Cavachon: Your Complete Guide

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Cavachons are a mix of bichon frises and Cavalier King Charles spaniels. The parent breeds are both considered purebred by the American Kennel Club (AKC), but Cavachons themselves are not. Instead, they are what is commonly referred to as a “designer dog,” which simply means they are created from two purebred parents of different breeds.

The goal behind crossing these two purebreds was to create a dog that had the best traits from both and would hopefully be more healthy. Is the Cavachon really the best of the bichon frise and the Cavalier King Charles spaniel? Let’s find out!

We’ll be covering everything you need to know about the Cavachon, including their size, temperament, grooming needs, trainability, energy levels, health risks, cost, and much more. If you have a question about Cavachons, we likely have the answer.

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A Quick Look at Cavachons

Here’s a quick overview of everything you should know about the Cavachon!

Weight/Height 9-18 lbs, 9.5-13 in.
Coat Type Medium length, wavy
Grooming Needs three out of five bones
Shedding two out of five bones
Temperament Friendly, Gentle, Playful, Affectionate
Good With Kids four out of five bones
Good With Other Animals four out of five bones
Intelligence five out of five bones
Easy to Train five out of five bones
Energy Level two out of five bones
Barking Habits two out of five bones
Lifespan 10 – 15 years


What Is the History of Cavachons?

The Cavachon is a relatively new breed as it is a mix of the bichon frise and the Cavalier King Charles spaniel. We only began to see these dogs in 1996, and a breeder from Berryville, Virginia, claimed to be the first to cross bichons and Cavaliers.

The purpose of this particular pairing of dogs was to create a small breed for companionship that had fewer health problems and a hypoallergenic coat. Essentially, breeders wanted to bring the best of the bichon frise and the Cavalier King Charles spaniel together to create a breed that is easy to train and has a fun, loving personality and a healthier constitution.

Both the Cavalier King Charles spaniel and the bichon frise share a history of popularity among the nobility in European countries. The frise found success among French, Spanish, and Italian aristocrats as early as the 13th century, and the Cavalier was the favored lapdog of both King Charles I and King Charles II.

White and tan Cavachon lying on a wood floor

What Do Cavachons Look Like?

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Because Cavachons are a mix of two breeds, they may vary in appearance. Bichon frises have long, curly coats, and Cavaliers have long, wavy coats. A Cavachon’s coat could be anywhere in between, though it is not uncommon to see Cavachons with medium-length, slightly wavy coats.

What you can be certain of is that Cavachons are little enough to be considered a small or even toy breed. They also will have ears that hang rather than ears that prick up. It’s worth noting that Cavaliers have long, drop ears, whereas bichons have v-shaped ears, so once again, a Cavachon could have either.

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What Size Is a Cavachon?

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Bichon frises and Cavalier King Charles spaniels are similar in size, so it’s a little easier to guess how a Cavachon will turn out. Typically, they will weigh between 9 and 18 lbs. As for height, they may be between 9.5 and 13 inches tall.

What Is a Cavachon’s Coat Type?

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Bichon frises have double coats with a coarse, curly outer layer and a soft, dense inner layer. In contrast, Cavaliers have combination coats, which consist of long and short hair, with the short hair typically being found on the fronts of the legs.

A Cavachon may take after one or the other. You may also find Cavachons with coats made up of medium-length hair with a gentle wave.

What Is a Cavachon’s Temperament?

Cavachons make for wonderful family dogs because they are very sweet, gentle, and loving. They’re relatively easy to care for because they do not need a lot of exercise, but they are still playful and merry. Despite being small, they are not yappers. Best of all, Cavachons are easy to train and would even be a great first dog for an inexperienced owner.

Are Cavachon’s Affectionate?

Cavachons are likely to be affectionate with their families as both Cavalier King Charles spaniels and bichon frises tend to be lovey-dovey. They often enjoy being lapdogs and like to cuddle and be petted.

Some dogs can be standoffish when it comes to receiving affection, but not Cavachons. They welcome both giving and receiving love and affection.

Though Cavachons are loving toward their families, they may bark at strangers. However, they tend to warm up pretty quickly and are generally quite friendly.

Are Cavachons Good With Kids?

Cavachons are typically a great choice for a family with kids. They tend to be gentle, tolerant, and playful. It’s common for kids to want to hold little dogs, and the Cavachon is happy to be carried or held in the lap. While the Cavachon’s personality is wonderfully suited to a life with kids, one should still supervise children and pets.

This is especially true of young children who are awkward with their hands and whose petting is often more similar to hitting. Though Cavachons are tolerant, they are diminutive and thus more prone to injury. You’ll want to make sure that your child is not being too rough.

White Cavachon standing on its hind legs

Are Cavachons Good With Other Animals?

If you enjoy keeping other types of pets, then the Cavachon may be the right breed for you. When they are socialized with other animals during their puppyhood, they are less likely to hunt them. Not only that, they are not descended from hunting breeds, to begin with.

It is safe to keep other dogs and cats around Cavachons, but if you have small mammals like rabbits or guinea pigs, you will still want to be cautious. Though neither bichon frises nor Cavalier King Charles spaniels are hunting breeds, dogs are dogs, and the King Charles spaniel is known to enjoy chasing wild animals like squirrels. So there is no guarantee that a Cavachon would not be the same.

Are Cavachons Aggressive?

Cavachons are not at all aggressive dogs. On the contrary, they are friendly and sweet. They are not prone to growling or snapping as they are typically quite patient and tolerant, even with kids. Of course, any dog can develop food aggression if not socialized properly, but Cavachons are not predisposed to this type of behavior.

Do Cavachons Bark a Lot?

There is a common belief that small dogs tend to be yappers, but this is not true of the Cavachon. They will let you know when someone is in the driveway or at the door, and they may bark at strangers, but they are not prone to excessive or obsessive barking.

As such, they can be a good option for those living in apartments who are worried about potential noise complaints. However, it’s also important to note that socialization is a big factor in how much a dog barks. Puppies that are not exposed to a variety of noises are more likely to bark at random or unfamiliar things when they are adults.

Cavachon puppy lying on a blue and white tug rope

Are Cavachons Intelligent?

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Cavachons are definitely intelligent dogs. They enjoy learning and are good at it. In fact, after the bichon frise lost popularity with aristocrats, the breed was favored by street performers for its ability to learn exciting tricks that could woo a crowd. Many Cavachons inherit the bichon’s propensity for learning.

Are Cavachons Easy to Train?

Both bichon frises and Cavalier King Charles spaniels are eager to please; as you would expect, their offspring is too! A Cavachon puppy that takes after the bichon frise may be a bit difficult to potty train, but otherwise, this designer breed is easy to train and loves to perform tricks. If you’re interested in canine sports, Cavachons are good candidates for obedience, rally, and agility.

We always recommend that people take their dogs to group training sessions as these offer a great setting for dogs to learn in a distracting environment. However, Cavachons are usually easy enough to train that hiring a professional trainer is not a must.

Are Cavachons Energetic?

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Cavachons enjoy play and activity, but they are not high-energy. They only need about 30 minutes of exercise per day but would be happy with more. The best way to know if your dog is getting enough exercise is simply to observe their behavior.

Dogs that are being “naughty” are usually just bored. Destructive behaviors or even excessive barking can also be signs of boredom. Exercise, training, and play are all great ways to prevent bad behavior caused by boredom.

Are Cavachons Good Apartment Dogs?

Cavachons are a great choice for apartment living. They’re small, so they do not need a ton of space, and they are not yappy.

Living in an apartment without a yard can make it tough to provide proper exercise for many dogs, but this is not a problem for Cavachons. Not only are they happy with a single 30-minute walk per day, but they are small enough that you do not need a yard to play with them and could easily play games like fetch within the apartment.

Are Cavachons Good Watchdogs?

If you want a dog to help you feel safe, the Cavachon may not be for you. While they will bark at strangers who come to the door, they are generally quite friendly, and their diminutive size will not intimidate anyone.

Are Cavachons Good Service Dogs?

Because of their merry nature, gentleness, and trainability, Cavachons could certainly work as service dogs. However, not all service positions are suitable for this breed. For instance, a guide dog must be large enough for the handler to hold onto the harness comfortably, and a Cavachon doesn’t meet such requirements.

However, they are well-suited to being psychiatric service dogs (PSDs), emotional support animals (ESAs), and therapy dogs. They love cuddling and will enjoy the physical touch and attention that is often a vital part of these support roles.

How to Care for a Cavachon?

Caring for a Cavachon is easier than you might think. They need weekly brushing, daily teeth cleaning, and occasional nail trims. Some Cavachons will need their coat trimmed, but you can learn to do this yourself if you don’t want to visit a groomer. In general, Cavachons are not very hard to care for, and we wouldn’t consider them high maintenance.

Cream-colored Cavachon lies on a tile floor

Do You Need to Groom a Cavachon?

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A Cavachon’s grooming needs may vary slightly depending on their coat. Typically, you will want to brush the fur at least once per week to prevent tangles and matting. Depending on how long the fur gets, you may also want to trim it on occasion, which may require the helping hand of a professional.

If the dog’s hair grows around their eyes, then you’ll need to keep this trimmed as well. Otherwise, it can lead to issues such as conjunctivitis. It is possible to train the hair away from the eyes by using a damp cloth to push it in a different direction.

Otherwise, Cavachons’ grooming needs are similar to other dogs. Their ears should be checked regularly for infection, teeth brushed frequently, and nails trimmed as needed.

Do Cavachons Shed?

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Many Cavachons do not shed much and thus are not very irritating to those who suffer from allergies. However, it’s important to note that Cavachons being cross-bred means there is always the possibility for the dog to take after the Cavalier parent. Cavalier King Charles spaniels do shed a fair bit.

If you are looking for a Cavachon that is “hypoallergenic,” we would suggest searching for a breeder who has already bred Cavachons with low-shedding coats several times.

What Should a Cavachon Eat?

Cavachons should eat high-quality small-breed dog food for their age group. Kibble should be formulated to meet AAFCO guidelines (and will say so on the package). The best dog foods are developed by a veterinary nutritionist and undergo feeding trials.

To determine how much to feed your dog, you can follow the guidelines on your preferred dog food. Otherwise, you can calculate your dog’s daily caloric needs and make adjustments to their serving size if they gain or lose weight. To calculate, you can use an online calculator or do the math yourself. The latter may be slightly more accurate.

What Health Problems Do Cavachons Have?

When speaking of the Cavachon’s health issues, we must look to the parent breeds, the bichon frise, and the Cavalier King Charles spaniel. Between the two, we see the following health conditions: Cushing’s disease, Mitral Endocardiosis, patellar luxation, hip dysplasia, syringomyelia, and cataracts.

While this may seem like a lot of health problems, Cavachons are not necessarily going to inherit these diseases. In fact, many breeders claim that Cavachons are healthier than the parent breeds.

This is because crossing two breeds essentially makes their genetics more diverse. In doing so, recessive traits, such as those that may cause disease, are less likely to be inherited. Still, inheriting the health risks of the parent breeds is not impossible.

This is why it is important to only work with breeders who health tests the parent dogs. If the parents are clear of issues, the puppies are also more likely to be healthy throughout their lives.

How Long Do Cavachons Live?

Cavachons live 10 to 15 years on average.

Tan and white Cavachon puppy sleeping on a couch

Are Cavachons Expensive?

Cavachons can be very expensive to purchase; while doing research for this article, we found a breeder selling her pups for $7,500! Luckily, not all Cavachons are that pricey. On the more affordable end, you may find Cavachons for $1,000 -$1,500.

In terms of their living expenses, Cavachons are not much more expensive than other breeds, though you may have to pay a groomer for occasional trims. Small dogs tend to be a bit cheaper than large breeds when it comes to food and veterinary bills, as well.

How to Find a Cavachon Breeder?

We know you already know how to use Google to search for dogs and puppies. Instead, we’d like to share a list of questions you should be asking any breeders you’re interested. These questions will help ensure that you’re getting a healthy pet from an ethical source.

  • What are your credentials? You should learn about how long the breeder has been in business as well as how familiar they are with Cavachons.
  • Have the parent animals undergone health testing? Ask to see these tests.
  • Can I see where the dogs are kept? A respectable breeder should be happy to show you the dogs’ living conditions.
  • Can I meet the parent? This will give you a sense of the parent dogs’ temperaments and the potential temperaments of the puppies.
  • How do you socialize your puppies? Socialization is important for puppies to become friendly and confident.
  • Are the puppies up-to-date on vaccination? You need to know your puppy’s health history so that you know which shots are still needed.
  • Do you offer a health guarantee with a contract? Some breeders guarantee the health of their puppies: should your puppy come down with a serious illness early on, the breeder may offer to reimburse the purchase price of the dog or even take the puppy back. This will also help you avoid purchasing from breeders who are irresponsible.
  • What do you require of potential adopters? Many breeders want to make sure their puppies are going to homes where they will be treated well and kept for life. Therefore, breeders may ask a number of questions about you, your situation, and your experience as a dog owner.

Can You Adopt a Cavachon?

If you’re looking to rescue a Cavachon, you will have a hard time finding one. Because this is not a common breed, you will rarely see Cavachons in shelters. Currently, there are no nationwide rescues dedicated to Cavachons that we are aware of.

Your best bet would be to look for rescues that shelter small breeds or those that rescue specifically bichon frises or Cavalier King Charles spaniels. Rescues dedicated to the purebred parents will sometimes take in mixes of those breeds as well. Cavalier Rescue USA is one such organization that also rescues Cavalier mixes, including Cavachons.

Are Cavachons Purebred?

Cavachons are not purebred dogs, though they can have two purebred parents. They are considered designer dogs, which are simply mixed breed dogs created by cross-breeding two different pedigree dogs.

Can You Show Cavachons?

Even though Cavachons are the offspring of two different purebred dogs, they are not themselves considered purebred by the AKC. For this reason, they are unable to participate in dog shows in the United States.

Are Cavachons Good for New Dog Owners?

Cavachons would be a fantastic choice for someone who has never before owned a dog. They are not overly energetic or hyper, so they will not be too much of a handful once they grow out of their puppy stage. They have great personalities as they are friendly, loving, and playful.

They’re not aggressive, stubborn, or willful. These characteristics (or lack of) paired with their eagerness to please also make them easy to train. All of these factors make them a great option for first-time dog owners.

Cavachon stands in a field of yellow flowers

Is a Cavachon the Right Dog for Me?

Cavachons are a great fit for many different households because they are easy to train and have great temperaments. They’re friendly, sweet, and gentle, so they’re a good fit for homes with kids.

They also do not require that much exercise, with 30 minutes per day being enough; this makes it easier to fit their needs into a busy lifestyle. Cavachons are not intimidating enough to offer protection, but they will let you know when a stranger is approaching your home.

You’ve probably got a good idea by now if the Cavachon is your match, but let’s take a quick look at who this merry pup may or may not be the right fit for.

The Cavachon may be a good fit if

  • You’re a first-time dog owner
  • You’re looking for a dog that is good with children
  • You want a dog that is easy to train
  • You like a dog that is affectionate and cuddly
  • You want a dog that is good with other animals

The Cavachon may not be right for you if

  • You’re looking for a high energy breed to keep up with intense outdoor activity
  • You want a guard dog
  • You do not want a dog that needs professional grooming or do not want to trim the fur yourself