In the United States alone, there were 89.7 million dogs reared as pets, according to a study carried out by APPA National Pet Owners Survey in 2018. The study also revealed that 50% of the dogs owned were the small kind.
The Cavachon is one example of small dogs that wins the hearts of many people. Also known as Bichon-King Charles and Cavalier Bichon, this mixed breed dog is affectionate, energetic, fun-loving, gentle, and very friendly.
If you are looking for a companion dog that is low-shedding, can be therapeutic, and enjoys cuddling, look no more. Cavachons fit this description, but that’s not all. Below is a comprehensive guide on this designer dog.
There may have been Cavachon dogs for a long time, but the first intentional crossbreed was done in North America in 1996. The Cavachon is a result of breeding a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and a Bichon Frise.
The main purpose of mixing these pure breeds was to create an adorable and loyal companion dog. There was also a need to minimize the health conditions that pure breeds were susceptible to.
Having been first bred in the United States, the Cavachon has become popular all over the world.
What Does a Cavachon Look Like?
Fully grown Cavachon dogs measure 12-13 inches in height for both males and females.
The recommended weight of this small dog should be 15-35 pounds. They can, however, be larger or smaller than this.
You will instantly fall in love with this dog since it has cute, large, round expressive eyes that go hand in hand with its long and floppy ears. Despite its small stature, the dog has a compact athletic look.
Its front and hind legs are compact and strong while the body appears rounded. The dog also has a level back, tucked belly, and large feet.
This designer dog has a bushy tail that will help you translate his emotions. The dog will have its tail down when relaxed, but in cases of excitement and alertness, his tail will be raised.
The main coat colors of the Cavalier Bichon are white, cream, and pied. You may also find other dogs with apricot and white markings, black and tan, or brown and black. All these colors are a result of crossbreeding two different species.
Coat length and texture
Naturally, the dog’s coat has a soft, silky feel that is a delight to run your fingers through. It has a medium-length coat that can be curly and wavy. Regular brushing is recommended to prevent tangles.
Most Cavachon dogs have a lifespan of 10-12 years, but there are some who live for up to 15 years.
Just like its parents, Cavachon dogs are sweet and affectionate. They are accepting towards their owners, kids, strangers, and other pets.
Pet owners: This designer dog enjoys cuddling and is full of fun. They can be protective of their owners and enjoy being showered with praise and affection. In case they feel their owner’s attention is being threatened by another pet, they can tend to be aggressive.
Children: This lapdog is kid-friendly and can tolerate the noise and games from cheerful children. It is, however, recommended that an adult is always there to supervise dog-child play; even if the dog is affectionate. This is because kids can pinch the dog’s ears and tail causing it harm and pain. On the other hand, the dog may scratch or bite a child when retaliating.
Strangers: the Bichon-Kings Charles is not suitable for a watchdog. They crave attention and tend to greet anyone who crosses their path. They will notify you of strangers or guests but will also want to create a relationship.
This dog is a charmer, tolerant, and spirited. They do not discriminate strangers from family members.
Whether you have kids, pets, or love having friends over, a Cavachon will get along easily with everybody.
Always ensure the coat, teeth, ears, and nails of your dog are well maintained and cleaned. Below is a guide on how to go about it.
Coat: Since this designer dog has a medium-length coat, grooming is a necessity. They are low-shedding and can have a handful of fur which can become dry and matted if not taken care of. To avoid this, brush the dog’s hair regularly at least 3 or 4 times a week.
You can also give him a bath when necessary. Besides, trim his coat if it is overgrown.
Teeth: A dog’s dental hygiene is as essential as a human’s. Brush the Cavachon’s teeth daily and you can opt to have a dental chew toy that will fascinate and clean at the same time.
Ears: With hair growth in the dog’s ear, check them often for dirt or debris. Always ensure you clean his ears weekly with an ear cleaning solution for canines.
Nails: Dogs with long nails tend to scratch the floor when moving. It is therefore necessary to trim his nails at least once a month.
Caution: Despite the Cavachon’s outgoing state; he is not suited for extremely hot or cold weather. Therefore, apply sunscreen on his sensitive areas, the nose, and the ears to avoid inflicting harm on the dog unconsciously.
As tiny as its body may seem, this dog also needs to be exercised. A daily walk is helpful as well as a game of fetch. When taking a walk, have extra time for greetings since he will try to befriend strangers. Also, have him on a leash to avoid unnecessary distractions.
Another helpful exercise for this playful dog is swimming. Since he loves water, you can allow him to take a swim. DO NOT, however force a dog to swim if he does not want to.
Regardless of where you live, a Cavachon can live in an apartment or a home with a yard as long as he is showered with love and attention. Even novice pet owners can adopt this little friendly dog.
Due to their energetic and active nature, a Cavachon’s movement appears bouncy.
Have a regular feeding schedule where you measure and feed the dog twice a day. Change the diet according to the size and age of the dog. Puppies should not have the same meals as adult dogs.
Before buying dog kibble, it is advisable to ask your vet about the best and quality brands. This way, you will avoid buying low-quality food.
Furthermore, this dog gets obese fast and it is therefore vital you check and minimize the number of treats. You can tell an overweight dog by checking whether his waistline is visible when the dog is on its paws. Else, you can feel his ribs through the coat. If you can feel his ribs, your dog is in shape.
Apart from being intelligent, Cavachon dogs are smart and easy to train. They are curious and eager to try new things.
For effective learning, have a consistent training session that is short and straight to the point. Start training the puppy at an early age. The first commands to teach your puppy should be: “come, go, fetch, sit, stand, stay, quiet, down, bed, and leave it.
This mixed breed dog doesn't bark a lot, but there may be scenarios when he may bark just to pass time. During this time, make an effort to teach him that unnecessary barking will not be tolerated.
Besides, reward positive behavior with applause or treats. Also, be on alert about the number of treats you reward your dog with, as he may grow overweight fast.
Cavachon dogs do not bear a high prey drive. Rather they are sweet and friendly towards other small pets. Despite this, the dog may dart after a squirrel, bird, or any other small animal depending on the mood.
How to gauge a healthy Cavachon dog
A dog’s behavior, his mouth, eyes, nose, ears and coat can give you an idea of the health of a puppy. Check whether both the dog’s gums and ears are pink in color and clean. Then check his coat. It should not only be clean but shiny too.
Moreover, the tail should be dry and clean with no traces of droppings from the anal area. Also check his eyes. They should be bright and not teary. The nose too should be clean and moist.
Lastly, the dog should display curiousness and alertness. Since these designer dogs are naturally friendly, it should worry you if the puppy is not responsive to you.
Common health problems
There are various medical conditions that are susceptible to this breed. Here are some of the diseases to watch out for.
Heart murmurs: Though not easily detectable, your dog may suffer from heart murmurs. Although the condition is not fatal, a regular visit to the veterinarian will do you no harm.
Mitral Valve Disease: This is a condition characterized by shortness of breath, respiratory distress, coughing, weakness, and intolerance to exercises.
Syringomyelia: Syringomyelia is a medical condition where a cyst forms on the spinal cord. You can notice the symptoms if the dog is in pain when you lift him from the chest, troubled stretching and waking up.
Cataracts: Cataracts affect a dog’s eye. The lenses become thick and opaque leading to blurry vision. If not corrected, this may eventually lead to blindness.
Atopic dermatitis: Atopic dermatitis is a terrible nuisance to a dog and its owner. The dog becomes allergic to everything including harmless substances like grass.
Cushing disease: Excess production of cortisol leads to cushing disease. Your dog will have increased thirst and hunger, frequent urination, loss of hair, increased panting, obesity, among other signs.
Patellar Luxation: Your dog may suffer from patellar luxation when his knee joint is not in place. When the joint slides in the wrong position, it can cause pain and in severe cases, cripple the dog.
Ear infections: When hair grows inside a dog’s ears, it may collect dirt and debris. If the dog’s ears are not frequently cleaned, this dirt may lead to ear infections.
Other diseases to look out for are dry eye, flea allergies, and hip dysplasia.
To avoid major health conditions, make sure you check whether the puppy’s parents have the relevant health certificates. Also, organize frequent checkups to the vet to avoid costly bills when a condition gets worse.
What to expect
When adopting a Cavachon, be prepared to answer some of these questions:
- Are you a novice owner?
- What kind of house do you live in?
- Do you own other pets?
- How many kids do you have?
- Are your kids aware of how they should treat dogs?
- Can you afford all the dog’s costs including food and medication if the need arises?
- Will you spay or neuter the puppy?
These are some of the questions aimed at learning whether the pet owner is capable financially, emotionally, and socially. The breeder also seeks to confirm whether the new environment will suit the puppy.
Cons of adopting a Cavachon dog
The only setback with this designer dog is that they do not do well when left alone. They may suffer an anxiety attack and become destructive. To avoid this, always ensure someone is left at home to curb this or have another pet in the house. This way, the dog will not feel bored.
Since Cavachon dogs are the first generation of a crossbreed, they are hypoallergenic and suitable for people with allergies. Besides, they are very affectionate and friendly to everybody regardless of whether they are random strangers or family members.
In terms of trainability, they are intelligent and curious to learn new things. You can easily potty train, crate train, and teach them the behavior you expect.
This little dog will always make an effort to keep you happy. Since he thrives on attention, showering him with it and praise will only bring more laughter to your house.
What are you waiting for? Find a rescue shelter nearby or breeder and adopt one today!
References and further reading:
- Morgan Andrews (March 13, 2017) Cavachons - The Owner's Guide from Puppy to Old Age
- Mark Manfield (August 1, 2019) Cavachon Bible And Cavachons: Your Perfect Cavachon Guide
- Animal Planet. Cavachon
- Daily Mail Online. Adorable moment dog is filmed running excitedly into the office
- Wikipedia. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
- Wikipedia. Bichon Frise
- Silver Paw Cavachons