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Cavachon Facts

Origin: United States
Lifespan: 10-15 years
Breed Group: Toy
Coat Type: Long and wavy
Coat Colours: Various Colours including white, apricot, and black
Temperament: Gentle, Affectionate, Playful
Height: 28-33 cm (11-13 inches)
Weight: 4-8 kg (9-18 lbs)

Introduction

The Cavachon is a delightful small-sized designer dog breed, characterized by its endearing resemblance to either a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel or a Bichon Frisé. This hybrid combines the gentle nature of the purebred Toy companion breed, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, with the spirited and white-coated Bichon Frisé from the Non-Sporting group. The result is a sturdy and clever canine companion with a playful, affectionate, and sweet-natured personality.

Cavachons are known for their ease of training and eagerness to please, making them ideal lap-sized companions for families with moderate activity levels. Their exercise needs are easily met with short walks and stimulating playtime that engages their intelligent minds. Depending on individual traits, some Cavachons may even excel in canine sports.

Breeders often work on creating multi-generational hybrids to establish a consistent appearance, ensuring that this small-sized breed maintains its charming and desirable characteristics. In today’s terminology, these intentionally crossed breeds are referred to as “designer” or “hybrid” dogs, a far cry from the old “mutt” label used for mixed-breed dogs in the past.

A Brief History

The Cavachon is a delightful hybrid, born from the cross between two pedigreed breeds: the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and the Bichon Frise. This designer breed traces its origins to the United States in the late 20th century, specifically during the 1990s. The initial intent behind breeding these two specific dogs was to merge the best traits of both breeds, resulting in a friendly, sociable companion dog with a hypoallergenic coat.

Parent Breeds

  1. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel: This breed has its roots steeped in British royalty and nobility, especially during the 17th century. They were particularly favoured by King Charles II, after whom they are named. Their friendly demeanour, combined with their regal appearance, made them beloved companions of the aristocracy.
  2. Bichon Frise: With a history that sprawls from Spain to France and even to Tenerife, one of the Canary Islands, the Bichon Frise is no stranger to popularity. It was a favourite among French royalty in the 16th century and became known for its cheerful disposition and curly hypoallergenic coat. They were often associated with sailors and sea merchants, travelling as companions and even as traded items.

Evolution of the Cavachon

Once the Cavachon made its debut in the 1990s, its popularity surged. Dog enthusiasts were captivated by this hybrid breed that seemed to offer the best of both worlds: the Cavalier’s gentle nature combined with the Bichon’s non-shedding attributes. This was especially appealing to families and individuals with mild allergies, as the Cavachon’s coat was notably more tolerable for them.

By the early 2000s, the Cavachon started gaining traction outside of the United States. The dog’s manageable size, coupled with its affable nature, made it a desirable choice for urban dwellers and those living in suburban settings alike. They are now recognized by several hybrid and designer dog registries, although they’re not yet recognized by major kennel clubs as a standalone breed.

As international travel and dog trade expanded, the Cavachon soon found its way across the Atlantic, with Ireland becoming one of its cherished homes.

Cavachon: Did you Know?

  • The name “Cavachon” blends “Cava” from Cavalier King Charles Spaniel with “chon” from Bichon Frisé.
  • Also known as “Bichalier” or the Cavalier Bichon mix.
  • Cavachon puppies are incredibly adorable.
  • They are a popular choice for those seeking a small canine companion.

Cavapoo vs Cavachon

The Cavapoo, another popular hybrid, is a cross between a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and a Poodle. While they share half of their lineage (the Cavalier), there are distinct differences:

  1. Coat Texture: While both breeds are low-shedding, the Cavapoo often inherits the Poodle’s curly coat, whereas the Cavachon’s fur is typically wavy and softer.
  2. Size Variability: Cavapoos can vary more in size, especially if bred with miniature or toy poodles, while Cavachons tend to be more consistently small to medium-sized.
  3. Temperament: Both breeds are friendly and sociable. However, Cavapoos can occasionally inherit the poodle’s high intelligence and energy, requiring more mental stimulation, while Cavachons often showcase a consistent balance of playfulness and calm.

Cavachon Puppies

Bringing a Cavachon puppy home in Ireland is like introducing a burst of sunshine on a cloudy day. Their inquisitiveness mirrors the rich exploratory nature of the Irish spirit. However, early training, especially during their formative months, is key to moulding their behaviour positively.

While raising a Cavachon puppy can be fun and exciting, it is also very challenging. If you purchase a puppy you will have to deal with things like teething, potty training, and obedience training. Puppies tend to get into mischief, so you might have to deal with problem behaviours like chewing or whining.

Initially, you will need to devote several hours a day to your new Cavachon puppy. You have to housetrain and feed him every day, giving him your attention and starting to slowly introduce the house rules as well as take care of his general health and welfare. Remember, too, that treating Cavachons like babies is something many owners succumb to and this is not at all good for them.

What is the Best Age to Purchase a Puppy?

Most Cavachon litters will have, on average, four or five puppies. Cavachon puppies are born with their eyes and ears closed. Newborn puppies have no teeth and very little fur, so they rely completely on their mother for warmth. Newborn pups weigh 6-8 oz on average. A Cavachon puppy needs time to learn important life skills from the mother dog, including eating solid food and grooming themselves. For this reason, it is harmful to have puppies too early. These are the key puppy stages.

0-7 Weeks

Puppies typically open their eyes at 14 days and the ears will also open two weeks after birth. Puppies rely on their mothers not only for warmth during the first few weeks but also for food – they will spend about 90% of their day sleeping and 10% feeding.

Puppies live on a mother’s milk-only diet for approximately the first 4 weeks. He learns discipline and manners from his mother, and littermates help with socialization and learning the social rules of the pack.

A mother will start to self-wean her pups when they are about four weeks old. You can tell when she is ready because she will not want to spend much time in the box with them. As the puppies’ teeth emerge, the dam will be more reluctant to nurse. This is normal and helps her milk production start to slow down. At this point, it is important for the breeder to start supplementing the puppies with a good quality puppy food mixture four times per day. Usually, by seven or eight weeks the puppies are fully weaned from the mother’s milk.

Puppies are not able to control their bowels when they are first born so the mother will lick them to help stimulate urination and defecation.

8-12 Weeks

At about eight weeks the puppies will receive their first vaccine. Because it is not known exactly when the maternal antibodies from the mother’s milk will wear off, a series of vaccines is required. Your veterinarian will give you the best recommendations.

The fact is that most puppies go home at eight weeks, but none should ever go sooner than this as this could result in negative issues such as shyness. A ‘breeder’ doing this may simply want to cash in and turn over lots of puppies too quickly.

From the time the puppies are weaned at about eight weeks until they are ready for their new homes, their mother and siblings continue to teach them ‘dog manners’. A good breeder will also start basic leash and crate training during the first 8-12 weeks. This helps the puppy adjust to its new home much easier!

Now that the brain is developed, he needs to socialise with the outside world, otherwise, he can become fearful.

12 Weeks Onwards

Some breeders will insist on keeping the puppies longer (10-12 weeks) to allow the puppy’s immune system to become stronger.

During your puppy’s change to adolescence, continue exposure to as many different sounds, smells, and people as possible. Begin formal training and obedience, and always praise his good behaviour without being too strict or too soft with him.

Full Grown Cavachon

Reflecting the maturity of Ireland’s rich history, a full-grown Cavachon exudes a composed demeanour, blending effortlessly into family life, whether it’s a tranquil evening by the fireplace or a festive gathering with kin.

Size & Weight

This breed is ideal for various households, given its manageable size. A typical Cavachon weighs between 5-10 kg and stands around 30-33 cm tall.

Coat & Colours

Every litter of Cavachons will be a little bit different in terms of physical appearance, based on the appearance of the parent dogs. The Bichon Frise is usually white in colour with a medium-length fluffy coat, though peach and grey colourations are possible. The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel comes in four different colours – white with chestnut markings, black with tan markings, tri-colour, or solid chestnut.

The colouration of the parent dogs will determine the colouration of the Cavachon. For the most part, however, Cavachons have medium-length wavy coats with colours of Blenheim (white with apricot patches), tri-colour (black, white, and tan or black and white) or ruby (dark apricot with little or no white).

Cavachon for Sale in Ireland

Ireland’s pet industry has witnessed a growth in Cavachon sales, but it’s vital to approach this with responsibility:

  1. Local Breeders: Towns like Galway and Limerick have seen a rise in reputable breeders. However, always prioritize breeders who adhere to ethical standards.
  2. Adoption: Irish rescue organizations occasionally feature Cavachons, offering them a second shot at a loving abode.

Popularity of Cavachons in Ireland

Distinct factors contribute to the Cavachon’s soaring reputation in Ireland:

  1. Adaptability: While cities like Dublin and Cork see an increasing number of apartment dwellers, the Cavachon, with its moderate size, adapts seamlessly to both city and rural settings.
  2. Health Advantages: Bred partially for the Bichon’s hypoallergenic coat, many Irish families with mild allergy concerns have found Cavachons to be a suitable choice.
  3. Sociable Nature: Irish culture values community and togetherness. The Cavachon, with its friendly and outgoing nature, easily becomes a part of community gatherings and family events.

Living with a Cavachon in Ireland

In Ireland, where living conditions can vary from bustling city apartments to spacious rural homes in counties like Cork, Dublin, or Galway, the Cavachon can adapt well to smaller spaces, such as apartments or condominiums. However, these smart and energetic small dogs thrive on daily outdoor exercise and the freedom of a fenced yard, much like the green expanses of County Kerry or County Clare.

People-Friendly, Not Guard Dogs

The Cavachon is inherently people-friendly, making them excellent companions but not reliable guard dogs. Whether you reside in the heart of Dublin or the tranquillity of County Donegal, this breed’s welcoming nature means they’ll warmly greet visitors rather than serve as protectors.

A Bundle of Fun and Energy

This breed combines the playfulness of two distinct breeds within one compact body. To keep your Cavachon content and balanced, both mental and physical stimulation are essential. This means structured walks and ample daily exercise, be it in the form of canine sports or exploring the scenic landscapes of counties like Wicklow or Antrim.

Daily Exercise Regimen

A fully grown Cavachon needs to expend their pent-up energy through at least three disciplined walks lasting 30 minutes to an hour each day. Whether you reside in a bustling city like Belfast or a tranquil village in County Mayo, these daily walks should be undertaken beside their human companions.

Social Interaction: The Key to Stability

Dogs, as pack animals, thrive on clear direction from their leaders. Thus, it’s not normal for them to be alone and make decisions independently. Whether you call the vibrant streets of Limerick or the serene countryside of County Wexford home, leaving a Cavachon alone for extended periods without engaging activities can lead to stress and instability.

Avoiding Unwanted Behavior

An unhappy or depressed Cavachon may resort to destructive tendencies, excessive noise, or escape attempts to seek entertainment. Just as the Irish landscapes offer endless exploration, your Cavachon needs opportunities to release their energy and remain content in your shared Irish home.

Cavachon Temperament

The Cavachon, a sweet-natured companion dog, is renowned for its kind and playful temperament, making it an ideal choice for families of all generations. In addition, they are cherished as loving and loyal companions for seniors.

Well-Socialized Cavachons: The Heart of the Family

When properly socialized from a young age, the Cavachon becomes a well-balanced friend to all. They thrive on participating in the family’s activities, relishing opportunities to explore new places and meet new people. This friendly disposition also makes them suitable candidates for therapy dog roles, as they enthusiastically greet everyone they encounter.

An Active Lifestyle for a Playful Pal

Despite their petite size and lap dog designation, the Cavachon is a versatile and active companion. They crave mental stimulation and enjoy being involved in all aspects of their surroundings. Whether it’s a trip to the grocery store or a leisurely walk, they thrive on engaging with their environment.

A Great Choice for Companionship

The Cavachon isn’t content with prolonged solitude. They make excellent companions for individuals who work from home or families with a member who remains at home during the day, ensuring they have consistent company. Neglecting their social needs can lead to unwanted behaviours, including excessive barking, chewing, or destructive tendencies as a result of stress.

The Cure for Boredom: Active Pursuits

To keep the Cavachon content and well-behaved, they require regular exercise that challenges both their mind and body. Their athleticism, high intelligence, and eagerness to please demand an active lifestyle. Engaging in outdoor activities like long walks, beach outings, visits to the dog park, or participating in canine sports with their human companions can prevent boredom and destructive behaviour.

A Loving Bond with All Ages

The Cavachon forms strong bonds with individuals of all ages and enthusiastically welcomes everyone they encounter on their exciting journey through life.

Pros of Cavachon Ownership

  • Cavachons remain fairly small, which makes them suitable for apartment or condo life.
  • They are a very friendly and loving breed – they make a great family pet.
  • They are social, so they get along well with other dogs and most pets.
  • Generally fairly easy to breed, not prone to dominance or willfulness.
  • Low-shedding breed, though regular brushing is still recommended.
  • The Cavachon is a very healthy breed, for the most part, presuming careful breeding.

Cons of Cavachon Ownership

  • The Cavachon is a fairly high-maintenance breed in terms of the amount of attention it needs.
  • Love everyone they meet, so they do not make good watchdogs or guard dogs.
  • Requires professional grooming on average every 5 weeks.
  • Cavachons that don’t get enough attention may develop problem behaviours.

Useful Links

  • Irish Cavachon Communities: Joining local breed clubs can be enlightening for new owners.
  • Specialized Groomers: Particularly in Dublin, specialized grooming centres catering to Cavachons have emerged.
  • Training Centres: Enrolling in training classes, especially in urban areas like Cork, ensures your Cavachon imbibes appropriate behaviours from the outset.