- Breed group — Hybrid
- Height — 12-13 inches
- Weight — 15-35 pounds
- Coat length & texture — Silky, dense, medium-to-long fur
- Coat color — Typically white, cream, or apricot-colored, but can be a combination of cream/white and tan/black, or be tri-colored
- Exercise needs — Average to high
- Intelligence — High
- Barking — When necessary
- Life span — 10-15 years
- Temperament — Playful, affectionate, intelligent
- Hypoallergenic — Yes
- Origin — United States
Cavachon fun facts
- The Cavachon is a designer dog. It’s a cross between two purebred dogs recognized by the American Kennel Club: the bichon frisé and the Cavalier King Charles spaniel.
- The American Kennel Club doesn’t recognize it. AKC recognition requires a documented history, including pedigrees, that goes back at least 40 years plus a viable breed standard. The first Cavachons were bred in the 1990s.
- They have lots of names! Cavachon is the most common name for this line of small dogs, but you may also hear it referred to as Cavashon, Cavalier-bichon, or bichon-King Charles.
Cavachon temperament and characteristics
The Cavachon is a spunky, confident, and beautiful dog known for its friendly demeanor and small size. Because they’re fiercely loyal, these pups may have issues with separation anxiety. When properly socialized and trained, however, Cavachons make great family pets and thrive in families with young children and other pets. Your Cavachon may bark at strangers or visitors but will likely warm up and make new friends easily. As much as Cavachons love to play, they also love to nap and don’t need a big backyard or house to expend their energy. A good 30-40 minute daily walk will usually do just fine.
Common Cavachon health problems
Cataracts. Cavachons may inherit vision problems, the most common among them being cataracts. Cataracts are clouded lenses in your dog’s eye that cause blurred vision and potential blindness. Surgery is the only way to fix cataracts. The average cost to diagnose and treat them is $2,700-$4,000.
Atopic dermatitis. Dog eczema, known as atopic dermatitis, is another common medical issue among Cavachons, typically affecting the ears, paws, and skin. If your dog’s itchiness, red skin, or hot spots don’t improve with at-home remedies after 3-5 days, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian. The average cost to diagnose and treat allergies is $200-$400.
Mitral valve disease. Cavachons and other small breeds may develop mitral valve disease, a heart condition that usually starts as a heart murmur in puppies and develops into heart failure over time. The earlier it’s caught, the better. The average cost to diagnose and treat it is $250-$20,000, the latter of which is the cost of specialized surgery.
However, the most common treatment for heart disease involves medications that can help control heart rate, improve heart muscle function, and decrease the resistance of blood flow in major blood vessels. It’s a good idea to schedule routine trips to the vet to catch heart disease early and help you create a plan of action to avoid high expenses.
Cushing’s disease. Hyperadrenocorticism, also known as Cushing’s disease, is caused by an overproduction of the hormone cortisol by the adrenal glands. Small breeds like the Cavachon. The average cost to diagnose and treat it is $500-$1,500.
Syringomyelia. Rarely fatal, this disease is caused by a small bone along the nape of the skull that blocks spinal fluid from flowing freely. It leads to fluid pockets in the spinal cord and can cause discomfort or pain in the neck or shoulder. The average cost to diagnose and treat is $5,000-$10,000, including monthly medications and surgery to decompress the fluid obstruction.
Patellar luxation. This hereditary condition, common among the Cavalier King Charles spaniel and other small dogs and toy breeds, refers to loose kneecaps. The patellar tendon and the quadriceps muscle keep your dog’s kneecap in place, but when dislocation occurs, the condition may potentially cause lameness. The average cost to diagnose and treat is $1,500-$3,000 per affected knee.
Cost of caring for Cavachons
Medical costs related to caring for a Cavachon vary greatly. Common health issues such as cataracts, atopic dermatitis, mitral valve disease, Cushing’s, and syringomyelia range between $200 and $20,000 to diagnose and treat. One way pet owners can reduce out-of-pocket expenses is by purchasing pet insurance. A pet budget is another way to plan for expected expenses like food and routine medical care as well as unexpected costs like emergency vet visits and surgery.
History of the Cavachon
The Cavachon is a mix of the bichon frisé, which originated in Spain and gained popularity in France, and the United Kingdom’s Cavalier King Charles spaniel. The Cavalier King Charles spaniel arrived in the United States in 1952, and the bichon frisé followed shortly after in 1955. A few decades later, breeders in the U.S. began intentionally mixing the two purebreds to create a cute companion breed with fewer health issues and a hypoallergenic coat.
Caring for your Cavachon
Caring for a new puppy of any breed can be overwhelming. You’ll need to make your first trip to the vet and schedule your dog’s vaccinations. We can even help you puppy-proof your home and prepare for teething. And while no one likes to think about losing their new dog, FidoAlert provides a free Fido ID and tag, so you’re prepared just in case.
Here are some other basics specific to caring for your Cavachon:
Don’t skimp on grooming — Although the Cavachon’s coat is fairly low maintenance, consistent grooming is essential to avoid overgrowth and matting.
Look out for early signs of heart disease — Cavachons and other small breeds may develop mitral valve disease, a condition that usually starts as a heart murmur in puppies and develops into heart failure over time. The earlier the condition is caught, the better.
Work on separation anxiety — Because these mixed-breed dogs adore being around their loved ones, they may develop severe separation anxiety. That’s why early socialization is key. If you believe your pup is suffering, start by ruling out any medical problems and then work on behavioral corrections. You can also ask your vet for treatment options to ease your pet’s anxiety when you’re away.
Cavachon dogs thrive with moderate exercise, such as a 30-40 minute daily walk or play. Note that these pups don’t do so well in the cold, so you may want to opt for a doggy playdate or interactive indoor play during the winter months.
Cavachons have a medium-to-long coat of silky, low-shedding, and relatively hypoallergenic fur. Though they aren’t considered a high-maintenance breed, you don’t want to skimp on the grooming.
Tips and tricks for grooming your Cavachon
Brush often — Use a bristle brush to brush your Cavachon’s coat every week or so, depending on how much your dog sheds to avoid matting and overgrowth.
Treat them to the occasional trim — Whether you visit a professional groomer or trim your dog’s hair at home, occasional cuts help avoid overgrowth, matting, and issues like conjunctivitis.
Consider training the hair to grow away from the eyes — You can do so by dampening a cloth and using it to push the hair away from the eye area.
Don’t neglect other grooming regimens: nail trimming, ear cleaning, or teeth brushing!
👉 Remember, no breed is truly hypoallergenic . Allergic reactions occur due to the protein found in a dog’s dander, hair, and saliva. Dogs that are considered hypoallergenic simply shed less, and thus have a smaller effect on those with dog allergies.
Diet and nutrition
Because Cavachons are small dogs, even minuscule fluctuations in weight are noticeable, physically, and emotionally. The breed also has a relatively higher metabolism, requiring more calories per pound than some other breeds, so maintain consistency and opt for food with a high caloric density.
In general, Cavachon puppies eat about 2-3 cups of high-quality, small-breed dog food each day depending on the caloric density of their diet per day. An adult Cavachon should eat about 1-2 cups of food per day. If your pup gets picky or isn’t getting enough water, you can mix in some canned food. As always, refer to your pet’s vet for questions related to diet and nutrition, including food portioning.
Training your Cavachon
Cavachons are highly intelligent and trainable. Like many dogs, they are most responsive to positive reinforcement, so consider using food, treats, and verbal positive reinforcement to help them associate training with things that bring them joy.
Breeds similar to the Cavachon
Not quite sure that a Cavachon is right for you? Even if you are, it’s worth taking the time to research and consider other similar breeds. Here are a few to get you started:
- Cavalier King Charles spaniel. This toy group breed is another affectionate, playful, and good option for those looking for a gentle family dog. Cavalier King Charles spaniels are eager to please, great for first-time pet owners, and when properly socialized, are well-behaved around new people and animals.
- Boxer. Though the boxer is much larger than the Cavachon, the breed is a good choice if you’re looking for a pup that’s extremely playful and intelligent. They’re even known for dancing when happy!
- Cavapoo. The Cavachon and Cavapoo, both mixed-breed dogs, have a parent in common: the Cavalier King Charles spaniel. The other half of this hybrid breed is the poodle.
Frequently asked questions
What is a Cavachon a mix of?
The Cavachon is a mix of a bichon frisé, which originates in Spain and gained popularity in France, and the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, which hails from the United Kingdom.
Are Cavachons recognized by the American Kennel Club?
No. The AKC doesn’t recognize the Cavachon as a breed because it’s considered a hybrid of the bichon frisé and Cavalier King Charles spaniel. To earn recognition, a breed must have a documented history, including pedigrees, that goes back at least 40 years as well as a viable breed standard. The first Cavachons were bred in the 1990s.
Are Cavachons hypoallergenic?
No breed is truly hypoallergenic, but the Cavachon is considered relatively hypoallergenic, meaning it simply sheds less and thus has a reduced effect on those with dog allergies.
What’s the difference between the Cavachon and Cavapoo?
They share one parent breed and are both friendly dogs, but the Cavachon and Cavapoo have their share of differences. The Cavapoo is a cross between a purebred Cavalier King Charles spaniel and a poodle; the Cavachon is a cross between a purebred Cavalier King Charles spaniel and a bichon frisé. Cavapoos don’t require as much exercise and are also a slightly older breed.
Are Cavachons good with kids?
Yes, when properly socialized and trained, the Cavachon has an affectionate personality and makes great family pets, and thrives in families with young children and other pets.