With a name like “Cockapoo” you can expect this dog breed to be nothing less than adorable. These dogs are known for their soft, wavy coats, their friendly demeanor, and their goofy personalities. More than that however, Cockapoos are an intelligent and family-friendly breed that is becoming increasingly more popular with each passing year. If you are thinking about getting a new dog, the Cockapoo is definitely a great option to consider – keep reading to learn all about this wonderful breed!
- What is a Cockapoo?
- What do Cockapoos look like?
- What kind of temperament does a Cockapoo have?
- Cockapoo exercise and feeding requirements
- Tips for grooming your Cockapoo
- Is the Cockapoo a healthy breed?
- How much does a Cockapoo cost?
- Cockapoo training and dealing with problem behaviours
What is a Cockapoo?
The Kennel Club recognises over 200 different dog breeds. Each breed is unique in its own way but they all have one thing in common – they are pure breeds. The Cockapoo, on the other hand, is something called a mixed breed – a combination of two pure breeds. Mixed breed dogs are sometimes called crossbreeds or, in the case of the Cockapoo, designer dog breeds. The Kennel club also recognise a number of cross breeds, the Cockapoo being one of these. The Cockapoo is the result of breeding a Cocker Spaniel with a Poodle and the first specimen of this breed came about accidentally sometime during the late 1950’s and no one breeder or kennel is credited with creating the breed. What started as a happy accident transformed into a popular trend that has since yielded dozens of designer dog breeds like the Labradoodle, the Cavachon, and the Puggle.
At the heart of it, a Cockapoo is part Poodle and part Cocker Spaniel. What you may not realise, however, is that Cockapoos can be very different depending on how they are bred. For example, the name Poodle actually applies to three separate breeds of very different sizes – the Standard Poodle, the Miniature Poodle, and the Toy Poodle. The size of the Cockapoo may vary depending on which of these breeds are used in the combination. There are also two types of Cocker Spaniel – the American Cocker Spaniel and the English Cocker Spaniel. Different combinations of these five breeds can yield very different results in terms of the Cockapoo’s size, coat, and personality.
What do Cockapoos look like?
Without having ever seen a Cockapoo, you can guess what this kind of dog looks like just by looking at the parent breeds. When you think of the Poodle breed you probably picture a dog with a curly coat and a long, tapered snout. The name Cocker Spaniel brings to mind a small, spaniel-type dog with a short muzzle, long ears, and a feathered coat. The Cockapoo, then, can be expected to exhibit a combination of these and other traits inherited from the parent breeds. Most Cockapoos are small- to medium-sized dogs with floppy ears and wavy or curly coats.
Though most Cockapoos exhibit the same general characteristics, the details can vary greatly depending on breeding. For example, a Cockapoo bred from a Standard Poodle will be larger than one bred from a Toy Poodle. There may also be minor differences between Cockapoos bred from American Cocker Spaniels and English Cocker Spaniels. For the most part, however, there are four different size categories into which the Cockapoo falls:
- Teacup Toy Cockapoo – less than 25cm tall, under 3kg’s
- Toy Cockapoo – up to 25cm tall, average weight 5.5kg’s
- Mini Cockapoo – average 28cm to 36cm tall, average weight 6kg’s to 8 kg’s
- Standard Cockapoo – average 38cm or taller, average weight at least 8.5kg’s
Not only does the Cockapoo’s size vary according to breeding, but so does its coat texture and colour. Poodles are known for their tight curls while Cocker Spaniels have a wavier coat with feathering on the abdomen, legs, and tail. This being the case, Cockapoos may have curly or wavy coats that fall somewhere along the spectrum between these two breeds. Both parent breeds also come in a variety of colours so the Cockapoo does as well – you might see colours like black, tan, beige, brown, cream, sable, silver, apricot, or red. Some Cockapoos even exhibit a combination of two or more colours.
What kind of temperament does a Cockapoo have?
Because the Cockapoo is a cross between two pure breeds it is impossible to predict exactly what kind of temperament Cockapoo puppies are going to inherit. To some degree, your Cockapoo puppy’s personality will be malleable – starting as early as possible with training and socialising is more likely to yield an obedient, well-adjusted adult dog. Though you can’t predict exactly how your Cockapoo will turn out, you can make certain assumptions based on the temperament of the parent breeds. This gets a little tricky, however, because there are some differences in temperament between the large Standard Poodle and the two smaller sizes.
For the most part, Poodles are friendly and gentle dogs with excellent intelligence. Both Poodles and Cocker Spaniels are also very social and people-oriented dogs by nature. Standard Poodles tend to be the most stable in terms of temperament and they are the best choice of the three sizes for families with children. Sometimes Toy and Miniature Poodles can develop a bit of an independent or stubborn streak – they may also be more likely to be impatient around children. The happy-go-lucky temperament of the Cocker Spaniel breed may, however, cancel this out. Most Cockapoos are great with kids and they make wonderful companion pets. With proper socialisation and training, Cockapoos can get along with other household pets and they generally don’t have a problem with other dogs.
Cockapoo exercise and feeding requirements
In addition to being very friendly and people-oriented, Cockapoos are also very active and playful dogs. In terms of their energy level, Cockapoos are not the type of dog that will run you ragged but they do require a long daily walk with some active play time to meet their needs for exercise. Cockapoos are also an adaptable breed so they can adjust to flat or apartment life as long as they get the exercise they need each day. Your Cockapoo needs a minimum of 15 minutes of exercise a day, but more is always better. Regular exercise will keep your Cockapoo from gaining too much weight and it will also help to prevent the development of problem behaviours due to boredom. If you want to give your dog some extra exercise, try giving him a puzzle toy to play with at home.
Not only do you need to make sure that your Cockapoo’s needs for exercise are met, you also have to feed him a healthy diet. As a fairly active breed, your Cockapoo may need more calories than other breeds of his size but you need to be careful about going overboard – the Cocker Spaniel in his blood makes the Cockapoo prone to obesity. The best thing for you to do is to pick out a high-quality dog food made with fresh, natural ingredients and formulated specifically for small- to medium-breed dogs. When your Cockapoo is young, feed him a small-breed puppy formula then switch him over to an adult formula when he reaches 80% of his maximum size – this usually happens somewhere between 6 and 8 months for smaller dogs like the Cockapoo. Cockapoo puppies will need three or four small meals throughout the day while adults can be reduced to two – one in the morning and one in the evening.
Tips for grooming your Cockapoo
The length and texture of the Cockapoo’s coat varies according to breeding, so some Cockapoos may be easier to groom than others. For the most part, however, Cockapoos are a low-shedding breed – they inherit this trait from their Poodle parents. The Poodle’s coat is very fine but its curly texture means that shed hairs tend to get caught in the coat instead of falling to the ground. Poodles also produce less dander than many breeds which means that the same is true of the Cockapoo. Like any dog, however, Cockapoos require regular brushing to control shedding and to keep their coat in good condition.
If you don’t brush your Cockapoo’s coat regularly, it could get dirty with a buildup of dust, dirt, and loose hairs. Neglecting your Cockapoo’s coat could also lead to mats and tangles that can become painful for your dog if you ignore them for too long. Fortunately, grooming a Cockapoo’s coat is fairly easy and you don’t need any fancy tools. Because Cockapoos generally have medium to long curly or wavy coats, a wire-pin brush is the best tool to use. Start at the back of your Cockapoo’s head, brushing down the back of his neck in the direction of hair growth. Work the brush slowly along his back and then down the sides before moving down each leg.
As you brush, keep an eye out for mats and tangles. If you encounter one, try to work through it gently by hand. If you absolutely can’t work it out, use a pair of small sharp scissors to cut it out. Pinch the hairs closest to your dog’s skin then cut through a few hairs at a time while gently pulling on the mat until it comes free. After brushing your dog throughout with the wire-pin brush you might consider going over his coat again with a slicker brush to thin out your Cockapoo’s undercoat. Doing this once a week or a few times a month will help to reduce shedding even further. You may also want to consider taking you Cockapoo to a professional groomer every 6 to 8 weeks for a trim depending on how fast and how long his coat tends to grow. There are different ways to trim your Cockapoo’s coat to keep maintenance at a minimum – a puppy clip or a pet clip are the best ways to go.
Is the Cockapoo a healthy breed?
Both of the Cockapoo’s parent breeds are known for being fairly healthy, though that doesn’t necessarily guarantee that your Cockapoo will never get sick. These dogs have an average lifespan of 14 to 18 years, though it isn’t uncommon for smaller dogs like this to live into their 20’s.
Like any dog, the Cockapoo is prone to certain health problems, some of which may be inherited from the parents. Poodles, for example, are prone to conditions like Addison’s disease, sebaceous adenitis, hip dysplasia, epilepsy, and thyroid issues. Cocker Spaniels are prone to cancer, otitis externa, hip dysplasia, progressive retinal atrophy, and glaucoma. The Cockapoo may develop any of these conditions if the parent was a carrier – they are also prone to ear infections due to their floppy ears. The best way to protect your Cockapoo is to keep up with regular vet visits so you can identify the symptoms of disease early enough to start treatment right away.
How much does a Cockapoo cost?
The price to buy a Cockapoo puppy varies greatly from one breeder to another. Because the Cockapoo is not a purebred, you probably won’t be spending a small fortune for a puppy. The average price for a Cockapoo puppy is about £650 to £1,000. In addition to thinking about how much it costs to buy a Cockapoo puppy, you should also consider the cost of keeping one. You’ll have to pay for food every month as well as grooming costs and at least two vet visits per year. If you are worried about the cost of vet care for your Cockapoo you might consider buying pet insurance. Plan costs vary depending on the level of coverage and your deductible, but you can expect to pay about £30 a month.
Cockapoo training and dealing with problem behaviours
Both the Cocker Spaniel and the Poodle are known for their intelligence so the Cockapoo is a very smart breed as well. The smarter the dog, the easier it is to train them as long as you go about it the right way. Cockapoos tend to respond best to positive reinforcement training. To use this type of training you simply teach your Cockapoo to associate a specific command with a specific behaviour – like sitting down when you say “Sit”. To train your dog using positive reinforcement you would hold a treat in front of his nose and say “Sit” then move the treat forward, encouraging your Cockapoo to follow it with his nose. As he does, his bottom will lower to the floor and, as soon as that happens, you praise him and give him the treat. After a few repetitions, your dog will know what “Sit” means! You can then adapt this training sequence to teach your dog other commands.
The Cockapoo is a wonderful breed, especially if you are in the market for a family pet. Cockapoos are not the right choice for everyone, but their friendly personalities and gentle natures make them one of the most popular breeds out there. Before you bring home a new dog, make sure that you can commit to caring for your furry friend for the entirety of his life. A dog is a big commitment but if you are up to the challenge you will find that it is extremely rewarding as well.