Most crossbreeds have been intentionally bred to create a specific type of dog. The Cavapoo, for example, is a cross between a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and a Poodle and is one of the oldest “designer” crossbreeds.
A crossbreed dog, such as a Cavapoo, is a dog whose parents are from two different breeds who have not been selectively bred for their appearance. Hopefully, in years to come, Cavapoos will become recognized by various canine governing organizations.
First bred in America in the 1950s, Cavapoos were initially created in order to produce a friendly, affectionate, non-shedding dog that did not suffer from the genetic conditions associated with their purebred parents. We love our Cavapoo Rosie and regardless of whether she is a crossbred or pedigree, we wouldn’t have her any other way.
What is a crossbreed?
The term crossbreed refers to dogs with parents from different breeds – for instance, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and a Poodle, creating a Cavapoo or Cavoodle as they are otherwise known.
Sometimes crossbreeds are bred together for a long enough time that they are eventually considered a new pedigree breed. The Cesky Terrier, which was initially a crossbreed between a Scottish Terrier and a Sealyham Terrier, is an example of how certain breeds can eventually become recognized by The Kennel Club.
There is hope that due to the popularity of Cavapoos, that they will eventually become recognized as a pedigree in their own right.
A mixed-breed dog that is made up of three or more different breeds, however, is known as a mongrel or mutt.
How to classify a Cavapoo
Crossbreed dogs are labelled according to their generation.
In dog terminology, the ‘F’ stands for “Filial” which means son/daughter/offspring and the number stands for the generation.
Therefore, when it comes to Cavapoos, they are classed as:
- F1 Cavapoo – This is when a purebred Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is bred with a purebred Toy or Miniature poodle. This is the most common Cavapoo crossbreed and usually has the most vigor (strength and health).
- F1b Cavapoo – If a Cavapoo is bred back with a Poodle, this is called an F1b. These Cavapoos are most likely to have the least shedding coat.
- F2 Cavapoo – To create an F2 Cavapoo you need to breed two Cavapoos together. These dogs will have less vigor but breeders can have more control over which attributes are selected.
- F3 Cavapoos – If two F2 Cavapoos are bred together then the puppies are classed as F3 – and so on for future generations (although this happens rarely).
For more detailed information on the different generations of Cavapoos, including reverse breeding, please refer to our blog on what is a Cavapoo?
What is the difference between a Purebred and a Pedigree?
Different people or organizations have their own definition of what makes a dog a pedigree. Some owners feel that a pedigree dog has to be recognized by and registered with The Kennel Club, while others believe that if its parents are the same breed, then they can be classed as a pedigree.
Although the terms pedigree and purebred are interchangeable there is a noticeable difference. Whereas Purebred means it has a known ancestry where two parents are of the same breed, Pedigree refers to has a written record of its breeding.
Most pedigree dogs have up to five generations of family history recorded and are completely purebred. If, however, you buy a purebred without Kennel Club pedigree papers then technically it is not purebred as you do not have the dog’s ancestry recorded to prove it.
Cavapoos – Meet the Parents
Your Cavapoo, regardless of its classification, will be a combination of a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and a Miniature or Toy Poodle. Although it is impossible to determine which traits and characteristics your Cavapoo will inherit, their parentage can inform you of likely temperament, physical attributes, and health concerns.
Here we examine each pedigree breed in detail.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniels
The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel can be traced back to 16th Century England when these toy dogs were popular amongst ladies in court. It wasn’t until later, however, that they first got their name from King Charles II who owned several Toy spaniels himself.
The breed we know and love today was created in 1928 when they officially became recognised as “Cavalier King Charles Spaniels”. Few breeds can match the unassuming friendly and devoted nature of these dogs who are at their most content when they are spending time with their human owners and other dogs.
Miniature or Toy Poodles
Poodles are thought to be one of the oldest breeds of dog that are still in existence today and while Standard Poodles are the oldest variant, Toy and Miniature soon followed. Originally developed in Germany they quickly became popular in France as a water retriever.
Poodles are incredibly clever, with only Border Collies outranking them in intelligence tests. Toy Poodles tend to be much more loyal to their owners and make excellent family pets although they are often prone to picking up bad behavior. Our Cavapoo Rosie is a half Toy Poodle and she is definitely our cheeky, little shadow. Miniature Poodles are considered more playful and are slightly taller in stature.
Benefits of choosing a crossbreed dog
Pedigrees are more likely to have health problems than crossbreed and mixed breeds because they are less genetically diverse and it is for this reason that F1 Cavapoos, which are the direct offspring of a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and a Poodle, are thought to be less likely to suffer from each breeds genetic conditions.
Due to the selective breeding of Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, these dogs have a number of hereditary conditions. These include Mitral Valve Disease, which can cause epilepsy and, in some circumstances, even be fatal. They also suffer from a condition affecting the spine known as Syringomyelia.
Like other purebreds, both Toy and Miniature Poodles can be prone to Addison’s Disease, thyroid problems, hip dysplasia, and epilepsy. Some also suffer from patellar luxation which is when the kneecap does not sit in the patellar groove properly, causing it to pop out the dog’s knee is bent.
Because of these health issues, pedigree dogs are often more expensive to insure than crossbreeds. For more information on the different types of pet insurances for your Cavapoo, please read our informative guide.
Crossbreeds, such as Cavapoos tend to take the best traits from each bloodline to produce a totally unique companion. For example Cavapoos are often quick to train as they get their intelligence from the Poodle parentage, yet they are loyal, which is a key trait of a Cavalier Spaniel.
So we can conclude that a Cavapoo is in fact a crossbreed. And, whilst we won’t be seeing any Cavapoos strutting their stuff around the arenas of Westminster or Crufts any time soon, we can enjoy all the benefits that this loveable breed has inherited from its purebred parents.