The Cockapoo: Is it the right dog for you?

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The Cockapoo is a famous Poodle mix (or Doodle) that is loved for its friendly demeanor and fluffy, adorable looks.

They can be high-maintenance, and some people give up on them because of their needs. But with the right amount of knowledge about raising them, you can be sure to give your furry friend a long and happy life.

Read on to know more about this adorable Doodle and get started on learning about how to properly take care of a Cockapoo!

Black Cockapoo standing in the grass outdoors

The origin of the Cockapoo

Also known as a Cockapoodle, Cockadoodle, or a Spoodle, the Cockapoo is the offspring of a Toy Poodle and a Cocker Spaniel.

As one of the oldest designer dogs, this crossbreed has been around in the United States since the 1950s.

The Cocker Spaniel-Poodle mix was bred specifically as a robust and low-shedding dog with a good temperament. Breeders were not focused on making a dog that was cute; instead they prioritized the dog’s health and personality.

With Cocker Spaniels having a sweet, laid-back personality and Poodles being people-oriented, the charms of a Cockapoodle are truly endearing.

The outgoing, athletic Poodle

Bred as hunting dogs, Poodles were originally used to sniff out truffles in forests and retrieve waterfowl for their owners.

Because of their often stylish hairstyles, they give off an arrogant or snobbish vibe, looking like fussy dogs that need special treatment.

However, the cut of the Poodle’s fur was actually intended to help the dog move faster and protect its internal organs from the cold of the water.

Standard Poodle standing in a field with a paw raised
Standard Poodle

Aside from their eye-catching haircuts, Poodles are known for their intelligence and eagerness to please their owners. They’re the 2nd smartest dog breed in the world, so training them is a breeze.

Poodles are also one of the friendliest breeds, thanks to their background as hunting companions. Their prey drive kicks in around smaller animals like cats and birds, though.

The even-tempered, affectionate Cocker Spaniel

The term ‘Cocker Spaniel’ can refer to two separate breeds: the American Cocker Spaniel and the English Cocker Spaniel. The two were considered one breed until the 20th century.

Whether American or English, these dogs were bred to be hunter’s companions as well. Cocker Spaniels are aptly named as such because they are known for hunting woodcocks.

Close-up of a brown English Cocker Spaniel with long hair
English Cocker Spaniel

These dogs are known for their mild personality. In fact, the AKC’s breed standard for the American Cocker Spaniel states that the ideal dog of the breed must be ‘free and merry’.

The American variety is particularly recognizable, too, for its long, floppy ears and round eyes.

Playful and fun-loving, Cocker Spaniels and Poodles love spending time with their families, making these dogs the ideal pets. Their friendly personalities also make them a great option for first-time dog owners.

These traits eventually became noticeable in Cockapoos.

Are Cockapoos recognized by major kennel clubs?

Because it’s a crossbreed, the Spoodle is not officially recognized by major dog clubs like the American Kennel Club and the United Kennel Club.

However, many breeders aim to achieve purebred status for this hybrid by means of multigenerational breeding.

Currently, there are three existing clubs for these hybrids and these are:

  1. Cockapoo Club of America (1999)

The CCA attempts to create and encourage consistent breeding standards through multigenerational breeding (using two Cockapoodles as parents) instead of creating first-generation Cockapoos (Spoodles with Poodles and Cocker Spaniels as parents).

They believe that multigenerational breeding would help in creating a Cockadoodle with consistent traits and result in dogs that “breed true” (a term that means the offspring will have predictable traits, just like with purebred dogs).

  1. American Cockapoo Club (2004)

This club does not do multigenerational breeding. Instead, they breed first-generation Spoodles using Poodles and Cocker Spaniel that pass the AKC and CKC breed standards.

  1. North American Cockapoo Registry (1999)

The NACR focuses on promoting and making the Cockapoo a purposeful and usable breed.

As a part of their campaign, they provide certification for Cockadoodles that are products of first through sixth-generation breedings.

The physical features of a Cockapoo

A full-grown Cockapoo can come in different sizes, mainly depending on the size of the Poodle parent that was used for breeding.

The Teacup and Toy Cockapoos are the smallest of the bunch. The Teacup variety weighs less than 6 pounds (2.7 kg) and stands less than 10 inches (25 cm) in height, while the Toy Cockapoo is around 10 inches (25.4 cm) in height and weigh under 12 pounds (5 kg).

Teacup Cockadoodles tend to be more muscular than the Toys.

With a Miniature Poodle for a parent, the Miniature Cockapoo weighs around 13 to 18 pounds (5 to 8 kg) and is usually 11 to 14 inches (27 to 35 cm) tall.

Black Miniature Cockapoo sleeping on a carpet
Miniature Cockapoo (source)

The largest variety is the Standard or Maxi Cockapoo, which is bred from a Standard Poodle. The Standard version of this crossbreed weighs more than 19 pounds (8 kg) and stands at least 15 inches (38 cm) tall.

Whatever their size is, most Spoodles tend to have a long coat. Depending on which parent’s genes are more dominant, their hair can be straight or loosely curled.

When it comes to coat color, the Cockadoodle can come in black, tan, red (auburn or apricot), cream, white, silver, or roan. Some of these crossbreeds also have sable, brindle, or merle coats.

What is the temperament of the Cockapoo?

Poodle-Spaniel mixes inherited the best characteristics of their parents. Most of these hybrids have a calm, loving nature that makes them excellent companion dogs and family pets.

They revel in the presence of their family. They will love spending time with you so much that they’ll suffer from separation anxiety if you leave them alone for long periods.

With their spirited attitude, these dogs also do well around kids. Cockapoodles will always be up for some playtime.

But as with any other toy to small-sized dogs, owners should be careful when it comes to leaving Cockapoos unsupervised around little children. Toddlers can be clumsy and careless, and they might end up unintentionally hurting the dog and vice versa.

These Spaniel-Poodle mixes also get along well with other pets in the house, including cats and fellow dogs. You just have to be a bit cautious with having them around larger dogs who may try to assert dominance.

A red Cockapoo puppy lying on the pavement

How to take care of a Cockapoo

As we mentioned, these crossbreeds usually require more attention and care compared to other dogs. These special needs are mostly due to the Spaniel-Poodle hybrid’s small size and thick coat.

From grooming and diet to exercise and training, here’s what you need to know about proper maintenance for your Cockapoo.

Dealing with a Cockapoo’s grooming needs

To prevent tangles and matting, your Spoodle’s hair should be brushed at least once every day.

Regular brushing helps keep its coat shiny, healthy, and clean, which is important because dust can accumulate in the coat and trigger allergies.

Bathing them often is not advisable especially since Cockapoos are not prone to having a bad smell. In most cases, this crossbreed is almost odorless. They make take this trait from the Poodle, which is known for its cleanliness and its non-shedding coat.

Bath time can be done just once or twice a month or only when necessary. This helps preserve the natural oils that help keep their coat smooth. Plus, bathing your dog too frequently may dry out its skin.

You can also give your Spoodle a trim at least once a month to keep its coat at a manageable length. The hair surrounding their eyes should be trimmed so they can see properly.

Check out this helpful video on how to trim the hair on the Cockapoo’s face:

Ear cleaning is also very important this crossbreed, who has long, floppy ears. Floppy ears are more prone to the buildup of moisture and wax, which in turn encourages the accumulation of bacteria and increases the likelihood of infection.

If you notice that your Cockapoo is shaking his head more often or keeps scratching his ears, it may be time to take a peek inside their ears.

Make sure to check and clean their ears gently at least once a week, using cotton balls and a vet-recommended cleaning solution.

Aside from the ears, your dog’s teeth should also be cleaned at least once a day. Brushing your dog’s teeth regularly keeps cavities and infections at bay and ensures fresh breath.

Dental care is especially important for Teacup and Toy Cockapoos. Their small mouths make them more prone to dental problems.

Lastly, you should trim their nails at least once a month. Some dogs do not need much nail trimming because their nails get worn down from running on rough grounds, but that’s not the case for the Spoodle, which is usually an indoor dog.

Nail trimming can be dangerous if you do it and you do not have any experience, so don’t ever hesitate to ask for your vet or your groomer’s help.

Curly-haired Cockapoo lying on a rug
source

Are Cockapoos really hypoallergenic?

Like most Doodles, Poodle-Spaniel mixes are often touted as a hypoallergenic dog. However, the truth is that there is no breed that is truly 100% hypoallergenic.

Cocker Spaniel-Poodle mixes have coats that shed low amounts of fur and dander, or dead skin cells. The fur they shed gets caught in their curly hair rather than floating out into the environment.

With their low-shedding coats, these crossbreeds are less likely to trigger allergies and are the ideal pets for allergy sufferers.

The proper diet for the Cockapoo

Make sure to feed your Spoodle premium dry kibble made for small breeds – this kibble is usually smaller in size for easier chewing. The dry texture of the food will also help clean the surface of his teeth.

The Cockapoo’s Poodle blood also makes it prone to food allergies. Grains such as corn and wheat may trigger these allergies, so you’ll want to ask your vet about putting your dog on a grain-free diet.

If you find that your dog is a picky eater, you can start him on a BARF (biologically accurate raw foods) diet. With this diet, your dog eats raw bones and meat along with ground fruits and vegetables like berries and broccoli.

How much food does the Cockapoo need?

Two Cockapoos eating ice cream out of cones
source

Adult Spaniel and Poodle mixes should be fed ½ to 1 cup of dry dog food daily, split into two meals.

However, you must consider its size and activity levels when deciding on how much to feed your Cockapoo.

Given their size, these crossbreeds may need less food but they will need more calories per pound of body weight to sustain their metabolism.

Despite their calorie needs, though, avoid overfeeding your Cockadoodle. Like all small dogs, it’s prone to obesity, especially since they’re not as active as other breeds.

You should be able to clearly see a waist when you look down on your dog. His ribs should also be easy to feel (but not see) under its fur.

The Cockapoo’s exercise needs

Part of properly caring for a Cockadoodle is giving it the exercise it needs. Regular exercise ensures that your dog gets sufficient physical and mental stimulation. Plus, playtime strengthens the bond between you and your pet.

The good news is that Cockapoos have only moderate energy levels. A daily walk lasting at least 15 minutes is enough exercise for this crossbreed, especially for the Teacup and Toy variety.

Mini and Standard Spoodles may enjoy exercise that’s a little more vigorous, such as swimming and fetch. Retrieving games are a good way to get your dog moving and keep its mind sharp, especially given its hunting heritage.

Larger Spoodles may also enjoy agility training and other canine sports. Your dog will enjoy training for these activities not only for the mental stimulation but also for the time it spends with you.

Even simple indoor games like treasure hunts will keep your Spaniel-Poodle cross occupied and release pent-up energy, preventing destructive tendencies.

Are Cockapoos easy to train?

Cockapoodle standing on sand and looking at the camera
source

Thanks to their Poodle heritage, most of these dogs are a breeze to train.

Their parents’ history as hunting companions also make these crossbreeds naturally more inclined to obey commands.

Training is most effective when your dog is a puppy. Start teaching him proper behavior as soon as you take him home.

Short but frequent training sessions will help keep your pup from getting bored or distracted.

Like with most dogs, positive reinforcement works wonders with Poodle-Cocker mixes. Stock up on treats such as cubes of cooked chicken or liver and make sure to praise your dog each time he follows a command.

Socialization is crucial in training your dog. Once your pup has received its vaccinations, you can take it to the dog park to get him used to being around other animals.

Leash-training will also be helpful for controlling your Cocker Spaniel-Poodle hybrid when it wants to run ahead of you and chase smaller animals. You can teach your dog to be comfortable in a collar while it’s still young.

Behavior problems in Cockapoos

These crossbreeds are companion dogs that love spending time with their families. This is why many Spoodles suffer from separation anxiety, which often results in destructive behavior and excessive barking.

Crate training is a good way to ensure that your dog remains calm if you have to leave the house for a few hours. The crate gives the Spoodle a safe space where he can relax.

You can also leave your dog with its favorite toys and some treats so it can keep busy while you’re gone. This way, you won’t come home to destroyed carpets or couch cushions and your neighbors won’t complain about the noise.

Two Cockapoos lying side by side in a dog bed
source

Can a Cockapoo live outside?

As the offspring of Cocker Spaniels and Poodles, which are basically two of the best lap dogs in the world, Cockapoos thrive best when they live indoors.

They are the perfect dogs for apartment dwellers because of their size. They also love to be near their humans and are prone to separation anxiety, so they’re happiest when they’re by your side.

Having them live out in the backyard is not advisable. These tiny dogs won’t survive outdoors, so make sure to bring them in at the end of the day.

They do, however, love being in the outdoors for playtime. When you’re out having fun in hot weather, make sure to keep your dog hydrated with fresh water.

During the colder months, they can be allowed to play in the snow, too. Just remember to remove snow that gets stuck on their paws and belly. You may also want to use a sweater or jacket to protect him from the cold.

Health issues your Cockapoo can have

A Cockapoo has an average lifespan of 14 to 18 years, which is the normal life expectancy for most small dogs.

However, you must know that these hybrids are also prone to the health problems that commonly affect its parents. Early health screening can be helpful in determining the likelihood of these diseases in Cockapoo pups.

Here are some health conditions Poodles and Cocker Spaniels are prone to:

Cataracts

This eye condition gives the dog’s eyes a cloudy appearance, affecting it vision. It can be treated by surgery and the right amount of medication to improve your dog’s eyesight.

Patellar Luxation

This is a knee problem that is common in Cockapoos and other small dogs. If your crossbreed suffers from patellar luxation, he might experience pain from the knee caps sliding and getting dislocated.

Hip Dysplasia

This condition occurs when the hips don’t reach full development. Hip dysplasia can cause painful movement of the hind legs.

Cocker Spaniel-Poodle mix wearing a blanket and running in the snow

Allergies

As we mentioned before, Cockapoos can have allergies, too, just like their Poodle parents. Frequent baths and grains are some common triggers for allergies in these hybrid dogs.

Liver disease

Cocker Spaniels are said to be more commonly affected by liver conditions like portosystemic shunt, hepatitis, and cirrhosis. Your Spoodle may inherit a predisposition to these liver issues.

Ear infections

Spoodles are more prone to ear infections because of their floppy ears. Make sure to regularly check your dog’s ears for mites or excessive moisture buildup.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)

This is an inherited condition where dogs slowly lose their vision because of the degeneration of the retina.

The first step in dealing with these potential health issues is to have your Poodle-Spaniel pup health-screened as early as possible. Ideally, the breeder should have had the puppy tested for genetic conditions before releasing it into your care.

Breeders should be able to show you health clearances from any of the following institutions:

  • Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) – for joint problems in your dog, like hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia. This foundation also provides tests for hypothyroidism and von Willebrand’s disease.
  • Auburn University – for thrombopathia, which is a hereditary platelet disorder where blood clotting becomes nearly impossible or happens at an abnormally slow pace.
  • Canine Eye Registry Foundation (CERF) – for certifying that your dog’s eyes are normal.

You should also keep in mind that the age of its parents may affect the overall health of your puppy.

Do not support breeders that breed dogs at 2 years old or younger. Most of the diseases found in dogs do not show up until after the it reaches 2 or 3 years of age.

Spoodle on a leash looking back at its owner

What about hybrid vigor?

When it comes to crossbreeds, the term ‘hybrid vigor’ (or ‘heterosis’ if you want to get scientific about it) often gets thrown around. This concept refers to the improved quality of a hybrid dog’s traits and overall health due to the crossbreeding process.

Many breeders use hybrid vigor as a part of the sales pitch when encouraging people to get a designer dog instead of a purebred dog. This has resulted in a misconception that all crossbreeds enjoy better health.

The truth is that if the genetic inheritance of puppies remains the same over time, the next generations won’t have the same hybrid vigor anymore. They would just end up developing illnesses on their own.

Breeds like the Cockapoo

You may also be interested in getting to know other designer dogs that belong to the Doodle family.

You might confuse some of them as a Spoodle because these crossbreeds share some similarities. However, each of these hybrids have their own unique features.

Cockapoo vs. Cavapoo

Cavapoo with a red and white coat sticking its tongue out
Cavapoo (source)

The Cavapoo is a mix of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and a Poodle.

Just like the Cockadoodle, a Cavapoo comes in different sizes, depending on the size of its Poodle parent.

Both dogs have low-shedding coats, but, these two Doodles have their differences when it comes to their looks.

A Cavapoo usually requires less maintenance, as their hair doesn’t need to be brushed as frequently.

The Spoodle and the Cavapoo both have single-layered, long coats (either loosely curled or straight). However, the Spaniel-Poodle mix’s hair usually grows at a faster rate, so they’ll need more visits to the groomer.

Both breeds are highly intelligent, because of their Poodle parent. But when it comes to training, a Cavapoo is a lot easier to deal with than Poodle-Cocker cross.

Cavapoos tend to be alert and attentive, but they do not find the urge to play most of the time. Their focus and intelligence make them excel in training.

A Cavalier-Poodle hybrid’s personality is usually more chill. They have moderate energy levels, and they’d be happy enough to just lounge around all day and snuggle with their humans.

Cockapoo vs. Maltipoo

Maltipoo with its tongue out standing in front of a building
Maltipoo (source)

The Maltipoo is also one of the dogs people confuse for a Poodle and Spaniel hybrid.

A Maltipoo is the fluffy offspring of the Maltese and and the Poodle.

Cocker Spaniels are generally bigger in size than Malteses so, usually, Spaniel-Poodle mixes are bigger compared to Maltese-Poodle crosses.

There is no guarantee to this, though, because it would sometimes depend on the size of the Poodle they descend from.

Both mixed breeds are smart, affectionate, and loyal to their humans.

Cockapoos and Maltipoos have the tendency to get clingy with their family, so they experience separation anxiety whenever left alone for a long time.

If you want to know which one is better as a pet, our honest answer is you won’t go wrong with either of them.

Both Doodles are small, low-shedding dogs that are playful and loving. They’ll make excellent family pets and companions.

Cockapoo vs. Goldendoodle

The Goldendoodle mix is crossbreed of Golden Retrievers and Poodles. Goldendoodles can easily be distinguished from Poodle and Spaniel hybrids through their size – the former being taller and leaner than the latter.

Because Poodle genes tend to be a little stronger in Doodles, both crossbreeds have the Poodle’s fluffy, loosely curled, single-layered coats. They may come in shades of cream, brown, black, or a mix of two or three of these colors.

Goldendoodles are hypoallergenic, too, just like Cockapoos.

Goldendoodle standing in the grass outdoors
Goldendoodle

Goldendoodles are friendly dogs, much like the Golden Retriever. Some of them won’t even bark at strangers approaching. They welcome everyone with their warm and gentle nature.

They are fun-loving and playful, too. They make a great family dog as these crossbreeds get along well even with kids.

Poodle-Spaniel mixes, on the other hand, may be a little more sensitive or territorial around people they don’t know. These smaller hybrids will want so much of your attention that they might not be happy sharing it with anybody else.

Where can I buy a Cockapoo?

A reputable breeder would be your best bet for getting a healthy Cockapoo puppy. Don’t just go with the first breeder you see online, though.

Because of the popularity of designer dogs like the Cocker Spaniel-Poodle mix, many breeders resort to unethical practices just to make a quick buck.

Make sure to go with a breeder who can answer all your questions about pup and its parents, especially when it comes to health. The right breeder will also have no problems with letting you visit his kennels so you can observe the puppy and its temperament before you take it home.

The average price for a Cockapoo is around $1,100 to $2,000.

These Cockapoo breeders are listed in the Cockapoo Club of America’s website as member breeders, which means they are bound by the CCA Breeder’s Code of Ethics.

Cockapoo puppy with a harness lying in the grass
source

Rescuing or adopting a Cockapoo

A lot of pet owners don’t take the time to learn about the basic needs of their dogs. As a result, many of these pets likely end up in shelters or rescue centers.

If you don’t mind taking home an older dog, why not adopt an adult Cockadoodle instead? It is a lot less expensive, with adoption fees costing at an average of $300.

Not only would you be able to save money on getting a dog, but you would also give an abandoned crossbreed a loving home.

Check out these rescue organizations if you’re interested in adopting a Cockapoo:

Is the Cockapoo the right dog for you?

Cockapoo with pale yellow fur lying down with one paw out

Spoodles need a responsible owner who can give them the special attention they need.

They have long coats that need daily grooming and small bodies that need delicate handling.

For dealing with its high-maintenance nature, though, the Spoodle will repay you in loyalty and companionship.

Cockapoos have a lovable, playful personality that makes them great pets whether for singles or families.

The Cockapoo is also one of the smartest crossbreeds you’ll meet, so training them with positive reinforcement will be easy.

If you are a proud owner of a Cocker Spaniel-Poodle mix, share with us your experiences! Leave a comment below!

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