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Let's breakdown why health screening in the Cavapoo is so important and what makes the healthier Cavapoo based on the current poor health of the *purebred* Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.  We have been proactive in spreading the word about the poor health in the *purebred Cavalier* for over a decade when the information regarding the immense inbreeding within the *purebred Cavalier* and poor health first surfaced in early 2000's and we stopped breeding the purebred Cavaliers and focused exclusively on crossing the Cavalier with the Poodle for better health. We support ethical breeding practices of health tested dogs, and also the rescue work for the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.  It has been a continual learning experience, but our focus has always been on breeding for health and temperament and we are proud to have established a trustworthy line of Cavapoos that have up to 5 generations of health-cleared dogs in their lineage and we will remain committed to raising healthy puppies from health tested parents! 

We have created this page with facts proven through resource material based on trials and studies done on minimizing the genetic defects in dogs through breeding strategies from the scientists at the University of Edinburgh’s
Roslin Institute from their recommendations which have reviewed the various approaches that are being taken to minimize potential defects in pedigree animals. The Roslin Institute's review is published in Canine Genetics and Epidemiology.  

We have also included information, research and studies on the current health of the purebred Cavalier, proven science about myths of hybrid vigor, as well as our experience of over a decade of raising the Cavapoo and working closely with other breeders and our veterinarian -- committing to only raising the healthiest puppies possible!

The Cavapoo is a healthier mix when they are bred with purpose and devotion!


The Cavapoo is a mix between the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and the Poodle and is considered a cross-breed and *not* an actual breed, and so a breeder who specializes in the Cavapoo is technically specializing in two breeds and needs comprehensive knowledge of two breeds (the Cavalier and Poodle).  Be wary of breeders calling the Cavapoo (or any cross-breed) an actual "breed".  There is no breed standard for the Cavapoo or any cross-breed -- it is quite simply a mix between two breeds to create a cross-breed.  Mixed breeds are sometimes called a hybrid-cross and many unethical breeders will try to tell you that hybrid vigor makes their dogs healthier, but in actuality the best and most reliable way a dog (mixed or purebred) will produce healthy puppies has nothing to do with "vigor" but in breed-appropriate health testing over multiple generations to breed away from any potential health conditions in a line and towards better health by selecting health cleared dogs reliant on genetic testing.  Here is what experts say about hybrid vigor in dogs:

What Is Hybrid Vigor?  ...................................................

Hybrid vigor is a term used in all kinds of breeding … not just for dogs. Even plants! It’s also called heterosis. The dictionary definition is …

“Increased vigor or superior qualities arising from the crossbreeding of genetically different plants or animals”.

So … many people believe that mixed breeds don’t express genetic disorders. 

And designer breeds … like goldendoodles, yorkipoos, puggles (the list is almost endless) are ever more popular. 

So breeders of these dogs [have been] jumping on the hybrid vigor bandwagon. They’re all over the internet … claiming the practice of combining breeds increases hybrid vigor. 

But they’ve got it wrong. 

Because hybrid vigor doesn’t happen when you cross two breeds of dog. 


Hybrid vigor happens when you cross two different species. 

A mule is an example of a true hybrid … a mix between a horse and a donkey.  Or a “liger” … a lion and tiger. But a cockapoo is not a hybrid. And it doesn’t have hybrid vigor. 

In fact, when you cross two breeds, you can double up on health issues. This is especially likely when you have the same disease tendency in both breeds. 

Anita Oberhauer PhD was on the UC-Davis research team. Here’s what she says about the labradoodle, for example …

…“It’s a Lab and a Poodle crossed. A Labrador has the same likelihood of having epilepsy, hip dysplasia, Addison’s disease as a Poodle. So if the sire has the ‘disease liability genes’ for any of those conditions … and the mother has the liability genes for Addison’s, epilepsy, hip dysplasia, you breed them together and the offspring will have it.”

For complete transparency, for a short period of time, even we believed the hybrid vigor myth OVER A DECADE AGO, but good breeders educate themselves and work to improve their breeding practices and their breeding lines based on scientific facts and breeding strategies in order to produce puppies with the best chance to live healthy and long lives!


Breeders relying on hybrid vigor alone or just telling you that their dogs are healthier because they only breed F1 or F1B mixes are unfortunately not aware and are mislead by false information that gets passed along to the buyers. Genetic faults like heart-conditions within a breed or other untestable conditions (diseases where no genetic testing is currently available with today's technology) cannot be ruled out within the first generation crosses, and any first generation crosses will inherit the same issues as the purebred parent breed.  Genetic health screening has improved as technology catches up, and many diseases that were previously untestable a decade ago (or more!) can now be screened for, but technology still has a long way to go and relying on hybrid vigor is pure ignorance and cruel to potential buyers who simply want a healthy puppy.

Purebred dogs were once cross-breeds and today's pure-breeds were formed as humans bred various dogs together that displayed desirable traits, skills, and health/stamina or characteristics that the person wanted to see in future generations for that specific dog.  Over time, as consistency was seen, dogs with the same desirable traits were bred together to create the purebred dog ... how? ... through *multiple generations of the same type bred together over several generations* ... the end result is the breeds that we know today in purebred dogs. 

While we are *not* trying to make the Cavapoo cross-breed a purebred dog through multiple generations -- instead, by maintaining a family line we, and other breeders keeping the health of the Cavapoo in mind, are able to breed healthier traits into our lines over several generations by only selecting to keep the most genetically healthy dogs produced and pairing them with other genetically healthy dogs which can only be determined through breed-appropriate health testing (meaning health screening that targets the diseases for the Cavalier and the Poodle). These ethical practices and selections allow a responsible breeder to rely on facts and science instead of mythical unicorns. Years ago, before health screening was available to breeders, if an unhealthy trait or disease was produced by a dog or was present in a particular line, a breeder would either cull that dog (remove from their breeding line / didn't breed that dog again), or they bred that line or dog to other dogs that did not display the bad trait or carry for that particular disease until that trait or disease was eradicated genetically from their lines over many generations through out-crossing. 


Dogs bred from a health tested family line allow a breeder to have comprehensive knowledge of the traits, characteristics, and potential health concerns in their lines that exist outside of testable diseases as they see the results from each highly selectively bred line through multiple generations.  Traits that were desirable in the great, great, grandparents can still be seen in the great, great, grandchildren when selective multi-generations of dogs are bred together.  

To be *CLEAR*, dogs bred from a family line are *NOT* inbred dogs.  Any breeder in-breeding their dogs whether pure or mixed-breed should be considered highly unethical as doing so creates health issues and is what compounds health problems within breeds.  In fact in-breeding is what has caused so many of the health concerns in the *purebred Cavalier King Charles Spaniel* because too many breeders have bred for demand and not for health.

A family line is selecting a healthy dog of sound body, mind and temperament that displays the traits and characteristics wanted for the future which is then bred with another unrelated dog of comparable traits or ones that compliment or improve the other dog in some way (all after appropriate health screening). A breeder would then keep a puppy back for breeding from that pairing that displayed or improved upon those desirable traits and after completing further genetic health screening to ensure each generation is healthy, that dog would then be bred to another unrelated dog that displayed the correct desirable traits and further health screening would be completed.

A family line refers to breeding a Cavapoo to breeding dogs from that particular health tested and trusted line to other unrelated dogs (whether Cavapoo or Poodle) over several generations in order to balance both between the ratio of Cavalier and Poodle while keeping healthy dogs back and still adding in new blood into the lines to retain genetic diversity and *avoid and never* inbreed.  Remember the goal is not to create a breed, but keep a balance of health and temperament.


This would be done repeatedly over several generations which creates consistency and predictability of temperament, health, demeanor, energy, and so much more!  Traits and characteristics that we personally chose to breed for over a decade ago can still be seen in our puppies being produced today.

We have personally chosen through further educating ourselves to ebb and flow between adding in more Poodle influence and more Cavalier influence (a lower generation Cavapoo from health tested line) in alternating generations founded on breeding strategies to minimize diseases within a breeding line as referenced by the afore mentioned scholars.  This method allows for new bloodlines to be added into an established genetically healthy line by keeping back dogs from the established line to retain all the advantages of the health, temperament, traits and characteristics bred into that line along with breeder knowledge of that lineage / family tree and therefore maintain predictability for future out-crosses.  The new bloodlines being introduced should ideally be clear, but through breeder knowledge of their bloodlines (also verified through genetic testing) a dog that is a "perfect specimen" in every way except for one or two carried faults could be added to the established family line to avoid narrowing of the genetic gene pool *if the established family line does not carry for those faults*, thus allowing the breeder to improve genetic diversity while retaining specific traits and maintaining a healthy lineage. 


The following comment has been made by corresponding author Dr. Lindsay Farrell regarding the University of Edinburgh’s Roslin Institute's published review on Canine Genetics and Epidemiology:


“Although carrying a specific genetic variant may raise the likelihood that an animal will suffer from the associated disease, it is not guaranteed. When making breeding decisions, genetic testing needs to be considered alongside health screening and family history. That will help to keep as much genetic diversity as possible in our pedigree dogs and, at the same time, reduce the prevalence of inherited diseases.”

It has never been our goal here at Pleasant Meadows to make the Cavapoo cross-breed into a "breed", but instead provide a healthy alternative to the *purebred* Cavalier King Charles Spaniel (because it is a *very unhealthy* breed).  This is done to provide a balance between the Cavalier and Poodle as maintaining both purebred parent breeds is still very important. We have focused on the health and temperament of our lines and have post secondary education and credits in Animal Sciences and have studied genetics and disease inheritance in order to apply that knowledge to breeding the healthiest dogs within our ability -- and we will never stop striving to learn more or trying to improve!

Benefits of the a health tested Cavapoo from a trustworthy family line:

  • An extensive health history based on a minimum of 3 generations and breeder knowledge of the lines 


  • The assurance of several generations from health tested and cleared dogs resulting in a healthier Cavapoo puppy from a trustworthy lineage that has been selectively bred for betterment of health through proactive health-screening (not reliant on the "fake" hybrid vigor)

  • Better predictability in temperament from a selectively bred lineage for traits that compliment each other to better the mixed-breed

  • Knowledge of traits, characteristics, and health from a committed breeder that has spent over a decade committed to bettering their dogs.  The time, passion, and research needed to achieve this goal can only come from those who love their dogs, and ultimately the proof will be in the puppies they produce.

  • Less chance of "wild card" mishaps in temperament or health issues. When a lineage has been bred for several generations for better temperament -- these traits are cemented in which creates predictability.  All testable disease and conditions are ruled out through health screening, and any un-testable diseases or conditions have a better chance of being exposed in prior generations over multiple years of breeding thus allowing a breeder to correct the issue by breeding away from that issue through out-crossing to different dogs.

  • A balanced family line also includes out-crossing from the established Cavapoo lineage (out-crossing means breeding to unrelated lines) to breed to either the Poodle or other Cavapoos to create health diversity within the line.  Two unrelated Cavapoo lines are often established, and any breeding dogs kept back for breeding are then bred to unrelated Poodles or the opposite unrelated Cavapoo line.  New Cavapoo and Poodle lines do also need to be periodically added, but those unrelated dogs can be bred back to the established Cavapoo family lines helping to maintain and refresh the long lineage of the family line while continually selecting breeding dogs for desired traits and good health.

All in all, the established family line, being mostly devoid of the testable health issues associated with the *purebred* Cavalier King Charles Spaniel through selective breeding of health-clear dogs, is ethical compared to untested Cavapoos too closely related to the *purebred* Cavalier.

The downside to untested first-generation crosses as it pertains the poor health in the *purebred* Cavalier King Charles Spaniel (not referring to other cross-breeds):

  • With each new purebred Cavalier added to a breeding line the risk of untestable diseases linked to the purebred Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is renewed with each first generation cross, regardless of the Poodles health.  It has already been proven through breeding studies done in the 2000's that untestable diseases like heart-disease in the purebred Cavalier (there are disease-detection tests through ECG's or auscultation for heart-disease and not disease-prevention tests) cannot be "fixed" by breeding healthy Cavaliers to other healthy Cavaliers as over 50% of the Cavalier population is affected by heart disease by six years of age (covered in material below).

  • Each new generation, which is every F1 puppy produced, is a genetic "wild card" in terms of both health and temperament.  There is no predictability of type as new purebred Cavalier King Charles Spaniels need to be used all the time whenever a female or male can no longer be bred, and this is also true for the Poodle once that dog is no longer able to be bred.  This is effectively, "starting over" with every pairing made or every few years once a female or male can no longer be bred and there is no stability in the resulting puppies.  From our personal experience from over a decade ago, back when we still bred F1 and F1B Cavapoos -- every single litter was different health wise, temperament wise, personality wise, and trait wise ... why? ... because the gene pool is wide open for everything to go horribly wrong or perfectly smooth.  Yes, "good" F1 and F1B puppies can be born in a litter, but you wouldn't want to be the person or family that received the puppy with all the health issues or all the temperament issues out of a litter of cute puppies.

The difference is ...


With the F1 or F1B Cavapoo there is the necessity to *start over* and add new Cavaliers or Poodle breeding dogs every time they are created, or every few years when breeding dogs are finished breeding, which means starting over and once again adding all the health risks from the purebred Cavalier, starting over with temperament traits because a new dog with entirely new variables is being bred, and opening up the gene pool for any and all of those unpredictable health and temperament traits from both the Cavalier and Poodle side that some breeders claim will be resolved by "fake" hybrid vigor.  Starting over means removing all predictability, period.  Even if a breeder keeps back health tested *purebred* Cavaliers from their own personal lines, studies done in the early 2000's show that heart disease is not resolved from Cavalier to Cavalier pairings no matter what disease prevention protocols are suggested or put in place. Only out-crossing to add new genes to fix the "faulty genes" in the Cavalier by out-crossing (breeding) to another breed who is absent of those "faulty genes" over multiple generations will allow breeders to breed away from disease.


A family line where genetic health has been proven through genetic health testing and breeding away from undesirable traits and diseases has been established.  There is *no starting over*, but instead a trustworthy and predictable dog is kept back from that family line that displays the desirable traits the breeder is wanting to produce (good health and temperament) which provides stability based on the health and temperament history of that line, and then that dog is bred to another unrelated health tested Cavapoo or Poodle that displays the same traits that the breeder want to see in the continued future.  And when new unrelated blood by way of a health tested Cavapoo or Poodle is added, the dog is selected from another line with a lineage that has breed-appropriate health screening to maintain a continual level of health-cleared dogs to where it can be verified that there are no shared diseases or undesirable traits on both sides.  And consistency and balance of temperament and health is retained throughout the continued generations as the breeder selects for desired traits and quality of health by only pairing unrelated dogs that match their breeding goals with their established family line.  It is a balanced ebb and flow which requires an immense amount of time, education of genetics, a love for the dogs being produced and a commitment to only breed healthy dogs in order to produce the healthiest cross-breed Cavapoos possible and ultimately avoid heart-ache for families in the future. 

And to be clear, this is not referring to any other breed or mixes outside of the Cavapoo, and is only based on approved breeding strategies to as it pertains to the poor health of the *purebred* Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. Each breed or mix needs to be treated separately according to the health concerns within the parent breeds.

Cavalier to Cavalier breedings do not fix heart disease


The purebred Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is gravely and irreparably damaged if it continues down the path that has been laid before it resulting from far too many years of being bred by "breeders" for popularity without any regard for the breed's well-being or health.  Without the intervention of new breeds being introduced through out-crossing -- soon there will be *no healthy Cavaliers left*.

The *purebred* Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is so unhealthy that it is the opinion of multiple countries overseas to be entirely unethical to breed the purebred Cavalier King Charles Spaniel because of their multitude of genetic health issues.  It is in fact illegal and banned from being bred in Norway, and the Kennel Clubs in Finland and Sweden have teamed up to start a cross-breeding program in order to breed other dog breeds into the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel in an attempt to "breed in" better gene diversity and ultimately better health through out-crossing.  The purebred Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is so inbred that studies have proven that Cavalier lines in North America are genetically the equivalent of first-cousins and half-siblings to the lines overseas because of the mass amount of inbreeding that has existed (and been allowed by the Kennel Clubs) in the purebred Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.

You can read more about the cross-breeding programs here:

The banning of the Cavalier (and Bulldog) in Norway:

And here is information regarding how inbred the purebred Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is:

The Cavalier needs "new blood" and "new genes" from other breeds in order to be healthy -- plain and simple.  This is common knowledge to breeders that the *purebred* Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is so unhealthy, but we have perhaps been one of the few breeders who is completely honest and will not sugar-coat the truth in order to sell anyone a puppy.  The cross-breed Cavapoo *can be very healthy* and live a *long and happy life*, HOWEVER, from the reports and studies from experts and our own personal experience of over a decade of raising the Cavapoo cross-breed for the betterment of health and temperament -- plainly and simply untested lower generations of Cavapoos are not reliably healthy and in fact they are just as unhealthy as the *purebred* Cavalier King Charles Spaniel because it is not possible to effectively breed away from the poor health of the *purebred* Cavalier King Charles Spaniel in the first initial crosses.  

It has been proven in studies that over 50% of *purebred* Cavalier King Charles Spaniels have a heart condition by the age of 6 years old and the remainder of their life is an on-going battle of heart disease that will ultimately kill them as young as 7-10 years.  Studies have also proven that Cavalier to Cavalier matings, even when done with the proper heart-screening, unfortunately does not reduce the risk of heart disease in the Cavalier!  But don't take our word for it -- you can see the multiple studies done, and the Cavalier's health has worsened since these studies were done:

That means that a *purebred* Cavalier King Charles Spaniel has a 50% chance of inheriting a heart condition.  And if that affected Cavalier is bred, then the F1 Cavapoo would still retain that 50% chance being part Cavalier, and the F1B Cavapoo would have a 25% chance of a heart condition, and so forth.  The first generations are *NOT* healthier -- studies have proven that *ONLY* through multiple generations of *HEALTH SCREENING* and *OUT-CROSSING* to other dogs can the Cavapoo be a healthy dog.  This is something that *we are committed to* as ethical and responsible breeders who are not afraid to speak the truth!

We have to trust that the cross-breeding programs that have been started can also "fix" the *purebred* Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, but this will take time and lots of selective breeding, however, there is hope as this has already been done in breeds like the Dalmatian where the Kennel Clubs out-crossed to the German Pointer in order to fix the chronic uric acid issues in the breed and then bred health-clear dogs back to the purebred Dalmatian until they were able to establish a health-clear line of Dalmatians that once again bred true and 100% pure.  You can read about that here without taking our word for it:


In short to breed for better health, it is necessary to breed *away* from the first generation crosses in order to achieve better health.  But it is also entirely necessary to breed back to genetic health tested Cavapoos from other lineages to keep the genetic diversity in the lines, avoid in-breeding at all costs, and to keep the balance between the Cavalier and Poodle and avoid creating a new "breed".


Coming Soon ... this is a new page to provide in-depth information regarding Cavapoo health and we thought it prudent to get the bulk of the information visible first, as most of our breeding goals are clear ... we breed for health and temperament without exception!

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