October 23, 2017

What Exactly is a Cockapoo?

The Cockapoo is a hybrid or mixed-breed dog resulting from a cross between a Cocker Spaniel and a Poodle.

While some breeders refer to Cockapoos as “designer dogs” many dog enthusiasts believe that this term was invented by hobby breeders to lure in undereducated dog lovers, getting them to pay high prices for what is essentially a crossbreed, or mutt.

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Because the Cockapoo is a mixed breed, it is difficult to predict what he will be like in terms of size, color, personality, and temperament. It is also important to note that there are multiple versions of the two parent breeds, so your Cockapoo could vary greatly in physical and personality traits depending on breeding.

The Cocker Spaniel comes in two different breeds – the English Cocker Spaniel and the American Cocker Spaniel – while the Poodle comes in three breeds of different size.

You can expect your Cockapoo to exhibit some combination of physical and personality traits from both parent breeds.

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Characteristics of a Cocker Spaniel

In order to understand the Cockapoo you need to get some background on the two parent breeds. When it comes to the pedigree of the Cockapoo, however, there are some important variations to consider. For example, there are two different Cocker Spaniel breeds and either one can be used to create the Cockapoo. Small spaniels have existed for centuries but the cocker spaniel type didn’t emerge until the late 1700s to early 1800s. Originally known as the Cocking Spaniel, this breed type was a combination of water spaniels and land spaniels, developed for flushing woodcock. The first specimen of the breed was registered with the AKC in 1878 and, in 1881, the first American breed club was formed.

One of the first duties of the American Cocker Spaniel Club was to create a breed standard to separate the American from the English versions of the breed. The dog considered to be the father of the English Cocker Spaniel was Ch. Obo and he was also the sire of the dog considered to be the father of the American Cocker Spaniel. The American version of the breed is slightly smaller than the English version and it is the smallest breed in the AKC Sporting Group. The English Cocker Spaniel has a slightly sturdier build and its tail usually remains undocked, in contrast to the standard practice for the American Cocker Spaniel in the United States.

The Cocker Spaniel breed in general is a small dog with a soft, wavy coat. This breed comes in a wide variety of different colors and patterns, though acceptable colorations vary between the two breeds. The Cocker Spaniel has a very sweet and gentle temperament along with a lively, often goofy personality. These little dogs make excellent companions and they are great with children. These dogs are extremely people-oriented so they need a great deal of personal attention, though even highly socialized Cocker Spaniels have been known to develop separation anxiety. This breed generally does well around other dogs and cats and they make friends quickly.

Cocker Spaniels are a very smart and trainable breed, especially when you start him off early with positive reinforcement training. Unlike many small breeds, the Cocker Spaniel is fairly easy to housetrain and he is always eager to enjoy new experiences. These dogs can be trained for field trials and hunt tests – they can also compete in various dog sports including agility, flyball, obedience, and more. In terms of health, the Cocker Spaniel has a fairly long median life expectancy and they are generally healthy dogs. Some of the conditions to which this breed is prone may include genetic eye disorders, disc disease, hypothyroidism, ear infections, autoimmune disease, and congenital deafness.

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Characteristics of a Poodle

The most identifiable characteristic of the Poodle breed is its thick, curly coat. These dogs are also well-known for their intelligence and their friendly personalities. The Poodle breed actually encompasses three different varieties divided by size. The Standard Poodle is the largest of the three, followed by the Miniature Poodle and the Toy Poodle. The main differentiation between these breeds is the size – they all have the characteristic curly Poodle coat and bright personality. Some Toy and Miniature Poodle owners will say, however, that their dogs are a little more yappy and high-maintenance than the Standard Poodle, though personality varies greatly depending on breeding and socialization.

The Poodle breed was developed from water retrievers in Germany and its name is derived from the German, Pudelhund. These dogs quickly rose in popularity in France and throughout the European mainland before it was even introduced in England. The Poodle became the most popular pet breed in Spain during the 18th century and a great deal of selective breeding led to the development of the three size varieties. The Standard Poodle is the oldest of the three breeds, though some evidence suggests that the Toy and Miniature varieties were developed only a very short time after the larger Poodle reached a standard type.

The Poodle is widely regarded as one of the most intelligent breeds which also makes it one of the most trainable dog breeds out there. In addition to being a skilled retriever, Poodles can also be trained for various dog sports or used as therapy and assistance dogs. The Poodle has a gentle, even temperament for the most part, though the smaller versions of the breed may be less patient around children and less tolerant of other dogs. With careful socialization and early training, however, all three Poodle varieties make very good pets. All three versions of the breed do require a great deal of personal attention, however, and they do not like being left alone. Leaving a Poodle alone for too long increases the risk for separation anxiety and the development of problem behaviors.

Poodles come in a wide variety of different colors ranging from solid white, black, and brown to a variety of shades in between such as peach, apricot, cream, tan, silver, and blue. Many Poodles exhibit solid coat coloration, though some exhibit bicolor or tricolor patterns. In regards to health, the Standard Poodle is a fairly healthy breed with an average life expectancy around 10 to 12 years. Toy and Miniature Poodles tend to live a little longer, though they are more likely to develop dental problems and musculoskeletal issues related to their size. Other health problems to which Poodles are prone include Addison’s disease, vonWillebrand’s disease, patellar luxation, Cushing’s syndrome, progressive retinal atrophy, and Legg-Calve-Perthes disease.

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Cockapoo Characteristics and Temperament

The fact that the Cockapoo is a mixed breed means that you cannot predict exactly what your dog will be like as an adult. You can, however, take into consideration the physical and personality traits of the two parent breeds to make a guess at what your Cockapoo will be like. Because Cockapoos are typically bred from Miniature or Toy Poodles (as opposed to Standard Poodles) you can generally expect your Cockapoo to be a small to medium-sized dog. Most Cockapoos stay within the 10- to 30-pound range with some room for variation.

In terms of appearance, the Cockapoo exhibits a combination of physical traits from the Cocker Spaniel and the Toy or Miniature Poodle. Because the Poodle has a curly coat and the Cocker Spaniel generally has a wavy coat, your Cockapopo will likely have a coat that is wavy or curly. Cockapoos come in a wide variety of different colors and patterns according to breeding. Some of the most common colors seen in Cockapoos include black, tan, brown, cream, white, and beige. It is also possible for Cockapoos to exhibit a combination of two or more colored, particularly in the brindle or merle pattern. The length of a Cockapoo’s coat will vary because the Poodle’s coat can grow very long while the Cocker Spaniel generally has a medium to long coat that grows very quickly. Cockapoos tend to be a low-shedding breed due to their Poodle genes, though regular brushing and grooming is still recommended.

Your Cockapoo’s personality will vary but most Cockapoos are friendly and gentle-spirited dogs. Cockapoos are generally very people-oriented which makes them a great choice as a companion pet as long as you have enough time to devote to spending with your dog. Both Poodles and Cocker Spaniels are prone to separation anxiety so you should not leave your Cockapoo alone for long periods of time. Cocker Spaniels are excellent with children while Toy and Miniature Poodles can sometimes be intolerant of rough handling and overly energetic children so you should always supervise interactions between your Cockapoo and children just to be safe. Cockapoos typically get along with other dogs and cats – they also are eager to make friends with strangers so they might not make the best guard dogs.

Early socialization and training is very important for your Cockapoo, as it is for all small-breed dogs. Smaller dogs sometimes develop dominant tendencies if their owner doesn’t present himself as an authority figure so always maintain a firm and consistent hand with training. Cockapoos are smart dogs due to their genes, so they generally respond well to training and they can excel at a variety of different dog sports. In terms of health and wellness, the Cockapoo is generally a fairly healthy breed. These dogs can inherit certain health problems from their parents, however, so make sure you get your Cockapoo from a responsible breeder. Some of the health problems most likely to affect the Cockapoo breed include recurrent ear infections, inherited eye conditions, Addison’s disease, vonWillebrand’s disease, various musculoskeletal issues, and dental problems.

How Much Do Cockapoos Cost?

Before you start shopping for a Cockapoo it is a good idea to do some background research to determine a fair price range. If you fall for the “designer dog” hype you could end up paying exorbitant prices for a puppy from an inexperienced backyard breeder when you could have paid a lower price for a puppy from a responsible breeder. Because there is so much variation within the Cockapoo breed (largely determined by breeding), you should not be surprised to find a wide range of prices when you start shopping around. To help you determine what a fair price is for a Cockapoo puppy, consider the average price ranges for the parent breeds.

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The Cocker Spaniel comes in two different breeds – the American and the English. For the most part, however, both of these breeds fetch similar prices. If you purchase a Cocker Spaniel puppy from an AKC-registered breeder, you should expect to pay between $800 and $1,200. For well-bred, show-quality dogs you might pay more – up to $2,000. The Poodle comes in three different sizes – Standard, Miniature, and Toy. Standard poodles cost somewhere between $1,000 and $3,000 from an AKC-registered breeder while the smaller Poodles cost between $600 and $1,000. Given these price ranges, you should never pay more than $1,200 for a Cockapoo puppy, though a price range between $500 and $800 is much more reasonable. Just be sure that the breeder you buy from is experienced with the breed and that he has performed the necessary DNA testing on his breeding stock to rule out congenital health problems.

What is a Cockapoo’s Lifespan?

As you know well by now, the Cockapoo is a cross between two different breeds. This being the case, it is difficult to predict exactly how long your Cockapoo will live. Reviewing the average life expectancies for each parent breed will provide some insight into the matter. The Cocker Spaniel is a small- to medium-sized bred with an average lifespan between 12 and 15 years. The Poodle comes in three different sizes and therefore three different ranges for life expectancy. The Standard Poodle is a medium- to large-sized breed that lives an average of 10 to 12 years. The Miniature Poodle generally lives 12 to 14 years while the Toy Poodle has been known to live as long as 20 years, though 12 to 16 years is more common. Given these ranges, you can expect your Cockapoo to live somewhere between 10 and 15 years as long as he remains in good health.

How Big is a Full-Grown Cockapoo?

As a mixed-breed dog, it is difficult to predict what an adult Cockapoo will be like in terms of size. The most important factor affecting your Cockapoo’s size is the breeds used in the crossing. Cocker Spaniels vary slightly in size between the American and English versions with the American Cocker Spaniel being the smaller of the two. The American Cocker Spaniel generally stands between 13.5 and 15.5 inches tall at maturity and weighs between 24 and 30 pounds on average. The English Cocker Spaniel stands 15 to 16 inches tall, weighing between 29 and 32 pounds at maturity. The Poodle comes in three different sizes with the Standard Poodle being the largest at over 15 inches tall and weighing between 40 and 55 pounds. Toy Poodles stand less than 10 inches tall and weigh 5 to 10 pounds while Miniature Poodles stand 10 to 15 inches tall and weigh 12 to 15 pounds. If your Cockapoo is bred from a Standard Poodle he might reach a maximum size around 25 to 40 pounds. Cockapoos bred from Toy or Miniature Poodles, on the other hand, will be smaller, ranging from 10 to 30 pounds at maturity. The only way to really know the full-size of your Cockapoo, however, is to wait for him to mature.

Carlotta Cooper

Carlotta Cooper is a freelance writer and a long-time contributing editor for the weekly dog show magazine, Dog News. She is the author of The Dog Adoption Bible, the Dog Writers Association of America Adoptashelter.com award-winner for 2013. Additionally, Carlotta is the author of Canine Cuisine: 101 Natural Dog Food & Treat Recipes to Make Your Dog Health and Happy, as well as other books about pets. She is a guest writer for numerous website and blogs and a frequent pet food reviewer.

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