The cockapoo is an adorable crossbreed between a poodle and a cocker spaniel that dates back to the 1960s. They are low- to non-shedding, making them a popular option for dog owners with allergies. At their smallest, they can be 6–9 pounds fully grown. At their biggest, 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.
The face of a cockapoo 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 and 12 pounds and fewer than 10 inches in height. The miniature cockapoo weighs up to 18 pounds and is between 11 and 14 inches in height. A standard, or maxi, will weigh more than 19 pounds and grow at least 15 inches tall. Their coats most commonly have long, loose curls that need to be brushed daily. A cockapoo can come in chocolate, red, black, blue, cream, white, and different combinations of multicolor coats. They have the floppy ears of a cocker spaniel.
Cockapoos can sometimes be confused for cavapoos. It's no surprise; both breeds could melt a heart of stone with one loving look. They're almost identical, except that the cockapoo has a longer muzzle. A cavapoo results from breeding a poodle and a Cavalier King Charles spaniel, and they're generally shorter than a cockapoo. 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.
A cockapoo can be very receptive to training, especially with positive reinforcement from her favorite humans. She adores being praised. While the cocker spaniel side of her can be a little distracted, the poodle side of her is highly intelligent. She will be eager to please with some repetition and rewards.
Cockapoos are happy with other dogs or cats as companions. Like any dog, they’ll need the proper socialization as puppies to understand how to live with multiple animals. 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 and children, seniors, and everyone in between. Smaller children will have to learn the proper way to handle a puppy to ensure they don’t get hurt, and the cockapoo will reward them with a lifelong companion.
They don’t mind water, in fact, many end up loving water and accompanying their families to the lake or the beach. Their poodle parents were bred to retrieve small animals from the water, so they’re born with some water-loving tendencies. Expose them to swimming early to "test the waters," and you may have a lakehouse dog on your hands.
Cockapoos have a single coat that must be brushed daily to prevent matting. They’re low shedding, so with the proper care, they won’t have anyone sneezing or sniffling. The curlier the coat, the more often they’ll need to see the groomer. Returning every 4–6 weeks will keep a curly coat in check. If they have more of a straight mane like their cocker parent, they 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, as they can trap moisture and cause ear infections. Gently examine and clean their ears once a week. Brushing their teeth a few times a week can prevent tartar buildup and bad breath that’s more common in smaller breeds. They’ll also need their nails trimmed a couple of times a month. If you can hear their nails clicking on the floor of your house, it’s time for a trim.
Cockapoos have a moderate energy level, and while they love to snuggle up on the couch, 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 walk around the neighborhood. She’ll generally love meeting other dogs 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 they'll be excited to show off what they can do.
Cockapoos typically live between 12 and 15 years. As one of the "designer" dog breeds, it is important to find a reputable breeder when searching for a cockapoo to bring home. Be on the lookout for cockapoos who could potentially come from a commercial dog breeding facility. Always ask your 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.