Are Cavapoos (Cavoodle) Good Guard or Watch Dogs?

Perhaps part of your reasoning when adopting a dog isn’t solely to have a fuzzy companion but a protector as well. Your family had its heart set on a Cavapoo though, so that’s what you got. Do Cavapoos make good guard dogs? What about watchdogs?

Cavapoos, also known as Cavoodles, are extremely friendly and not very violent, so they make poor guard dogs. That said, the breed’s highly vigilant nature and alertness mean a Cavapoo is a suitable watchdog, especially with some training.

In this guide, I will tell you about my personal experience as a Cavapoo owner. And I’ll tell you everything you need to know about watchdogs and guard dogs as well as which role Cavapoos are best suited for. There’s some great info to come, so make sure you check it out!

A Cavapoo is barking in the backyard along the fence.
A Shaggy Cavapoo Watching a Property Fenceline.

What Is a Guard Dog? What About a Watchdog?

Guard dogs and watchdogs are often lumped in together, but this isn’t entirely accurate. Allow us to explain the difference in this section.

Watchdogs 101

A watchdog keeps a vigilant eye on what’s going on in the house as well as outside.

When the mail delivery person or the pizza person walks up to the door, the watchdog is probably the first one to notice (unless the kids have been hungrily waiting for the pizza).

Watchdogs usually have a strong, loud bark so that anyone in the house can hear it, even if they’re in the back room. They’re not frequent barkers by nature, as they wait to use their voices when it’s needed.

You won’t have to worry about a watchdog crying wolf. They won’t bark during usual activities but will wait for something unusual to occur.

If a watchdog perceives a threat, that’s when they’ll begin barking. This is to alert you, the human, to come and investigate.

Watchdogs do not typically attack or otherwise physically intervene, even if an intruder is in the house. They’ll bark loudly to let you know there’s trouble, but that’s it.

It’s in the name. A watchdog watches.

Guard Dogs 101

Now let’s talk about guard dogs.

Guard dogs, as the name implies, are also extraordinarily protective over their family.

They’ll patrol the house, reviewing what’s happening both inside the house and outside, to determine if any unusual activity is going on.

Like a watchdog, a guard dog can determine what’s normal on the property and what isn’t. This is a skill the dog will refine the longer it spends with the family.

Guard dogs are strong barkers by nature, and they’re usually loud just as watchdogs are. They too want to let you know that something is amiss.

More so than that, a watchdog might use its bark in a threatening manner, trying to ward off intruders.

The main difference between a watchdog and a guard dog is this. If barking alone doesn’t work, a watchdog won’t hesitate to escalate the matter. The dog will physically attack with its strong paws, sharp claws, or its teeth.

The guard dog wants to take down the intruder, so its owner can call the police and the threat can de-escalate.

Do Cavapoos Make Suitable Guard Dogs?

Now that you understand the difference between guard dogs and watchdogs, let’s switch back to your Cavapoo and its capabilities.

As we’re sure we probably don’t have to tell you, Cavapoos are a poor choice for a guard dog. They’re a non-aggressive breed that’s generally a friend of everyone, especially human members of the family.

Our 8-month-old Cavapoo is partial to wagging her tail and licking everyone she meets.

Sure, you have to socialize a Cavapoo when adding another dog or cat to the household, but these are good-natured canines by default.

The only way a Cavapoo would become aggressive is if the dog felt stressed out, afraid, or threatened. To date, we’ve never seen our Cavapoo act in an aggressive way. But that doesn’t mean it won’t happen.

For example, a Cavapoo that’s terrified of thunderstorms could bite if startled during an especially loud storm.

A cornered dog is always going to attack as well, as the animal feels the need to defend itself.

If put in a situation where a stranger enters the house, some Cavapoos will bark. Ours doesn’t. However, if the dog felt threatened, a Cavapoo is not going to stand its guard and eye down this intruder, trying to intimidate them into leaving.

A Cavapoo is certainly not going to launch itself onto a stranger and bite and scratch. That’s just not what this dog does.

Not many dogs are designed for the guard dog role, and that’s okay. The breeds best for this job are the German Shepherd, Rottweiler, Dobermann, Bullmastiff, and Boxer.

German shepherd sitting on the lawn.
German shepherds are great guard dogs.

You’ll notice those dogs all have several things in common. They’re all large and can be scary-looking dogs, especially if they bare their teeth. They intimidate just by looks alone, yet once a dog like this starts barking, you’ll feel a shiver down your spine.

Even an angrily barking Cavapoo doesn’t have the same effect. This is a cutesy dog, and although its bark can be loud and incessant, it’s not booming and terrifying.

The Cavapoo’s bark is worse than its bite, and neither is very bad.  

Trying to put a Cavapoo in a guard dog situation is not going to have the intended effects. If anything, an intruder can hurt the dog since they know a Cavapoo isn’t anyone’s top pick for a guard dog.

Are Cavapoos Good Watchdogs?

You’ll recall from the earlier section that a watchdog carefully monitors the activities around your property and will bark to ward off intruders but stops short of physically attacking (at least, in almost all instances).

Since you know that Cavapoos aren’t great guard dogs, can they at least be watchdogs?

Yes, they can! Here’s why.

Intelligence

Cavapoos are very smart, which equips the dog with the brains to tell an everyday occurrence on your property apart from something that’s out of the ordinary.

As we said earlier, the longer your Cavapoo lives with you, the better they’ll become at this.

They’ll realize that the main delivery person comes by twice a week and that the pizza person always stops by on Friday nights when you order a pie for the family.

The presence of these people perhaps used to send your Cavapoo into a tailspin, but with time, they’ll realize that it’s all a normal part of living with your family.

When a stranger broaches the property for the first time, that’s when a Cavapoo’s hackles will be raised. The dog is smart enough to discern that this person’s presence is not the norm, and so the dog will begin to bark.

Ruby Cavapoo Dog

Our Cavapoo definitely alerts us to unfamiliar noises or people. If she hears the people walking in the street approaching the house, she’ll bark. Anything that’s different and she’ll let us know.

Now, maybe the person visiting is your Uncle Charley, here for the first time in a decade, or perhaps it is a burglar trying to get onto the property.

Your Cavapoo can’t necessarily tell, but through further refinement of their smarts, they’ll eventually become even better at sniffing out who should be on your property versus who shouldn’t be.

Vigilance

Cavapoos have a lot of energy to burn, but when they’re not playing and exercising, the highly alert dog likes to keep a watchful eye on the rest of the house.

This is how your dog can alert you that something is wrong in the first place. They know who’s coming and who’s going, perhaps even better than you do sometimes.

A dog doesn’t have a hectic schedule and a busy home life like you do. While you’re at work, your Cavapoo can monitor the home. Of course, if something happened, they couldn’t let you know, but they’d still be watching.

When you’re at home juggling laundry, homework with the kids, dinner, and cleaning the house, the Cavapoo does what you can’t, surveil the property.

Strong Bark

You own a Cavapoo, so you know what they sound like. When a Cavapoo is irritated by the presence of something, they’re going to bark their fuzzy little heads off.

Our Cavapoo’s bark is loud enough to hear, even from across the house or out in the yard.

A Cavapoo’s bark is not enough to scare off predators, but since the dog isn’t being used in a guard dog capacity, that’s okay. You only need your Cavapoo to bark loudly and incessantly enough that you come to the room to check out what’s going on.

Conclusion

Cavapoos do not make good guard dogs and don’t have the nature to jump into action and violence if a situation calls for it. The breed is too friendly and has too much love in its heart for all that.

That said, if you want to sharpen your Cavapoo’s watchdog abilities, you’ll be able to rest a little easier at night knowing your dog has your back. 

Related Reading: