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The Cavachon (Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Bichon Frise Mix): Your Complete Guide  - PawSafe

The Cavachon (Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Bichon Frise Mix): Your Complete Guide 

Photo of Tamsin De La Harpe

Written by Tamsin De La Harpe

The Cavachon

Embarking on a journey with a Cavachon, the delightful crossbreed of the Bichon Frise and the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, is like opening a book filled with companionship, charm, and a little dash of mystery. 

This designer dog breed has quickly become a favorite among dog lovers for its endearing personality, manageable size, and heart-stealing looks. The Cavachon combines the best traits of its parent breeds into a package that’s hard to resist: the gentle and affectionate nature of the Cavalier, with the playful and cheerful spirit of the Bichon Frise.

The mix is impressively athletic for a dog of its small stature and abounding in affection. Though sweet as a peach, they love a bit too much and may develop separation anxiety. To give you all the Cavachon dog breed information you need, we consulted the Complete Owner’s Guide To The Cavachon. This way, we have covered all the main aspects of this dog breed to help you decide if they’re the right dog for you.

So, what is a Cavachon?

A Cavachon is a designer breed of dog that is a cross between a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and a Bichon Frise. This breed was developed to create a small, friendly, and affectionate dog with a low-shedding coat. Cavachons are known for their adorable looks, playful personalities, and gentle nature, which makes them popular companion dogs. 

They are typically between 9-18 inches tall and weigh between 10-20 pounds. Cavachons are great family pets and get along well with children and other pets. This dog needs regular grooming to maintain their coat’s health and appearance and enjoy regular exercise and playtime.

Are Cavachons Hypoallergenic?

Cavachons are bred to be as hypoallergenic as possible. However, some may have a coat somewhat like a Cavalier King Charles spaniel, so some of these dogs are a bit more allergenic than others. It’s also important to note that people with severe pet allergies are allergic to proteins in a dog’s skin, urine, and saliva, so there is no such thing as a completely hypoallergenic dog. 

How Much Are Cavachon Puppies?

Cavachons can cost $800 to $2000, while more established breeders can ask for more. Breeders that ask for suspiciously low charges could be puppy mills, so contact a designer dog registry to look for an ethical breeder. You may find them at a local shelter and give them a second chance at life at only $300. 

History of the Cavachon cavachon puppy with red ears standing pavement and grass

The intentional mixing of Cavaliers and Bichons and other mixes like Golden Cavaliers is only a few decades old from 1990. These mixes may have existed over the centuries, but few written records exist. 

The goal of the breeders was to create a dog that combined the desirable traits of both parent breeds, such as the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel’s friendly personality and the Bichon Frise’s low-shedding coat. Over time, the breed gained popularity among dog lovers.

Since this is an emerging breed, you can learn a lot about the dog, like disposition, by exploring the history and purpose of the parent breeds. 

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels was developed to restore the initial longer-muzzled looks of the original King Charles Spaniel. They came from Britain in the 1900s, while the first English Toy Spaniels (King Charles Spaniel) started in the 1600s. 

When King Charles Spaniel’s popularity grew, so did breeders who gradually shortened their muzzles. A wealthy breed fancier offered a handsome sum to anyone who would present the Spaniel with the longest muzzle, so the Cavalier’s story began. 

Bichon Frises have long and elaborate histories as lap dogs and companions. They showed up in the 14th century when French sailors brought the dogs home from Tenerife, among the Canary Islands. 

It is believed that these hearty companions originated from the Barbet or French Water Dog. We can see this in their name, “Bichon,” which comes from “barbichon” or “little Barbet.” 

They gained massive popularity among the French aristocracy, which later put them in danger during the french revolution. They were, however, kept alive and continued rising in fame. 

They are also called Bichon-king Charles, Cavalier Bichons, or Cavashons. Designer clubs like the Designer Breed Registry and DRA have recognized the dog even though AKC has not listed them since they aren’t purebred. Some people have also bred miniature or teacup Cavachons.

How big do Cavachons get?

The Cavachon usually stands about 10 to 13 inches (25 to 33 cm) tall and weighs between 10 and 15 pounds (4 to 6 kg). However, some may be as heavy as 35 pounds.

What do Cavachons Look Like?a white cavachon dog sitting in house close up

Common Cavachon colors include:

  • Cream, 
  • Apricot
  • White, 
  • Blenheim (red with a white blaze over their nose and forehead) 
  • tricolor (black and white with tan points)
  • Ruby,
  • and black and tan.

Cavachons are small dogs, but not nearly as small as some, like teacup Bichons or teacup Maltese. They can have the powder-puff Bichon Frise look but with plenty of colorful feathering on the ears like Cavaliers. 

They are proportional in physique, although they can be slightly longer than tall, like Cavaliers. They have dome-shaped heads, and most have pretty standard-sized muzzles for their size. Ears are mainly long and floppy, although they can be V-shaped like Bichons. They have dreamy dark brown eyes spaced well apart. The nose is primarily dark.

Their coats are medium-length to long and can be curly or wavy. The coat colors vary a lot because they can take after either parent resulting in a white bichon look or tri-colored like Cavaliers. They can inherit the Bichon hypoallergenic coat, improving their compatibility with allergic people. 

Understanding the Teacup Cavachon

tiny apricot teacup cavachon puppy black background

In recent years, the allure of “teacup” versions of already small breeds has grown, including the teacup Cavachon. These pint-sized pups are bred to be even smaller than the standard Cavachon, fitting into the palm of your hand. While undeniably adorable, it’s essential to approach the idea of a teacup Cavachon with caution due to the potential health risks associated with breeding for such small sizes.

Health Concerns for Teacup Cavachons

Breeding dogs to achieve an extremely small size can often lead to a host of health problems. Teacup Cavachons may be more prone to conditions such as:

  • Hypoglycemia: Low blood sugar can be a significant risk for very small dogs, leading to weakness, seizures, and in severe cases, death.
  • Bone and Joint Issues: Their tiny frames are more susceptible to fractures and conditions like patellar luxation.
  • Dental Problems: Teacup dogs often have overcrowded teeth, leading to increased dental disease.
  • Respiratory Issues: Smaller airways can cause breathing difficulties.
  • Heart Problems: The strain on their little bodies can lead to various heart conditions.

A Cautionary Note on Extreme Breeding

While the appeal of a dog that remains puppy-sized forever is understandable, it’s important to remember that breeding for extreme sizes can compromise the animal’s health and welfare. Ethical breeders focus on the health and temperament of their dogs, rather than achieving the smallest size possible. When considering adding a Cavachon to your family, prioritizing the health and longevity of your future pet is crucial.

Making an Informed Decision

If you’re drawn to the smaller Cavachon, consider adopting a standard Cavachon and appreciate the breed for its natural qualities rather than its size. Remember, a healthy, happy dog will bring much more joy into your life than one that fits into a teacup but suffers from ongoing health issues. Always consult with a veterinarian or a canine geneticist when in doubt about breed standards and health implications. Your priority should always be the well-being of your future furry companion.

General Care and Maintenance of a Cavachon 

Cavachons are energetic dogs but would immediately jump on an opportunity to snuggle with you on the couch. Their small size allows them to burn off excess energy easily, but daily walks are still vital. They can be a handful while young but usually settle down quite well when they are older.

Housing needs

Cavachons do well in apartments where they can spend as much time with you as possible. They handle time alone horribly and need you around as much as possible. A yard will allow them to play and release energy, but watch out for the temperatures to avoid heatstroke. 

Exercise needs

Cavachons need about 30 to 60 minutes of a daily walk broken down into two sessions. Remember to watch out for them as you exercise because those with short snouts can overheat more easily. Mental exercises with snuffle mats and food puzzles exercise their minds with mental stimulation.

Food & Diet Requirements 

Cavachons need quality food with balanced animal protein (20- 25%), vitamins, carbs, and minerals. Their Bichon sides make them susceptible to liver issues or hypothyroidism, requiring less protein (max 18%), so it’s best to get that checked out. 

They may also be prone to genetic heart issues, so feed a heart-friendly diet high in taurine, omega-3 fatty acids, and carnitine.

They are also prone to bladder issues, therefore, need plenty of water and some wet food on some days. When creating an elaborate meal plan, your vet will consider all possible medical issues affecting your Cavachon. 

Adopting a Rescue Cavachon

Believe it or not, many mixed breeds like the Cavachon end up in shelters and rescue organizations through no fault of their own. Adopting a rescue can be a rewarding experience, offering a loving home to a dog in need. One place to start is the Cavachon Society, which may have listings for Cavachons in need of adoption or can point you towards local rescue organizations that specialize in Cavachons or similar breeds.

Finding an Ethical Breeder

If you’re set on getting a puppy from a breeder, it’s crucial to find one who prioritizes the health and well-being of their dogs over profit. Here’s how to identify an ethical Cavachon breeder:

  • Health Testing – Ethical breeders conduct health screenings on their breeding dogs to ensure they’re free of genetic diseases.
  • Openness –  A good breeder will be transparent about their breeding practices and happy to answer all your questions.
  • Environment – Puppies should be raised in a clean, nurturing environment. Visit the breeder to see the conditions in which the puppies and their parents are living.
  • Aftercare – Reputable breeders will offer guidance on caring for your Cavachon and be available for questions even after you’ve taken your puppy home.
  • Adoption Process –  Expect a thorough adoption process. Ethical breeders want to ensure their puppies go to good homes.

When searching for a breeder, start with recommendations from veterinary offices, dog clubs, or breed-specific organizations. Social media groups and forums can also be valuable resources for connecting with other Cavachon owners who can share their experiences.

The Importance of Patience

Whether adopting or purchasing from a breeder, patience is key. The right Cavachon for your family is out there, and taking the time to find a dog that matches your lifestyle and preferences will pay off in the long run with a happy, healthy companion.

How to Groom A Cavachon

Cavachons require regular grooming to maintain their coat’s health and appearance. Here are some steps you can take to groom a Cavachon:

  1. Brush their coat: Use a slicker brush to brush your Cavachon’s coat to remove tangles, mats, or loose hair. Brush their fur in the direction of hair growth to avoid any discomfort. Most Cavachons need to be brushed at least four times a week.
  2. Trim their hair: If you prefer a shorter coat for your Cavachon, use clippers to trim their hair. Start trimming their belly and then work up to their back and sides. Use scissors to trim around their ears, paws, and face. You can also see a professional groomer to have your dog’s hair properly trimmed. There are several cuts available for the Cavachon, including
  • Puppy cut
  • Teddy-bear cut
  • Sporting cut
  • Schnauzer cut
  • Or a fluffy cut.
  1. Bathe your Cavachon: Use gentle dog shampoo to bathe your Cavachon. Make sure to rinse them thoroughly to remove any soap residue. After their bath, dry them with a towel or a blow dryer on a low setting.
  2. Trim their nails: Use a dog nail trimmer to trim your Cavachon’s nails. Only trim the tips of their nails to avoid cutting them quickly, which can be painful.
  3. Clean their ears: Use doggy ear cleaners to clean your Cavachon’s ears. Avoid using Q-tips as they can push debris further into the ear canal. Contact your veterinarian if you notice any redness, swelling, or discharge.
  4. Clean their eyes: Lighter-coated Cavachons are susceptible to tear stains and need their eyes frequently cleaned with dog eye wipes to prevent eye infections and keep their eyes healthy.
  5. Brush their teeth: Use a dog toothbrush and toothpaste to brush your Cavachon’s teeth regularly to maintain their dental health. 

By following these steps, you can keep your Cavachon looking and feeling their best.

The Health of a Cavalier Bichon Frise Mixthree Cavachon dogs running on grass

Cavachons are generally healthy dogs, benefitting from “hybrid vigor,” where mixed dogs are healthier than purebred parents. However, they are still susceptible to health conditions present in their parent breeds, especially if breeders don’t run genetic tests on their parents. 

Mitral valve disease is common among these dogs and can be a major cause of heart failure causing fatality. Here, a heart valve weakens, indicated by heart murmurs and other suggestive signs. Those with short snouts can experience breathing problems like Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome (BOAS).

The mixed breed is also susceptible to kidney issues like stones and liver problems like Portosystemic Shunt (PSS). Hormonal problems leading to conditions like Diabetes Mellitu, Hypothyroidism, and Hyperadrenocorticism are also prevalent. 

Other medical conditions seen in the parent breeds that can affect Cavachons include:

Severe Health Risks

These little dogs may face some big challenges like:

  • Patellar Luxation: Their kneecaps might shift out of place.
  • IVDD: A condition affecting their spinal discs, which can be painful.
  • Cushing’s Disease and Diabetes: These conditions affect their hormone levels and blood sugar.
  • Hip Dysplasia and Syringomyelia: Joint and spinal issues that can cause discomfort.
  • Eye Issues: Including progressive retinal atrophy which affects their sight.
  • Plus, they can develop kidney stones, urinary, liver issues, and certain types of cancer.

Mild to Moderate Issues

On the lighter side, some health concerns are more manageable:

  • Tummy Troubles: Gastrointestinal issues and allergies can cause discomfort but are often treatable.
  • Ear Infections: Those cute droopy ears might trap moisture and lead to infections.
  • Dental Problems: Keeping those pearly whites clean is crucial.
  • Obesity: A common issue that can exacerbate other health problems.

Occasional Health Concerns

Less commonly, they might encounter:

  • Epilepsy: Causing seizures but often manageable with medication.
  • Sebaceous Adenomas: Benign skin tumors that are more of a cosmetic issue.

While this list might seem daunting, remember that with proper care, regular vet check-ups, and a healthy lifestyle, many Cavachons live long, joyous lives. It’s all about knowing what to watch for and how to best care for your furry friend.

How long does the Cavachon live?

Cavachons have a long lifespan of 12 to 16 years. They come from two hardy breeds, contributing to the mix’s health so long as the breeder performs proper genetic tests on the parents. Proper lifelong care will also keep this dog living long into their teens.

Cavachon Temperament, Training, and Intelligence 

apricot and white cavachon puppy lying on grass

Cavachons are very happy, fun-loving, friendly, and compassionate dogs. They feel complete when they have their loved one’s attention and affection. Sweet-natured, these mixes make friends quickly, even if they are slightly wary of strangers at first. 

They bond so deeply with their loved ones that the dogs can develop severe separation anxiety. Avoid leaving them alone for too long, and consider crate training them from puppyhood to help with the stress. 

Cavachons are easy to train because they live for quality time with their families and have a strong will to please them. They may occasionally exhibit independence and stubbornness, but this is typically short-lived and bypassable with treats. Early training and socialization are vital for a well-trained dog. 

According to the Cavachon Puppy Training Book, these are very sensitive dogs that do not do well with harsh treatments or prolonged stress. A stable, loving, quiet environment is best for a Cavachon. Their training should be consistent and focused on positive rewards. Short sessions are best.

Sociability with Children and Other Pets 

Cavachons are excellent with kids but shouldn’t be left alone with them to avoid accidental injuries. They are great with other pets because both were bred as lap dogs with little hunting or chasing instinct. Early training and socialization allow your dog to interact well with children and animals. 

Suitable Home for a Cavachon

If you check the following boxes, the Cavachon may be the right dog for you:

  • Allergic household– The Bichon genetics may pass down a hypoallergenic coat, so it’s possible this dog is suited to homes with mild pet allergies.
  • Apartments or smaller spaces
  • Mildly active lifestyle 
  • People who want a lap dog and a companion
  • Adult supervision if there are kids at home 
  • Regular schedules where you can spend lots of time with them 
  • Novice owners are still learning how to train dogs, as these are good dogs for inexperienced owners
  • Owners who are up for a bit more grooming than most dogs

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Do Cavachons shed?

Cavachons are very mild shedders, especially if they inherit the Bichon Frise’s single, Poodle-like coat. However, some Cavachons may inherit a coat more similar to the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, which means you may deal with some seasonal shedding or light shedding year-round.

When Do Cavachons calm down?

Cavachon puppies are very energetic and can be quite prone to chewing your shoes or driving you nuts with their hyper antics. However, most Cavachons will calm down and become laid back and easy to manage dogs between 12 and 18 months. An extremely hyper Cavachon may need up to two years to calm down, but this is rare.

Final Thoughts 

Cavachons are excellent family dogs and great for novice owners. They are not too tiny that the risk for traumatic injuries follows them everywhere and are small enough for apartments. They love being around people and may develop separation anxiety, but crate training can help them relax. 

Meet Your Experts

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Tamsin De La Harpe


Tamsin de la Harpe has nearly two decades of experience with dogs in rescue, training, and behavior modification with fearful and aggressive dogs. She has worked closely with veterinarians and various kennels, building up extensive medical knowledge and an understanding of canine health and physiology. She also spent two years in the animal sciences as a canine nutrition researcher, focusing on longevity and holistic healthcare for our four-legged companions. Tamsin currently keeps a busy homestead with an assortment of rescue dogs and three Bullmastiffs.

Tamsin de la Harpe has nearly two decades of experience with dogs in rescue, training, and behavior modification with fearful and aggressive dogs. She has worked closely with veterinarians and various kennels, building up extensive medical knowledge and an understanding of canine health and physiology. She also spent two years in the animal sciences as a canine nutrition researcher, focusing on longevity and holistic healthcare for our four-legged companions. Tamsin currently keeps a busy homestead with an assortment of rescue dogs and three Bullmastiffs.