The Cockapoo is a mix of Cocker Spaniel and Poodle and one of the oldest hybrid dog breeds around. First bred in the United States, they have earned a huge fanbase all over the world. Their curly coats are particularly good for allergy sufferers plus they are loyal, energetic, fun-loving and friendly. These intelligent dogs are easily trained and extremely good with children, so all in all make for a popular choice for families.
Due to the Cocker and Poodle mix, Cockapoos vary hugely in terms of size, appearance and temperament depending on parents, and which breed the individual has picked up most characteristics from.
Height: 10-15 inches (25 – 38 cm)
Weight: 12–24 pounds (5.4 – 10.9 kg)
Average litter size: 4-6
Life expectancy: 13 years
Good with children: Exceptionally good
Kennel Club Classification: Not currently recognised but can be registered with the Cockapoo Club of Great Britain
Depending on the balance of Cocker Spaniel to Poodle, the colour of a Cockapoo can vary hugely. They can be a solid colour or a mix, but the following are all potential Cockapoo colourings:
The Cockapoo’s coat can vary in texture, ranging from the relatively smooth but wavy of the Spaniel right through to the extremely curly coat of the Poodle. Up to six months old, the Cockapoo puppy coat is relatively low maintenance and simple brushing will suffice. The adult Cockapoo is a low shedding dog, but their coats do grow quickly. This means they will require a lot of brushing and grooming to keep them matt and tangle free, especially if their hair is on the long or curly side. A visit to a dog groomer is a good idea a few times a year to give them a professional top-to-bottom clean, trim and brush out.
Twice a year the Cockapoo will moult, but as they are low-shedding dogs, it’s particularly important for the moulted undercoat to be brushed out to stop it from matting, especially the curly coated dogs. If brushed dry, the hair can frizz from damaged hair shafts. Brushing from root to tip, while wet, from the paws up, is therefore a good technique.
The tighter the curl on the coat, the harder it will be to maintain, so for the tightly curled Cockapoo visits to the dog groomer every three months is a good idea.
For grooming at home several different brushes are needed, including a bristle-brush, wire-pin brush, slicker brush, detangling brush, fine toothed comb and a wide toothed comb. A pair of thinning scissors may be needed for trimming the hair around the face as well.
Like any dog, there are health issues that can crop up with a Cockapoo. Being a hybrid means there is a chance of inheriting typical ailments from either the spaniel or poodle side. The conditions that seem to affect the Cockapoo the most are:
This can present itself early on with mobility issues, or can exist without symptoms.
This is when the structure of the ball and socket hip joint hasn’t grown properly, leaving the joint unstable and prone to injury or arthritis in later years.
This is an essential enzyme for energy conversion from sugar sources. If it is low or absent, muscles weakness, cramps, discoloured urine or jaundice can result.
Cockapoos are highly adaptable and are very affectionate and loyal towards their families. They are intelligent, agile and fast on their feet, making them fun dogs to play with.
However, they thrive on company. If left alone for lengthy periods, they can suffer separation anxiety, leading to destructive behaviour or excessive barking.
Cockapoos are intelligent and fun-loving, eager-to-please dogs, so love the stimulation of training and the quality time it provides. They learn very quickly and can excel at canine sports like agility and flyball. They can be voice sensitive, so don’t respond well to harsher correction techniques or tones.
Cockapoos are energetic dogs that need at least 40-60 minutes of activity outside every day. They not only need physical exercise, but mental stimulation to keep their intelligent brains happy. They love to keep busy, so engaging with a canine sport would be very rewarding with this dog.
Cockapoos first came into being in the United States back in the 1950s. Whether they were created on purpose or by accident is unclear, but as time has passed and the Cockapoo has landed on shores all around the world, they have become an exceptionally popular breed.
This popularity is not only because of their fantastic nature but also because they are low shedding, so great for allergy sufferers. They also go by the alternative spelling ‘Cockerpoos’ or, in Australia, the name ‘Spoodles’. In 1998, The American Cockapoo Club was founded by Mary D. Foley and is dedicated towards preserving the Cockapoo breed.
Cockapoos first landed in the UK about 10 years ago. In the US, Poodles are usually crossbred with American Cocker Spaniels whereas in the UK, English Cocker Spaniels tend to be used. It is still considered a crossbreed so is not recognised by The Kennel Club as a pedigree breed. However, organisations dedicated to raising awareness of responsible Cockapoo breeding and owning have been set up. The British Cockapoo Society was founded in August 2013 and The Cockapoo Club of GB provides a place where breeders can register and adhere to a strict code of conduct when breeding.
The Cockapoo’s crossbreed status means they can’t compete in the UK’s most famous dog show Crufts, but they can enter the affectionately named Scruffts parts of the show, or be nominated for any of the Friends For Life awards. In 2016, a six-year-old Cockapoo named Bilbo Baggins won the therapy dog of the year at Crufts for his visits to a children’s respite home and a care home.
Cockapoos are one of the oldest so called “hybrid” dogs, with an Oxford Dictionary citation of the name as far back as 1960. There are now several different varieties, but the original F1 is still considered to be the most stable crossing when breeding.