All dog owners frequently wonder if a dog breed is aggressive before making a decision on a breed. While there are some dog breeds that are aggressive, most breeds are generally well-behaved. Dog aggression is usually not a genetic trait or breed-specific; aggression comes from inadequate socializing and training, as well as stress, and fear of unusual situations.
With these key details in mind, it’s still important to take a look at Cavapoo and dog aggression in general.
So, are Cavapoos aggressive? Cavapoos are not aggressive dogs as they are a cross between the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and the Miniature Poodle which are not considered aggressive breeds. Cavapoos might only show signs of aggression when they are stressed, threatened or fear something.
This isn’t to say that a Cavapoo will never show signs of aggression. All dogs can be provoked or are susceptible to moments of fear or territorial dominance. Rosie our Cavapoo has never shown alarming signs of aggression; only some growling or anxious and playful snapping when she is unhappy or really enjoying her playtime. Different situations and upbringings will create different circumstances for a Cavapoo, which is what we will explore in this article.
What Makes a Cavapoo Aggressive?
Aggression when it comes to dogs is popularly thought of as the behavior that is seen in attack dogs or a guard dog; however, the term aggression can mean that a dog is agitated and not necessarily dangerous.
Aggression in dogs can be defined as spoken or physical behavior that is threatening or involves harm to someone or something.Canadian Veterinary Journal
Therefore, you may notice that a puppy or dog of either old or young age may growl or bark at a person, but it doesn’t have to always mean the puppy or dog will snap or bite. To attain a better understanding of possible Cavapoo aggression, it helps to take a look at the temperament of the two breeds that create a Cavapoo.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Temperament
A Cavalier is an interesting type of dog for a variety of reasons. Its small frame would have you think this type is like one of the small designer breeds toted around in someone’s bag, but the Cavalier is bred to be a rustic, hunting animal despite its toy size. But despite the energetic and hunting characteristics of the breed, the Cavalier craves companionship and affection, which makes it one of the best breeds for a family.
Although the breed is fun and affectionate, the Cavalier may bark a lot at the slightest sounds or moments of uncertainty. It is common for new owners to mistake this barking as possible aggression, but this is just part of the Cavalier’s curiosity. Apart from the instances where King Charles may feel afraid or anxious just like any other dog, this breed is not known to overly aggressive and is a great choice for a family.
Miniature Poodle Temperament
The miniature poodle is not far off from the Cavalier in terms of behavior and overall aggression. Poodles are a bit more territorial of their space than what is seen with the Cavalier and have a higher display of entitlement, but you usually do not have to worry about this dog becoming overly aggressive to the point of being dangerous.
An important aspect to keep in mind about this type of dog is the amount of training passed on from the owner. Poodles are a bit feisty and high-strung, which can sometimes be observed in a Cavapoo that wishes to be left alone. This isn’t likely to raise many alarms with owners; the dogs are spunky and love to challenge their owners, but not harm them or lash out.
Possible Causes of Cavapoo Aggression
Since both Cavapoo parents are generally well-behaved and give off very little warning signs of aggressive behavior, let’s explore some of the possible causes if you are noticing Cavapoo aggression.
Apart from their territory and being protective of it and its owners, any dog’s main need in life will be a well-balanced diet and regular feedings.
The same is true for the Cavapoo, and it is not uncommon to notice growling or even a bit of snapping from a Cavapoo if he/she feels their food is somehow being compromised. You may have noticed this if you ever try and pull your Cavapoo away from the food bowl or if you attempt to reach your hand into or near the bowel when the dog is eating.
More often than not, this will not result in biting or injury and is actually a normal reaction from dogs when they feel that their food is being compromised. A Cavapoo not eating enough could also lead to irritability, and this could cause the dog to snap or growl.
Past Abuse or Neglect
If you have purchased or adopted a young or older Cavapoo, there is a great deal of uncertainty in what the home life for the dog may have been prior to being rehomed. If the home had more than one dog, aggression could also come from the frequent competition the Cavapoo may have felt from other dogs in the home.
Cavapoo puppies that have been raised by the same owners throughout their lives will not typically feature aggression from this example. But if a Cavapoo was abused at one time in the past or, its needs were not being met for basic survival and affection, this can lead to aggressive tendencies that could take a long time for the Cavapoo to overcome.
Injury or Accident
If a Cavapoo is injured in an accident or is feeling unwell for whatever reasons, aggression can be a potential problem if the animal is in distress. Keeping distance from a Cavapoo during injury and sickness is the best method to take to avoid triggering any aggressive tendencies. Always be sure to make an appointment with a veterinarian if your Cavapoo is sick or injured.
This is more common in females but can also be a problem at times for males as well. During the menstrual cycle, a female Cavapoo can become aggressive due to hormonal irregularities that can result from fluctuations in brain chemistry. A female may snap or growl during this phase, therefore, it is important to give a dog as much space as possible.
If you wish for your Cavapoo not to go through this phase or have puppies, be sure to consult a veterinarian about possible options.
Are Cavapoos Biters?
All dogs are capable of biting, yet this is not something that is known with a Cavapoo although it is possible without proper training and obedience. Dogs bite for a variety of reasons, but a Cavapoo is not bred to bite people. It’s even rare to find instances where a Cavapoo has been overly aggressive to the point of biting an owner or family member.
If you ever have an incident where your dog bites you or a family member, immediately have the bite inspected by a medical professional and then consider some thorough training exercises with your dog to curb any aggression that may be present in the dog.
It is not always a cause for drastic concern if a Cavapoo bites in an isolated incident, but their behavior must be addressed to prevent any future aggression that could come from habit if the dog’s behavior is not correctly addressed.
If your dog is a puppy that bites frequently, socialization training can be utilized to prevent aggression both during the puppy stage and to teach the dog to respect people in the future. Puppies are one thing, but if your dog is no longer little, it may take more complex behavioral modification techniques to correct this behavior.
Are Cavapoos Good Family Dogs?
Having a Cavapoo is a great addition to your family since these dogs love to be around people and need daily attention and affection from their family. As we have discussed, aggression is practically non-existent with these dogs, and would only ever show up if a Cavapoo was in extreme distress or fearful of a situation.
A Cavapoo is great to have around children and would make perfect pets for families with multiple children. Rosie has brought both delight and companionship to our family and not a day goes by without all of us enjoying her cheerful disposition and playful spirit.
What are Cavapoo’s Behavioral Problems?
This dog is generally good around children, other dogs, and families in general, but there are some behavior problems that need to be addressed to prevent any alarming traits later in life. As a puppy, it is good to make sure any growling or snapping is addressed and corrected with scolding to let the dog know it is misbehaving, and corrective measures through increased socialization and rewards for good behavior.
But for the most part, you will find that a Cavapoo’s rambunctious and hyperactive behavior is really not a cause for alarm at all. This all depends on what type of dog you want; Cavapoos are loving and highly affectionate dogs, therefore, you have to be prepared to devote the time needed for this dog to be happy.
If barking or even growling becomes a concern, it is important to address what is making your dog do these things in the first place. If it is related to the dog wanting your attention, you need to make sure to set boundaries by establishing set times during the day to shower your dog with attention and activities.
Separation anxiety can also be a concern with a Cavapoo and could potentially cause some behavior problems. A Cavapoo that suffers from separation anxiety will often display other negative behaviors such as barking, toileting, and being destructive.
Whilst most Cavapoos can handle short periods of time left to their own devices, this isn’t always the case, and even briefs runs to the market can trigger this psychological distress in a dog. Behavioral modification therapy and providing a safe space, such as a crate (see our best crates) , is a great way to ease your dog into transitioning to inevitable moments of solitude.
A Cavapoo is not an aggressive dog, in fact, there are very few instances of this breed showing drastic behavior such as biting or destructive behavior. The key to Cavapoo training is to alert your dog that he/she is acting out of line and create positive reinforcement training techniques to properly correct the behavior.
Apart from some occasional mischief, this dog is one of the most loving and energetic breeds of dog you could ever hope to add to your family.