Cavapoo vs cockapoo: which dog is better for YOU?

If you have been looking at poodle crosses for a while, you might be interested in both cavapoo and cockapoo as two examples of great cross breads, each with its own unique physical and personality traits. There are upsides and downsides (with way more upsides than downsides 🙂  to both crosses. So, when it comes to cavapoo vs cockapoo, which one should you choose?

Let’s look at both crossbreeds to see what physical and temperament traits they have and which dog might be better for you.

Cavapoo vs cockapoo: origins

As you probably already know, cavapoo are a crossbread produced from Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and poodle. Cockapoo also has poodle in its lineage, but the other parent is Cocker Spaniel (American or English). Like cavapoo, cockapoo has been known for quite awhile – since 1950s.

Both are extremely popular in so-called “designer” breed category of dogs, although we prefer calling them cross breeds. Both cavapoo and cockapoo are one of the most popular dogs for families with children, and people who prefer smaller dogs to larger breeds.

Cavapoo vs cockapoo: appearance

First of all, I’d like to say that both cavapoo and cockapoo are gorgeous dogs. They definitely have similarities, but are also unique in their own way. Cavapoo are normally smaller than cockapoos. A full grown cavapoo reaches around 10 – 15 inch height (about 25 – 40 cm), and weighs 6 – 19 lbs ( 3-9 kg). A cockapoo can weigh 19 to 30 lbs ( 9-13 kg). An adult cockapoo can reach 10 to 15 inches in height (25 to 38 cm).

So, if you are looking for a smaller dog to live in your apartment with you, a cavapoo might be a slightly better idea than a larger cockapoo. If you prefer a more substantially-looking dog, choose cockapoo. If size doesn’t matter, read on 🙂

Cavapoo and cockapoo can have a lot of similarities in their appearance, despite differences in weight and height. Both have poodle in their lineage, which often results in them having poodle-like curly soft hair. This trait is generally desireable as it makes for a minimally- to non-shedding dog.

This type of coat also is often considered to be hypoallergenic.  (Although no dog is truly hypoallergenic). However, both cavapoo and cockapoo may not inherit poodle coat but instead the coat of the other parent – Cavalier King Charles Spaniel in cavapoo’s case and Cocker spaniel in cockapoo. In that case the resulting coat will be longer and less curly, and will shed more than the poodle-like coat.

Both cavapoo and cockapoo tent to have long floppy ears that owners usually find adorable. In terms of coat colors, both cavapoo and cockapoo can have various colors such as black, creme, black and white, red or even tri-colored coats, depending on their genetics.

Cavapoo vs cockapoo: temperament

Cavapoo and cockapoo both were bred with the goal of producing a happy, loving and affectionate dog with low to non-existent aggression levels. This has been successfully achieved with both cavapoo and cockapoo. Both dogs are extremely loyal and family-oriented. Both love their people and desire  nothing more than spend every minute of their life around their family members.

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These dogs are really people-oriented and extremely sociable. Both cross breeds don’t do well away from their people or confined alone somewhere, such as in a kennel. Both cross breeds will be happy to participate in anything you do and follow you around the house and outside of it.

Both cavapoo and cockapoo are known for how gentle they are, which makes them great pets for families with children. Cavapoo, being a little smaller, should be watched around younger children. Young children can be potentially too boisterous and can accidentally harm a smaller dog.

Cockapoos, however, are generally large enough to not be at risk of being stepped on or otherwise harmed. Both cavapoo and cockapoo are very patient and will not show aggression to kids. The exception to that can be if your cavapoo or cockapoo is wounded or in pain.

Both cavapoo and cockapoo are dogs with above average intelligence (thanks to poodle!) and will have a very good grasp of what is allowed in their home and what isn’t. Both crossbreeds are easily trainable and are normally very happy to follow their owners’ commands and instructions.

Cavapoo vs cockapoo: barking

A lot of smaller dog breeds have a bad reputation of being incessant barkers. Indeed, smaller dog breeds often tend to be nervous, which reflects in their barking (and often passive-aggressive biting) behavior. This is not common at all for either cavapoo or cockapoo.

Although cavapoo and cockapoo are smaller dogs, they are not huge barkers at all. Cockapoo tend to be quite silent most of the time, barking only when there is a reason for that. Cavapoo are a little more excitable and will bark more than cockapoo. If you need a very quiet dog, your best bet would be a cockapoo, not a cavapoo.

Cavapoo vs cockapoo : training and intelligence

Both cavapoo and cockapoo have poodle in their lineage. This is why both crossbreeds are extremely intelligent (poodle is one of the most intelligent breeds in the world).  This means that both cavapoo and cockapoo are easy to train and will always appreciate the time you spend teaching them tricks and commands. There is an opinion that cavapoo are slightly easier to train than cockapoo as they tend to focus slightly more and are more willing to please the owner.

However, both breeds are really good when it comes to training, and both can be shaped into a great obedient dog.

Cavapoo vs cockapoo as home guards

If you are looking for a dog to guard you and your home, neither cavapoo nor cockapoo might be the right candidate. Both breeds are inherently non-aggressive and too happy to see people to actually protect you from strangers. Cavapoo in general are a little more barky than cockapoo, but cockapoo tend to bark more around strangers, and definitely if a stranger is trying to enter your territory.

It is likely that both dogs will bark at strangers, but don’t expect them to fight for you. Neither cockapoo nor cavapoo have any fight dog genes. Although some individuals are more inclined to protect their owners, and some will  probably happily greet the intruder after initial barking session. To sum up, if you want a guard dog, get a cavapoo or a cockapoo plus a German Sheperd or something 😉

Cavapoo vs cockapoo: Grooming

Cavapoo and cockapoo aren’t large dogs with lots of grooming needs, but you will nonetheless need to spend some time taking care of their coats. Both cavapoo and cockapoo grooming needs really depend on which type of coat they inherited. If it’s a Spaniel coat, you will likely need to give it regular brushing to prevent too much shedding in your house/apartment.

With the poodle-type coat, things are different. Poodle-type coat normally does not shed and looks more like curled hair than fur. It is often a more preferable type of coat  but it has its difficulties as well. Even though it doesn’t shed, it tends to get matted without proper grooming. A poodle type coat needs regular cutting and grooming. A lot of owners of cavapoo, cockapoo and poodles are regular visitors to dog grooming salons. Of course, you can always spend some time to learn basic grooming yourself so you can maintain your cavapoo or cockapoo coat in great shape. Overall, both cavapoo and cockapoo will likely need some amount of grooming.

Cavapoo vs Cockapoo: exercise needs

Cavapoo and cockapoo are both smaller dogs, but that in no way means they are lap dogs. Both of these crossbreeds are very active and require regular exercise. This means daily walks/runs for at least 30 minutes and preferably more. Both cavapoo and cockapoo will love walking (or, even better – running!) outside in the park or in your backyard, especially if you run with them. They love active games – chasing and fetching a ball or a stick, chasing other dogs, swimming etc.

The more exercise your puppy gets, the happier dog he will be. With both cavapo and cockapoo, exercise prevents boredom, depression and possible behaviour issues. If your cavapoo or cockapoo show any destructive behaviour ( unwanted chewing or destroying household items or furniture), or are too attached to you, they might be bored or depressed and you might need to give them more exercise. Exercise will also help keep your dog lean and healthy. Which takes us to …

Cavapoo vs cockapoo: known health issues

As a cross bread of Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and Poodle, cavapoo can inherit health issues and conditions from any of, or both parents. Whereas poodles are generally a very healthy breed, it isn’t always so with Cavalier King Charles Spaniels.

Unfortunately, they do tend to have a significant number of potential illnesses and conditions, such as Heart mitral valve disease (MVD). Almost 50% of all Cavalier King Charles spaniels are reported to have MVD after 5 years of age, and almost 100% by age ten. MVD is a grave disease of the heart that unfortunately currently has no cure.

Cavapoo, being direct descendant from Cavalier King Charles spaniel, may inherit MVD, as well as some other issues that Cavaliers are prone to, such as syringomyelia, cataracts, retinal atrophy, skin issues and epilepsy.  However, this doesn’t mean every cavapoo will have issues, or even that a significant number of cavapoo will. A good, dedicated breeder will always have done medical screening of both parents before creating cavapoo litters.

Only healthy parents should be allowed in the breeding program, and when breeders follow this rule, the resulting puppies are generally healthy. Always look for a respectable cavapoo breeders who do medical screening for every litter, as that is the only guarantee that you’ll get healthy cavapoo puppies. This is especially important in case of cavapoo!

In the case of cockapoo, their second parent is Cocker Spaniel, which is generally a fairly healthy breed. However, they do have a few health issues as well. Familial Nephropathy is a kidney disease in cocker spaniels.  Immune mediated thrombocytopenia, an auto-immune disease that causes internal and external bleeding. Hip dysplasia is common in cocker spaniels.

Heart disease and Pancreatitis can also present themselves. Ear infections, epilepsy and obesity are also something that Cocker Spaniel owners sometimes have to deal with. All of these diseases can be inherited by a cockapoo puppy from his or her Spaniel parent.

However, just like with cavapoo, a good cockapoo breeder will take utmost care screening the potential parents for problematic conditions before allowing them to breed. No good breeder will want to produce unhealthy litters. With both cavapoo and cockapoo, please beware of puppy mills.

Because cavapoo and cockapoo are extremely popular “designer” breeds, as some call them, there is a proliferation of puppy mills out there – unconscientious, uneducated people trying to make money producing puppies without any medical or screening protocol. Buying a puppy from a puppy mill is basically a guarantee that you will get an unhealthy dog with a bouquet of potential conditions that will rob the dog of its health, vitality and longevity, and rob you of a few thousand dollars in vet bills (plus all the heartache!) Please do your homework and find only the best, trust-able breeders whether you are buying a cavapoo or a cockapoo.

To sum up, there is no real winner in the cavapoo vs cockapoo debate. They are both charming, lovely and affectionate dog breeds, highly intelligent and easily trainable. Both will make wonderful family pets. Both will be great, loyal companions to you and your family members. If you want a slightly less barky dog – go with cockapoo. If you want a smaller dog rather than bigger one – go with cavapoo.

If you want a whole lot of love and fun in your house – just get both 🙂 (But do remember that there are associated costs of keeping them!) You can read more about cavapoo on this website and cockapoo on other web resources. Whatever dog you choose, we hope you pick the right one for you and that you have lots of happy years ahead together!




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