At least once a week (maybe more often) a new member of an online forum will ask owners, breeders and shoppers which of these two hybrids they should choose. Unfortunately, the person posting the request rarely provides enough personal details (how many kids, size of home, time for the dog, how often they exercise the dog, etc.) for people to give educated opinions so instead everyone just starts the normal back and forth about how great their dog is leaving the prospective shopper with less of an answer than they'd hoped for. Additionally, those who actually have experience in both breeds get worn out of answering the same question over and over and therefore often don't chime in at all. In an effort to post our reply in one place for reference, we thought we'd write this post and invite you to share it whenever you see this question presented.
When someone is asking for a recommendation between a Cavapoo and a Cavachon, what they are really asking for is a recommendation between a Bichon Frise and a Poodle as the other 1/2 of the dog is consistently the same (for purposes of this post, we are discussing only F1 hybrids and not F1b or F2 although in those instances this comparison is even more important). Here is that comparison:
TEMPERAMENT - Just as personality is an important element in any friendship so is a breed’s temperament. Understanding a breed’s temperament will help you choose your canine friend. Please see our other posts on the temperament of the purebred Cavalier King Charles Spaniel as it's truly what makes these hybrids so special but for this comparison it's back to Poodle versus Bichon to understand the difference.
Both the Poodle and the Bichon Frise thrive on attention. As a consequence, both breeds can suffer from separation anxiety when left alone for long periods of time. This means they can become very anxious over being separated from their owners and their behavior may turn aggressive and destructive. Though both breeds may seem similar in temperament (affectionate, sensitive, and intelligent), there are several differences between the two, mainly a result of their being bred for very different purposes..
HEALTH - All breeds of dogs have the potential to suffer from genetic health problems, just as all humans have the potential to inherit certain diseases. A reputable breeder will be honest and knowledgeable about common health problems and will have screened to avoid them where possible. Health issues of the Cavalier are one of the main motivations for these hybrid breeds so it's important to be aware of the health issues the Poodle or Bichon may also bring to the table. Both Bichon Frises and Poodles are generally healthy breeds with a life span of 12-15 years. Still, each has its own list of medical predispositions and since the health of the dog’s parents greatly contributes to its own health, it is important to find a responsible breeder who will disclose health clearances for both of the dog’s parents, as their health may be the best predictor of your puppy’s health. With the recent introduction of DNA screening in breeding stock it's hopeful many of these issues won't soon be so common. Here's what to look for in each breed:
EXERCISE - Some people love to exercise their animals, others don't. If you are particularly active and looking for a running companion, I would suggest that neither of these breeds is for you. Neither breed needs tons of exercise but there are some differences to consider here:
GROOMING - Keep in mind this is a grooming comparison of Poodle versus Bichon so you can understand their coat differences. Once intentionally bred with a Cavalier, the coat changes substantially but this should help you understand why Cavachons and Cavapoos can take on very different appearances.
AND THE WINNER IS . . . really up to you. We have to confess that Cavachons are perhaps our favorite breed to walk the earth but it's simply because we're lazy. While you will always hear from someone who has an "overly energetic Cavachon" or a "lazy Cavapoo" the opposite is generally true. If you want a higher energy dog that loves to learn but also demands more exercise to avoid destructive behaviors then the Cavapoo is more likely for you. If you like to spend your Saturdays watching football and want a friend and foot-warmer, then you might prefer the Cavachon. The truth is that either dog, when well bred and properly trained, can fit almost any family, any space and adapt to any situation. And luckily, there is no wrong choice.
This blog contains affiliate links. I may earn commissions from qualifying purchases made from links on this blog. We do not recommend any products that we do not purchase and use for our dogs.