With their soft fur coat, playful energy, and frankly adorable appearance, it’s no wonder that more and more would-be dog owners are choosing the Cavapoo. Particularly popular among the mixed breed is the Toy Cavapoo—so here’s everything you need to know about it.
What Is a Toy Cavapoo?
A Cavapoo is a mixed breed dog whose strange name comes from its two parent breeds, the Poodle and the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.
Toy Cavapoos are the smallest size of their breed, resulting from the breeding of Toy or Miniature Poodles with the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.
Cavapoos come in two sizes: Toy and miniature. While a mini Cavapoo will weigh between 13 and 25 pounds and stand 12 to 16 inches tall, the Toy Cavapoo is somewhat small, at 12 inches tall and 7 to 13 pounds.
The differences between Cavapoos are generally due to differences in their parents. Breeding a Cavalier King Charles with a Mini Poodle will tend to produce slightly larger Cavapoos, while breeding with a Toy Poodle will produce Toy Cavapoos.
Cavapoo Breed History
Cavapoos was first created (intentionally, anyway) by Australian designer breeders in the late 90s, who aimed to mix the healthy, intelligent Poodle with the outgoing, energetic Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.
Since then, the Cavapoo has risen tremendously in popularity, becoming one of the world’s most sought-after (and expensive) designer breeds.
Although Toy Cavapoos are a designer breed, countless dogs are still abandoned in shelters and pounds worldwide. As such, potential dog owners have options for adopting a Cavapoo.
Toy Cavapoo Genetics
The other important factor with Cavapoos is their genetics. Since Cavapoos are, by their nature, not purebred, their features change depending on the genes they receive from their purebred parents.
That means that no two Toy Cavapoos will be exactly alike, and first-generation dogs will be different from second-generation dogs.
Toy Cavapoos are often bred from purebred Toy or Tiny Poodles and normal-sized Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. Their specific genetic combination will influence features, including their appearance, behavior, and whether they’re hypoallergenic.
For example, a Toy Cavapoo that inherits tight curly hair from its Poodle parent will be a very allergy-friendly dog. In contrast, a dog that inherits traits from its Cavalier King Charles Spaniel parent will have looser hair more prone to allergy-irritating dandruff.
In some cases, Cavapoo breeders will engage in a process called back breeding, in which they breed Cavapoos with purebred Toy Poodles.
This works to increase the odds that their offspring, a second-generation or F1B Cavapoo, inherits hypoallergenic Poodle fur while keeping its small size.
The personalities of Cavapoos can be complex, given that King Charles Spaniels tend to be a more relaxed breed and Poodles are more intense. As a result, many Cavapoos have easygoing temperaments but are nonetheless very playful.
For instance, Toy Cavapoos don’t require as much exercise or stimulation as their Poodle parents, but they enjoy games of fetch and tug-of-war, and it’s essential to keep them mentally and physically engaged.
Another critical aspect of Cavapoos’ temperaments is that they inherit separation anxiety from both their Poodle and Cavalier King Charles Spaniel gene pools.
If Cavapoos are left for too long on their own, they may become very distressed and develop anxiety-related behavioral problems.
For this reason, it’s crucial to train a young Toy Cavapoo on healthy separation so that it understands how to be alone. If a Cavapoo is left abandoned without any such training, it can engage in destructive behaviors.
With this in mind, Cavapoos may not be the best pet if you work long hours or travel frequently.
On the other hand, if you work from home or if there are many people in your house, Cavapoos will be very happy to play throughout the day with everyone in the family.
Toy Cavapoos and Children
If you have a family, an obvious question when considering a new pet is whether or not the breed does well with children. The good news is that Cavapoos are known for being very friendly with kids.
While every individual dog has its own personality, as long as your children know how to behave respectfully and gently around a dog, they should be able to get along very well with your Cavapoo.
Generally speaking, Cavapoos are patient dogs who are curious and enjoy learning new things. This behavior means that Cavapoos get along well with children and learn new tricks.
That being said, if you get a Cavapoo as a puppy, they will have the typical puppy behaviors of playfulness, nipping, and low impulse control. However, this excitable temperament will pass as your Cavapoo matures.
If you have young children, they may be rougher with pets, so it’s vital to teach them to be gentle when playing with your new Cavapoo. With those caveats in mind, Toy Cavapoos are still wonderful family-friendly dogs.
A Toy Cavapoo’s soft, curly coat is one of its standout features–and it can vary tremendously from dog to dog.
Due to their mixed breeding, Toy Cavapoos can come in many different colors, from cream to chocolate to gold (just to name a few). While some Toy Cavapoos have solid-colored coats, many have a mix of chestnut and white–and some can be three colors!
Toy Cavapoos most often have short, soft hair that’s either curly or wavy, depending on how much of their genes come from their Poodle parents.
These coats provide insulation during cold months without suffocating them during warm months. Plus, they tend not to shed excessively.
Because each Toy Cavapoo is different, reactions may vary among allergy sufferers. Some Toy Cavapoos don’t shed very often at all, while others shed at the same rate as an average dog. Either way, maintain your dog’s coat with regular brushing.
Toy Cavapoos and Allergies
Whether or not an animal is hypoallergenic is a complicated matter. Many people assume that dog allergies are irritated by a dog’s hair, but in reality, most common dog allergies become aggravated by a dog’s dandruff.
Therefore, allergic reactions to dogs vary from breed to breed and between individual dogs. Dogs that produce a large amount of dander and shed frequently will tend to irritate allergies far more than those that don’t.
The parent breeds of Cavapoos both have tight hair that sheds sparingly. As such, toy cavapoos tend not to shed much, unlike other dog breeds, meaning that very little dander releases into the air.
If your allergies are especially severe, however, you may want to look into getting an F1b Cavapoo. This type of Cavapoo has a greater share of Poodle DNA. Because Poodles tend to be more hypoallergenic, the same is true of F1b Cavapoos.
Before adding a Toy Cavapoo to your home, ensure you are familiar with any potential health risks and how to provide them with the best quality of life possible.
One of the Toy Cavapoo’s greatest strengths is its longevity. While Cavalier King Charles Spaniels frequently suffer from illnesses related to being purebred, being bred with Poodles, one of the healthiest dog breeds, allows their Cavapoo offspring to be very healthy.
In general, Cavapoos have a longer lifespan, better overall health, and greater vigor than their Cavalier King Charles Spaniel ancestors. In concrete terms, this means that Toy Cavapoos tend to have a lifespan of between 11 and 12 years.
That said, it’s essential to get a Toy Cavapoo taken to the veterinarian regularly, as they can sometimes be at risk for the issues that affect Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. These can include heart attacks, progressive blindness, and slipping kneecaps.
Cavapoos can also be prone to minor health issues, and it’s essential to keep these issues under control to maintain a Cavapoo’s quality of life.
For instance, Cavapoos can be prone to gaining excess weight if they don’t have enough stimulation, and this weight gain could increase their risk for heart problems in the long run.
For that reason, Cavapoo owners should ensure that there is sufficient space for their Cavapoo to play and exercise.
Additionally, like any dog, Cavapoos need to have their ears checked for debris and pests daily to protect against any pesky infections, and you should trim their nails regularly.
Finally, since small dogs tend to be prone to dental health issues, it’s best to brush a Cavapoo’s teeth daily.
Toy Cavapoos will fare best if you feed them according to a diet for small dogs with high energy levels (the right dog food will have a corresponding label).
Because Toy Cavapoos are magnets for affection, it’s all too easy to overfeed them or give them too many treats.
Since Cavapoos are prone to unhealthy weight gain when their owners feed them too much, it’s best to curb feeding and not let food sit out for an extended period.
If you’re uncertain about your Toy Cavapoo’s diet or exercise regiment, consult with a veterinarian. They will give you individualized guidance for your dog’s needs and potential issues.