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Nicole Cosgrove

June 18, 2021
The Cava-Tzu is a mixed dog with two purebred parents the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and the Shih Tzu. She is a small cross with a life span of 10 to 15 years who can often be found taking part in agility, watchdog, competitive obedience and tricks. She is a playful little dog who is also intelligent and loyal.
Here is the Cava-Tzu at a Glance
Average height 9 to 18 inches
Average weight 10 to 16 pounds
Coat type Fine, medium ,silky, thick
Hypoallergenic? No
Grooming Needs Moderate to fairly high
Shedding Moderate
Brushing Two to three times a week
Touchiness Quite sensitive
Tolerant to Solitude? Low to moderate
Barking Occasional
Tolerance to Heat Low to moderate
Tolerance to Cold Good
Good Family Pet? Excellent
Good with Children? Very good to excellent
Good with other Dogs? Very good
Good with other Pets? Good to very good
A roamer or Wanderer? Moderate
A Good Apartment Dweller? Excellent
Good Pet for new Owner? Excellent
Trainability Easy to train
Exercise Needs Slightly active
Tendency to get Fat Fairly high
Major Health Concerns Patellar luxation, kidney problems, bladder problems, eye problems, Umbilical hernia, liver problems, heart problems, SM, episodic falling,
Other Health Concerns Allergies, hip dysplasia, ear infections, dental problems, snuffles, reverse sneezing,
Life Span 10 to 15 years
Average new Puppy Price $450 to $750
Average Annual Medical Expense $435 to $535
Average Annual Non-Medical Expense $275 to $400

Where does the Cava-Tzu come from?

The Cava-Tzu is a recent example of a designer dog. Designer dogs are mixed dogs that being bred on purpose. They are usually the direct offspring of two purebreds. A lot are given a name that combines part of the parent’s names. There is a real mix of opinion about this trend. A lot of dog fans are against them for a number of reasons. Some see them as just over priced mutts and that there are plenty of dogs that need re-homing in shelters if a mixed breed is what you want. They also argue that a lot of these breed combinations are not a good idea. The biggest argument is that these dogs have led to a big number of bad breeders and puppy mills. As some of these points have some validity especially the increase in puppy mills check your breeder out carefully before buying from them. Since we have no information on the Cava-Tzu origins here is a look at the parents.

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

During the 16th to 18th centuries this was a popular dog bred to be a companion, especially in the royal courts of King Charles I and II hence the name. However by the mid 19th century he had fallen out of favor and was also most gone. But by the mid 1800s he had nearly disappeared. An American breeder in the 1920s was able to revive the breed and re-establish it.

This dog is very social and loves people. Anyone is a potential lap to sit on or someone to lavish attention on them. His temperament is varied, he can be quiet, noisy, playful and energetic. He will follow you too as he does not do well being left alone. He loves to eat and is fairly smart so will probably go along with training if there are treats as rewards!

The Shih Tzu

The Shih-Tzu is thought to be in the top 14 oldest breeds around, coming from either Tibet or China. They were treasured as companion dogs and can be found in paintings and documents across Tibetan and Chinese history. They were referred to as little lion dogs and were docile, intelligent and happy. The first breeding pair to leave China and come to England happened in 1928.In 1969 he was recognized as a breed by the American Kennel Club.

The Shih-Tzu today is still very much a companion dog. He wants to please and be with you, he is very affectionate and loves to receive it too. He will spend as much time as he can in your lap and is a happy little dog when he has lots of attention. He can be lively and likes to play and is friendly too.


The Cava-Tzu is an intelligent and active dog who loves to get lots of attention. She loves to play but after a good amount of fun she will then happily nap. She is super loyal and is a great family or companion dog. She does have a tendency to jump around when excited. She is friendly and loving but she can have an independent side. There will be times where she is very entertaining and times when she is quiet and calm. She is eager to please, gets along well with children and other pets and has a bubbly personality. She would adapt well to a family or living with seniors.

What does the Cava-Tzu look like

She is a small dog weighing 10 to 16 pounds and standing 9 to 18 inches tall. She has a round face, eyes that are dark, ears that hang down to the neck and a shiny black nose. She can have a coat like either parent so it can be fine, medium to long, silky and thick. Common colors are brown, white, red, black, tan, tri colored or bi colored.

Training and Exercise Needs

How active does the Cava-Tzu need to be?

She is a slightly active dog, she can adapt to apartment living due to her size, and part of her exercise can be the play she has indoors. But she does not a couple of walks a day and will enjoy visiting a dog park, playing fetch and so on. When she is not getting enough activity she will become restless and is likely to exhibit poor behavior. She may also put on some weight. Access to a yard is not a requirement but it would a bonus place for her to be off leash and play. Keep in mind she is a good jumper so your fences should be higher than you might think.

Does she train quickly?

She is intelligent and eager to please so she tends to be easy to train. She will listen to commands and is inclined to obey and should need less repetition than many other dogs. However when it comes to house training that may take a little longer as with a lot of small dogs. Make sure you start training and socialization young, it will lead to her being the best dog she can be able to face a variety of people and situations. Training will also help curb her tendency to jump on people when she gets excited. Use positive methods like rewards, treats and praise. Be firm but be fair and always be consistent.

Living with a Cava-Tzu

How much grooming is needed?

She has a coat that will need brushing two to three times a week. She will need to visit a professional groomer every couple of months to have it clipped and have the hair around the ears taken care of. She should be bathed just when she needs it using a dog shampoo as it is much kinder on her skin and she can have sensitive skin sometimes. She will shed a moderate amount and is not considered to be hypoallergenic. Her hair does get small knots in it so if you skip brushing for too long it can become tangled and it can cause discomfort. Brush her teeth two to three times a week, check and wipe her ears clean once a week and have her nails clipped when they get too long.

What is she like with children and other animals?

Early training and socialization is important for any dog, it will help her so much in all her interactions. She is very good to excellent with children, she plays well with them, is affectionate with them and so on. She also good with other pets and other dogs. Make sure children are taught how to play and touch dogs in safe way.

General information

She barks occasionally and is not likely to act as a trustworthy watchdog. She should be fed ½ to 1 cup of dry dog food a day split into two meals at least. She is more adaptable to cooler weather than hot, though she prefers not to be in any extreme conditions.

Health Concerns

There are health problems that can be inherited from the parents such as Patellar luxation, kidney problems, bladder problems, eye problems, Umbilical hernia, liver problems, heart problems, SM, episodic falling, Allergies, hip dysplasia, ear infections, dental problems, snuffles and reverse sneezing. You have better chances at avoiding these problems by only buying from trusted breeders who can show parental health clearances. You should always visit before buying too so that you can check out the conditions she is kept in and possibly see the health of other animals there.

Costs involved in owning a Cava-Tzu

The cost of this puppy can range between $450 to $750. Other costs for things like crate, carrier, collar, leash, spaying, micro chipping, blood tests, deworming and shots. These come to between $360 to $400. Yearly costs for medical essentials like check ups, flea prevention, pet insurance and shots come to between $435 to $535. Other costs like food, long hair grooming, treats, toys, license and training come to between $275 to $400.


Looking for a Cava-Tzu Name? Let select one from our list!

This is a great dog for a family or as a companion. She is intelligent and playful and gets along with everyone. She would be a great friend, loyal and affectionate but would need some outdoor time and does need more grooming than some dogs.

Featured Image Credit: Piqsels

Nicole Cosgrove

Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts' knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.

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