- Not AKC Recognized
- Lifespan: 12-15 years
- Size: small
- Energy: medium
- Recommended Crate Size: 30” dog crate* (larger if Standard Poodle in mix)
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Table of Contents
This designer dog is a clown! The Cockapoo is a pint-size playful package of fun. You just can’t help but laugh and smile when he’s around.
He would have it no other way. Maybe that’s why he makes such an excellent therapy dog and the perfect family companion dog too.
If you are thinking of getting a Cockapoo, there are a few things you should know. Read on to find out if you feel he’s a good fit for you.
The Cockapoo’s roots date back as far as the 1960s, long before the designer breed fad came about. Though it’s not sure if the breeding was on purpose or not, it was a success. It was a match made in heaven.
Also known as the Cockapoodle, Cock-a-poo, or the Cockerpoo, Cockapoos have bubbly personalities. They are low-shedders too which is a highly sought-after quality, especially where those who are allergic to dog dander and dog hair are concerned.
They got that from the Poodle bloodline. Talk about smart...the pups got their intelligence from both sides so they simply couldn’t go wrong.
Most first generation Cockapoos are the result of breeding between a Miniature Poodle and a Cocker Spaniel, the union can be with a Toy Poodle or, less commonly, a Standard Poodle as well.
The Cockapoo is not eligible to be registered with the American Kennel Club or any of the pure breed clubs because he is a hybrid. The issue with this is not so much the desire for the designer breed to be recognized, but that there is no governing of the Cockapoo.
Greedy and irresponsible breeders have nudged in to make their fortunes which is the misfortune of the dogs and potential owners. Even still, this designer dog is one of the most favored and has the least number of owner surrenders.
They have boomed in popularity within the past few decades. There seems to be no end in sight. These lovable, huggable pups are the ultimate in a friendly family dog.
There are first generation Cockapoos, then there are Cockapoos bred with either a Poodle or a Cocker Spaniel or Cockapoo with Cockapoo.
Some have a preference of one or the other but since there are no regulations, all unions are permitted but in 1999 the Cockapoo Club of America was formed to at least add their two cents.
They are for the breeding of existing Cockapoos rather than the creation of the new breed continuously with a Poodle parent and a Cocker parent which they feel promotes more desired qualities than first gen breeding does.
Then, in 2004, the American Cockapoo Club (ACC) came to be. They had an entirely different philosophy where the designer breeds were concerned and insist upon Cockapoos being bred only with pure AKC/CKC Poodles with AKC/CKC Cocker Spaniels. That’s their dog breed standard and they stick to it.
To stir things up just a little bit more, the North American Cockapoo Registry formed in 1999 and is in the process of trying to establish the Cockapoo as a breed all its own, similar to the pure breed mix of the ACC.
It seems that the rules and regulations behind the pup would possibly slow his popularity. But, not so. He is one of the most beloved dogs in all the world and...why wouldn’t he be?
The average Cockapoo stands about 15 inches tall at the shoulder and weighs in at around 19 pounds and go up. If one of the parents is a Standard Poodle, the dog may weigh more and stand taller.
Teacup Cockapoos weigh under 6 pounds and are shorter than 10 inches. Toy Cockapoos are under 12 pounds and can go up to 10 inches in height.
The Miniature generally weighs 13 to 18 pounds and can be between 11 and 14 inches tall. The Standard or Maxi will weigh more than 10 pounds and stands no less than 15 inches in height.
Most all have sturdy, square-like bodies. Those with more Poodle may have thinner, longer legs though.
Being a hybrid dog, the looks of any given pup in any given litter is potluck. They seem to always turn out adorable, no matter what the details of their exact appearance though.
Some take more after the Poodle side, sporting curly hair that is close to hypoallergenic. Others are more Spaniel with super soft, wavy hair.
The texture of a Cockapoo’s coat is generally a Poodle-like one but others have a sleek one, like the Spaniel which can look a little shaggy when overgrown.
The coloring of Cockapoos tends to vary a lot. They can basically have the coloring of either parent. They can be black, black with spots, red, apricot, Auburn, shades of brown, tan, buff, beige, sable, silver, white, cream, roan, merle, beige with brown and grey markings or brindle. Some are solid while others have intricate markings or have ticking or spots.
His eyes may vary but should never look droopy. They should be shiny and bright, full of life. He has brown eyes which are typically large and well-set.
His ears are floppy which is perfect for his personality.
Since the sizes of Cockapoo can vary heavily, you’ll want to take your dog’s size and energy level into consideration when deciding how much and how often to feed him.
His age is another factor to think of. It is best to discuss feeding and nutritional needs with your vet.
At the most, Poos are small dogs or medium small. That means you’ll want to make sure the small amount they are apt to eat is flowing with nutrition. Limit snacking to ensure he eats enough of his dog food and makes sure his food is top-quality.
Cockapoos are active dogs. They need enough protein to fuel them. His metabolism is important to consider too.
No two Poos are the same where anything is concerned, not even their eating habits. Some may need to eat small meals more frequently. Generally, ¼ to ¾ of dry high-quality food per day at two separate times is good for a Poo.
Your dog’s eating habits will most likely change as he gets older. That’s something else to speak to your vet about.
Be sure that your dog is getting plenty of exercise. Cockapoos have been known to gain weight when they eat too much or aren’t getting enough exercise.
As always, keep plenty of fresh water available for him at all times and encourage him to drink it.
The extent to which you will need to groom your Cockapoo will depend on if he has the Poodle hair or the Cocker coat. Even those who sport a Poodle coat do not require as much upkeep in grooming as the full-blood Poodle does.
No two Cockapoos are the same appearance. Some may have a mix of both Poodle and Cocker coat. You will need to brush either type of coat. With the Spaniel coat, you’ll want to brush more frequently, like even as often as once per day, to keep mats and tangles at bay.
Regular bathing is recommended for both. Be sure to use products for sensitive skin because they are prone to have allergies.
Especially with Poodle like curly hair, you’ll want to get him professionally groomed unless you are talented in that department. There are different styles that are suitable.
His head and beard will need attention. A twice a year closer trim is good, one in the spring and one in the fall.
With the Cocker coat, you won’t need to go to the groomer as often, but he will need to be trimmed up or he’ll look very shaggy and un-kept.
Both breeds can become depressed if not groomed when needed. They may begin to look unsightly as well so be sure you are up for being regular about his grooming needs.
Pay close attention to his ears. Since his most likely hang down, they will require extra love and care. Keep them clean free of wax, and dry.
If he is pawing at them or shows any sign of ear trouble or if they look red, have him seen by his veterinarian. Severe problems like ear infections can require surgical procedures or can even lead to deafness.
You will want to keep his eye area clean and dry. Those Cockapoos with Poodle genes that are dominant may see some tear-staining so keeping them tidy will help prevent such a thing.
Keep his toenails trimmed to help prevent chipping, splitting, and cracking.
Be sure to maintain his dental health too. Brush his teeth with doggie toothpaste and toothbrush at least once per week. This will help prevent cavities and gum disease and will keep his breath smelling fresher.
The Cockapoo is an active dog although once he gets his energy out, he will gladly curl up beside you or lay in your lap. You will want to take him for a 30-minute walk each day. If he has a lot of energy, you’ll need to take him for two.
Physical activity between walks is good for this designer breed. He loves to play games like Fetch and ball and he’s quite good at them too, being the agile and athletic dog that he is.
Don’t forget to give him a mental workout. He is very intelligent and can get bored easily. Brain game activities are excellent for him.
Because he’s so attached to humans, it is a good idea to arrange regular exercise activities with your Cockapoo in addition to your walks.
If you are a runner, let him come along. If you hike, take him too. You can also teach him fun activities and get toys that entice him to play.
He won’t require much encouragement because he loves toys and will adore you playing with him. The most important thing is to keep him active.
It is all too easy to let a dog that is adaptable to small spaces or indoor life to lay around and become inactive. Doing so is horrible for his health and he won’t be happy either.
If you have other household pets, he will love playing with them too. Set up activities that encourage them to play or play interactively with them.
If your Cockapoo doesn’t get enough exercise, he will tell you about it. No, he can’t talk but he can strew the toilet paper throughout the house, eat your shoes, and do other naughty things. A well-exercised Poo is a good Poo!
Pet Crates Direct recommends a 30” dog crate* for most adult Cockapoos. This may need to be a larger crate size if a Standard Poodle is in the cross. To calculate your adult dog's space requirements, measure its should height, add 6 inches, then check the crate dimensions here.
The Cockapoo puppy takes to training quite well. They are very intelligent and eager to please which makes him an excellent student.
But, you must be an excellent teacher too. He deserves nothing less. Even if you are a first-time dog owner, you can use positive training techniques and win this dog’s complete cooperation.
The trick is, you must never offend him by raising your voice or his feelings will be hurt and he’ll be difficult to train because he’ll be overwhelmed with the fear he might be scolded again.
Both sides of the Cockapoo were trained for jobs. The Poodle fetched fowl and the Cocker is a gun dog who assists on the hunt by flushing birds out of the brush. The trainability comes naturally.
The Poodle side can be a little stubborn if allowed so you will want to gently, yet assertively and calmly, let him know you are the boss. With that understood, you are well on your way to great training.
Of course, he will need to be potty trained when he’s ready. This is rarely a problem with this designer breed.
Socializing will be next on the training list and can be worked out alongside obedience training. Expose him to as many different types and ages of people as you can.
Take him places that are quiet and calm as well as where there is a lot of noise. Introduce him to other animals too. He is likely to get along with all of them right off the bat. But, if not socialized properly, he may not.
Obedience training is for his sake as well as yours. He must learn that it is not alright to chew up the sofa or your sneakers.
He must also learn to come when he is called lest he gets in the way of traffic or other danger he might get into. Obedience is one area you cannot lax in. He must learn to sit, stay, and whatever else you ask of him.
Manners is another form of obedience training. People love Cockapoos but not if they are out of control and they are not immune to such behavior.
When you want him to settle down, he should do so. You should also teach him not to jump on people or plop down in their lap without being invited.
Walking well on a leash is imperative because he will need to get ample exercise. Leash walking him will create a bond and it will reinforce your role as his leader. Make sure he walks beside or behind you and never in front of you.
Don’t let him sniff around when walking. You should keep a brisk pace and let him get his bounding energy out. With good leash training, walking him will be a joy for both of you.
Trick training is another area this dog will shine in. He loves to show off so this will be his chance to do exactly that. You’ll find plenty of books and videos on the subject so you can really stretch his talent.
Don’t forget to let him strut his stuff for the family and visitors as well. He’ll love doing tricks for them as much as they will love watching him do them.
Mental games are great training for this smart breed. He needs to be mentally challenged and you’ll be amazed what brain games he can do and how quickly he catches on to them.
Again, there are many books and videos available to give you new ideas for these brain training techniques and ideas for fun things for you and your Poo to do down this line.
Treats and positive reinforcements go a long way with the Cockapoo. Praise is a must and he’ll be quite pleased with his new abilities too.
This dog is one that is so loving and so trainable, he’s used as a therapy dog. You can train him to help the handicapped and to sit with the elderly. He can be trained to alert when someone with a medical issue falls ill too.
There is no limit to the training of the Cockapoo. He gets his skills and willingness from both sides so he’s bound to Ace the challenge.
Does this dog have personality, or what? The gentle nature of the Cockapoo has won the hearts of dog lovers everywhere. In fact, people who don’t even like dogs love the Poo. He is easy to please and eager to please which is an excellent combination.
A moderately active dog, the Cockapoo tends to have some sportsman-like qualities from his ancestors. He’s pro at retrieving game and is a good swimmer too. He’s apt to be quite agile.
One issue with this crossbreed is that they can be very dependent at times. They suffer from separation anxiety if left alone and even when with their families, want to be in the center of the action and can’t stand if they are not the center of attention as well.
They are good with children and are good around other family pets as well. They are usually happy-go-lucky and friendly to all.
To better understand the temperament of the Cockapoo, it’s important to take a look at his lineage from where he gets most of his personality and traits, both good and...well, not so good.
The Poodle hails from Germany. He was bred to fetch fallen fowl in the water. He’s a great swimmer and is quite intelligent too.
He made his way into the heart of humans and into their homes as well. In modern days, he is likely to be pampered and females may even be adorned with fancy fingernail polish and bows.
The males often sport bandanas and fashion-forward hair do. The Poodle can be headstrong and stubborn with a heavy streak of independence when he has a good mind to. Because he’s such a lover though, he can be trained not to be so bull-headed.
The Cocker Spaniel is a gun dog breed that dates back to possibly 55 BC when they arrived in England during Caesar’s invasion. They may have roots before that to Spain as is implied in the name.
All the same, their job was to flush game from the dense brush. They later became used along with guns so they were tempered to calmly handle such distractions as a gunshot.
In more current times, they are a beloved and sweet-tempered housedog who loves to cuddle and get cozy with his family. He’s quite sensitive and loves exercise like a long, fast walk.
The Cockapoo tends to be highly sensitive like its Cocker blooded parent. He is equally as intelligent as the Poodle.
He delights in being active as long as he’s beside his human. He can have a touch or a good bit of stubbornness and independence like the Poodle but he can also be trained not to be so much so.
The Cockapoo is flexible and adaptable although he loves a good routine as well. He’s a good dog for a small space as long as he is able to exercise and get his energy out. He also makes a good ranch dog if he’s kept inside at night.
The popularity of the Cockapoo is immense. It really boomed with the movie “Lady and the Tramp” because the main character was a Cocker named Lady.
The Poodle mix added more of a people touch to the dog and less of the in-field characteristics so it was clear to see that the mix was a blend of the best of the best.
Cockapoos are adored by even those who are adored themselves, the rich and famous. Maria Shriver, Lena Dunham, Minka Kelly, author Lynda La Plante, and Julie Ann Rhodes are just a few of the many stars who are Cockapoo pet parents.
Because of his gentle and loving nature, the Cockapoo makes an excellent therapy dog.
The Cockapoo typically enjoys a long life of 14-18 years. They were designed with the hope of being healthier than their purebred parents.
In many ways, they are. But, they also get risks from two directions so there are some important health issues you will want to keep a watchful eye out for.
Luxating Patellas is a physical problem Cockapoos are apt to get as they have the hereditary weakness coming from both the Poodle and the Cocker side.
This is a condition that is also known as a “trick knee”. The kneecap is basically floating and dislocates or moves out from the location it is normally in. It can be very painful.
If your dog is limping or experiences pain when walking or cannot walk at all, it’s time for him to be checked at the clinic. There is a test that can be done on the parents before mating that can show the parent’s susceptibility so you’ll know if the pup has the likelihood of getting this condition.
The exam is recommended by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals and if you are purchasing a pup, you can ask to see the parent’s test.
Another common medical ailment in Cockapoos is Progressive Retinal Atrophy. This is a condition where the retina begins to disintegrate.
It can lead to vision loss and blindness. Dilated pupils and night blindness are two signs of this disease.
At the first sign that your dog may have this condition, it’s important for him to be checked. Cockapoos are prone to other eye issues too like eye infections so keep a good eye on his eyes.
Hip Dysplasia, unfortunately, is not uncommon in Cockapoos. This condition can be caused by a deformity within the hip and hip socket or can be caused by the environment like the wear and tear of climbing steep inclines or jumping down too far, too often.
In this situation, the hip doesn’t fit into the socket correctly and can pop out, causing great pain, limping and lameness. Surgery is available for severe cases. It’s important to have him checked if you suspect this is a condition he might have.
Allergies tend to bother Cockapoos more than some other dogs. He may be sensitive to the environment or to foods.
It’s vital to find out the source of his allergic reactions so a remedy can be found. Beware of using harsh soaps or shampoos on him or introducing him to new foods. If he is having a severe reaction, call his vet immediately.
Liver disease is fairly widespread from the Cocker's side so you should watch for it in your Cockapoo. There are two forms of it.
One is Toxicosis which is a poisoning of the liver while Chronic Active Hepatitis is possible genetic in nature. Be sure to have him checked right away if you suspect he has either due to tenderness or pain in the abdomen.
If your Cockapoo is not acting right, it is a sign something may be wrong. But, they are typically dogs who live lives in good health.
Is a Cockapoo Right for Me?
If you are considering getting a Cockapoo, you’ll want to make sure the two of you are a good match together. If you have a family, that is excellent.
This dog loves children and adults. If you are single, he’ll keep you company. But, if you are single and gone a lot of the time, he will have a lonely life because he hates being by himself and may suffer from separation anxiety.
If you have plenty of time to spare for this adorable little fellow and are able to give him enough exercise, he can be the perfect gentleman (or lady) for any space, even an apartment. He will spend a lot of time dancing around at your feet, making you laugh as well as ample time in your lap, lapping up your love.
This dog really enjoys being out in nature. You may be tempted to keep him indoors, on your lap or next to you on the sofa.
But to reach his ultimate state of health and happiness, the Cockapoo requires plenty of activity and exercise. Make sure you can provide this for him or, if you are unable to, there is the possibility of employing someone else to do so for you. Dog walkers are readily available in most areas.
This dog is very sensitive. Although he will trek with you up a rugged mountain and is an excellent jogging partner as well, his feelings are on his sleeve. He gets them hurt easily. He doesn’t mind physical roughness but emotionally, he can be quite needy.
If you feel you have what it takes to make the Cockapoo a good, loving parent, you are in for a lot of love and laughter.
* Links for crate sizes will bring you to the most appropriate Amazon page.