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The cockapoo is an adorable crossbreed between a poodle and a cocker spaniel that dates back to the 1960s. Because of their poodle parent, cockapoos don't shed much (if at all), making them a popular option for dog owners with allergies. And while no dog is 100 percent hypoallergenic, cockapoos can be a good fit for those who sneeze around pups.
At their smallest, cockapoos can be 6-9 pounds fully grown. At their biggest, they're still not that big; they can be upwards of 19 pounds, meaning they're good for a couch snuggle but can also keep up with bigger playmates. Affectionate and happy, cockapoos will give love to everyone they meet. Privacy isn't in their vocabulary-they'll follow their favorite family member everywhere, even into the bathroom.
"When selecting a dog, a potential pet parent should consider their own personalities, those of their family members including children and other pets, and lifestyles in order to find the dog who is the right fit for them," says Alison Gerken, DVM.
A cockapoo's face could make anyone smile. Born a real-life teddy bear and raised into quite the dapper dog, cockapoos attract all types of dog-lovers with their earnest smiles. They come in several sizes, thanks to the variety of poodle heights and weights. A toy poodle will breed a cockapoo that's between 6-12 pounds and less than 10 inches in height. The miniature cockapoo, who has a miniature poodle parent, weighs up to 18 pounds and is between 11-14 inches in height. A standard, or maxi, cockapoo is bred from a standard poodle. She weighs more than 19 pounds and grows at least 15 inches tall.
Cockapoo coats most commonly have long, loose curls that need to be brushed daily. They can come in chocolate, red, black, blue, cream, white, and different combinations of multicolor coats. They have the floppy ears of a cocker spaniel to frame their cute faces.
Cockapoos can sometimes be confused for Cavapoos. It's no surprise; both breeds could melt a heart of stone with one loving look. Despite the difference in lineage (a Cavapoo results from breeding a poodle and a Cavalier King Charles spaniel) they're almost identical. You can tell them apart because the cockapoo has a longer muzzle and stands taller than the Cavapoo. And while both breeds are very smart (thanks to their poodle heritage), the Cavapoo tends to pick up training quicker than the cockapoo. Cockapoos have a shorter attention span, especially as puppies, and they're generally the more playful and active of the two.
With an outgoing nature, cockapoos get along easily with everyone they meet. They're a happy, friendly breed that will devote their lives to loving their families. Depending on how they're raised, a cockapoo can be a couch potato or prefer romping outdoors. They enjoy playtime with children or other dogs, and will always be ready for some scratches after wearing themselves out. These dogs don't discriminate, stranger or not, and love to get attention and will give it right back.
Cockapoos are happiest when they're with and near their owners, so leaving them home alone all day isn't the best idea. According to the American Cockapoo Club, "These dogs may display affectionate behavior that borders on being 'pushy,' such as nudging your hand to be petted or 'worming' their way onto the furniture to be close to you." This may also mean following their owner to the kitchen, couch, or bathroom with expectant eyes.
Sarah Wooten, DVM, veterinary expert for Pumpkin Pet Insurance, says the cockapoo's "clingy" nature can mean they develop separation anxiety easily.
"If a dog is left alone during the day, crate training is recommended," Wooten says. "If the dog is left alone, however, it is crucial to make sure they are let out for exercise at least every four hours. If a cockapoo develops anxiety when left alone, talk to a veterinarian to get help as soon as possible." She also recommends doggie daycare or a pet sitter if you have to regularly leave your cockapoo home alone.
A cockapoo can be very receptive to training, especially with positive reinforcement from her favorite humans. She adores being praised, and treats make her happy, too. While the cocker spaniel side of her can be a little distracted, her poodle side is highly intelligent. She will be eager to please with some repetition and rewards.
Gerken says training should start as soon as you bring your cockapoo puppy home. Socializing your puppy from an early age-before she's 12 weeks old-is vital for her to be comfortable around new people, animals, and in new situations during adulthood.
"It is critical that puppies interact with a variety of people and animals, explore different environments, and gain exposure to different sounds, textures, objects, locations, and other environmental stimuli during this period," Gerken says.
Lucky for everyone, the cockapoo finds happiness in almost any home. So long as their exercise needs are met, they'll thrive in an apartment just as well as a house. However, the standard or maxi-size cockapoo is happiest in a house with a small fenced-in yard to run around and play.
Cockapoos are happy with other dogs or cats as companions. Like any dog, they'll need proper socialization as puppies to understand how to live with multiple animals. But their happy-go-lucky nature makes it easier to integrate them into a home.
This breed is ideal for anyone with love to give. Cockapoos adore families-children, seniors, and everyone in between. Smaller children will have to learn the proper way to handle a puppy, and the cockapoo will reward them with a lifelong companion. Never leave a child unsupervised with any dog.
Cockapoos don't mind water-in fact, many end up loving to swim and accompanying their families to the lake or the beach. Their poodle parents were bred to retrieve small game from water, so cockapoos are born with some water-loving tendencies. Expose them to swimming early to "test the waters," and you may have a lake house dog on your hands.
Cockapoos have a coat that must be brushed daily to prevent matting. They're low-shedding pups, so there's no risk of finding fur balls throughout your house. But the curlier the coat, the more often they'll need to see the groomer. Returning every 4-6 weeks will keep a cockapoo's curly coat in check. If they have more of a straight mane that imitates their cocker parent, a cockapoo likely won't need to see the groomer as often. Bathe them only when absolutely necessary-they are relatively odorless, and their coat needs to retain oils that are essential for a healthy mane.
Those floppy cocker spaniel ears must be checked often, Gerken says, as they can trap moisture and cause ear infections. "Cockapoos tend to enjoy swimming, which, because of their pendulous ears and hairy ear canals, may lead to water becoming trapped in the ear canal, resulting in an ear infection," she says. "Also, cocker spaniels may produce more wax in their ears, increasing the risk of developing ear inflammation." Gently examine and clean their ears once a week.
Brushing their teeth a few times a week can prevent tartar buildup and bad doggy breath that's more common in smaller breeds. A cockapoo also needs her nails trimmed a couple times a month. If you can hear her nails clicking on the floor, it's time for a trim.
Cockapoos love to snuggle up on the couch, but they also need some solid play sessions or walks to stay healthy. Most will only need 15 minutes of exercise a day, whether it's a romp in the backyard or a brisk trot around the neighborhood. She'll generally love meeting other dogs at a dog park or having playmates at home.
"Training and patience is required early on," says Adam Christman, DVM, of Brick, N.J. Cockapoos inherit a high level of intelligence from their poodle parent, but they can also be very excitable thanks to their cocker parent. Always use positive reinforcement with a cockapoo, and she'll be excited to show off what she can do.
Cockapoos typically live between 12 -15 years, but can be susceptible to certain health issues that appear in their parent breeds, Gerken says. These include eye disorders including cataracts and progressive retinal atrophy, hip dysplasia, luxating patellas, epilepsy, and heart disease.
Like cocker spaniels, cockapoos might develop skin disorders including seborrheic dermatitis, which causes dry, flaky skin, Gerken says. They can also develop skin allergies.
Wooten says cockapoos can have hormonal issues as well, including hypothyroidism, Cushing's syndrome, and Type I diabetes.
As one of the "designer" dog breeds, like many poodle hybrids, it's important to find a reputable breeder when searching for a cockapoo puppy to bring home. Be on the lookout for cockapoos who could potentially come from a commercial dog breeding facility, and always ask your cockapoo breeder for health screenings and certificates on their dogs so you are aware of any health issues.
When searching for your cockapoo, be wary of breeders who:
- Are selling multiple variations of hybrid breeds
- Are pushy or try to create a sense of urgency
- Don't have verifiable health certificates for their dogs
- Won't let you meet the parent dogs, or who send puppies home too young, or offer to ship you a puppy
A cocker spaniel was first intentionally bred with a poodle in the 1960s, making the cockapoo the first designer dog breed. Dog lovers wanted a small "hypoallergenic" dog with a loving temperament, and breeders answered with the cockapoo. The cocker spaniel was already growing in popularity thanks to Disney's Lady and the Tramp, which was released in 1955 and stars a dignified cocker named Lady.
In 1999, the Cockapoo Club of America was formed in an effort to recognize the breed as a purebred with their own breed standard. They promote breeding generations of cockapoos rather than the original cocker-poodle mix, with the intention to create a more predictable appearance and temperament. Today, several clubs exist to promote cockapoos as an individual breed.
- Actress and advocate Ashley Judd remembered her late cockapoos, Shug and Buttermilk, on Instagram on National Dog Day. "I think of them daily, dream about them often, and am so grateful for the 17 & 16 years God entrusted me with them. We traveled the world, hiked, and loved well."
- Cockapoos are excellent therapy dogs for people who suffer from depression.
- Unlike many other breeds of dogs, cockapoos don't leave an odor on furniture and other household items.