The following is an excerpt from "The Complete Guide to Cavachons" by David Anderson. For more information visit the books Amazon Page.
Author Credit: David AndersonBy this point, you are probably incredibly excited about your new Cavachon. From having fun outside in the backyard or hiking in spring and summer to cuddling up in late fall and winter, you can already imagine just how easy it will be to make your new family member an incredible addition. The possibilities and adventures you can have seem endless. And with such a sweet disposition, it is easy to be excited about having someone excited when you get home. Cavachon are incredibly easy to assimilate into families because they adore people as much as people adore them.
You now have the basic information you need to start looking for your newest family member. It is time to learn how to find that family member, starting with the first questions – do you want to bring a puppy into the home, or would you prefer an older dog?
Each Cavachon is different, but there is a relatively predictable personality. They aren’t known for being destructive, even though they are an intelligent dog. They aren’t particularly energetic, but they are always ready to play. Essentially, your Cavachon is going to want to be with you all of the time, and it does not require constant play or attention – as long as it can snuggle up next to you wherever you are and whatever you are doing.
As a designer dog, there are some things to consider about the Cavachon. If you plan to bring a puppy into your home, you should be aware of puppy mills. You also need to understand how important it is to have regular checkup for your dog. Unlike more established breeds, the Cavachon’s health is less certain in that it could have health problems that are prevalent into the two breeds that make them. Few Cavachons are born from Cavachons; rather they are bred from a parent King Charles Spaniel and a parent Bichon Frise. This makes health concerns less predictable, and vet visits essential over the Cavachon’s entire life.
Adopting From a Breeder
If you have decided on a puppy, there are a lot of considerations you need to work through before you select your puppy. You want a happy, healthy Cavachon. This is likely to be more difficult than you think because many puppy mills try to cash in on popular designer dogs, and no consideration is given to the healthy or needs of the puppies. Finding a reputable breeder is only the first of several steps in finding your newest family member.
Finding a Breeder
There are a lot of breeders for the Cavachon because it is currently a popular designer dog; however, they are not all equal. For the sake of your puppy, you need to find a responsible breeder who takes the health of both the parents and the puppies seriously. Currently, there are not many certified Cavachon breeders because they are a relatively new dog. With the recent boom in popularity, puppy mills and other people are looking to use that to gain a quick profit from the trend. This is why you need to be careful when you select your breeder.
Start by looking for the few certified breeders. Find out the timeline for getting your puppy and determine if that is right for your family. If you find that the wait is too long, you can turn to looking to non-certified breeders, but you will need to ask them many questions to ensure the dogs are treated well and that health issues are taken into account before breeding. Call and ask them the following questions to get an idea of the history of the parents – be prepared for each call to take at least an hour because you need as many details as you can get about the parents before you decide on a breeder. If the breeder is not willing to take the time to answer all of your questions, cross them off of your list of breeders you will consider.
- Can you visit the property to take a look at the parents? If the immediate answer is no, then do not bother to continue. Even if you do not intend to go to the location, the breeders should be willing to let potential puppy parents check out the parents of the puppy. The only exception is if the breeders keep regular blogs and camera footage that you can review. You need to be able to see the conditions and environment of the puppies, and you want to see the parents to make sure they are treated well.
- – Ask about health tests and certifications for the parents. Breeders need to have all of the tests and certifications for the parents to ensure that you receive the healthiest puppy possible. Good breeders will often have guarantees against the worst genetic issues. If the breeder is not offering this, do not continue.
- Breeders should take care of all of the basics for the puppies, such as the initial vaccines and wormings. It is essential for puppies to have these taken care of when they are six weeks early (too early for them to leave their mother), and you will be responsible for continuing them. After the shots and deworming are started, they need to be continued every three weeks afterward, which means they will be well into their shots before the puppy comes to your home.
- Find out what happens during the first phase of the puppies’ life, how the breeder takes care of the puppies during the earliest stage of their lives. This will help you know how much work you have to do as well. You will want to keep a consistent training with the dog, and that will be much easier if you continue what the breeder started. The breeder may also have begun different types of training, such as house and crate training. You will need to know that before getting your puppy home.
- Ask for their advice on raising a Cavachon. A good breeder can make recommendations and will give you options on how to handle some of the less enjoyable phases, as well as things that your puppy is likely to love. A great breeder will also be there to answer questions about your Cavachon long after your dog has reached maturity. They are interested in the dog’s well-being and are willing to answer questions over the Cavachon’s entire lifespan.
- Ask if they breed F1 Cavachons, or first generation of Cavachon. This means that the breeder only works with one parent who is a King Charles Spaniel and one parent who is a Bichon Frise. They do not breed with Cavachon, only with the two original breeds.
- Get details about the parents, such as their age, weight, size, how many litters they have had, how many puppies they usually have in a litter, and their health. See if you can get current pictures of the parents, and their previous puppies, to help you know kind of what you puppy will look like.
Health Tests and Certifications
Cavachons tend to be incredibly healthy dogs, and without an extensive history, there really aren’t any defined health tests for them. However, you can verify the health tests and certifications that were done for the parents.
- The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel should be cleared of syringomyelia and mitral valve disease.
- Check to see if the parents have been tested for patellar luxation and legg-calve perthes disease.
Contracts and Guarantees
Even though the Cavachon is not a well-established breed, good breeders still off guarantees for the puppies. This shows that they are confident that the parents are not passing diseases and hereditary conditions on to their puppies that will erode the puppies’ quality of life.
Contracts and guarantees com with information on the health of the puppy and any recommendations for the new puppy parent to take care of the puppy’s health. For example, it may recommend a vet visit within a couple of days of the puppy entering the new home. The puppy will be tested for possible issues so that you can take appropriate steps to minimize or eliminate those issues so that the puppy grows up to be healthy. If a major health issue is found, the guarantee requires that you bring the puppy back to the breeder. This ensures that you get a healthy dog.
Contracts and guarantees can be incredibly long, despite the breed’s short history. Still, you will need to read it in full to ensure that you know what you are contractually required to do and what the breeder is contractually obligated to provide.
Puppy Genetics – The Parents
Designer breeds like the Cavachon are far less predictable in their health. Pretty much the only way to know what your puppy will look like and how healthy it will be is to learn about the parents. If the parents are healthy and have been cleared of the hereditary diseases associated with the two breeds, the puppies likely will be healthy and happy.
The parents also help to determine the personality of the puppies. There are many similarities between the King Charles Spaniel and the Bichon Frise, but there are some notable differences. If the puppies tend to take after a King Charles Spaniel that likes to chase little animals, you will need to socialize the puppy early to not chase your cat or harass the wildlife in your backyard. If the puppy takes after a particularly vocal Bichon Frise parent, you are going to want to train the puppy to be less noisy.
Selecting Your Puppy
Selecting a puppy is pretty much the same once you have determined the breed you want – and the Cavachon is no different. You want to find a dog that has the kind of personality that you want. Unlike many other breeds, you pretty much know the primary personality traits, making it relatively safe to select your puppy without having to worry that your dog will have any unexpected surprises in terms of personality.
Watch how the puppies interact with each other – decide if you want the one that is lively and bouncy, or the mellower puppy. The ones that interact more with each other can indicate how well the puppy will interact with your current pets.
Watch the overall interaction of all the puppies as well. If it seems like a majority of them are more hyper or aggressive, then you may want to wait for another litter. This is typically not a problem with the Cavachon, but it is an example of the kind of group behavior to watch for. Similarly, you want to avoid litters where the puppies seem generally scared and skittish. You will want to make sure the puppies have healthy interactions to ensure that your puppy is not likely to exhibit behaviors that will make training more difficult or socializing a challenge.
Then pay attention to the individual puppies to determine which on you think will work best with your family. The puppies that are very outgoing may be more demanding of attention in the home, while the ones who hang back could be lower maintenance. If all of the puppies pile forward to meet you (which could be pretty likely with a Cavachon litter), figure out which one you feel you could bond with the fastest.
When you are picking the puppy, look for the one that exhibits the personality traits that you want in your Cavachon. If you want a forward, friendly, excitable dog, the first one to greet you may be the one you seek. If you want a dog that will think things through and let others get more attention, this is mellower dog that may be better for your home.
Beware of Puppy Mills
With all designer dogs, you have to be very wary of puppy mills. They parents are treated poorly and health issues (both current and genetic) can go largely ignored. This could cause significant problems for the puppies as potential health issues will be ignored in them as well. Puppy mills don’t tend to offer contract or guarantees, and the puppies likely will not have had all of the necessary medical attention prior to leaving the parents.
Puppy mills have a bad name for a good reason, and many of them are shut down for having poor living conditions for their dogs and puppies. They are only interested in turning the dogs into a quick profit and will do only the minimum to care for the puppies. When puppy mills are shut down, the dogs and puppies end up with rescuers.
Adopting an Older Dog
If you do not want to go through all of the necessary training, there are some older Cavachon up for adoption. As a new breed, there are not as many rescues specifically for the Cavachon, but you can still find some Cavachon adults who need a good home.
Skipping the puppy phase has many benefits, especially If you don’t want to dedicate hours every day to training a puppy. You can skip the sleepless nights and accidents in the home, and there are many people who want to start with all of that difficult work out of the way. Instead of basic training, you can get right to the good stuff with an adult Cavachon. This is really the appeal of rescuing or adopting an older dog.
Even though they are no longer puppies, Cavachon adults will probably bond with the family relatively quickly because they love people. You will be able to dive right into the kinds of training you want to do and include the dog in longer walks. They will enjoy all of the new stuff you have to show them without wanting to eat the leash while you walk. They have a much better attention span and can pick up on your facial cues to get a better idea of what you want. The older the Cavachon, the better the lap dog too. They love the 30 minutes of walking and the several hours of being a couch potato with you, anything that you want to do will make them happy.
Adult Cavachons are ideal for individuals and families who do not have the time or patience to work with a puppy. You will need to be more careful of older Cavachon if you have pets because if they were not properly socialized, there may be some initial tension in your home.
There are not many Cavachon rescues because it is a designer dog. A large portion of the Cavachons currently in shelters and rescue systems because of the shutdown of puppy mills that had poor breeding practices and unhealthy environmental conditions. This does not mean that there is definitely something wrong with the dog.
You can look around your area for local rescues that specialize in Cavachons. Make sure to set aside time to visit the rescue facility to see what kinds of conditions the dogs are living in before you make your selection. You should also ask about references or read reviews online to see what kinds of experiences you are likely to have with the rescue. This is true if you go to a shelter as well.
Most shelters and rescues will establish requirements for your dog because they want to find the right forever home for their dogs. Once a dog leaves, they want to make sure that the dog is treated well and does not end up back at the shelter needing a new home. You are not likely to have any information on the health and personality of the parents, which means vet visits are going to be critical for your Cavachon. Shelters and rescues do some of this, but typically cannot complete a full battery of tests that can help you understand any potential health issues. This means you are going to need to plan to spend a bit more to ensure the health of your dog, but you aren’t going to need to keep returning to the vet like you would with a puppy.
Introducing an Older Cavachon to Children and Other Pets
Adult Cavachon are already trained to a certain point, and you can train them further if you have certain behaviors you don’t like. However, if they were not socialized when they were young, they may not be as patient with children and other pets. You will want to know the adult Cavachon’s history with small animals and children before bringing your new dog home to them. If there is no certainty that the dog has been exposed to either, you will need to be extra careful about the introductions.
Cavachon aren’t aggressive or territorial, but children and other pets can be a unique challenge for a Cavachon who has not lived with them. Make sure your child understands that there will be no playing with the dog without adult supervision for the first week, at the very least. You probably keep play supervised for the first month to make sure your dog is adjusting alright to the new environment. Your Cavachon will be more accepting of the children and other pets once the dog feels safer. They are people pleasers, but you want to make sure there is no unnecessary stress on them as they are getting familiar with their new environment.
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