If you’re looking to buy a beautiful, low-maintenance mixed-breed poodle puppy, you may be wondering how to choose between a cockapoo vs cavapoo. Cockapoos and cavapoos are popular choices because they’re gorgeous, family-oriented and low-shedding.

On the outside, the cockapoo and cavapoo may seem similar, but each dog breed has its unique features. So it’s important to learn about both breeds so that facts and not just aesthetics inform your decision. Learn more below to help you decide which poodle mix breed is right for your family.

Introduction to Cockapoos vs Cavapoos: What Are They?

As mentioned, both cockapoos and cavapoos have a poodle parent. The cockapoo (aka cockerpoo) results from crossbreeding a cocker spaniel and a poodle. Conversely, the cavapoo is the result of crossbreeding a Cavalier King Charles spaniel and a poodle. The poodle gene makes both breeds low-shedding and friendly.

If you’re looking to buy one of these puppies, it’s important to note that while they’re not purebred dogs, they are one of the first designer dogs in America. Regardless, they’re still gorgeous companions ideal for allergy sufferers and families with children.

It’s difficult to predict the personality, temperament, intelligence and coat color of cockapoos and cavapoos. These attributes can vary widely depending on the parent dogs’ attributes, but the following sections can help you understand the general similarities and differences between these dog breeds.

Cavapoo vs Cockapoo - cockapoo sitting on a park

Cockapoo vs Cavapoo Size: Which Breed Is Bigger?

Neither the cockapoo nor the cavapoo is a big dog. Mature cockapoos are just 11-14 inches tall (28-36 cm) — their head reaches the knee of an average adult. Note that the standard measure of the size of a dog is the distance from paw to shoulder blade. 

Cavapoos can be heavier but no different in height from the cockapoo. Mature cavapoos are 9-14 inches tall and weigh 10-25 pounds. 

A Cavapoo sitting on the sofraA Cockapoo walking through the snow on a sunny day

Effect of Poodle Genes on the Size of a Cockapoo or Cavapoo

The actual size of your cockapoo or cavapoo will depend on the poodle parentage. Toy and miniature poodles are the most common breeds used, but cockapoos and cavapoos can also have teacup toy poodle (extra small — under 6 pounds) or standard/maxi poodle genes (the biggest of the four).

Both the toy cockapoo and toy cavapoo bred from toy poodles will be smaller, given that the adult dogs only reach 10 inches in height and 4-6 pounds weight. A miniature poodle can reach 10-15 inches in height and 15-17 pounds, so their pups can also grow larger.

You’ll often find that cavapoos are larger than cockapoos. This is because most cavapoos are bred from miniature or standard Poodles, so they can grow bigger. It isn’t uncommon to find cavapoos that are over 20 pounds in weight when fully grown.

Cockapoos and cavapoos will be fully grown by their first birthday because they’re relatively small dogs. Diet, exercise and general health also determine the size of a cockapoo or cavapoo puppy/dog.

If the size of your cockapoo or cavapoo puppy matters to you, look into its parents’ breed to know what size your dog will be when fully grown.

History and Background of Cockapoos and Cavapoos

As mentioned, both cockapoos and cavapoos are mixed-breed dogs. Neither breed is purebred; you won’t be able to register them with the American Kennel Club.

However, they earn their place among designer dog breeds because their parents — poodles, cocker spaniels and Cavalier King Charles spaniels — are extremely desirable and popular breeds. They have top-tier looks, personalities and temperaments. 

The cavapoo, also known as the cavoodle in Australia, was intentionally bred for the first time in the late 1990s. It’s difficult to pinpoint its exact origin since several breeders claim credit for the breed. Still, an Australian breeder is widely accepted as the first intentional breeder of poodles and Cavalier King Charles spaniels to produce cavapoos. 

Like the cavapoo, the cockapoo became popular at the turn of the century, although they’ve been around much longer, since about the late 1950s. 

Unsurprisingly, the first cockapoo was a happy accident that resulted in a cute, intelligent breed resembling a live teddy bear. It’s easy to see why they’ve become so popular in just two decades.

Cockapoo vs Cavapoo: Which Breed Is Easier To Train?

Both cockapoos and cavapoos are friendly, social and intelligent dogs, making them easier to train than many other breeds. However, even these dogs should be socialized into appropriate behavior at an early age.

Training Mixed Poodle Pups

Cockapoo puppies and cavapoo puppies can have short attention spans, which can make training a bit more challenging. If you’re a first-time dog owner, remember to be patient with your new pup. Keep the training sessions short and fun, with many rewards and positive reinforcement. 

Cockapoos share the trait of eagerness to please and intelligence with their cocker spaniel parents, so they’ll eventually pick up on the habits you want. You should also remember that both cavapoos and cockapoos are sensitive dogs. Avoid harshness — shouting or smacking — as they don’t respond well to negative treatment. 

Comparing Learning Curves of Cockapoos and Cavapoos

Given general guidelines, cockapoos can be a little harder to train than cavapoos. If your heart is set on a cockapoo, prepare to put in a little more time and effort to housetrain your puppy. 

If you’re not confident in your ability to persevere, you can hire someone or take dog training classes. Alternatively, you can get a partially trained dog, which will be easier to induct into your household. 

Cockapoo playing with a small girl

Cavapoo vs Cockapoo: Grooming and Maintenance

Grooming and care are the most important things to consider when getting a pet. Both the cavapoo and cockapoo are generally low-maintenance dogs. As low-shedding crossbreeds, they make wonderful family pets for people with asthma or allergy issues.

Of course, no dog can be completely maintenance-free. For cockapoos and cavapoos, owners should know that the dogs’ coats can be prone to matting (this is common with all fluffy dogs).

To manage this problem, owners should groom the coats every few weeks — an easy at-home job — paying close attention to the paws, the eyes and the area near the tail. Perform a thorough shampoo and grooming or trimming every 5-6 weeks. You can also use professional groomers if you prefer not to do it yourself.

The wavy or curly coat should be brushed daily using a slicker comb to prevent knotting — a worse problem in cavapoos than cockapoos. The latter has a thinner coat that makes cockapoo grooming much easier. Curly coats need daily brushing, while you can brush twice weekly for wavy or straight coats. 

Daily brushing has another benefit: It helps you bond with your dog and gets the dog used to being handled. This means it’ll be less fussy in the hands of professional groomers. 

Happy cockapoo running

Cockapoo vs Cavapoo: How Much Exercise Do They Need?

There’s no right or wrong answer when thinking about how much you want to exercise your pet. For example, more active families may prefer a dog that can keep up with their active outdoorsy lives, while some prefer chill companion dogs.

If you’re more active, you’ll find the cockapoo a better companion than the cavapoo. Cockapoos need more exercise in general; they find their bliss running out in the open — in the park or neighborhood. More indoor-oriented families may find the comparatively laid-back cavapoo their ideal companion.

Cockapoo and Cavapoo Temperaments: Which Dog Is Friendlier?

Cockapoos and cavapoos not only look gorgeous, they have gentle, lively and endearing personalities. This makes both breeds great family dogs that fit into apartment living — as small dogs, they don’t need lots of space to thrive. 

Both mixed poodle breeds are ideal companions for older adults and children since they’re small, easy to handle and require moderate exercise. 

Cavapoo Temperament

Cavapoo running on a playground

Cavapoos are affectionate, sociable, playful and loyal dogs. They get attached to their owners very quickly, and they may be prone to separation anxiety, especially as pups.

Cavapoos need about 30 minutes of exercise — playing or walking — per day. However, they can be very energetic sometimes; you just need to play or exercise longer to get rid of the excess energy. They pick up tricks easily; training may be challenging at first but will pay off big-time in the long haul.

The cavapoo has a graceful, gentle, and adaptable nature — a gift from their Cavalier King Charles spaniel side. However, it’s important to mention that nurture and experiences can affect your dog’s temperament. It isn’t uncommon, for example, to have your cavapoo being reserved when there are visitors.

Cockapoo Temperament

Cockapoos are also loving, outgoing and friendly dogs. They’re also likely to inherit their Cocker Spaniel parent’s playful, faithful and affectionate traits. Cockapoo puppies are generally more energetic, which means they’ll need more playtime or exercise than cavapoos. 

Cockapoos are an intelligent breed and pick up tricks quickly, just like their counterparts. Although some groomers assert that cavapoos can be easier to train, there’s no significant difference in the training learning curve. 

Note that both dogs can suffer from separation anxiety, especially when young, so they’ll be happier in homes where someone is around most of the day.

Cockapoo vs Cavapoo: Common Health Issues and Lifespan

Cockapoos and cavapoos inherit another desirable trait from their poodle side: They’re relatively healthy dogs. Most of the health issues they may have come from their cocker spaniel or Cavalier King Charles spaniel side. 

It’s critical to source your puppy from a reputable breeder like Pride & Prejudoodles that understands the health implications of both spaniel dogs and can trace the medical histories of their pups’ parents. 

Cavapoo Health Concerns

The Cavalier King Charles spaniel is known to be prone to heart mitral valve disease (MVD), which can be fatal. MVD is often hereditary, so you should investigate the medical background of the dog’s parents.  Cavapoos may also suffer from syringomyelia or Neck Scratcher’s disease — you can tell your dog has it if they keep scratching the air near their necks. Syringomyelia causes the formation of fluid-filled cavities in the spinal cord close to the brain.

Other potential health issues that cavapoos may have include:

  • Atopy — skin allergies and dermatitis
  • Patellar luxation — knee issues
  • Cerebellar abiotrophy — a progressive brain disease that affects balance and limbic coordination
  • Hip dysplasia — more common in cockapoos but can affect cavapoos

Cockapoo Health Concerns

The cockapoo may inherit an abnormality of the hip socket that’s common to their cocker spaniel parentage. This can cause hip dysplasia in varying degrees — advanced cases can lead to painful joint arthritis or crippling lameness. Cockapoos may also suffer from progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), a hereditary condition. PRA is like retinitis pigmentosa in humans; it causes a gradual degradation of both retinas. Eventually, the dog’s vision deteriorates and it becomes completely blind.

Other potential health issues that cavapoos may have include:

  • Atopy — skin allergies and dermatitis
  • Patellar luxation — knee issues
  • Glaucoma — elevated pressure in the eye
  • Hip dysplasia — more common in cockapoos but can affect cavapoos

Cockapoo and Cavapoo Life Expectancy

While both cockapoos and cavapoos can suffer from various health conditions, it’s clear that cockapoos are less likely to suffer from more severe health problems. Their common illnesses are eye- and joint-related, and the likelihood of these can be minimized by getting your dog from a reputable breeder. 

Considering the average life expectancy of both dog breeds, the cockapoo also lives longer than the cavapoo. Cavapoos live for about 12-16 years, while cockapoos live for two years more, about 14-18 years. 

Summary: Which Is the Right Dog for My Family?

You can see that both cockapoos and cavapoos are genial, attractive and intelligent dogs, so your family needs will be the biggest determining factor of the kind of dog you should get. Once you have your new puppy, be sure to play your part to give your new family pet the best home they can get.  

Whether you choose to adopt a cockapoo or cavapoo, remember to get your puppies from a good breeder who knows the medical history and genetic traits of the dogs they have.