December 23

by Milo and Helen

Are Cavachons Prone to Allergies?

If you are thinking of getting a Cavachon pup from a rescue center, a breeder, or you already have a Cavachon, you may wonder if Cavachons are prone to allergies. The answer is that all dogs can get allergies, but Cavachons currently do not appear on the list of dogs predisposed to developing allergies. I am not a Vet or an expert on genetic diseases, but I am a Cavachon owner. My dog's name is Pog, and fortunately, he doesn't suffer from any significant allergies.

The Cavachon is a mix of the Bichon Frise and the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel; neither appear on the list for dog breeds with a predisposition to allergies. However, this is not an exhaustive list; just because a breed is not on the list doesn't mean it will not be on it in the future. Genome research in dogs is developing all the time.

Dogs with Predominantly white coats and pale skin, such as the Bichon Frise and most Cavachons, are more prone to allergies. Still, again I haven't seen much evidence of this apart from the fact that West Highland White Terriers are on the list and are a white-coated dog breed very similar to the Bichon, but there are plenty of breeds on the list with coats other than white.

List of dogs predisposed to developing allergies include

Chinese Shar-Pei, Pit Bull Terrier, Wirehaired Fox Terrier, Golden Retriever, German Shepherd, Dalmatian, Boxer, English Bulldog, Boston Terrier, Pug, Irish Setter, Labrador Retriever, Lhasa Apso, Scottish Terrier, Miniature Schnauzer, Welsh Terrier, Shih Tzu, West Highland White Terrier, and the Cairn Terrier. 

What is the difference between allergies in dogs and hypoallergenic dogs?

When we refer to allergies in dogs, we are talking about the dogs getting an allergic reaction from materials in the air such as pollen, human skin dander, flea saliva, or from eating particular food such as beef, chicken, and corn. Hypoallergenic dogs shed less dander from their skin and therefore are less likely to cause an allergic reaction in people who may be allergic to dogs.

Is a Cavachon hypoallergenic?

No dog is entirely hypoallergenic. The Bichon Frise is considered low shedding and high hypoallergenic. Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are medium shedding and medium hypoallergenic; therefore, the Cavachon is considered on average to be low to medium hypoallergenic.

Suppose you have people in the household with allergies. In that case, the Bichon Frise may be a better choice for you as they are of a similar temperament to the Cavachon but more hypoallergenic, but there is no guarantee the dog will not have an effect on the person with the allergy.

Allergies in dogs

Allergies are an overreaction by a dog's immune system to not substances that might not be that harmful in the air that land on their skin or inhale or something they may eat. Dogs get allergies to certain substances in the air the same as humans, such as pollen, dust mite droppings, or even shedding human skin cells. So, your dog can be allergic to your shedding skin cells (human dander) the same as you can be allergic to their shedding (canine dander).

Your dog can also be allergic to flea saliva, certain foods, and just about anything in the environment. Allergies affect 10% -15% of the dog population. When dogs get allergic reactions, they tend to get itchy skin and scratch a lot more. If your dog is scratching a bit too much or you notice rash or changes in skin color, it may be best to consult your veterinarian for professional advice. 

Most Common Types of allergies in dogs

  1. Atopic dermatitis (CAD) this a common genetically-based itchy canine skin condition. It can develop in dogs from 6 months to 3 years. Itching can start at the ears, which can be especially Problematic For Cavachons because they are prone to ear problems because they have floppy ears, Which tend to trap air and matting hair. 
  2. Atopic-like dermatitis (ALD). ALD is similar to CAD in terms of symptoms but is harder to diagnose and treat because it does not appear in standard tests carried out for allergies. A French study suggested that Bichon Frise dogs were prone to this condition. Not a lot is known about this condition.
  3. A reaction to flea saliva triggers flea allergy dermatitis (FAD). Very common in dogs. Causes itching, red skin, and raised pimples. 
  4. Food allergies are triggered by certain ingested foods or chemicals. Again it causes itchiness and a red rash in dogs.

The problem with allergies is that they all seem to have much the same effect on your dog, so it can be challenging for your veterinarian to find the exact root cause of the itching. A way of finding an answer is a long process of elimination, including a lot of diary keeping, which will help get to the bottom of the problem. Also, all that scratching can lead to sensitive skin and infections, further complicating matters.

Environmental factors in dog allergies,

There is little doubt that allergies are becoming more and more common in both humans and dogs, and there have been studies that suggest that our increasing obsession with cleanliness may be contributing to that increase. Dogs raised in urban settings who tend to be bathed more often have an increased risk of developing allergies. White dogs like the Bichon Frise and the Cavachon may also get bathed more often because their white coats show the dirt more, but this is just pure speculation on my part.

Treatments for Allergies in dogs

Once you and your vet have identified the substance which is causing the allergy, it would seem logical to remove or reduce your dog's exposure to that substance would be the best way to treat it. Suppose your dog is not exposed to the offending allergen. In that case, symptoms should subside, and no more treatment may be needed, but this would be the decision of your veterinarian, particularly if they may also need to treat secondary infections.

Your vet may also prescribe antihistamines, but these may not be suitable in all cases. Some foods that cause allergies are high-quality unprocessed proteins such as beef, chicken, and eggs, so there is no good or bad diet debate. Any food can trigger allergies; you just have to find which one by process of elimination. The more processed the food, the harder it is to find the offending ingredient.  

Omega fatty acids can help reinforce your dog's skin barrier against airborne allergens. Omega fatty acids can be administered in supplement form or in food such as oily fish or coconut oil. Your vet can advise on this if they think it will help, provided your dog is not allergic to these foods.

Immotile Cilia Syndrome

Immotile cilia syndrome or Kartagener's Syndrome is an inherited disease in the Bichon Frise breed that may also affect the Cavachon. It is not very common but may cause symptoms similar to an allergic reaction, including coughing and a discharge from the nose that comes and goes, 


Cavachons or their parent breed are not overly prone to, and they are not on the list, which is predisposed to be at higher risk of suffering from allergic reactions. Still, no dog is immune from getting triggered by substances in the air that land on their skin, they inhale or ingest by eating or drinking. It is advisable to be on the lookout for signs of allergies such as excessive scratching, and if you are worried, it is probably best to consult your veterinarian.

The Cavachon as a cross breed dog is not eligible for registration with American Kennel Club but you can register with the International Designer Canine Registry and they are recognized by the American Canine Hybrid ClubThe Designer Breed Registry and The Mixed Breed Dog Clubs of America.

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