The Cockapoo is the UK’s most popular hybrid dog type – and the fourth most popular dog overall, making them even more in demand than most recognised pedigree breeds. Interest in the Cockapoo as a whole has never been higher – and every day, dog lovers make the decision to add one of these lively, loving small to medium-sized dogs to their families.
Buying or adopting a new dog for your family is not a decision to make lightly – as well as ensuring that dog ownership is right for you, it is also important to thoroughly research the breed or type of dog that you are considering, to rule out any potentially unsuitable candidates and to help to ensure that you know what you’re getting into, and what to expect from your new canine companion.
First-time Cockapoo owners and people considering buying a Cockapoo often run into confusion during the early stages of their searches for dogs for sale when they see adverts referencing “F” designations for litters – such as F1, F1b, F2, and so on.
In this article, we will examine what the different “F” designations mean when used to describe Cockapoos, and how to interpret the jargon to help you to understand their meaning. Read on to learn more.
A Cockapoo is a mixed breed or hybrid dog type that is comprised of the crossing of a poodle (of any size) and a cocker spaniel, as well as subsequent generations of crossings of Cockapoos with each other, or back to a dog of either of the two parent breeds.
The “F” designations that you will often see used to describe Cockapoo litters and dogs for sale refer to the exact mixture or crossing involved in creating a dog of this type – such as a first-generation cross of a poodle with a cocker spaniel, subsequent generations of cockapoos bred to other cockapoos, and subsequent generations crossed back to either a poodle or a cocker spaniel.
Understanding what each “F” designation means will tell you about any given dog or litter’s ancestry, and their complete makeup in terms of their ancestors. The “F” ratings don’t tell you anything about the quality of the dog, their worth, or anything else subjective – but it can help you to understand the background and origins of the dog itself.
A first-generation crossing is the result of mating a poodle with a cocker spaniel. This is known as an F1, or first generation cross.
When two first-generation Cockapoos are mated with each other, this results in an F2 Cockapoo, or a second-generation Cockapoo. Particularly within second-generation Cockapoos, the appearance of individual dogs can be quite variable, even between dogs in the same litter – and some second-generation or F2 Cockapoos will look a lot more like one of their grandparents (being a cocker spaniel or a poodle respectively) than a standard Cockapoo. This is what is known as a throwback, or a puppy that is the result of “the grandfather effect,” and pups usually have to be around 6-8 weeks old before this effect and their ultimate adult appearance will become obvious.
Not all Cockapoos are produced from crossing a poodle and a cocker spaniel, or two Cockapoos with each other – some Cockapoos are produced by back-crossing a Cockapoo with one of the two parent breeds. Dogs that result from such crossings have a “b” designator added to their “F” number – So a first-generation or F1 Cockapoo bred with either a poodle or a cocker spaniel will be an F1b, and a second-generation or F2 Cockapoo bred with either a poodle or a cocker spaniel will be an F2b.
Back-crossing in this way is sometimes performed to negate the grandfather effect in subsequent generations – for instance, if an F1 Cockapoo doesn’t inherit the desirable low-shedding coat of their poodle ancestor, they might be bred back to a poodle with the goal of enhancing this trait in their own offspring. It might also take place to enable a breeder to fine-tune the appearance of their pups, or enhance other desirable traits.
Each subsequent generation of Cockapoos are assigned with an “F” designation, so a third-generation Cockapoo would be an F3, a fourth generation an F4, and so on.
If two cockapoos that aren’t both of the same generation are mated – for instance, an F1 with an F2 – things get a little more complicated.
Understanding the various different “F” designators can be a little confusing if you’re new to the system, but this chart should help you to make sense of things when you’re looking around! If you’re in any doubt or want to clarify the ancestry of any given puppy, the breeder should be able to tell you more, and explain the dog’s background in more detail.