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Key Breed Facts
Intelligence / Trainability
Children and Other Pets
Caring for a Cockapoo
Average Cost to keep/care for a Cockapoo
Breed Specific Buying Advice
Cockapoos were developed by crossing Cocker Spaniels with Poodles and were first bred in the United States during the fifties. They are one of the oldest hybrid dog breeds or "designer" dogs around and since they first appeared on the scene, Cockapoos have found a massive fan base not only in the UK, but throughout the world too and for good reason. Cockapoos are loyal, energetic, affectionate and fun-loving dogs that make wonderful family pets and companions.
Cockapoos arrived on British shores around 10 or so years ago and as their popularity grew, the term "designer dog" became less associated with them. Today, there are F1, F1b, F2 and more Cockapoos being bred and all can be registered with the Cockapoo Club of Great Britain, although for the moment these charming dogs are not recognised by the Kennel Club (as of Febrary 2018).
As previously mentioned, Cockapoos are one of the oldest "hybrid dog breeds" around having been developed in the United States back in the fifties. However, it is not clear whether these charming dogs were created on purpose or whether it was by pure accident. Whatever their true origins, the Cockapoo has become a much-loved dog that makes an excellent family pet and companion dog and one that fits in with many life styles. They were first introduced into the UK approximately 10 years ago and were an immediate hit with people all over the country thanks to their charming looks and kind, loyal natures.
The first mating of a Cocker Spaniel and a Poodle produced an F1 Cockapoo which is still thought of as being the better and therefore more stable crossing of the two breeds because it boasts having the more consistent results. F1 Cockapoos tend to be a little taller than their parent breeds when they reach maturity and breeders believe that this results in the dogs having "Hybrid-Vigour". When F1 Cockapoos are bred things get a little more complicated and the same can be said of F2 and other crossings too.
Being "hybrids" as they are often referred to, the Cockapoo is not a recognised breed with any of the international breed clubs which includes The Kennel Club here in the UK (July 2017). However, many local breed clubs have been set up all over the world with an end goal being to make sure Cockapoos are bred responsibly so that puppies are healthier with less risk of them developing any of the congenital and hereditary health concerns that are known to sometimes affect their parent breeds, namely Poodles and Cocker Spaniels.
With this in mind it's really important for potential owners to contact responsible breeders who routinely have all their stud dogs checked for any hereditary disorders which is the only way of reducing the risk of puppies developing any of the conditions. It is, however, worth noting that no matter how carefully bred a Cockapoo happens to be, there is never any guarantee they won't develop a congenital or hereditary disorder during their lives. It does however, reduce the chance of it happening.
It’s also essential that any inbreeding is avoided which in short means checking the lineage of stud dogs before mating them together which is more likely to happen with Cockapoos that are bred together further down the line.
Height at the withers: Males 25 - 38 cm, Females 25 - 38 cm
Average weight: Males 5.4 - 10.9 kg, Females 5.4 - 10.9 kg
Because Cockapoos are a cross-breed, they come in all sorts of shapes and sizes with some dogs leaning towards the Cocker Spaniel whereas other inherit more Poodle traits whether it’s their physical traits or their temperaments. Some dogs may have the curly coat of a Poodle and others could have much straighter and longer hair because they inherited more of a Spaniel's coat, so it really does depend on the luck of the draw as to how a puppy Cockapoo turns out.
With this said, they are small to medium sized dogs with most responsible breeders now using Miniature rather than Toy Poodles to cross with either American or English Cocker Spaniels to reduce the chances of puppies inheriting any of the many disorders that seem to affect the Toy Poodle. Although most dogs are small in stature, this is not to say that some Cockapoos are larger than others because it really does depend on their parents as to what size they throw to.
As previously mentioned, a first crossing of a Cocker Spaniel with a Poodle produces an F1 Cockapoo which is thought of as being the more stable crossing of the two breeds simply because the mating produces a more stable result in their offspring. F1 Cockapoos are often slightly taller than both their parent breeds. When two F1 Cockapoos are mated, they produce F2 puppies and often this can produce "throwbacks" which are referred to a F2 Cockapoos having a "Grandad Effect". This is when puppies from the same litter can have very different looks with some throwing to a Poodle, others looking more like a Cocker Spaniel and some being a mixture of the two. This "Grandad" trait is not terribly apparent during the first few weeks of a puppy's life, but becomes more evident as a puppy grows and matures into an adult dog.
Cockapoos can take on very different looks when they are bred back to a Cocker Spaniel or a Poodle which results in their offspring being referred to as F1b, F2b and so on, depending on what generation their parent dogs happen to be. As such crossing an F2 Cockapoo with another F2 dog produces an F3 Cockapoo. The problem arises when further breeding is carried out which must be thoroughly researched to avoid any in-breeding taking place. This is when both parent dogs have a common ancestor in a five-generation lineage.
All variations of these charming dogs are always called Cockapoos, but because F1, F2, F3 etc crossings take place, the size of a dog, their shape and appearance as well as their temperament and intelligence can vary tremendously from dog to dog. It is also worth noting that their shedding rate and whether a dog has a hypo-allergenic coat can also vary a lot, bearing in mind that all Cockapoos shed dander which can also trigger an allergic reaction in people as can a dog's saliva.
How a Cockapoo turns out is very dependent on which type of Cocker Spaniel is used in a breeding programme, namely the English Cocker Spaniel, the English Working Cocker Spaniel or the American Cocker Spaniel because all three are quite different in looks as well as natures. The American Cocker is smaller than the English Cocker and they have domed heads together with deeper stops. Their ears are longer and their coats are heavier and longer too.
English Cockers tend to be the larger of the spaniels and they have more of a domed head, deeper stops and nice long pendulous ears than their working Cocker counterparts. Their coats are dense, wavy and thick. English Working Cockers, however, are more athletic and rangier in appearance with lighter coats and ears that are set higher on their heads. Their faces are that much squarer too.
Poodles come in various sizes which range from very small Toy Poodles to large Standard Poodles. However, the only two that are used to breed Cockapoos are the Toy and the Miniature Poodle. As such a "Toy" Cockapoo would boast having a Toy Poodle in their parentage and a Miniature Cockapoo would have a Miniature Poodle in their parentage.
As a rule of thumb, Cockapoos with Toy Poodles as one of their parents can be a little lighter framed and smaller than those that have Miniature Poodles as a parent.
When it come to their coat, Cockapoos can inherit many different coat types and textures. The length of a dog’s coat depends on their lineage and parent breeds too. They can be a variety of colours, but the most commonly seen in these charming dogs tends to be as follows:
Cockapoos are bouncy when they move having a ton of energy to expend. They are free moving both in their front and hind quarters with dogs always holding themselves proudly and tails held high when on the move.
Cockapoos are highly adaptable dogs and they are extremely affectionate and loyal to their families by nature. They are also highly intelligent, having inherited this from both their parent breeds. Poodles are among the smartest dogs on the planet and Cockers boast being very clever too although both the Poodle and the Cocker can be a little too clever for their own good, a trait that Cockapoos certainly know how to use to their advantage.
They are renowned for being happy, fun-loving characters that are a pleasure to have around. Cockapoos thrive on human company which is fine if they live in a household where one person usually stays at home when everyone else is out. They are not the best choice for people who spend most of the time at work and who leave dogs to their own devices for long periods of time. If a Cockapoo is left alone and they are not given the correct amount of daily exercise and mental stimulation, they quickly get bored and this can lead to all sorts of problems. A bored Cockapoo can develop unwanted behavioural issues and they can even suffer from separation anxiety which sees dogs being destructive around the home and barking incessantly when their owners are out.
Cockapoos love playing interactive games and are known to be fast on their feet and very agile. Much like their parent breeds, a tired Cockapoo is a well-behaved, obedient dog and the best way to tire one of these charming, intelligent dogs out, is to give them a ton of exercise that includes lots of interactive playtime. They enjoy all sorts of canine sports which includes activities like agility and flyball which they excel at.
Cockapoos are a very good choice for first time dog owners thanks to their sweet, kind, amenable and loyal natures. They are easily trained because Cockapoos are intelligent dogs and they love the one to one contact they are given during a training session. They are one of the most amenable dogs around and like nothing more than to please which is just one of their most endearing traits.
A well socialised Cockapoo will not develop a high prey drive, but they might not be able to resist chasing a smaller animal they come across just for the fun of it. As such, care should be taken when a Cockapoo meets any small animals when they are out on walks just to err on the safe side of things.
Cockapoos are renowned for being fun-loving and playful. Thanks to their intelligence, they are quick to learn new things with the downside being they learn bad habits just as fast.
Cockapoos are highly adaptable and are just as happy living in an apartment in town as they are living in a home in the country, providing they are given enough daily exercise and mental stimulation, that is.
Cockapoos are extremely people-oriented and never like to be left on their own for too long. They can suffer from separation anxiety which is why young dogs need to be taught that being on their own is not something to stress about especially if their owners are out at work during the day. They are, however, better suited to households where one person typically stays at home when everyone else is out so they always have company around or in households with another dog or cat.
Being so intelligent, a trait Cockapoos inherit from both their parent breeds, these charming dogs can be taught not to bark excessively or for no reason, but this needs to be done when a Cockapoo is young and should be part of the limits and boundaries their owners set for them.
Most Cockapoos like being around water and are strong swimmers, but care should always be taken when a puppy first starts showing signs of wanting to be in water. It also pays to be extra careful when walking a Cockapoo anywhere near more dangerous water courses just in case they decide to leap in.
Cockapoos are known to be good watchdogs and will quickly let their owners know when there are strangers about or when something they don't like is going on in their environment. However, they can be taught not to bark too much which, as previously mentioned must be done when a Cockapoo is still young and before it becomes a real problem.
Cockapoos are known to be very smart with both their parent breeds being high on the list of intelligent dogs. They also love to please and as such they are highly trainable. In the right hands, these charming dogs can learn new things extremely quickly and excel at many canine sports which as previously mentioned includes agility and flyball.
They are quite sensitive by nature and therefore do not answer well to any sort of harsh correction, nor do Cockapoos respond well to heavy handed training methods. They do respond very well to positive reinforcement and are known to be quite "voice sensitive" which means they quickly pick up the different tones owners use when giving them certain commands. It’s important to offer a dog fewer high quality treats rather than give them lower value ones which could lead to a Cockapoo putting on too much weight early in their lives and which could seriously impact their health further down the line.
The key to successfully training a Cockapoo is to start their education from day one and to establish ground rules and boundaries so that young dogs understand what is expected of them. The first commands a Cockapoo puppy should be taught are as follows:
Cockapoos are known to be very good around children which is why they make such wonderful family pets and why they have been a popular choice with people both here in the UK and elsewhere in the world for so long. However, any interaction between dogs and younger children should always be supervised by an adult to make sure playtime does not get too boisterous which could end up with someone getting hurt.
They are also known to be social dogs by nature, especially if they have been well socialised from a young enough age which in short, means Cockapoos generally get on well with other dogs and animals and this includes the family cat. Having said this, a Cockapoo would think nothing of chasing a neighbour’s cat if they ever get the chance to. As with other dogs, care should be taken when they are around smaller pets they don’t already know just to be on the safe side.
For further advice please read our article on Keeping Children Safe around Dogs.
The average life expectancy of a Cockapoo is between 14 and 18 years when properly cared for and fed an appropriate good quality diet to suit their ages.
Like many other hybrid dogs, the Cockapoo is known to suffer from a few hereditary health issues which are frequently seen in both their parent breeds. The conditions that seem to affect Cockapoos the most include the following:
Cockapoo puppies must have their first vaccination prior to being sold. After this, they need to be vaccinated again following the guidelines below:
There is some debate as to whether boosters are necessary as such it’s best to discuss this with the vet before making a final decision. With this said, a Cockapoo would need to have all their jabs up to date should they ever need to go into boarding kennels.
Female Cockapoos can be spayed when they are 6 months old and not beforehand. Males can be safely neutered when they are 6 months old too.
Cockapoos are not known to be "greedy" dogs, but it's important not to overfeed them because carrying too much weight will seriously impact their overall health and wellbeing. Obese dogs have shorter lifespans and are more at risk of developing some serious health issues that can affect their heart function and it puts a lot more strain on their backs and joints which could lead to a dog suffering from arthritis when they reach their golden years.
Some Cockapoos can suffer from skin allergies and it's important to identify the triggers as early as possible. Allergies are notoriously hard to clear up once they flare up and it takes time and patience to establish what sets them off. The most commonly seen allergies in Cockapoos are:
Recognising when a Cockapoo may be developing some sort of health issue as early as possible is crucial because the later a condition is diagnosed and treated usually means a disorder is harder to clear up and the prognosis is never as good where certain health issues are concerned.
Under the Cockapoo Club of Great Britain's health guide and regulations concerning the breed, the following tests are either mandatory or recommended:
Care should always be taken when it comes to breeding Cockapoos more especially when they are F4+ dogs. It is crucial for a dog's lineage to be closely examined to prevent any in-breeding with the risk being less in F1 and F2 Cockapoos than those further down the line.
As with any other breed, Cockapoos need to be groomed on a regular basis to make sure their coats and skin are kept in top condition. They also need to be given regular daily exercise to ensure they remain fit and healthy. On top of this, dogs need to be fed good quality food that meets all their nutritional needs throughout their lives.
Cockapoo puppies are full of life and if they have been well enough socialised when they were still with their mothers and litter mates, they are generally confident, outgoing dogs. However, for the first few days after arriving in a new home, a Cockapoo puppy may seem a little reserved which is understandable because everything is so new to them and they have just left their mothers and their litter mates.
A reputable breeder would never allow a new owner to take a Cockapoo away from their mothers or litter mates until they are old enough to leave them. This is typically when a puppy is anything from 8 to 15 weeks old. The longer a puppy can remain with their mother, the better although it should never be for too long either.
Making sure there is always going to be someone around when a puppy first arrives home is essential because it would not be fair if they found themselves alone in a strange environment. It takes a while for a puppy to settle in and it's best they have company through what can be a worrying and stressful time for a young dog.
Other things to bear in mind is that it is important to write down when a puppy would need worming again and to keep to the schedule. A puppy would need worming as follows:
A puppy would have already had their first vaccination and been microchipped as well as wormed with all the details of when this was done being included in their paperwork. Their documentation should include a puppy's pedigree and a list of health issues the breed is known to suffer from. Their CCGB registration information if they have been registered with the Cockapoo Club of Great Britain should also be included in a puppy's paperwork.
Puppies play hard, but they also need to nap a lot throughout the day, so it's important to set up a quiet corner that's not too out of the way for their crates or dog beds. Like other puppies, Cockapoos can sleep for up to 21 hours in any 24-hour period and it's important for them to "recharge" their batteries so they can develop and grow as they should.
A lot of new dog owners invest in child gates to fit on doors and to limit the amount of space a Cockapoo puppy can roam in. Playpens are also a great investment because they keep puppies safe when owners are too busy to keep a close eye on their pets without having to restrict their movements. Other things needed for puppies include the following:
Cockapoo puppies can sleep for up to 21 hours a day which they need to do so they build up their strength for the next bout of playtime and so they continue to grow and develop properly. They are very sensitive to loud noises which means keeping the volumes down on the television and other devices which could stress a puppy out and disturb their sleeping routine.
A Cockapoo puppy needs to have all their vaccinations at specific times so they are fully protected. It's essential to keep vet appointments, not only for a puppy to be given their remaining jabs, but also so the vet can check them over for any health issues that may be brewing.
As dogs age and reach their golden years, they tend to slow down which means they get less excited about going out for walks, they can get a bit picky over their food and their vision as well as hearing are not as good as they once were. Taking care of an Older Cockapoo could mean reducing the amount of exercise a dog is given, checking a diet suits their ages and scheduling a few more health checks with the vet than when a dog was younger.
Older dogs, in general are more susceptible to developing health issues and the sooner a problem is noticed, correctly diagnosed and treated, the faster a dog would be made more comfortable. Another important factor to bear in mind. is that the earlier a disorder is treated, the better the outcome tends to be.
Things to watch out for in an older Cockapoo includes the following:
Cockapoo's can have many different types of coat with some dogs having a more Poodle-like coat whereas others might boast having sleeker coats much like their Cocker Spaniel parent breed. They are considered low-shedding dogs, especially if they boast having more of a Poodle coat, but this does not mean they don't need to be regularly brushed because their hair tends to grow quite quickly. The only way to prevent tangles and matts from forming is to brush a Cockapoo on a regular basis especially if their coats are on the long side.
With this said, no matter what type of coat a Cockapoo may have inherited, they still need to be professionally groomed, trimmed or clipped several times a year. This makes it that much easier to keep a dog's coat looking smart in between visits to a grooming parlour. It's also important to check a dog's ears on a regular basis and to clean them when necessary. If too much wax builds up in a dog's ears, it can lead to a painful infection which can be hard to clear up. In short, prevention is often easier than cure when it comes to ear problems.
Having the right sort of grooming tools to suit a Cockapoo’s coat makes keeping things tidy and in good condition that much easier. The tools needed for Cockapoos include the following:
Cockapoos are energetic dogs and they are smart which in short means they need to be given the right amount of daily exercise and mental stimulation for them to be truly happy, well-rounded and obedient dogs. They love being kept busy and enjoy nothing more than taking part in all sorts of canine sports which includes activities like agility, obedience trials and flyball to name but three, all of which they are known to excel at.
They need to be given anything from 40 to 60 minutes exercise a day. A shorter walk in the morning would be fine, but a longer more interesting one in the afternoon is a must. These dogs also like to be able to roam around a back garden as often as possible so they can really let off steam. However, the fencing must be extremely secure to keep these active and inquisitive dogs in because if they find a weakness in the fence, they will soon escape out and get into all sorts of trouble.
With this said, Cockapoo puppies should not be over exercised because their joints and bones are still growing and too much pressure on them could result in causing a dog a few problems later in their lives. They should not be allowed to jump up or off furniture nor should they be allowed to run up and down the stairs for this very reason.
Adult Cockers are not known to be fussy or finicky eaters, but this does not mean you can feed them a lower quality diet. It's best to feed a mature dog twice a day, once in the morning and then again in the evening, making sure it's good quality food that meets all their nutritional requirements. It's also important that dogs be given the right amount of exercise so they burn off any excess calories or they might gain too much weight which can lead to all sorts of health issues. Obesity can shorten a dog's life by several years so it's important to keep an eye on their waistline from the word go.
Adult Cockapoos need to be fed a high protein diet because they are active, energetic dogs and therefore they need the right levels of nutrients, vitamins and minerals in their food. As a rough guide, a mature Cockapoo should be fed the following amount of food every day being careful not to give a dog too many food treats on top of their normal diet:
Reputable breeders would always make sure they give potential owners information on what they have been feeding their puppies and it's best to stick to the same routine because as previously mentioned, it helps avoid any digestive upsets. The feeding schedule should include the following information:
Below is a rough feeding guide of how much a Cockapoo puppy needs to be fed daily during the first months of their lives:
Once a Cockapoo puppy is 13 months old, they can be fed adult food in the portions which are covered in the feeding section below. Puppies should be fed 3 or 4 times a day until they are anything from 14 to 18 months old after which time they can be fed twice a day.
If you are looking to buy a Cockapoo, you would need to pay anything from £600 to over £1000 for a well-bred puppy. The cost of insuring a male 3-year-old Cockapoo in northern England would be £19.36 a month for basic cover but for a lifetime policy, this would set you back £37.22 a month (quote as of August 2017). When insurance companies calculate a pet's premium, they factor in several things which includes where you live in the UK and a dog's age and whether they have been neutered or spayed.
When it comes to food costs, you need to buy the best quality food whether wet or dry, to feed your dog throughout their lives making sure it suits the different stages of their lives. This would set you back between £30 - £40 a month. On top of this, you would need to factor in veterinary costs if you want to share your home with a Cockapoo and this includes their initial vaccinations, their annual boosters, the cost of neutering or spaying your dog when the time is right and their yearly health checks, all of which quickly adds up to over £900 a year.
As a rough guide, the average cost to keep and care for a Cockapoo would be between £60 to £90 a month depending on the level of insurance cover you opt to buy for your dog, but this does not include the initial cost of buying a well-bred puppy.