Your Cavoodle Puppy Guide

Cavoodle Owner's Guide Australia: Advice from Cavoodle Breeder

Almost 40% of Australian households have a pet dog, making it the top pet across the nation. One breed has increased in popularity over the past 5 years is the Cavoodle. These adorable crossbreeds, a mix between the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and the Poodle, have gained immense popularity in recent years, with experts claiming this being due to their teddy-bear look and docile but intelligent personality. If you're one of the hundreds of thousands of Aussie's considering adding a Cavoodle puppy to your family, there are important factors to consider.

We've interviewed Tiana, owner of Oodle Ways, a boutique Cavoodle breeder in Brisbane, about some of the internet's top queries when it comes to all things Cavoodle.

Tiana has a plethora of experience working with Cavoodles. It all started whenher parents surprised her with her first Cavoodle, Oscar, when she was just 8 years old, back in 2008. She quickly became obsessed with his beautiful personality, leading her to working as a Veterinary Nurse for over 4 years, studying Veterinary Technology, working in a Boutique Grooming Salon, teaching Puppy School and then starting her very own Cavoodle breeding business, Cavoodle Coaching business and launching the world's first Cavoodle-Specific, puppy raising cause - Oodleway: Puppy Prep.

By working in each sector of the small animal industry, she has been able to bring all of this knowledge into designing her Breeding program which focuses on raising Cavoodles to compliment your lifestyle, not complicate it.

Tiana takes a holistic approach and really focuses on what stage of development each puppy is in, giving her the ability to train the puppies through her curriculum program so that the litter families skip the dreaded “puppy stage”.

🤔What is the 'puppy stage'?

The puppy stage typically lasts from weeks 8-20 of your puppy's life. It's filled with potty accidents, sleepless nights, separation anxiety, chewed furniture (and shoes).

With this being said, we asked Tiana the burning questions about all things Cavoodle puppy!

 

How Old Should a Cavoodle Puppy be Before You Can Bring Them Home? 🐣

The Breeding Standards and Guidelines for Dogs Australia states a puppy must be 8 weeks old before being separated from their litter. However, when we look at the development of a puppy, they can actually go through a “fear period” at 8 weeks of age. During this period, stimuli and experiences they were once comfortable with the day before, can actually become really frightening to them and a change of environment can be detrimental to their overall demeanour as an adult dog.

What I do?

Monitor my litters and hold onto them until they pass through this fear period and go back to being curious, social butterflies (usually between 9 - 10 weeks of age).

💡Pro Tip: If you're looking at a breeder that is offering your puppy to you earlier, this is a red flag. It is not only illegal to release a puppy earlier than 8 weeks of age, but it is also not physically or mentally healthy for a pup to be separated so early from their mother and siblings.

 

How Old Should a Cavoodle Puppy be Before their First Groom? ✂️

My Cavoodles have their first baths by 6 weeks of age and I give them hygiene tidies every couple of weeks from about 4 weeks of age. This regular handling is extremely important as Cavoodles will need to be groomed every 6 - 8 weeks for their entire life.

The more they are desensitised to this process from a young age, the less they will be stressed from the grooming process as an adult.

💡 Pro Tip: Try to brush your puppy Cavoodle daily, wash and blow dry them weekly (with the right products, such as ST ARGO's Puppy-Friendly Conditioning Shampoo), mimic giving hygiene tidies every week and then take them for their first grooming experience while they are in their critical socialisation period which is between 8 - 12 weeks of age. This ensures they do not have anxiety as they grow with regards to going to the groomer.

 

Depending on the length of your puppy’s coat, this first grooming experience does not have to include a full groom but it’s imperative they experience the process of a hydro bath and blow dry with industrial hair dryers at this age. Your grooming salon will be able to advise you of their hygiene protocols in regards to Parvo virus and the number of vaccinations your puppy has had. Grooming appointments for your Cavoodle will cost upwards of $90 every 6-8 weeks with a maintenance tidy for upwards of $55 in between this. So for anyone who is wanting to learn how to groom your Cavoodle yourself and increase the strength of your bond with your puppy, I am about to launch Oodleway: Home Groom this Christmas which will step you through the entire process of properly brushing, washing, drying, coat prepping and grooming process with your Cavoodle. Send me an email at hello@oodleway.co to express your interest in my grooming course and I’ll send you a personal email myself once it’s available!

 

What is The Best Way to Potty Train a Cavoodle? 🚽

Potty training starts with the breeder as a puppy forms a surface preference at 3 weeks of age when they first start going to the toilet by themselves (prior to this, their mum has to stimulate them to go potty). Therefore, the best way to potty train a Cavoodle is to choose a Breeder who has only allowed their puppies to go to the toilet on grass! This means, when they come to your home, they will instinctively go searching for a surface that feels like grass which will typically be your backyard or a designated potty area. Without giving away all my secrets it’s all about consistently and reducing the area your puppy has to roam in the house.  

💡Pro Tip: The best way to toilet train your puppy is reduce their romaing area size, and take them out to pee consistently. Like once every hour!

 

What’s the Best Way to Get Your Cavoodle to Stop Crying at Night? Is it Normal? 🌚

Puppies cry to communicate their needs to their mum and siblings and when they come home to you, they will also cry to try and communicate with you. But the key is learning when they are crying for attention vs actually needing your assistance.

Separation anxiety is one of the BIGGEST issues Cavoodle families face and it all forms in the first few days with your new puppy when a family attends to every cry their puppy makes or never leaves them alone. All of my clients have heard me say this over and over again, but boundaries, consistency and predictability is the key to making your puppy feel safe, loved and comfortable.

In my course Oodleway: Puppy Prep, I teach you how to help them sleep through the night from day one as well as how to differentiate between an attention seeking cry vs a cry where your puppy needs assistance.

💡Pro Tip: Crate training is the best decision you can make and if the Breeder crate trains before you pick your puppy up (I do this with all my litters), your puppy will have a safe area that is very familiar to them which means they will sleep a full 8 hours from the get go.

 

What’s the Top Health Risks for Cavoodles?🫀

1. Heart Disease

Genetically, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are prone to heart disease and as Cavoodles have a Cavalier heritage, this can also be very common to them. Unfortunately, at this stage, Breeder’s cannot DNA test for this heart disease and all we can do is ensure our breeding dogs have no pre-existing heart murmurs. My 15 year old Cavoodle was diagnosed with heart disease when he was 9 years old and has been living a very normal and healthy life on daily medication ever since. So make sure you have that Pet Insurance and try to keep your Cavoodles at a healthy weight to reduce the strain on their hearts.
 

2. Joint Issues

This also leads me to their joints which is also a top health risk for Cavoodles. Being such friendly little dogs who crave human attention, they have the tendency to do a lot of jumping which can definitely damage their joints and lead to cruciate ligament surgery in adult years. Teaching your Cavoodle how to Mand as a puppy can greatly reduce the damage to their joints and also teaches them some nice manners.
My third and final course, Oodleway: Puppy Train will also be released this Christmas where I teach you how to train your Cavoodle exercises such as sit, stay, mand, lie down, recall, place, leave it, treat game, loose lead walking and swap. I also focus on teaching you how to shape your puppy’s behaviour to compliment your household because at the end of the day, they may spend 5 minutes sitting and staying for you, but what about the other 24 hours in a day where we need them to fit into your lifestyle without causing you more headaches?

 

Are Cavoodles Good Family Dogs in General? 👨‍👩‍👧‍👦

While YES is my first response, it really does depend on what type of family you have. When you are picking a breed of dog for your family, it’s extremely important that you look at your family’s lifestyle and then the original breed purpose of a dog.

Take a Border Collie for example. Border Collie’s are a working breed originally bred to work on a farm herding cattle. This means they are extremely loyal, intelligent, eager to learn and have an intrinsic desire to constantly be thinking. To take this breed off a farm and into an urban household, the family has to be very active and be able to dedicate a very large portion of the day to providing mental and physical enrichment for their Border Collie. If a breed’s needs aren’t met, this is when they become bored which leads to destructive behaviours such as digging, chewing, barking and nipping.

So if we then look at a Cavoodle, we have to split this breed into a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel (CKCS) and a Poodle. The original breed purpose of a CKCS was to “warm laps in drafts castles and on chilly carriage rides” - i.e, they were bred as a placid, affectionate lap dog. If you’ve met a CKCS today, you would quickly realise not much has changed for this gorgeous breed. When we look at a Poodle, the Poodle was originally bred as a hunting dog to retrieve ducks and rabbits. This means, they are a very intelligent breed with a desire to fetch and retrieve which also conveys to a playful personality. So when we mix the CKCS and Poodle together, what we get is a friendly, affectionate, intelligent, playful breed with the added benefit of an adorable face and a very low-non shedding coat which does tend to suit most urban families.

 

Why isn't a Cavoodle a Breed? 

In the breeding world, we have Purebred dogs which are recognised officially as a breed with a closed gene pool and Cross-breeds that have mixed breeds in their heritage. In every right, a Cavoodle (which is currently classified as a cross-breed) is definitely a breed but it hasn’t been around long enough to have generations of careful breeding in place that adheres to a breed standard which closes the gene pool and provides predictably in terms of looks, body structure and personality with every litter. In the years (possibly decades) to come, I am certain the Cavoodle will be recognised as a Purebred dog like a Poodle or the CKCS, and for this to happen, Breeders will have to breed Cavoodles with Cavoodles that all adhere to a breed standard as outlined by the country’s breeding body.

Until this happens, we will love Cavoodles as they are and the most important thing a family looking to buy a Cavoodle can do is to find a reputable, educated Breeder with plenty of credibility behind them.

 

What’s a ‘Teacup’ Cavoodle? ☕️

Simply put, a “teacup” Cavoodle is a marketing phrase that non-reputable breeders will place on their ads to attract a family looking for the smallest Cavoodle possible. There are two official sizes when it comes to Cavoodles and it is dependent on the size of the Poodle parent. We have Miniature Cavoodles which are mid-range in size (roughly 8kg - 12kg) and have a Miniature Poodle parent. We also have Toy Cavoodles which are smaller in size (roughly 4kg - 7kg) and have a Toy Poodle parent.

💡Pro Tip: When it comes to classifying a Cavoodle’s size, there are so many factors that come into play and rather than going by weight, I highly recommend going based on the height of the parents to get the best indication of how big your Cavoodle will grow.

 

What’s Your Top List of Items to Have Ready When you Bring Home a New Cavoodle Puppy? 🧾

A good Breeder with lifetime support, a copy of Oodleway: Puppy Prep to take all the stress and confusion out of raising your Cavoodle, a crate, vet-recommend dog food, enrichment toys, long lasting treats, baby gates to section off the house and a socialisation + desensitisation schedule prepared for day one.

You can download my free Socialisation Guide and Shopping list for Cavoodles here -> https://www.oodleway.co/essentials

💡 Pro Tip: Don't forget your puppy's first collar! Try a lightweight and ultra-soft ST ARGO puppy collar. We recommend a small for a Cavoodle Puppy. Having a collar for your puppy is very important for ID purposes. 

 

What’s the Difference Between a Cavoodle and a Spoodle?

A Cavoodle is a cross between the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and a Toy or Miniature Poodle. A Spoodle is a cross between the Cocker Spaniel and a Toy or Miniature Poodle. Spoodles are absolutely beautiful and will typically have higher energy levels than the Cavoodle, due to the high-energy nature of the Cocker Spaniel, versus the more placid temperament of a Cavalier.

 

How Much Does a Cavoodle Cost? 💸 

This depends on where you buy your Cavoodle from and what support your Breeder offers in addition to the work they have done with their puppies. For more information on my Breeding program, please email me at hello@oodleway.co

As a general rule: Cavoodles cost between $6,000-$8,000 AUD as of 2023. 

Top Signs of a Cavoodle Breeder Scam
If an online breeder is not willing to have a phone call or show you a LIVE video of the puppies
Has no reviews; or
Is selling a Cavoodle puppy for what would appear to be a 'bargain', it could be a scam.
  

What Should You Be Aware Of With Ethical Cavoodle Breeding?

✔️ A curriculum program to start, and also how many litters the Breeder is having at one time. Raising puppies is a full time job and should be 100% of your Breeder’s focus.
✔️ They should be able to inform you of a week by week program that they do with the puppies and for one person, any more than 10 puppies at one point in time would be extremely difficult to manage, in my experience.
✔️ An ethical Breeder will have a contract written by a Lawyer and offer a health guarantee as well as unlimited, ongoing support. They should also be very open with their breeding practices and well documented online.
✔️ An ethical Breeder has nothing to hide and should also be happy with providing you with the contact details of their Vet so you can find out if the parent dogs have any pre-existing health issues.
✔️ Copies of DNA reports should be given and an ethical breeder should be helping a family match the personality of their puppy to their lifestyle rather than handing off any random puppy.
✔️ Finally, if a Breeder is reluctant to answer a question, take this as a red flag and be very cautious. A puppy is a very big financial investment and a big decision for a family so your Breeder should feel like a friend you can call at any time and should step you through the entire process.
 

Why is the Cavoodle Breed So Popular?

The most common reasons people tell me they are searching for a Cavoodle are:
1. Because of their generally friendly disposition
2. Intelligence
3. They look like a real-life teddy bear
4. They don't shed (or shed very little)

 

Can You Ensure You Choose a Cavoodle That Will be a Certain Size or Colour?

To a degree, yes, but it is never guaranteed.

Size

The best way to determine the size of your puppy is to find out the height of the parents and grandparents (from the bottom of their paws to the top of their shoulders) of the litter and look at whether your puppy is on the larger or the smaller side of their siblings. Depending on your answer, you would then want to look at which parent/grandparent was taller or shorter.
Another great way to find out is if the parents of your puppy have had a previous litter and then your Breeder will be able to look at the size of your puppy and compare it to their previous puppies and how tall they have grown. The reason why I always say to go by height and not weight is because weight is determined by so many factors such as how long the coat is, how petite or broadly set the dog is and whether the dog is underweight or overweight. Adult height, on the other hand, is something that doesn’t change and is much more reliable.

Colour

In terms of colour, Poodles fade in colour as they grow older and 99% of Cavoodles will also fade in colour as they grow older too. There is currently no DNA test that can determine whether a Cavoodle will hold onto their coat colour or fade so again, the best thing you can do is look as far back as you can in heritage to get the best idea of what your puppy’s coat will grow to look like. Keep in mind that their coat will continue to develop for the first 2 years of their life and I promise you will absolutely love them no matter what their coat may fade to.

 

What Should You Feed Your Puppy Cavoodle?🥩

Fussy Cavoodles is something you are almost guaranteed to face. I always recommend a veterinary-recommended diet and then adding tasty toppers to encourage your puppy to eat. These may include pumpkin, boiled chicken, spring water tuna, sardines and other dog friendly foods. I have a very tasty recipe for a topper that my Cavoodles LOVE and you can find it here -> Oodleway's Topper Recipe for Fussy Cavoodles . Please always be cautious when introducing a new food to your puppy and always give it to them one at a time when they are young as they can have sensitive tummies. Always give a small amount to your puppy, see how their faeces look over the next couple of days and then continue to give them the food if you have no concerns. If you are concerned, please contact your Vet immediately.
 
So now you're all set with everything you need to know and research before welcoming a Cavoodle puppy to your home. 
Tiana is a great resource and readily available for any genuine Cavoodle puppy enquiries. 
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