Cava-Tzu | Dog Breed Information, Pictures, Traits & Facts

Cava-Tzu Cavalier King Charles Shih Tzu mix getting some sun
Image credit: misssophieloafie / Instagram

When you mix a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel with a Shih Tzu, you get the King Charles Shih Tzu mix, which is also known as the Cava-Tzu. This dog breed is becoming increasingly popular, and there are many reasons why.

Cava-Tzus, for starters, are known to be very affectionate and friendly. In fact, these pups have been known to form bonds with other dogs and even cats. They may be small in size, but they are big in personality. 

In this article, you will learn about the history, overall appearance, and personality traits of the Cava-Tzu dog, as well as how to care for them, where to find them for sale and adoption, and much more. Let’s get started!

Breed Overview

Height:9 – 13 inches
Weight:9 – 18 pounds
Lifespan:10 – 18 years
Coat Colors:Blenheim, white, ruby, black, silver, red, gold, liver, blue, brindle, black & white, black & tan, blue & white, brindle & white, red & white, silver & white, gold & white, tricolor
Temperament:Affectionate, lively, sociable, gentle, intelligent, trainable, adaptable
Suitable for:Households with young children; people looking for a low-maintenance pet; apartment living

What Is a Cava-Tzu?

Cava-Tzu Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Shih Tzu mix sitting on a bench
Image credit: luca.thecavatzu / Instagram

A Cava-Tzu is a cross between a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and a Shih Tzu. It is a toy breed that has been produced specifically for its small size and sweet temperament. Cava-Tzus also go by the names Cavalier Shih Tzu mix, Cava Shih Tzu, King Charles Shih Tzu mix, and Shih Tzu Cavalier mix.

As a product of two small fluffy dog breeds, the Cavatzu is the perfect mix of cuteness and cuddliness. It often sports the same long ears, soft fur, and adorable face as its parent breeds.

Furthermore, Cava-Tzus are known for being incredibly smart and reliable companions. They have an easy-going temperament that makes them ideal around other pets.

However, the Cava-Tzu being a hybrid dog means that it’s not recognized by major kennel clubs. These include the American Kennel Club (AKC), Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Club (CKCS), and the American Shih Tzu Club (ASTC).

That said, one cannot dismiss the King Charles Shih Tzu mix as a potential pet for families. Remember that this dog was bred for companionship, so it is likely that most pet lovers will fall in love with this hybrid.

Cava-Tzu Origin and History

Since the Cava-Tzu is still a relatively new breed, there is little information on its origin and history. Nonetheless, this section will attempt to summarize what we know about this dog and its parents so far.

Starting with their Shih Tzu parent, this tiny canine is native to China and was first bred for palace life. They were favored by Chinese royalty because of their toy-like stature, which made it easier for them to be carried around.

Moreover, the Shih Tzu breed has been associated with good luck since ancient times. This superstition continues today in modern Chinese culture. In fact, some Chinese people give these dogs as gifts on special occasions.

On the other hand, the Cavatzu’s other parent, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, is also a well-known royalty lap dog. It originated in Great Britain in the 17th century and was loved by many nobles and royals.

In fact, England’s King Charles II was very fond of Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. He would take them with him wherever he went, and they were often seen with him during hunting trips.

Having two well-loved companion dogs as parents, it’s no surprise that the Cava Shih Tzu is so popular with canine enthusiasts today.

Cava-Tzu Appearance

Cavalier Shih Tzu mix resting on the grass
Image credit: luca.thecavatzu / Instagram

Like other crossbreeds, the appearance of the Cava-Tzu is determined by each parent’s contribution to its genetic makeup. But surely, it will be a cute, fluffy pooch with a pushed-in snout and big eyes.

Additionally, given that the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and the Shih Tzu both possess long ears and small builds, it is safe to say that their mix will also likely have these traits.

Cava-Tzu dogs may also retain either a medium or long coat depending on how their genetics play out. Longer coats tend to be inherited from Shih Tzus, while shorter ones are more common among Cavaliers.

The same holds true for their coloration. A Shih Tzu Cavalier mix can come in any colors you’d expect from either parent. This includes black, white, black and white, brown and white, and even brindle.

If you want to see a Cava-Tzu dog in action, watch this short clip:

#Amazing Cava-Tzu puppies talkative#short videos

Cava-Tzu Size and Weight

When a Cava-Tzu puppy reaches 18 to 24 months of age, it should weigh between 9 and 18 pounds, with a height of 9 to 13 inches at the shoulder. However, it should be noted that these figures are just averages.

For one thing, the Shih Tzu and Cavalier King Charles Spaniel are breeds that have teacup varieties. Consequently, some Cava-Tzus will grow up to be on the smaller side.

Another factor that can affect the size of your King Charles Shih Tzu mix is its diet. Furthermore, as with its Shih Tzu parent, gender plays a role in determining how large it grows as well.

So, the best thing to do is take your puppy to a vet to get an accurate estimate of its adult size. This way, you will know what to expect from day one.

Cava-Tzu Temperament and Personality

Shih Tzu Cavalier mix Cava-Tzu with harness smiling
Image credit: misssophieloafie / Instagram

Given that genetics doesn’t really affect temperament, it can be hard to predict what your Cava-Tzu puppy will be like. But many Cavatzu owners swear by the breed’s loyal nature and ability to fit into any household.

Moreover, Cava-Tzus have been described as easy-going, amiable, and dedicated, which are all traits that make them great family dogs. They also typically love being around small children and are sweet to their fur parents.

However, it’s worth noting that while generally friendly with everyone in their pack, they can sometimes be reserved around new individuals or unfamiliar dogs.

Another thing to remember is that, as with their parent breeds, sex can influence how your pup behaves. For example, some female Cavaliers may be more headstrong than males.

For such reasons, you should make sure that your Cavalier Shih Tzu mix gets socialized early in life. Luckily, trainability is also a well-known attribute of this designer breed; hence, training should be fairly straightforward.

Cava-Tzu Lifespan and Health Issues

The life expectancy of a Cava-Tzu is estimated to be between 10 and 18 years. However, despite their longevity, Cava Shih Tzus may develop several health issues throughout their lifespan.

To get a better idea, the following are some health problems that may affect your Cava-Tzu’s lifespan:

  • Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome (BOAS): As a product of two breathing-impaired breeds, the King Charles Shih Tzu mix is at high risk of developing BOAS. This syndrome causes difficulty breathing, which can lead to heart failure and death.
  • Portosystemic Shunt (PSS): PSS is a condition in which your Cava-Tzu’s liver does not properly filter waste from its blood. This can cause neurological problems, including seizures, confusion, and other issues with mental function.
  • Bloat: Bloat is when the tummy of the Shih Tzu Cavalier mix becomes distended by gas, fluid, or food, preventing blood from reaching the stomach’s nerves. If left untreated, this condition can be fatal to Cava-Tzus.

In light of the health issues above, it’s critical to ensure that your Cava Shih Tzu has a long and healthy life. To do this, you must provide them with proper nutrition, exercise, and required medical care.

How to Take Care of Your Cava-Tzu

Cava Shih Tzu sitting on a rock
Image credit: luca.thecavatzu / Instagram

Owning a Cava-Tzu can be challenging because of the breed’s susceptibility to many health issues. Hence, it’s only appropriate that you do your part to help your four-legged friend live a happy and comfortable life.

This section covers the most important aspects of caring for your Cava-Tzu, including grooming, exercise, training, and nutrition. Read along to learn more.

Food and Diet

Depending on your Cava-Tzu’s size and age, it will need to eat about ¼ to 1 ½ cups of high-quality food a day, divided into 2 to 4 meals. Also, note that the breed is prone to obesity, so you’ll want to be careful not to overfeed it.

Furthermore, you should make sure that you are giving your pooch food that’s nutritionally balanced.

From fat and carb to protein and fiber, remember that everything matters in terms of what goes inside your Cavatzu’s body — so always do your research.

Cleaning and Grooming

Having parent breeds that shed minimally, the Cava-Tzu doesn’t require a lot of maintenance. However, you still need to brush your canine daily with a soft brush to remove loose hair and prevent matting.

In addition, if you don’t want your Cavalier Shih Tzu mix to become smelly, you should bathe it at least once a month. Although some owners like to wash their dogs more often than others, bathing should be done with care.

That said, beware of exceeding the recommended washing frequency for your pet, as it can lead to skin problems. Be sure to invest in a pet-friendly shampoo and conditioner as well.

Finally, regularly inspecting and cleaning your Cavalier Shih Tzu mix’s tongue, teeth, and ears are also highly suggested.

Training and Exercise

With regard to training, Cava-Tzus are incredibly intelligent and eager to learn. But they are also pretty stubborn, so you must be consistent and firm so that your Cava-Tzu will learn proper behavior.

Fortunately, positive reinforcement also works well with these pooches. These dogs are very affectionate and love pleasing their owners; hence, treats and praises can go a long way in reinforcing good behavior.

Meanwhile, if you don’t have the time for training sessions, you should hire a professional dog trainer instead. You wouldn’t want your King Charles Shih Tzu mix to develop bad habits that could be hard to fix later in life.

Lastly, since their Shih Tzu line is known for being hyperactive, it’s best to incorporate regular exercise into their daily routine. A good 30 to 60 minutes of exercise each day should help keep them calm and happy.

How Much Does a Cava-Tzu Cost? Puppy Prices & Expenses

Compared to its Shih Tzu and Cavalier King Charles Spaniel parents, the price of a Cava-Tzu puppy is somewhat lower, which falls between $900 and $1,500. But that doesn’t mean you should jump at the first offer.

If you wish to save some money, you should consider finding one from local shelters or rescue groups. The average cost of adopting a Cavatzu is around $100 to $700, which covers medical expenses and other costs.

Aside from the price of the Cava-Tzu puppy, here are other initial expenses to consider:

Type of ExpenseCost
Food and Treats$30 – $80
Bowls$10 – $30
Toys$20 – $30
Beds$30 – $200
Collars and Leashes$15 – $50
Crates and Carriers$30 – $200
Grooming Essentials$50 – $150
Initial Vet Visits$100 – $500
Initial Vaccine Shots$50 – $300
Deworming, Flea, and Tick Medications$40 – $300
Neutering or Spaying$50 – $500
Microchipping$40 – $60
Dog License$10 – $20
Other Essentials$20 – $50
Total Initial Cost$495 – $2,470

Even though these costs can be pretty overwhelming at first glance, keep in mind that some of these are one-time expenses. Once you have purchased the basics, your recurring expenses will be significantly lower than this.

Places to Find Cava-Tzu Puppies for Sale and Adoption

Cava Tzu with orange vest
Image credit: misssophieloafie / Instagram

As a new breed, the Shih Tzu Cavalier mix is not yet in every breeder’s catalog. This means that if you want to get your hands on one, you need to be willing to do some research and put in some legwork.

Once you’ve done that, here are some places where you can find Cava-Tzu puppies for sale:

  • AKC Marketplace – While the AKC Marketplace only lists purebred dogs, it does have a comprehensive directory of breeders for many different breeds. You might want to check whether any of them sell Cava-Tzu puppies.
  • Rocky Oak Cavaliers and Cavatzus – Located in Oklahoma, Rocky Oak Cavaliers is one of the few kennels that specialize in breeding Cava Shih Tzu puppies. They require a non-refundable deposit fee of $500, and the price of their Cava-Tzu puppies costs about $1,500.
  • Lancaster Puppies – Lancaster Puppies is a reputable puppy-selling site that markets canines from reputable breeders. They have a wide variety of breeds for sale, including the Cava-Tzu. You can search their website by breed or by location to find one near you.

On the other hand, if adoption is your choice in acquiring a dog, there’s also a chance you’ll find a Cava Tzu from a rescue.

Once you are ready, check out the following places where you can find Cava-Tzus for adoption:

  • Tzu Zoo Rescue – Tzu Zoo Rescue offers adoptable Cava Shih Tzus that are already microchipped, vaccinated, heartworm-tested, and altered. Their adoption fees vary greatly, ranging anywhere from $200 to $500.
  • Northstar Shih Tzu Rescue – Since 2013, Northstar Shih Tzu Rescue has dedicated itself to saving Shih Tzu mixes like Cavatzus. They also provide education on responsible pet ownership and support animal welfare groups across the country.

Another option is to search for groups and forums dedicated to Cavatzus. Many of these groups will have members willing to adopt their dogs out to other homes.

Pros and Cons of Owning a Cava-Tzu Dog

While there are many good reasons to own a Cava-Tzu dog, there are also some potential drawbacks for you to consider. Note that this breed is not suitable for everyone and should only be owned after careful research.

To help you make an informed decision, here are the pros of owning a King Charles Shih Tzu mix:

  • Low-shedding tendency: With the Shih Tzu and Cavalier King Charles Spaniel in their DNA, expect that Cava-Tzus do not shed fur as much as other dog breeds. Still, you should be prepared for moderate shedding during the fall and spring seasons.
  • Prized for being low-maintenance: The Cavalier Shih Tzu mix is a hypoallergenic canine that requires very little grooming. It also does not eat much, so your dog food expenses will be minimal.
  • Ideal for apartment dwellers: The King Charles Shih Tzu is a product of two breeds that belong in the toy group. Hence, it’s ideal for people who live in small apartments or houses with limited space.
  • Highly intelligent: Being a cross between two smart breeds, King Charles Shih Tzu mixes are known for their intelligence. This means they can learn new tricks easily and will do well in training sessions.

Meanwhile, the following are some cons of owning a Cava-Tzu dog:

  • Prone to separation anxiety: When a Cava-Tzu is not crate trained, it can be difficult for them to deal with being left alone. This can be a problem if you work long hours or have to go on long trips.
  • Has a stubborn streak: As intelligent as they are, Cava-Tzus are also stubborn dogs. They can be quite willful and will refuse to follow commands if they don’t feel like it. However, you can train your Cava-Tzu to respond better with consistency and patience.
  • Costly grooming expenses: Because Cava-Tzus often exhibit long fur, you may need to invest in a professional groomer and high-quality grooming products. While professional grooming is not needed all the time, these expenses can add up quickly, so you should carefully weigh your budget before purchasing a Cava-Tzu.
  • Inclined to destructive behaviors: Since Cava-Tzu dogs are energetic, they can be destructive if not properly trained. They tend to chew things and destroy household items.

The thought of owning a Cava Shih Tzu is indeed very exciting. These dogs are loyal and clever, making them a great addition to most families.

However, with the list of cons indicated above, it’s important that you understand the challenges that come with owning this breed before deciding if it’s right for you.

Frequently Asked Questions

Cava Tzu with pink harness tongue out
Image credit: misssophieloafie / Instagram

Are Cava-Tzus High Maintenance?

The Cava-Tzu is one of the best lap dogs out there, requiring little maintenance and being happy to chill with you on your couch all day long.

But they do need some attention, grooming, and exercise every once in a while.

Do Cava-Tzus Shed a Lot?

No, Cava-Tzus do not shed a lot. However, there are some instances where they may shed more hair than usual. Reasons may vary, but seasonal and dietary changes are the most common contributors to increased shedding.

Are Cava-Tzus Hypoallergenic?

Despite being regarded as low-shedding canines, Cava-Tzus are not 100% hypoallergenic. They still produce dander, which can aggravate allergies in those sensitive to it.

Can Cava-Tzus Be Left Alone?

If trained and socialized at an early age, Cava-Tzus are dogs that can be left alone for many hours. That said, they may require exercise before and after being left for long periods. This is to help them release their pent-up energy.

Do Cava-Tzus Bark a Lot?

Cava-Tzus do not bark a lot, but they become vocal when alerting their owners to something unusual in their environment. Other than that, they are not known to bark much at all.

Final Thoughts

If you are a first-time dog owner, expect the Cava-Tzu to be a charming and charismatic companion. In fact, this designer breed is friendly, affectionate, and often boasts a gentle nature.

Moreover, given that Cava-Tzus come in small sizes, they can live comfortably in small apartments or condos. Kids won’t be intimidated by them either, as they are small enough to be safely handled.

But remember that Cava-Tzus are still dogs. That said, they should be taken on walks, socialized, and trained regularly. So, before you bring this breed into your life, ensure you are ready to give it all the care it deserves.

Do you have room in your home for this mix? Share your thoughts about the Cava-Tzu by dropping a comment below!

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