The Cava-poo-chon is the latest designer dog to warm the hearts of little girls everywhere with its plush curly coat, petite body and cute face; breeders say it retains its puppy-like appearance its entire life. Is it the perfect dog?
Well, the breed is also hypoallergenic, lives a relatively long life and doesn't yap like many other small breeds.
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The dog, however, is not recognized as a new breed by pedigree registrations. Experts warn that due to its size, similar designer dogs often suffer from a higher rate of health problems compared to other breeds.
The accessory breed is a combination of three popular small dogs, the cavalier King Charles spaniel, Bichon Frisé and Miniature Poodle, and is being sold for between $2,000 to $3,500 by Timshell Farm breeders of Pine, Ariz.
The Cava-poo-chon is a creation of Linda & Steve Rogers, who produced the new breed with on their Arizona ranch with help from a geneticist and reproductive veterinarian. The couple also produces other designer breeds such as the Goldendoodle, a Golden retriever and Standard Poodle mix similar to the more well-known Labradoodle, which is a Labrador retriever and Poodle mix.
On their site, the breeders described the Cava-poo-chon as a "little teddy bears!" with "the sweetest dispositions" and "free from genetic faults."
The Rogers told the Associated Press that to date the cava-poo-chon
has proved so popular that 58 families have returned to get a second one, and 12 of the dogs have been certified to work in nursing homes and hospitals as therapy dogs.
One of the new breed's biggest apparent fans is Brande Bradshaw of Austin, TX, who told the AP that she has "been blown away" by her 6-month-old cava-poo, adding "she is amazing, the cutest puppy I’ve ever seen."
Author and certified animal behavior consultant Darlene Arden of Massachusetts, however, disagrees, calling the newest crossbreed a "gimmick," according to the AP.
Though unfamiliar with the Cava-poo-chon, Arden warns it could be the latest in designer breeds shrunk down to a petite size much like so-called teacup variations of popular small dogs that were made popular by celebrities and then sold to the public at exorbitant prices.
"There is no such thing as a teacup anything," Arden told the AP. "It is a market term used by backyard breeders and commercial breeders so they can breed the smallest dogs that shouldn’t be bred and sell them for a whole lot of money. These dogs usually end up having health problems and most veterinarians don’t want to touch them because the organs are so small."
The American Kennel Club does not recognize the cava-poo-chon.
"AKC does not recognize cross-bred or mixed breed dogs as official breeds," spokeswoman Lisa Peterson said. "These dogs are the product of two purebred parents of different breeds, resulting in a litter of mixed breed puppies, not a new breed, according to our requirements."
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