digestive system as well as the joints. In general, symptoms include weakness of the muscle, failure of the kidneys, pain in the abdomen, anemia, weight loss, and internal bleeding. Although it is rarely curable, a Cavachon suffering from an autoimmune disease can still live a normal life when treated properly and from the early stages.
- Liver problems – a failing liver in dogs can be complicated to diagnose. In the first place, many of the symptoms are somewhat similar to other diseases. Liver failure is characterized by vomiting and diarrhea, sudden weight loss, and a lack of interest in food. Many Cavachons also exhibit changes in stool color and drinking and urinating more frequently than usual.
- Ear infections – because Cavachons have the hairy ears of the Bichon Frise, the hair growing in their ear canals can be a problem. A dog suffering from ear infection will often lean to the side of the affected ear and will keep tilting his head. You should also check if there are crusts on the outer ear as these can lead to ear infections that bring discomfort to dogs. A veterinarian may prescribe an ear ointment to apply twice a day. Ear ointments may be a mixture of anti-inflammatory drugs and antibiotics to soothe the infection.
- Congestive heart failure – this happens when there is a build-up of fluid in the lungs. This is why coughing should never be ignored. Continuous coughing in dogs is one of the most common indications of congestive heart failure. In later stages, the chronic coughing is accompanied by wheezing and lack of appetite.
For Cavachons weighing 12 lbs and below, the recommended feeding amount is 1/3 to 1 cup twice a day. For pups, it can be as much as ¾ cups of puppy formula twice a day. But if you want to offer smaller portions, consider dividing them into three servings per day, at half a cup each day. Dogs weighing 13-20 lbs may get a cup or up to 1 and 1/3 cups twice per day.
Do note that Cavachons have a tendency to become overweight. After all, those cute puppy eyes are hard to resist so you might be tempted to give them snacks when they want to have some. But for their benefit, just stick to the diet recommended for them. Otherwise, your little buddy will suffer from gastrointestinal upset.
There are a variety of dog foods out there and there are a few things to consider when choosing one. These take into the dog’s life stage, breed size, and special needs if there are any. If you want to exclusively offer dog food, go for a product made of quality ingredients and free from preservatives and unnecessary fillers.
For small active dogs like Cavachons, the best option for any life stage is a dog food with high amounts of protein. All dogs need this nutrient to have healthier bones, muscles, and nerves. On top of that, increased levels of protein can also meet the dog’s high energy requirements.
Serving human food will be fine, especially for pups without a sensitive stomach. Otherwise, consult your veterinarian before offering anything to your pet. If you want to offer human foods to your Cavachon, here are the dog-friendly foods to start with:
- Apples (core removed)
- Green beans
- Boneless chicken
- Lean beef
Stay away from human foods like avocado, grapes, raisins, chocolates, onions, garlic, and macadamia nuts. As much as possible, avoid giving snacks and scraps to your dog. Offering a dog a piece of cookie is equivalent to a serving of one whole burger in humans.
The Cavachon has a great wanderlust potential, but long walks are not for this crossbreed. They have a low exercise requirement. This means two 15-minute walks per day will be enough for them. Minimizing physical activities prevents diseases like hip dysplasia, which is common among Cavachons.
When you decide to get a Cavachon as a pet, make sure you will only get it from reliable breeders. These breeders prioritize the wellbeing of their pets to guarantee that puppies are born from healthy and happy parents. Poor breeding makes dogs suffer from a range of health problems.