What are Cockapoo's like?
A Cockapoo isn’t a recognised breed itself, but a very popular crossbreed between a Cocker Spaniel and a Poodle. No litter of Cockapoos will be the same as there is no telling what characteristics, colours, and looks they will inherit from their Cocker and Poodle parents. One thing that will remain the same across all litters of dogs is the delightful Cockapoo temperament. These are cheeky, clever, and companionable dogs who love playing and cuddling with their human family.
One of the most popular dogs in the last few years has been the Cockapoo. Their friendly disposition and cute teddy-bear charm have won over plenty of hearts and seen their popularity skyrocket. We even have two cuddly Cockapoos Pip and Bean in the Pure office. But what makes these cheeky crossbreeds so pup-ular? Today we’re going cockadoolally and talking about everything you need to know about these clownish canines, from their history, exercise regime, right down to the kind of Cockapoo haircut they need.
OVERVIEW OF A COCKAPOO
WHAT IS A COCKAPOO?
A Cockapoo isn’t a recognised breed itself, but a very popular crossbreed between a Cocker Spaniel and a Poodle. These charming pups are also known as Cockadoodles and Spoodles, but Cockapoo has become the most widely-recognised name.
In terms of their name, “Spoodle” is meant to indicate that a Cockapoo has been specifically bred from an English Cocker Spaniel. However, many breeders and owners tend to use “Cockapoo” as a catch-all term for a dog bred from any kind of Cocker Spaniel and any sort of Poodle.
That being said, the differences in doggy family history make Cockapoos a hugely diverse range of dogs. No litter of Cockapoos will be the same as there is no telling what characteristics, colours, and looks they will inherit from their Cocker and Poodle parents.
That’s what makes these dogs so exciting, you’re sure to get a paw-fectly unique and utterly adorable best fur-iend! Many Cockapoo lovers are now breeding subsequent generations of Cockapoos to give better predictions on puppy’s characteristics and to hopefully create a recognised Cockapoo breed.
One thing that will remain the same across all litters of dogs is the delightful Cockapoo temperament. These are cheeky, clever, and companionable dogs who love playing and cuddling with their human family.
These precious pups have soared in pup-ularity recently thanks to their adorable cheeky expressions, stable and enthusiastic personality, and family focus. Their boundless energy but loving nature make them fantastic family pets and companion animals. Meanwhile the intelligence and work-ethic they inherit from their gundog ancestors make them equally capable as assistance dogs.
As Cockapoos are a hybrid dog, they don’t have an extensive breed history. Cockapoos are known as the first “designer dog” breed and began appearing in the 1950s and 60s, predominantly in America.
They were bred to deliberately combine the best traits of the intelligent, low-shedding poodle with the personable, loving nature of the Cocker Spaniel. The idea was to create a dog with good looks, low shedding, and a loving personality. As Poodles are smart and low-shedding but can remain aloof, combining them with the enthusiastic and adoring Cocker Spaniel created the charming Cockapoo temperament.
Crossbreeding was also hoped to improve the health of the descendant dogs, since mixing their bloodlines would help to eliminate the inherited defects of pedigree pooches. As such, they are a pretty healthy pack of dogs and there aren’t many Cockapoo health problems. They can be prone to some conditions that their parent breeds are, such as pancreatitis or hip dysplasia, but their risk of developing these conditions is lower than pedigree breeds.
INFLUENCE OF THEIR PARENT BREEDS
A Cockapoo can have a lot more variety than some people might think, simply because of how popular and eponymous a certain look has become. The most common Cockapoo and kind everyone tends to think of, is the Miniature Cockapoo. This is a cross between a Miniature Poodle and an English Cocker Spaniel.
As mentioned above, there is no guarantee what traits and looks your dog will inherit, especially if they are a first-generation or F1 Cockapoo. In these litters, puppies can look more like a Cocker or a Poodle to varying degrees, and it isn’t clear what kind of coat they will have as an adult. A Cockapoo’s looks will also depend on what kind of Cocker or Poodle they have been bred from.
For example, Cockers can look dramatically different depending on whether they are working or show lines of dog, or if they are an American Cocker Spaniel or an English Cocker Spaniel. Much like the differences in show and working Springers, show Cockers have longer ears and feathers and domed heads. Working Cockers are longer in the muzzle, leg and body, and have shorter ears that are set higher on their head.
The difference between American and English Cocker Spaniels will also impact the look and temperament of the puppies. The most noticeable difference between the two is that English Cockers are larger and have longer muzzles. American Cockers are smaller with longer coats, and quite distinct faces. Cockers also contribute a wide variety of fur colours and coat patterns to their Cockapoo descendants.
Although Poodles can look very different from one another, the biggest influence they have on their Cockapoo progeny is on the potential size and colour of the puppy. The Cockapoo size is actually dictated by the poodle in their bloodline. A Toy Poodle will lead to a Toy Cockapoo, Miniature Poodle a Miniature Cockapoo, and a Standard Poodle will breed a Maxi Cockapoo.
Because of the variety of colours and traits a dog can inherit from their parents, it means no two litters of Cockapoos are the same. Some dogs can have straight coats, others very-tightly curled fur. Many breeders have now started to breed Cockapoos together to create F2 Cockapoos and further generations of “pure” Cockapoos. These dogs have two Cockapoos as their parents and so there is more certainty on the characteristics they will inherit.
COCKAPOO VS CAVAPOO
If you’re looking for a Cockapoo, you might have also considered the similar-looking Cavapoo to become your best fur-iend. Both crossbreeds share a lot of similarities, such as loving natures and a low-shed coat. Trying to compare a Cockapoo vs Cavapoo can be tricky as they are so similar.
The main difference is that a Cavapoo is bred from a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and either a Toy or Miniature Poodle. This means that they are often smaller and slightly shorter-lived than Cockapoos, but the difference is minimal. As well as being smaller, a Cavapoo requires less exercise than a Maxi Cockapoo. This means they can be more suitable for apartment living.
Another difference is that Cavapoos are generally calmer and more laid-back than their Cockapoo cousins. While the Cockapoo temperament is confident with near-endless energy, a Cavapoo, in contrast, is quite happy to relax at home. Cavapoos can be quite picky eaters, especially compared to a Cockapoos enthusiasm. The difference in temperaments and heritage also means that Cockapoos require more attention and playtime because of their high intelligence and tendency towards separation anxiety.
These dogs look similar too, but a Cockapoo will have a longer muzzle. Both dogs have similar coats and coat patterns, including their low-shedding quality. This means they have similar grooming requirements too.
However, if you are trying to weigh up a Cockapoo vs Cavapoo, it’s worth doing your research and visiting puppies of each crossbreed before you make your final decision. Which dog is right for you will come down to your own individual desire and lifestyle, and finding which pooch fits that best.
Please be aware that there is no “breed standard” for a Cockapoo, as they are a hybrid dog. Plus, their measurements can vary dramatically depending on the size of the parent dogs.
Cockapoo popularity seems to correlate with their size, so the most commonly seen dogs are quite small. Their coat is often thick, long, and curly but sheds very little thanks to their Poodle heritage. Regardless of their size, Cockapoos are cheerful companions with a lot of love to give.
Here’s a chart of the key statistics of a Cockapoo:
|Size||Small - Medium||Small - Medium|
|Average height (Withers)||30 to 38cm||25 to 35cm|
|Average weight||7 to 11kg||6 to 9kg|
|Lifespan||13 to 16 years||13 to 16 years|
|Sheds||Little to none||Little to none|
*See the final hypoallergenic section
THEY’RE NOT ACTUALLY A BREED
Despite how popular Cockapoos are, they are not a registered breed. That’s why you won’t see any being shown at Crufts in the main ring. They have made appearances in the agility ring at dog shows though, and have shown an aptitude for sports thanks to their high energy and enthusiasm. Plus, many Cockapoo clubs are campaigning to have them recognised as a breed of their own, paw-ticularly now subsequent generations of Cockapoos have been bred.
Poodles are widely recognised as the second smartest dog on the planet. English Cocker Spaniels are very intelligent too, ranked #20 of the pack of the most intelligent dogs. That makes Cockapoos some of the smartest pooches you can have as a pet. This means they are bright and easy to train, but you will have to provide plenty of attention and mental stimulation to your dog to prevent bad behaviour or depression caused by boredom.
THERE ISN’T A SET COCKAPOO SIZE
The three different Cockapoo sizes and the Cockapoo size depends on their Poodle parent. The smallest Cockapoo, a Toy Cockapoo, is bred from a Toy Poodle and a Cocker Spaniel and reaches about 25cm tall and should weigh less than 5.5kg. The Miniature Cockapoo is bred from a Cocker Spaniel and Miniature Poodle, stands about 28-36cm tall and weighs between 6-8kg. The largest Cockapoo size is the Maxi Cockapoo, bred from Standard Poodles and Cocker Spaniels. Any dog taller than 38cm and weighing at least 8.5kg is classed as a Maxi Cockapoo.
THE FIRST DESIGNER DOG
Although they have skyrocketed in popularity recently, Cockapoos have been bred since the 50s. These hybrid dogs were the first “designer dogs” but the label is almost lost now, thankfully.
WHAT IS AN F1 COCKAPOO?
You might have seen the terms “F1 Cockapoo” or “F2 Cockapoo” while looking for Cockapoo puppies. Although this sounds like car racing, it is actually a way of telling you what generation a Cockapoo puppy is.
An F1 Cockapoo means they are first-generation, so their parents were a Cocker Spaniel and a Poodle. Meanwhile, an F2 Cockapoo is a second-generation, so their parents were both F1 Cockapoos.
As the pool of Cockapoos grows, so too do the number of generations. You can now find F3 Cockapoos that have two F2 Cockapoo parents, and F4 Cockapoo puppies that have a pair of F3 Cockapoo parents. Meanwhile, a Cockapoo puppy bred between an F1 Cockapoo and a Poodle or Cocker Spaniel is known as an F1b puppy.
Buying a puppy from a later generation of Cockapoos means that they can be deliberately bred to have the most desirable traits, giving more certainty and stability to the Cockapoo characteristics. Cockapoo enthusiasts are hopeful that this breeding will eventually lead to the Cockapoo being recognised as its own breed. On the other hand, first-generation or F1 Cockapoos are considered the healthiest and most stable, thanks to heterosis or “hybrid vigour” due to their crossbreeding.
COCKAPOO PUPPY NAMES
Naming your new furry friend can be tough. You’ll need a name that suits their personality, but you have to be sure you’ll be happy shouting it in the park! If you’re struggling to find the paw-fect name for your Cockapoo puppy, try looking over these 1000 boy dog names and 1000 girl dog names.
HOW BIG DO COCKAPOOS GET?
WHEN DO COCKAPOOS STOP GROWING?
Usually, a Cockapoo will stop growing by the time they’re 1 year old. They will typically reach their adult height by the time they are 9 months old, but don’t stop growing until their first birthday.
However, this can vary depending on the kind of Poodle your Cockapoo is descended from. Standard Poodles will do most of their growing in the first 6 months, but don’t stop growing until they are about 2 years old. Meanwhile, Cockers will reach their adult height by 1 year old but will keep growing until they are 2 when they reach their adult weight.
Overall that means you can expect your Cockapoo puppy to finish growing in height by their first birthday, but they might keep putting weight on for a few months longer.
Just be aware of the transition from puppy to adult diet, and make sure you’re feeding your Cockapoo the best food to stop them from putting too much weight on. Cockapoos can be prone to becoming overweight, so it is im-paw-tent to make sure you feed them a healthy diet in appropriate volumes for their size and age.
Cockapoos are known for being clowns of the canine world and with good reason. These dogs have inherited the intelligence and drive of the poodle and the friendliness of the cocker, combining to create an incredibly loving, people-pleasing pup.
These are dogs that thrive on human attention. It makes them paw-some family pets, but it does mean you must be prepared to spend several hours a day walking, training, and playing with your pooch to keep them happy. Cockapoos love being busy and do best in a home where they will have plenty of enrichment and stimulation to keep their intelligent minds active and satisfy their craving for attention.
As they are a crossbreed, there is a whole range of Cockapoo personality types, but almost all of them are loving and loyal little dogs. The Cockapoo temperament is one of the reasons these dogs are so desirable, as they are outgoing, friendly, and loving little dogs.
Due to the hybrid nature of a Cockapoo, their appearance can vary dramatically. Generally, they are small to medium-sized dogs with a long coat of curly or wavy fur. They have round, brown eyes and their cheeky expression often resembles a teddy, which is emphasised by the typical “teddy bear” Cockapoo haircut.
Firstly, the size and build of a Cockapoo can range depending on the Cockers and Poodles they’re related to. As mentioned, Cockapoos come in different sizes from toy up to medium-large dogs depending on whether the Poodle parent is a toy, miniature, or standard dog. Meanwhile, the looks and build they inherit from their Cocker family will differ depending on whether they are American or English breeds, and whether they are working or show lines.
Not to mention, the combination of both breeds provides a vast array of colour combinations a Cockapoo could inherit. Plus, the degree of which they resemble either a Cocker or a Poodle can vary too! Some Cockapoos can look very like Spaniels. But generally, they will always have the thick fur, round dark eyes, and teddy bear appearance that has become characteristic of the Cockapoo.
There is a wide range of Cockapoo colours and coat patterns thanks to the array of colour combinations available within Cockers and Poodles.
As Cockapoos are not a registered breed, there are no breed standards, meaning colours and patterns can be named differently by breeders. For example, one might call a pup “buff” coloured, another name it “cream”. However, there are standards of fur colour and patterning for Cockers and Poodles, and Cockapoos can appear in any colour combination present in the parent breeds.
Cocker Spaniels can come in five solid colours, multi-colour combinations of these colours, plus sable and roan coat patterns. Meanwhile, there are around ten different solid colours of Poodle. Mix these all together, and it means there are dozens of possible Cockapoo colours.
Here’s a list of all the possible colour combinations from Cockers and Poodles, and the wide variety of colours your Cockapoo may be.
HERE ARE ALL THE POTENTIAL COLOURS OF COCKER SPANIELS:
Cockers can also come in a coat pattern called “roan”. This is where their base fur colour is mixed, patterned with white hairs mixed with coloured hairs, “diluting” the colour of their coat. The colour combinations of roan fur include:
|Black||Black and white||Black, white and tan|
|Black and tan|
|Red||Red and white|
|Lemon||Lemon and white|
|Liver||Liver and white||Liver, white and tan|
|Liver and tan|
- Blue roan
- Blue roan and tan
- Red roan
- Lemon roan
- Liver roan
- Liver roan and tan
Meanwhile, Poodles tend to carry solid colours. These are:
- Cafe au Lait
Although Poodles tend to be one colour, they can also have “sable” coats. This means their fur grows in one colour at the base of the hair, with the tips of the fur in another colour. (Similar to a sable paintbrush.) Like roan dogs, this affects the pattern of their coat and can combine many different colours to create the sable effect. Since Cockers can also be sable, it means Cockapoos could be born with the trait too.
Here’s a paw-some gallery of cockapoo colours by the Cockapoo Club of Great Britain. As you can see, there are a ton of paw-sible combinations out there!
It’s im-paw-tent to remember that the colour of your puppy might differ to the colour they are as an adult. This is because some Cockapoos might inherit a “progressive greying” gene that some black, brown, and blue Poodles carry. This gene causes the coat colour to fade with age. For instance, many black Poodles and Cockapoos can fade to grey or blue with age.
HOW LONG DO COCKAPOOS LIVE?
Cockapoo life expectancy tends to be quite long. The average Cockapoo lifespan is around 13-16 years old, giving you the potential for many long and happy years with your furry friend. This long life is often credited to the dog being a crossbreed. Lifestyle is still an im-paw-tent factor in any dog’s life expectancy though, so owners who are looking to extend their Cockapoos lifespan will want to provide them with plenty of exercise and a healthy, natural diet.
THE IDEAL COCKAPOO LIFESTYLE
Because of their (usually) small size, cuddly appearance, and clownish nature, it can be easy for owners to forget that these are highly intelligent and driven dogs that require plenty of stimulation, exercise, and grooming time to keep them happy and healthy.
ARE COCKAPOOS EASY TO TRAIN?
Yes, Cockapoos are easy to train. Although individual personalities play a part in how easy it is, most Cockapoos are quick to learn and eager to please.
This is because both Poodles and Cocker Spaniels are working gundog breeds. They are highly intelligent dogs with a drive to work, and eagerness to please their humans. Cockapoos were bred to maximise this love of people, creating not only a cuddly companion animal, but a dog that was intelligent, easy to train, and enthusiastic to make their owners happy.
CAN COCKAPOOS BE LEFT ALONE?
Not really, but it depends on the individual dog and how well you teach them. Cockapoos are very people-orientated and thrive on human company. Adult dogs that have been trained properly can be left alone for a few hours, but they will need plenty of exercise and attention once you’re home. Younger dogs can only be left for short periods.
Cockapoos can be prone to separation anxiety, making thorough training a key factor in helping them to stay calm, prevent problematic behaviour, and allow them to be left alone. By the time you have noticed your dog has separation anxiety, the behaviour would be well-established. That is why it is recommended to teach your puppy from a young age that being alone isn’t scary, and you will always be back with love and cuddles before long.
Not only can Cockapoos be anxious, but they also tend to bond best with one family member. (Quite like Spaniels.) This means that although they love their family if they can’t see their special someone, it can still lead to some separation anxiety.
HOW MUCH EXERCISE DOES A COCKAPOO NEED?
The amount of exercise your Cockapoo needs depends on their size. Toy Cockapoos only need a brisk half-hour walk every day. Miniature and Maxi Cockapoos require much more regular exercise and will benefit from at least an hour’s walk every day.
However, both Poodles and Cockers are working gundog breeds with plenty of stamina. Cockapoos are known to have boundless energy, and so providing more than an hour’s exercise every day could help to tire them out.
Be aware that walking isn't the only exercise your Cockapoo needs. You will need to invest several hours of training and playtime every day to provide the mental stimulation these clever dogs need.
DO COCKAPOOS SMELL?
No, Cockapoos tend to be an odourless dog thanks to their Poodle genetics. Although there is no guarantee that they will inherit this characteristic, Cockapoos usually do not have a distinct odour. That means if your Cockapoo puppy seems smelly, they’ve probably rolled in something nasty or might have a skin infection. A bad smell might be caused by matted fur, which is why it’s im-paw-tent to bathe and groom your dog regularly.
DO COCKAPOOS NEED A LOT OF GROOMING?
Many people are drawn to Cockapoos because they tend to shed very little, or not at all. This is all thanks to the fancy Poodle fur, which is what led to the soaring popularity of various oodle-crosses. However, just because they don’t shed much doesn’t mean they don’t need grooming.
The amount of grooming your Cockapoo will need depends on whether they have a straight coat or a curly coat. Generally, your Cockapoo will require full grooming every 3 months. This will include a bath and the Standard Cockapoo haircut, the “teddy bear” cut. You might need to trim the hair around your Cockapoos eyes more often, as long fur on their faces will affect their vision. Equally, the long ears inherited from Cockers make Cockapoos prone to ear infections, so make sure you check and groom your dog’s ears regularly.
HOW OFTEN SHOULD YOU GROOM A COCKAPOO?
Straight coated Cockapoos don’t need regular trimming but they will instead need to be brushed 2-3 times a week and bathed at least every 3 months. You might need to cut the hair around their eyes too, just to make sure they can see clearly.
Meanwhile, wavy-coated and curly-coated Cockapoos require less regular but more intense grooming. Keeping your curly Cockapoo’s fur in the best condition requires time and tools, so many owners opt to send them to a professional groomer rather than try to tame the fur themselves.
Just like wet human hair, brushing their curls will cause frizz. Therefore, curly coats need to be combed when conditioned and wet. Curly coats are also prone to matting which is why pooches (especially those with tight-curls) need to have their fur clipped to the standard “teddy bear” Cockapoo haircut to prevent matting. This will require a trip to a groomer for a wash and cut every three months unless you learn to groom your dog yourself.
DO COCKAPOOS MOULT?
Yes, Cockapoos can moult but are known to have next to no shedding. Shedding and moulting are both to do with loose hair being dropped from your dog, often triggered by seasonal changes. Poodles are known not to moult as they shed very little, and the fur they lose tangles with the rest of their coat so it doesn’t drop out onto the floor. Cockapoos will moult to varying degrees. Many dogs shed very little hair, but those that take after Cockers will shed more. Regular grooming will help to minimise any shedding.
DO COCKAPOOS SHED?
Cockapoos will shed a very small amount, but it depends on their coat type and whether they take after their Poodle or Cocker ancestors. As mentioned, this is because Poodles have a single coat that sheds minimally, and the loose hairs tangle amongst the dog’s remaining fur, so it usually won’t spread around the home. Meanwhile, Cocker Spaniels have a double coat and shed seasonally. There is no guarantee how much your Cockapoo will shed, but the majority of dogs only shed a little. (Even “no shed” or hypoallergenic dogs like Cockapoos will shed a little hair.)
If you are specifically looking for a dog that sheds very little, you are best looking at F2 Cockapoos as there is more guarantee on what kind of coat, appearance, and other traits they will inherit. You can also minimise any shedding by maintaining a regular grooming regime.
ARE COCKAPOOS HYPOALLERGENIC?
This is a tricky one to answer. Technically no, Cockapoos are not hypoallergenic, but only because there is no completely hypoallergenic dog. All breeds will shed some dander, like dandruff, which is what causes most allergic reactions. Even a Cockapoo that doesn’t shed fur will still drop a tiny amount of dander.
However, claiming the dog is hypoallergenic isn’t completely unfounded either, because cockapoos tend to drop a very low amount of dander and hardly shed their fur. Because of this, they can make great companions for people with pet allergies and are, in that sense, as “hypoallergenic” as a dog can be. However, for the most sensitive individuals, they might still cause an allergic reaction.
Another hypoallergenic claim comes from Cockapoos not moulting. Again, this is variable as some pooches may inherit the Poodle coat which does not shed or moult, but there is no guarantee a dog will inherit this gene. F2 and further generations of Cockapoo are more likely to have this hypoallergenic coat and prove paw-fect breeds for anyone with allergies.
Different people have different severities of sensitivity which are triggered by different things, be it the dander, saliva, or fur. This means you can never 100% promise any kind of dog will be hypoallergenic for them. Meanwhile, Cockapoos are a crossbreed so there are no guarantees on what traits they will inherit, but it is likely you will have a loving pup that sheds very little and is paw-fectly adapted for a household with allergies.
If you are concerned about your allergies, you should visit a Cockapoo to assess their suitability for your individual needs. Many are “hypoallergenic” and might be paw-fectly fine for you. Alternatively, if you do find you are still allergic, you prevent the pain and stress on both you and the dog having to rehome them after discovering you aren’t compatible.
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