What Exactly is a Cavachon?

The Cavachon is a cross between a purebred Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and a purebred Bichon Frise.

Because these two breeds are of similar size, there is no standard regarding the sexing of the parent breeds – the crossing can be accomplished with a male and a female of either breed.

If you perform an Internet search for Cavachons you may find a number of references to it being a “designer dog” breed. This is a term invented by breeders of mixed-breed dogs in an attempt to take advantage of unsuspecting dog owners. While Cavachons and other designer dogs are marketed as being special and unique, the truth is that they are technically mutts (dogs of mixed genetic origins).

Because the Cavachon is a mixed breed it is difficult to predict the size, appearance, or temperament of the puppies but you can expect your Cavachon to exhibit a combination of qualities and characteristics from the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and the Bichon Frise breeds.

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Characteristics of a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a small dog but it is the largest of the toy breeds. This breed is one of the most social and people-oriented breeds out there, forming strong bonds with their families. The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is the kind of dog that will follow you around the house, waiting for an opportunity to jump into your lap or to play a game. These little dogs are cheerful and animated which makes them popular for the show ring as well as in the home. Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are very sweet-natured and they generally do well with children, though they prefer older children who will play with them to younger children who might handle them roughly.

In terms of its history, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel breed was developed during the early 18th century from red-and-white King Charles spaniels. The first Duke of Marlborough kept a number of these dogs for his own personal use and the red-and-white coloration of the breed eventually came to be known as the Blenheim, named after the Duke’s estate. During the 20th century, attempts were made to re-create the original King Charles-type spaniel using English Toy Spaniels and a number of other breed. The first of these newer spaniels was introduced in 1928 at the Crufts Dog Show and it has since evolved into the breed now known as the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.

Because the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is such a social breed it does not do well when left alone for long periods of time. This breed is best suited to stay-at-home parents or for those who work at home. The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a fairly active breed that loves a daily walk with plenty of playtime at home. These dogs are smart and eager to learn, though some of them develop a bit of a stubborn side. Small-breed dogs are notoriously difficult to house train but the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel responds well to crate training, especially if you are consistent about it. This is also the case for obedience training – this breed needs a firm hand in training as well as consistency.

Because the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel was developed as a companion pet, it does not have much of a prey drive and it generally gets along with other household pets. The only exception is for birds – Cavalier King Charles Spaniels have an affinity for chasing birds, both wild birds and pets. This breed is known for its medium-length, silky coat that comes in four recognized colors: ruby, black-and-tan, Blenheim, and tricolor. These dogs generally stand about 12 to 13 inches tall and weigh between 10 and 18 pounds at maturity. This breed is typically healthy, though they may be prone to certain diseases like mitral valve disease, syringomyelia, hip dysplasia, patellar luxation, and eye problems.

Characteristics of a Bichon Frise

Like the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, the Bichon Frise was developed as a companion pet so it tends to form strong bonds with family. This breed is descended from the Standard Poodle and the Barbet, also known as the Water Spaniel. Before the Bichon Frise existed there were four different classifications of Bichon-type dogs: the Bichon Bolognaise, the Bichon Maltese, the Bichon Tenerife, and the Bichon Havanese. All of these dogs originated in the Mediterranean region but their popularity among sailors led to dispersal around the world. The modern Bichon Frise was developed from the Bichon Tenerife and its current name was given in 1934 by the Federation Cynologique Internationale. The breed came to the United States in 1955 and it remains one of the top 40 dog breeds in the country according to AKC registration statistics.

The Bichon Frise is a small-breed dog known for its fluffy white coat and its lively personality. These little dogs stand between 9.5 and 11.5 inches tall and weigh between 10 and 18 pounds at maturity. The Bichon Frise is a non-sporting dog, though it is very smart and trainable – this breed loves to perform tricks. In addition to being smart, the Bichon Frise also has a curious side – he has been known to exhibit clown-like antics and is always in the mood for a new game. These dogs are also very alert which makes them excellent watch dogs – they will not hesitate to bark at an intruder, though they do make friends fairly quickly once they’ve been introduced.

Because the Bichon Frise is such a people-oriented breed it often does not do well when left alone for long periods of time. This breed is particularly prone to separation anxiety which is why Bichon Frise owners often purchase more than one dog. Like many small-breed dogs, the Bichon Frise can be difficult to house train but it is possible with consistency and plenty of rewards. Proper training and socialization will also help to ensure that your Bichon Frise remains friendly around other dogs and pets. This breed also tends to do well with children because it loves to play.

What many people love about the Bichon Frise breed is its attractive white coat. The coat grows fairly long, though most Bichon Frise owners trim it to a uniform length. The Bichon Frise is usually all-white, though some cream or apricot coloring around the ears, nose, and paws may be acceptable. Another benefit of the Bichon Frise breed is that it is a good choice for allergy sufferers. Regular brushing and grooming will help to ensure minimal shedding while also keeping the dog’s skin and coat in good health. The Bichon Frise is largely a healthy breed, though it is prone to certain problems which may include hip dysplasia, Legg-Calve-Perthes disease, eye problems, dental problems, and diabetes.

Cavachon Characteristics and Temperament

Though it is difficult to predict how a mixed breed will turn out, one thing is for certain about the Cavachon breed – it is a small, friendly, and fun-loving little dog. Both of the Cavachon’s parent breeds were developed as companion pets so you can expect your Cavachon to be friendly and affectionate – he may follow you around the house and he will take advantage of any opportunity to cuddle or play with you. Though the Cavachon loves to play, it is not an overly active breed. Both the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and the Bichon Frise are only moderately active dogs, so your Cavachon will be just fine with a daily walk and some playtime at home.

In terms of its appearance, the Cavachon can be greatly varied. The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel has a medium-length, silky coat that comes in various combinations of red, white, black, and tan. The Bichon Frise, on the other hand, has a long, curly coat of all-white hair. Every Cavachon puppy will be unique in its own way, but most Cavachons have medium to long coats of soft, wavy or curly hair. Many Cavachons exhibit an appearance that lies somewhere between the all-white purity of the Bichon Frise and the multi-colored coat of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. Cavachons often have a large amount of white in their coats which may be offset with black, tan, or apricot colored markings or patches on the face, ears, and body. Due to the length of the Cavachon’s coat, regular brushing and grooming is needed. You may also need to trim the Cavachon’s coat occasionally – this will make it easier for you to maintain and will cut down on shedding.

The Cavachon is a people-loving breed, but that doesn’t mean he will hesitate to bark at strangers. The Bichon Frise makes a good watch dog because of this quality and, though the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is generally a quiet breed, the Cavachon may inherit some Bichon Frise-like tendencies in this manner. Even if your Cavachon barks at strangers, he will be happy to make friends once you introduce him. Cavachons are likely to get along well with children (as long as the children know how to safely handle a small dog) and they generally get along well with other dogs as well. In terms of other pets, most Cavachons do well with cats, though some will be inclined to chase small animals – early socialization and training will help to curb this behavior.

In matters of health and wellbeing, the Cavachon is generally expected to be a healthy breed – in fact, it may life up to 15 years or more with proper veterinary care and a healthy diet. A healthy diet for Cavachon’s will be formulated to meet the needs of toy- or small-breed dogs and it will be made from high-quality ingredients like animal proteins, animal fats, and digestible carbohydrates. Because the Cavachon is a small-breed dog, he has very high energy needs – this means that you may need to feed him three small meals during the day instead of two larger meals like you would with other breeds. In regard to health problems, the conditions to which the Cavachon is prone may include any of the diseases known to affect the parent breeds. Some of the problems that have been known to affect the Cavachon in particular include eye problems, ear infections, flea allergies, and heart murmur.

How Much Do Cavachons Cost?

When shopping for a Cavachon puppy you will probably find a wide range of prices online. Some Cavachon breeders market their puppies as “premium” or “designer dogs” and they price them between $1,500 and $3,500. If you find a breeder who understands that a Cavachon is a mixed breed, the cost will be much lower, between $400 and $800. Avoid buying a Cavachon puppy from a breeder who makes specific claims in regard to the puppy’s size, appearance, or temperament because these things are nearly impossible to predict with a mixed breed.

In order to determine whether the price for a Cavachon puppy is fair, think about it in comparison to the cost of a purebred Cavalier King Charles Spaniel or a purebred Bichon Frise. A purebred Cavalier King Charles Spaniel from an AKC-registered breeder sells for between $1,800 and $3,500 according to the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Club. If you purchase a purebred Bichon Frise from a responsible breeder, you can expect to pay somewhere between $700 and $1,000. The average between these two price ranges is $1,250 to $2,250 but this price range is much too high for a mixed breed puppy like the Cavachon – you should avoid paying more than $1,000 (the maximum price for a Bichon Frise) for a Cavachon puppy.

What is a Cavachon’s Lifespan?

The Cavachon is a cross between two pure breeds, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and the Bichon Frise. In order to determine the Cavachon’s lifespan, you need to consider the lifespan of the two parent breeds. Both parent breeds are small-breed dogs so they have fairly long lifespans. The average for the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is 10 to 14 years while the average for the Bichon Frise is 15 or more. Given this information, you can expect your Cavachon to live between 10 and 15 years. With proper nutrition and care, however, he could live to exceed 15 years of age.

How Big is a Full-Grown Cavachon?

It is difficult to predict the adult size of a hybrid dog because the genetics are so variable between the two parent breeds. In the case of the Cavachon, both parent breeds are small-breed dogs, however, so you can expect the Cavachon to remain fairly small. An adult Cavalier King Charles Spaniel weighs between 13 and 18 pounds while an adult Bichon Frise weighs 10 to 18 pounds. Given this information, you can expect your Cavachon to fall somewhere in the weight range between 10 and 18 pounds at maturity. The only way to really know the full-size of your Cavachon, however, is to wait for him to mature.

Carlotta Cooper

Carlotta Cooper is a freelance writer and a long-time contributing editor for the weekly dog show magazine, Dog News. She is the author of The Dog Adoption Bible, the Dog Writers Association of America Adoptashelter.com award-winner for 2013. Additionally, Carlotta is the author of Canine Cuisine: 101 Natural Dog Food & Treat Recipes to Make Your Dog Health and Happy, as well as other books about pets. She is a guest writer for numerous website and blogs and a frequent pet food reviewer.

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  • i am considering breeding my cavachon, she is 3, but i have no ideas which breed to breed her with, another cavachon? a king charles? a bichon?..problem being i do not know of any cavachons in this part of ireland to breed her with!! i have the other 2 options with no problem…any help?? thanks, ciara and bailie…

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