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Hi, my name is Simon James and I’m a Cockapoo owner and massive fan of the breed. I also own a website that encourages responsible breeding and dog ownership.
This little book is meant to be no more than an overview of the Cockapoo breed to introduce people to this wonderful dog. You may be considering buying or rescuing a Cockapoo? If that’s the case you need to know if a Cockapoo is the right dog for you.
For in depth advice, a series of ebooks called is specifically designed for the Cockapoo owner and is available from .
Enjoy the book!
The breed known as the Cockapoo or Cockerpoo (Spoodle in Australia and Cockadoodle in Sweden) was the result of select breeding of Cocker Spaniels and Poodles in the United States circa 1950. The consequential litters were so wonderfully adorable that by the 1960s, a new breed of dog was beginning to emerge.
Things developed quickly and the new cross breed spread internationally to Australia, Sweden and the UK.
In those early days, the Cockapoo mix used two types of Poodles as preference in the breeding pool – the Miniature and the Toy. Using these dogs, the crosses tend to be roughly the size of the Cocker Spaniel parent or just fractionally smaller.
In the UK, the English Working Cocker Spaniel was introduced as the Stud dog. This was later varied using the English Show Cocker Spaniel and the American Show Cocker Spaniel, all of which have distinctively different coat types.
The Cocker Spaniel half of the equation also introduces a degree of variance because American Cocker Spaniels are slightly smaller than their English counterparts and have a longer coat. In the UK, generally the Cockapoo is 1 – 2 inches bigger than its parents.
Once frowned up by guardians of pure dog breeds, cross-breeding has grown in popularity out of a desire to create breeds that suite the modern man and woman with its canine companion (although approximately 70% of Cockapoos are owned by women). As the need for working dogs has receded, a family pet has become the norm, as well as companion or therapy dogs.
This has caused breeders to hone their skills by producing so called “designer dogs”. Many popular crossbreeds are the result of matching specific qualities that complement each other that produces an excellent nature and a dog that thrives in a domestic setting.
Poodles have a virtually non-shedding coat, making the breed ideal to live cleanly indoors, while Cocker Spaniels are active, agile dogs. Both parent breeds have very attractive looks.
On average, the lifespan of all Cockapoos is 12 to 15 years.
There isn’t a consistent look for a Cockapoo which is something breeders and owners find fascinating as they look so different. Some Cockapoos bear a greater resemblance to their Cocker Spaniel parent, while others are more like Poodles. Many Cockapoo breeders still specialise in “first generation” or “F1” puppies, a direct cross from the mating of a Cocker Spaniel and a Poodle.
The next fun thing about Cockapoos is the wonderful variation in colours! including all of the following:
• tan (from beige to buff)
• red, ( from auburn to apricot)
• browns (light to dark)
• sable (brown with tipping, shaded in black);
• white / cream
• silver (very rare)
• brindle (very rare)
• merle (very rare)
• roan (an even mixture of white and pigmented hairs); phantom (black, tan and white)
• part-black and white or brown and white
The colour can be solid or come in patches. The type of the coat varies from Poodle style ringlet to Cocker style curly. Regular grooming is needed to prevent matting and dreadlocking. Daily brushing is highly recommended.
Cockapoos that inherit their coat from the Poodle parent require less grooming than those that inherit the Cocker Spaniel coat. One will need clipping while one will need a scissor cut.
The United Kingdom and The United States have by far the two largest populations of Cockapoos. Sizes will vary sizes according to the type of Poodle used in the breeding pair, but the following are fairly reliable standards.
• Standard or Maxi Cockapoos are at least 15 inches / 38.1 cm in stature and weigh more than 19 lbs. / 8.61 kg
• Miniature Cockapoos stand between 11-14 inches / 27.94-35.56 cm and fall in a range of 13-18 lbs. / 5.89-6.35 kg
• Toy Cockapoos tend to have a sturdy build and weigh up to 12 lbs. / 5.44 kg and can reach 10 inches / 25.4 cm
• Teacup Cockapoos stand under 10 inches / 25.4 cm and average less than 6 lbs. / 2.72 kg
Always ask what kind of Poodle was chosen to create the Cockapoo mix so you know how big your adult Cockapoo will be.
Cockapoo owners will generally agree that their dogs have a unique temperament and engaging little personalities that are very amusing.
Cockapoos have a reputation for being needy. This is because they have been bred as a domesticated companion dog for 65 years. To avoid bouts of separation anxiety they should not be left alone for long periods of time. Crate training is recommended to deal with this issue. This is the process of making your dog familiar with a safe environment that becomes a ‘happy den’ for them.
Poodles and Cocker Spaniels are renowned as the most intelligent of dog breeds; so naturally Cockapoos are very clever.
With brains comes owner responsibility to keep your Cockapoo happily engaged. They will find mischief to keep themselves entertained when left to their own devices. If neglected and not trained to overcome separation anxiety this can lead to excessive barking, jumping up, inappropriate elimination and even harmful self-scratching.
This can be countered by a simple effective training programme (see xxxx). Many owners also use synthetic bones since constructive chewing relieves stress and is excellent for the teeth and jaws.
Cockapoos do extremely well at negotiating obstacle courses and enjoy agility training. They love puzzle toys and are very socialable with other dogs. Flyball is a popular training class for Cockapoos.
All dogs need exercise and it’s the single most important thing you can do for your dog to make him happy. With the varieties of Cockapoo the level of exercise needed varies greatly. You will first need to know whether your Cockpaoo is bred from a ‘Working’ or ‘Show’ Cocker Spaniel. Dogs from working stock need a lot more exercise- it’s just in their blood. As you can probably deduce, a Standard poodle size Cockapoo will need different exercise to a miniature. Every Cockapoo needs exercise daily, but some will need twice daily for over an hour. It’s important you gauge what your dog needs and give him as much as you can.
Cockapoos also have a charming reputation for their intuitive natures. They don’t just pick up on your daily routines, but also on your current emotional state. This sensitivity makes them excellent therapy dogs.
If you are upset expect to have a very concerned dog trying to comfort you with never ending attention. If you are calm and content, your Cockapoo will be too!
Health and Breeding are inextricable linked and must be considered at the same time. The Cockapoo can be made up of a number of types of Poodle (Standard, Miniature and Toy) and Cocker Spaniels (Show Type, Working Type and American). They each come with their own health issues.
As both parent breeds have the potential to suffer from the same genetic eye conditions, ensure that the parents have been genetically tested for inherited conditions when purchasing a puppy or considering future breeding.
Further assessment is necessary when continuing the breeding of F1b, F2 and F3 puppies, along with all the necessary health checks. When breeding past F1, the buyer / breeder would need to record and retain ancestry lines of each parent to avoid the possibility of inbreeding.
Below is a list of key inherited disorders.
• Prcd-PRA – (Progressive Retinal Atrophy) – A genetic disorder that causes blindness.
• FN – Familial Nephropathy – kidney disease
• Phosphofructokinase (PFK) – enzyme deficiency
• Glaucoma – pressure on the eye causes loss of sight
• Secondary glaucoma – cause fluid drainage problems leading to loss of sight
• Von Willebrand disease TYPE 1 (vWD1) – A bleeding disorder.
• Hip dysplasia – deformity in the joint.
• Retinal Dysplasia affecting a dog’s eye site.
Don’t let this put you off however as most Cockapoo health problems can be avoided by .
Cockapoos have a reputation for being highly trainable dogs. You will have no trouble instilling the basic commands Sit, Come, Down, Stay… but much more can be achieved with a little effort.
For a Cockapoo ‘shaking hands’ or ‘rolling over’ comes quite naturally.
Taking your puppy to a training class will help to introduce him to new sights, sounds, people and they respond well to all types of dog training techniques like ‘Clicker’ or ‘Target’ training.
Giving an exact price for a Cockapoo is difficult as breeders set different standards. You may well see internet listings for puppies as low as $200 / £120, but you have no way of knowing the health without insisting on original documentation. Prices this low are most likely to be from puppy mill breeders out to make quick cash in return for a genetically sick puppy who may well have canine parvovirus ( a common disease that spreads in unsanitary kennels).
To be certain you are getting the best quality dog whose genetics have been fully considered, visit the breeder in person before making a decision. Insist on seeing the puppy with its mother. If you are purchasing from a reputable kennel expect to pay £800-£1200 depending on location and breeder.
When you are considering rescuing a dog be aware it most likely will not be a puppy. Adolescent and adult dogs usually end up in shelters after the novelty of having a puppy has worn off.
The Cockapoo Club of Great Britain runs an active and effective RRR service (Respite Rescue, Re-homing) supported by The Dogs Trust in the UK.
Local small or mixed breed shelters and rescue groups are also a good place to start your search.
You can expect to pay an adoption fee to cover the cost of spaying or neutering, which will be only a small percentage of what you would pay a breeder and will help to support the shelter or rescue facility.
Cockapoos are highly regarded as companion dogs but with the ethos of ‘working’ dogs.
They both have a reputation for excellent dispositions and for robust health. They are dogs consumed with energy, fun and a zest for life utterly devoted to their owners, this dog will indeed be your best friend.
At the same time, Cockapoos are terrifically empathetic and are a great comfort and joy for elderly owners. A Cockapoo is also a perfect dog for a child. They’re just friendly and easy-going. They’ll also respond well to a good, positive reward-based training programme and will demonstrate excellent obedience if trained correctly.
So long as you can make time to meet his physical and emotional needs the Cockapoo is an ideal companion.
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Good luck finding your Cockapoo!
Are you interested to find out about the most popular hybrid 'designer' dog breed in the UK & USA - The Cockapoo! This concise book walks you through: breed history; temperament and characteristics; size and weight; colours; health and genetic problems; grooming; exercise; trainability and where to search for a Cockapoo. It's written in a succinct and easy to read style to give the all the important facts and also contains beautiful colour pictures of many Cockapoo varieties.