What is a first generation (F1) Cavoodle?
When speaking about hybrid or designer breeds the term ‘first generation’ is used to describe the offspring, or pups in this case, of the initial cross between 2 separate breeds. In the case of Cavoodles, the first generation are the pups from a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and either a toy or miniature Poodle. As the pups are the result of 2 very different breeds with separate genetic histories, this generation will have the greatest likelihood of being free from recessive genetic disorders of either parent breed. The short hand of F1 is used to denote this generation as being separate from the parent generation which are usually denoted with a capital P.
First generation Cavoodles will typically display a fairly even mix of the two breeds and are quite consistent to each other and are considered by most to be the best generation in terms of health and consistency amongst the generations, and hence are the most commonly bred by reputable breeders. Typically, a first generation Cavoodle will have the low to non-shedding fleece coat and a very easy and outgoing temperament. However, some first generation individuals will still display physical characteristics that resemble one of the parent breeds more than the other such as a tighter coat like the Poodle or a flatter face similar to the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.
What is a second generation Cavoodle?
A second generation Cavoodle can be classified as being in one of 3 groups:
Second generation F2 –
This is where the individual or litter of Cavoodles are the result of both parents that are first generation Cavoodles. These pups are sometimes referred to as being a straight second generation by some breeders. These pups are less commonly bred as the offspring from these litters will be the most variable of the different generations of first and the various second generations.
For most single traits or features, an average of half the litter will resemble their parents, one quarter will resemble a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and the remaining quarter will tend to resemble a Poodle. For example, using muzzle length as the trait, half the litter would have a medium length muzzle, one quarter would have a short muzzle (like a Cavalier), and the remaining quarter would have a long muzzle (like a Poodle). These figures are only averages to be expected over thousands of puppies in time so an individual litter may have skewed results and not in exactly the proportions expected. These traits do not just include physical characteristics but health traits as well.
Second generation Cavoodle F2b Cavalier –
This classification is for pups from a first generation parent and a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel parent. So for example, mum is a first generation (F1) Cavoodle and dad is a Cavalier. These pups will look decidedly more Cavalier in appearance and health characteristics as they are 3/4 Cavalier and 1/4 Poodle. Often these dogs will loose the low to non-shedding qualities of the first generation parent as well as being at higher risk of suffering from the same health concerns as Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. These Cavoodles are not very common due to the loss of desirable qualities the Cavoodle is bred for and are often the result of accidental matings.
However, with careful selection of future breeding between these Cavoodles and healthy Cavalier King Charles Spaniels this, over many generations, may produce dogs that breed true Cavalier King Charles Spaniels but have a greater variation of genes to draw from. This technique known as outcrossing has been used to save some breeds where individual numbers are so low as to them being at risk of being lost through inbreeding depression of the genome but does require enormous effort and careful selection of the dogs used in this sort of breeding program.
Second generation Cavoodle F2b Poodle –
This classification is for pups from a first generation parent and a Poodle parent. So for example, mum is a first generation (F1) Cavoodle and dad is a Poodle. These pups will look decidedly more Poodle in appearance and health characteristics as are 3/4 Poodle and 1/4 Cavalier. Often these dogs will tend to have a tighter non-shedding coat and a longer muzzle as well as being at higher risk of suffering from the same health concerns as Poodles. These Cavoodles are not very common when compared to first generation Cavoodles as they tend to lose much of the easy going nature of the first generation Cavoodle in the attempt to breed a Cavoodle that is more hypo-allergenic.
What is a multi generation (multigen) Cavoodle?
A multigeneration Cavoodle is any Cavoodle that is third generation or more and are not really bred by most breeders, nor are they sought by very many owners as most will lose the qualities of the first generations and tend to resemble one of the parents in both physical, temperamental and health traits. This group is the most varied of the generation classes and can go in any direction that the breeder takes them in whether intentionally with physical characteristics or unintentionally via hidden health issues.
This process is how a traditional breed is established, by ‘fixing’ particular traits so that all individuals of the group being bred from have the same feature. An example of this is where breeders only bred from dogs with blue eyes and over many generations (the number of generations depends on how the trait is expressed) all the dogs of that breed have blue eyes. Unfortunately, this fixing of traits can also result in the accidental fixing of detrimental genes for genetic diseases which manifests itself in the many genetic diseases that are so common in many traditional breeds such as PRA in Poodles.