Cavador (Cavalier King Charles Spaniel & Labrador Mix) Breed: A Complete Guide

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Height: 18-24 inches
Weight: 22-55 pounds
Lifespan: 10-14 years
Colors: Yellow, brown, black, red, golden
Suitable for: Family with children. Single people who work from home. House with yards, and active families.
Temperament: Friendly and intelligent. Happy, loyal, and warm. Great with kids and loves tricks.

If you are looking for the ultimate family dog, look no further than the Cavador. This is a designer breed that comes from two of the most popular family dogs around – the Labrador Retriever and Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. The Cavador is friendly and amazing with children. They are cute, cuddly, and the epitome of a smiling canine.

Even though this may be one of the most jovial dogs around, there is still a lot of responsibility that goes into pet ownership. You want to do your due diligence with any breed regardless of their temperament and personality traits.Divider 1

Cavador Puppies – Before You Buy…

blonde cavador puppy
Credit: Dee Dalasio, Shutterstock
Energy
Trainability
Health
Lifespan
Sociability

Bred from a Labrador Retriever and a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, this pretty pooch inherited both of its parent’s finest qualities. Before we get into all the cute puppy antics, though, it’s a good idea to take a look at where your new pup is coming from. First, let’s take a look at the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel gets its name from its royal associations. Originating in the UK around the year 1600, this breed has been popular with the royal family for centuries. It was not only their illustrious friends, however, that made them popular. This toy breed has a friendly disposition and affectionate nature that will easily win any heart.

The King Charles Spaniel has been a favorite pet of families with small children for decades. Gentle, loving, and social, these small dogs make great companions for the little ones. They are intelligent and well-behaved, as well.

Labrador Retriever

The Labrador Retriever is also a renowned canine with a long history. Originally called the Saint John’s Dog, they originated in Canada as sporting or “gun” dogs. Famous for their hunting and retrieving abilities, they were used not only to retrieve game and birds for their masters, but they also worked with fishermen by pulling their nets full of fish into shore.

The Labrador is one of the most popular dog breeds in the United States today. They are known for their alertness, high intelligence, and friendly demeanor. They are also used in a lot of service fields including seeing-eye dogs, search and rescue, and other companion positions. As the larger of the two parents, this breed is also very active and energetic.

Cavador puppies

So, what do you get when you mix these two breeds? You end up with a small to a medium-sized pup that is sunshine in a fur coat. Although you can never predict which characteristics a hybrid will have, in this case, the Cavador inherited both their parents’ best qualities.

It is thought that the Cavador was originally bred in the United States in the 1990s. Even as puppies, they are intelligent, friendly, and alert. That being said, they also have a nose for mischief; or rather, their nose gets them into mischief. They are quick to follow an interesting scent and will be all about the house tracking and hunting anything they find curious.

For that reason, it is important to provide your Cavador with toys and other mentally stimulating activities to keep them occupied. This is a pup that needs a lot of engagement, so spending time bonding with your pet is also essential.

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What’s the Price of Cavador Puppies?

Depending on the breeder, a Cavador puppy will cost you between $900 and $1,000. Again, this can have a lot to do with the kennel you choose. It is also important to note that even though this is an increasingly popular breed, many of these pups end up in shelters. If you can adopt instead of shop, you will not only be giving a deserving pet a loving home, but you will also be gaining a valuable companion.

Besides the initial cost of adoption, there are many other expenses you need to consider before you decide to invite a canine into your home. It is important to not only look at the initial investment but to determine the overall expense of caring for a dog for its entire lifetime. Cavadors can live between 10 and 14 years and are relying on you to provide them with a secure and happy lifestyle.

Here are some other expenses you can expect this dog ownership:

  • Shots
  • Vet visits
  • Medications
  • Flea and tick vaccinations
  • Food and treats
  • Grooming supplies
  • Bedding
  • Leashes and collars
  • Crates and Kennels
  • Microchipping
  • Spay and neutering
  • Toys

There can be other costs associated with your Cavador, as well. You should look at the whole picture to ensure that your puppy will enjoy the best life possible.

cavador puppy
Credit: Dee Dalasio, Shutterstock

3 Little-Known Facts About the Cavador

1. They Love Puzzles and Games

One of the most important things you can provide your Cavador is puzzles and games that will keep them interested and stimulate their minds. As a highly intelligent dog, they need more than just physical exercise.

2. They Also Love Learning Tricks

The Cavador enjoys learning tricks. They will go out of their way to learn antics on their own that make you laugh and earn them a treat or two.

3. They’re Used for Police Work

Due to their intelligence and keen sense of smell, this designer breed has been used in police work. They are effective as drug-sniffing dogs, not to mention, perp apprehending pups.

Temperament & Intelligence of the Cavador

The Cavador is the ultimate family dog. They are friendly, loving, and great with kids. Their high intelligence makes them a quick study and allows them to learn tricks and other antics quickly. Not only that, but they are also very alert and can be somewhat wary of their surroundings. This is most likely due to their hunting and working Labrador ancestors.

This pup loves to be part of the family. In fact, they do not do well with extended periods alone. It can cause them to become lonely and depressed where they may engage in destructive behavior such as barking and chewing. They are much happier just sitting by you or tagging along on errands or walks.

Due to their intelligence and overall friendly behavior, these dogs have been used in a lot of service positions such as seeing-eye dogs, police work, and anxiety companions. They make great family companions, but they are also good in a single-person household. In the latter situation, somebody that works from home or would be able to take them to work is best.

As mentioned, these pups are typically very alert and can be somewhat wary of strangers. Although they are more likely to lick than bite, they still may be somewhat reserved around new faces. With early socialization, however, they quickly adapt to new situations.

Are These Dogs Good for Families? 👪

The Cavador is exceptionally good with children. They do well with toddlers as they are very gentle and friendly. On the other hand, they excel with children that are old enough to play games with them and teach them tricks. They feel right at home with the noise and chatter of a big family, but they also are good with single-person homes. For example, this is a great breed for a senior who needs some companionship.

That being said, this is an active dog that requires a decent amount of exercise and plays time. Although the Cavador can become accustomed to living in an apartment, they do the best in homes with yards where they can go out to play to burn off some excess energy. Apartment living is not out of the question, but they would be better off if there was a dog park nearby with an active family who gets out for regular daily exercise (which we will go over more shortly).

Does This Breed Get Along with Other Pets?

When it comes to having other animals in the home, the name of the game for most dogs is early socialization. The Cavador, in general, does pretty well with other pets. They are social animals that are friendly and laid-back. That being said, they do have their hunting and retrieving genes that play a role.

If you have smaller animals such as a cat or smaller dog, you may find your pup eager to chase them. It will typically not be out of aggression, but rather the instinct to chase or just play. Again, socializing them early and getting them used to having other small faces can go a long way to keeping everyone happy in a mixed mammal household.

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Things to Know When Owning a Cavador:

If you have not already noticed, the Cavador is one of the best family dogs. Although they are not recognized by the American Kennel Club, this designer hybrid has become increasingly popular. Unfortunately, your pet’s cheery disposition is not the only consideration when deciding whether or not a particular breed will be right for you.

There are many other things to decide upon such as their dietary requirements, training, grooming, and even health issues. Below, we will take a look at all of these different factors and provide you with more details.

Food & Diet Requirements 🦴

The Calador should be provided with a diet that is designed for medium dogs with a high energy level. This generally translates to nutritious meals that are high in healthy proteins and fats along with fiber and other essential nutrients. The AAFCO recommends that each dog gets at least 28% protein per meal. You should also provide your pup with between 10 and 20% fat and 1 and 10% fiber with each meal.

Besides those basic nutrient levels, there are many other essentials your dog needs. Things like antioxidants and probiotics will keep their skin and fur healthy, boost their immune system, and keep their digestive health running smoothly. Other supplements such as fish oil, glucosamine, and vitamins will also provide healthy support for their bones, teeth, eyes, and cognitive functions.

The Cavador does not have any apparent food allergies. Therefore, the choice of recipe is up to you and your pet. It is important to keep in mind that this breed can tend to gain weight, though, especially if they are not given the proper amount of exercise. Keeping their meals at a good calorie and fat level will ensure they remain at a healthy weight.

Dry and freeze-dried foods tend to be the healthiest and most nutritious. Of course, you should always speak with your vet to determine the best meal plan for your specific dog’s weight, age, and health.

Exercise 🐕

This designer breed is very active and requires daily exercise. The optimal activity level includes a 30-minute walk per day along with some play time in the yard. To give your pet the best of both worlds, the time can be spent with the family playing catch, frisbee, tug-of-war, or any other game your pooch enjoys.

Brain Games

Equally important, you should provide your pet with toys that will stimulate their intelligence and provide an outlet for excess energy. Understandably life, the weather, and unusual situations can get in the way of your pet’s daily activities. This particular breed does very well with puzzles and other similar toys that will keep them interested and boost their smarts.

Chew Toys

It is also a good idea to give your dog a chew toy of sorts. In case of inclement weather or other situations outside of your control, it will give them something to concentrate their energy on. This is also important for times when you are not available. As mentioned earlier, the Cavador doesn’t do well with extended periods alone. Giving them something to do can help relieve separation anxiety.

Tricks and Treats

Another excellent exercise for this dog is teaching them new tricks. They catch on particularly well to this sort of entertainment. Anything that will elect a smile or laugh from you (and perhaps a tree or two) they will pick up quickly, plus they seem to enjoy it thoroughly.

Training 🎾

Training your Cavador is a pleasure. Unlike a lot of canines who require a firm but gentle hand, this breed is eager to learn and requires little more than some positive reinforcement. That being said, there is still something to be said for consistency.

Even though they are a quick study and enjoy learning what will please you, it is still important to start obedience, behavioral, and house training as early as possible. The more repetition you can provide your pet, the better they will be able to respond to commands and pick up other training.

Socialization is equally as important as the other puppy classes. Familiarizing your Cavador pup with as many sights, situations, smells, and faces as possible will prepare them for anything that may come their way in the future. The most well-behaved dogs are confident and not fearful. Exposing them to a variety of senses with positive reinforcement will allow them to experience new things with assurance that everything is okay in their world.

Grooming ✂️

This breed has what is described as “dense fur that is straight and soft”. They come in a variety of colors but the most popular shades you will find are yellow, brown, black, red, and golden. Their fur is between short and medium length with an average amount of shedding. Like most dogs, they tend to have additional shedding during the change of seasons, however.

Taking care of your Cavador’s coat is pretty simple. You should brush them with a stiff grooming brush weekly to get off any excess fur. During the shedding season, you can up the brushing to a few times a week to keep the bulk of the fur off of your furniture and carpets, though.

As far as a bath, this can be done on an as-needed basis. Something else this designer breed enjoys is swimming and mud diving. If you live near water, or you enjoy being at the beach yourself, you may find yourself giving more baths than you otherwise would. That being said, it is not something that needs to be done regularly.

Something else you will need to keep your eye on is their ears. You will need to swab out their ears with a damp cotton ball weekly to rid them of any wax build-up or any debris that could cause an ear infection. Their teeth should also be brushed daily, if possible, to prevent tartar and plaque buildup. Lastly, you will need to keep their nails trimmed regularly.

Health and Conditions🏥

One reason why pet parents opt for designer hybrids is because of what is called the “hybrid vigor”. This idea stems from a hypothesis that the offspring of two purebred parents will be healthier. The jury is out on whether this is true or not, but it is safe to say that any illness that a parent is predisposed to could potentially be passed on to the child, or puppy in this case.

 Like most dogs, the Cavador is in line for some serious and minor health conditions. Unfortunately, two conditions are more prevalent than others. Those are on the more serious side are…

Minor Conditions
  • Besides those two major concerns, there are some minor issues to be aware of, as well. Things like progressive retinal atrophy, ear infections, eye infections, and arthritis are also possible. Keep in mind, although some of these issues can be quite serious themselves, they are less likely to occur and are therefore in the minor category.
Serious Conditions
  • Mitral Valve disease Is an illness that is very prevalent in the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. Commonly known as MVD, this is a degenerative heart condition that can be anywhere from mild to severe. Although there is medication that can effectively treat this condition and extend your pet’s lifespan, it is very expensive.
  • On their Labrador side, they are predisposed to hip dysplasia. This is a condition where their hips and joints are not formed properly. As your pet ages, they will experience increased levels of pain and inflammation. Again, this can be managed with medication, but as they age it will progressively get worse and decrease their mobility.

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Male vs Female

Depending on the breed, there can be some differences between the male and female. When it comes to the Cavador, there are fewer notable differences. For example, you may find one pet is more cheerful while another one is more friendly.

In general, the difference between males and females can have a lot to do with how they’re raised, their health, and their age. Whether the animal is spayed and neutered can also play a major role in the differences between the two genders. On a whole, however, the Cavador seems to hold pretty true as far as disposition. There may be a slight weariness in the males versus females, but again, this can all be due to the individual.

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Final Thoughts

If you are looking for a friendly, family-orientated, intelligent dog, the Cavador is a breed you want to look into. They are a remarkably mild-mannered and gentle pooch that enjoys playing with kids, going for walks, and generally bonding and spending time with their family.

In conclusion, whether you are a single person working from home who enjoys daily jogs in the park or you are a family with small children living on a farm, they will be a great addition to your household. There are not many circumstances where this pup will not fit in, and you will find a bright and cheery loyal companion for life.


Featured image credit: Dee Dalasio, Shutterstock