By helloBARK!
Updated on 16 August 2021
Fact Checked

Cava-Tzu is a cross breed that can make excellent family pets.

They’re a cross between a Cavalier King Charles Spaniels and Shih Tzu, resulting in a small hybrid dog.

Cava-Tzu can incorporate breed traits that are associated with both their Cavalier and Shih Tzu parents.

This designer dog started to bred in the early 2000s to create a companion-sized pup.

The Cava-Tzu can make great members of the family united thanks to their friendly, loyal and playful personalities.

In this article, we’re going to take a close look at the Cava-Tzu cross breed, with help from owners of these mixed breeds.

We’ll hear from Lyla (@lyla_cavatzu), Bear (@bearimy_cavatzu), Rolo (@rolotzu) and Sparky (@sparky_thecavatzu).

What is a Cava-Tzu?

Cava Tzu Bear (Photo: @bearimy_cavatzu / Instagram)

Cava Tzu Bear (Photo: @bearimy_cavatzu / Instagram)

A Cava-Tzu is a cross between two popular companion-sized breeds, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and the Shih Tzu.

The designer dog can also go for a variety of different names, including Cavalier Cava-Tzu.

The Cava-Tzu is recognised by by Designer Breed Registry (DBR), American Canine Hybrid Club (ACHC), Designer Dogs Kennel Club (DDKC), Dog Registry of America (DRA) and International Designer Canine Registry (IDCR). However, they’ve not been granted status by the American Kennel Club or the United Kennel Club.

Cava-Tzu size

Cava Tzu Lyla (Photo: @lyla_cavatzu / Instagram)

Cava Tzu Lyla (Photo: @lyla_cavatzu / Instagram)

Cava-Tzu are usually quite small in size given the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and the Shih Tzu. They’ll usually grow to between 9 and 18 inches in height as well as 10 to 16 pounds in weight.

Bear’s (@bearimy_cavatzu) parents Josh and Tess gave us an idea of their Cava-Tzu’s size.

Bear is currently 3.2kg. The vet said that he’s a good size. Bear is just a week short from being 4 months old and he’s already about three quarters of an arm’s length (quite a long boy).

We also spoke to Rolo (@rolotzu)‘s mum Rian to find out about his size.

Rolo is small dog sized, just bigger than a house cat. He’s just a lot less graceful than a cat, he’s small enough to be easily picked up but big enough not to fit in most handbags! He’s the same size as your average Shih Tzu, give or take.

Cava-Tzu appearance

Cava Tzu Rolo (Photo: @rolotzu / Instagram)

Cava Tzu Rolo (Photo: @rolotzu / Instagram)

A Cava-Tzu will inherit physical traits from both parents. Usually, Cava-Tzu do tend to take after their Shih Tzu parent in terms of their appearance, with a notable underbite. They’ll have curly, fluffy ears associated with the Cavalier breed.

These designer dogs can come in a variety of different coat colours, ranging from black, brown, white, tan or ruby. In terms of texture, the Cava-Tzu can have a thick coat that is curly and silky.

Lyla’s (@lyla_cavatzu) mom provided us with a description of her adorable Cava-Tzu.

Lyla is tanned with a black mask colouring. Her coat is fine and silky but does need grooming every 8 weeks. She had a small round Shih Tzu like face but the bodily features of a King Charles Spaniel such as floppy ears, long body and longer legs.

Cava-Tzu temperament

Cava Tzu Sparky (Photo: @sparky_cavatzu / Instagram)

Cava Tzu Sparky (Photo: @sparky_cavatzu / Instagram)

Cavaliers and Cava-Tzu are recognised as breeds that make great companion pets. They’ve got a number of personality traits in common, such as being friendly, inquisitive, loyal, playful and sociable.

There’s no better way to get an idea about the temperament of Cava-Tzu than hearing from current owners of the breed. So let’s hear about Lyla’s personality.

Lyla is very chilled, loving, loyal and easy to train puppy. She gets on very well with any dog and has a quite confidence nature. She loves the toddlers and babies in my family and is very patient even when they accidentally tug of her fur/ears/tail.

We also asked Rolo’s parents about his personality to get an even better understanding of the Cava-Tzu temperament.

He’s a lap dog with the sass of a Shih Tzu, they love being close to you. Though they won’t hesitate to pretend they can’t hear you if they don’t want to do something. They’re very docile and good with other dogs and kids. Rolo has never gone to bite anyone ever, even when a child yanked his tail accidentally.

Do Cava-Tzu suffer from separation anxiety?

Cava Tzu Bear (Photo: @bearimy_cavatzu / Instagram)

Cava Tzu Bear (Photo: @bearimy_cavatzu / Instagram)

Separation anxiety is a chronic canine disorder that can affect any dog, irrespective of breed or cross breed. It occurs when a dog is left at home alone, although separation anxiety can kick in before the pet parents even leave the home. The symptoms of this condition include incessant barking, howling or whining, destructive chewing or digging as well as defecating or urinating.

The Cavalier breed is known to suffer from separation anxiety, while the Shih Tzu is another type of dog that appears to have a higher volume of breed members who struggle with this canine disorder. Therefore, some Cava-Tzu could struggle with separation anxiety but every dog is different and some will be fine.

For example, Lyla hasn’t had any trouble with this issue.

Lyla shows no sign of distress she we leave her for a short time. We are lucky in that she is looked after by my mother when we’re at work.

It’s a similar story with Sparky.

So far so good albeit we’ve only had him for two months. From our observation thus far, he doesn’t seem like the kind of breed prone to separation anxiety.

Do Cava-Tzu like to cuddle?

Cava Tzu Lyla (Photo: @lyla_cavatzu / Instagram)

Cava Tzu Lyla (Photo: @lyla_cavatzu / Instagram)

It’s something that a lot of potential Cava-Tzu owners will want to know, especially if they’re looking for a companion-sized dog to keep you company. Cavaliers and Shih Tzu both have reputations for being affectionate breeds.

We asked Lyla’s mum if her little Cava-Tzu likes to cuddle. This was her response:

YES! Lyla sleeps at any chance she can. She will only have a 5-10 minutes playtime about 4 times a day, the rest she snuggles up into one of us and sleeps for England.

Are Cava-Tzu make great family pets?

Cava Tzu Rolo (Photo: @rolotzu / Instagram)

Cava Tzu Rolo (Photo: @rolotzu / Instagram)

This probably the biggest question anyone considering this mix breed as a pet. So let’s hear from our Cava-Tzu friends to learn about their suitability as family pets.

Here’s what Bear’s parents had to say about Cava-Tzu being excellent family pets.

Most definitely. We did our research prior to getting Bear but couldn’t get very much information on Cava-Tzus. We sort of went in hoping for the best. Thankfully for us he is such a sweet pup. He has a cheeky side to him, but I reckon this is common with any puppy. He knows what he can and can’t do but sometimes does it anyway just because he feels like it or he’s testing to see how we’ll react.

Rolo’s parents were also quick to endorse the Cava-Tzu breed as excellent family dogs.

I think Cava-Tzus make the best family pets, they have the small fluffy exterior of a shih tzu but the lovingness of a King Charles. All they want to do is be close to you, I’ve never met a more loving dog. They want to “spread the love” and will make a fuss out of every family member and stranger, but they will always come back to you (unless they have food) . Though I can’t speak for every Cava-Tzu, I know Rolo would never bite, it’s a surprise if he growls! Even when I’m brushing the matted fur out of his paws, all he tries to do is take a paw away and lick me. If you want a guard dog, a Cava-Tzu should be your last choice. Though if you want a small, low maintenance dog that just wants to love you, I think Cava-Tzu should be high on your list!

Are Cava-Tzu easy to train?

Cava Tzu Sparky (Photo: @sparky_cavatzu / Instagram)

Cava Tzu Sparky (Photo: @sparky_cavatzu / Instagram)

The Cavalier and Shih Tzu aren’t ranked that high up in Stanley Coren’s Intelligence Of Dogs. The CKCS is at number 73, while Shih Tzu are at 128. Going by the famous book, you wouldn’t think Cava-Tzu are that smart. However, every dog is different and both the Cavalier and Shih Tzu have an underlying desire to please their owners.

Bear’s parents explain that in their experience Cava-Tzu are smart.

Bear is very intelligent – he picks things up very quickly. He’s been going to puppy school and has been learning all commands and tricks with no problems. He knows how to sit, drop, heel, come, stay, wait, shake, high five and roll over. He’ll of course be more obedient when there’s chicken.

How much exercise do Cava-Tzu need?

Cava Tzu Bear (Photo: @bearimy_cavatzu / Instagram)

Cava Tzu Bear (Photo: @bearimy_cavatzu / Instagram)

Cavaliers and Shih Tzu are usually recommended for older dog owners due to their low to moderate exercise needs. You won’t have to worry about multiple walks a day. Cava-Tzu will need a short walk or two a day.

Rolo’s parents have some advice for Cava-Tzu where exercise is concerned.

Cava-Tzus can technically be okay with just a garden, according to the breeder we got Rolo from. The best way to walk a Cava-Tzu, in my opinion though, is to two short walks, as their little legs can’t really handle one big walk. Rolo has jumped up my legs too many times to tell me to stop on the longer walks.

Bear’s parents appear to concur with Rolo, adding that their Cava-Tzu likes to take a lot of naps.

As a puppy, Bear is naturally playful when he’s awake. Otherwise he sleeps most of the day. He’s definitely adopted a more Cavalier personality than a Shih Tzu. He sleeps during the day and is active in the evening when everyone is home. He likes chasing his brother around the house and bullying him although his brother is bigger than he is. He is generally happy to play by himself – chewing and squeaking toys.

Are Cava-Tzu hypoallergenic?

Cava Tzu Lyla (Photo: @lyla_cavatzu / Instagram)

Cava Tzu Lyla (Photo: @lyla_cavatzu / Instagram)

While some designer dogs have been created to find a dog with hypoallergenic qualities, this isn’t the case with the Cava-Tzu. They’re likely to be moderate-to-high shedders. A hypoallergenic dog breed is one that is less likely to trigger someone’s allergies than other types of canines.

Do Cava-Tzu shed?

Cava Tzu Rolo (Photo: @rolotzu / Instagram)

Cava Tzu Rolo (Photo: @rolotzu / Instagram)

Cava-Tzu will shed a moderate amount so you should be prepared to find some dog hair on your clothes, furniture and floor.

Josh and Tess are starting to experience this with Bear.

Bear is starting to shed (still not as much as French Bulldogs but more than a Shih Tzu). I previously had a Shih Tzu who rarely sheds and his fur is much straighter than Bear’s. This makes us think he is more of a Cavalier than a Shih Tzu. When we brush Bear, there is definitely a layer of fur on the brush. However his fur does not get everywhere around the house. Constant brushing definitely helps with the shedding.

Do Cava-Tzu need regular grooming?

Cava Tzu Sparky (Photo: @sparky_cavatzu / Instagram)

Cava Tzu Sparky (Photo: @sparky_cavatzu / Instagram)

Cava-Tzu will need to have their coat trimmed every so often. It’s a good idea to maintain the quality of their coat to prevent it becoming tangled or matted.

As Bear’s parents mentioned above, your Cava-Tzu could have different grooming requirements depending on whether they take after their Cavalier or Shih Tzu parent more.

Lyla gets groomed every eight weeks or so.

We take Lyla to the groomers every 8 weeks. The hair between her eyes does grow quite fast so we tend to trim that so she can see easier. Also Cava-Tzu do not moult at all.

Rolo’s mom Rian has experienced as much shedding as Bear but she still needs to keep up the maintenance of his coat.

Cava-Tzus don’t really shed. However, their fur grows a lot, especially in the face area, if you don’t feel like brushing and maintaining fur, you’ll need to get them groomed/cut a lot, especially in summer, or they’re likely to overheat in the hotter months.

Do Cava-Tzu have any health problems?

Cava Tzu Bear (Photo: @bearimy_cavatzu / Instagram)

Cava Tzu Bear (Photo: @bearimy_cavatzu / Instagram)

One of the much-touted benefits of a cross breed is that they should have less health problems. However, they can still be susceptible to some issues. Here are some of the health problems you should be aware of. These include Mitral Valve, Disease Syringomyelia, Patellar Luxation, Hip Dysplasia, Eye Problems and Brachycephalic Syndrome.

Fortunately Sparky’s parents have experienced any issues so far.

We read that this breed is prone to Brachycephalic problems due to it’s short nose and flat face. He is healthy now and we hope he stays healthy forever!

Are Cava-Tzu fussy eaters?

Cava Tzu Lyla (Photo: @lyla_cavatzu / Instagram)

Cava Tzu Lyla (Photo: @lyla_cavatzu / Instagram)

Some Cavaliers and Shih Tzu can be prone to being fussy eaters. I’ve experienced this issue firsthand with my Spitz dogs and I really believe in the benefit of dog food delivery companies. We really believe in the benefit of dog food delivery companies, so if you’ve experienced that with your dog, check out the best dog food delivery companies in the USA or the best dog food delivery companies in the UK.

Spark’s parents haven’t had any problems with regards to this, either.

No, he eats anything and everything! And that is an understatement! He loves food!

Do Cava-Tzu get along with other dogs?

Cava Tzu Rolo (Photo: @rolotzu / Instagram)

Cava Tzu Rolo (Photo: @rolotzu / Instagram)

As Cavaliers are particularly friend and sociable dogs, you won’t be surprised to learn that Cava-Tzu get along with people and other dogs well. This is a point backed up by Bear’s parents.

Bear is very affectionate, he gets along with everyone. He gets very excited when he sees people and will go up to anyone and everyone just for a pat. He is slightly timid when he meets other dogs, though if he sees one across the road he will happily bark, just until they get closer then he will be hiding behind us.

Cava-Tzu price

Cava Tzu Sparky (Photo: @sparky_cavatzu / Instagram)

Cava Tzu Sparky (Photo: @sparky_cavatzu / Instagram)

We found that the average price of a Cava-Tzu appears to be around $1,000 (£800) after a quick search on Google. However, there’s no better indicator of price than pet owners who have already purchased their Cava-Tzu.

Bear cost his pet parents $2,200 Aus, which equates to $1,400 USD or £1,100 GBP. Sparky was a little bit more expensive at $3,000 SGD, which equates to $2,000 USD or £1,700 GBP.

Of course, you may want to check in your local rescue shelter to see if there’s a Cava-Tzu that need to be rehomed.

Are Cava-Tzu expensive?

Cava Tzu Bear (Photo: @bearimy_cavatzu / Instagram)

Cava Tzu Bear (Photo: @bearimy_cavatzu / Instagram)

While you’ll need to prepare for the initial cost of your Cava-Tzu, there’ll be monthly costs to think about. You’ll need to make sure you’ve got sufficient room in your budget to meet your designer dog’s needs. There’s dog food, grooming, vet trips, pet insurance and much more to consider. You can check out the best pet insurance options in the USA and the UK

Bear’s parents kindly gave us an insight into their monthly costs.

Monthly costs would include grooming (AUD 45-60), food (AUD 30-40) and toys. He needs regular grooming (every month) as his fur grows quite quickly and covers his face (though he doesn’t seem to mind it very much). Bear has a sachet of wet food in the morning, some kibble for the day and half a pattie of raw food in the evening.

Do Cava-Tzu make great first-time pets for new owners?

Cava Tzu Lyla (Photo: @lyla_cavatzu / Instagram)

Cava Tzu Lyla (Photo: @lyla_cavatzu / Instagram)

So you’re looking to get a dog for the first time and you’re considering a Cava-Tzu. What do our current dog owners have to say with regards to whether this is a cross breed suitable for first-time owners.

Here’s Lyla’s view on this subject.

100% YES! Lyla is such a low maintenance puppy and is such a loving dog. She only needs one walk a day this can be from 1 mile right up to a 4 mile and she will still be tired. She loves everyone she see’s and is amazing for people with families or like us for families trying for a family.

Bear’s parents are thrilled to own such a friendly and loving dog.

Bear has the sweetest, most affectionate personality. He loves being with humans and is incredibly sociable. He does not have any problems getting along with people. In fact when we are out on walks, he will run up to everyone. He likes cuddling with us and being around us. When we sit on the floor, he will walk up to us to sit on our laps. In the mornings after he’s had his breakfast and goes toilet, he will want to come up to lie with us in bed.

Cava-Tzu to follow on Instagram

If you want to learn more about the Cava-Tzu breed, you may want to check out some examples of the breed on social media. Here are some Cava-Tzu to follow on Instagram.

• Lyla (@lyla_cavatzu)

• Bear (@bearimy_cavatzu)

• Rolo (@rolotzu)

• Sparky (@sparky_thecavatzu)

In conclusion

Cava Tzu Bear (Photo: @bearimy_cavatzu / Instagram)

Cava Tzu Bear (Photo: @bearimy_cavatzu / Instagram)

We’ve reached the end of our article on Cava-Tzu.

In this feature, we’ve looked at some of the key features of the Cava-Tzu cross breed, including Cava-Tzu temperament, Cava-Tzu size, Cava-Tzu appearance and Cava-Tzu exercise.

We’ve had help from four Cava-Tzu owners to give us an exclusive look at the breed thanks to their open testimonials about life owning one of these companion-sized dogs.

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