A Cockapoo is a mixed breed dog with one Cocker Spaniel parent and one Poodle parent.
But regardless of size the Cockapoo is a generally friendly and active companion, suited to a variety of different households.
Let’s take a look at what you can expect from a Cockapoo dog, and how well one might fit into your life.
Quick Stats: Cockapoo
|Popularity:||Steady since the 1950s|
|Purpose:||Companion or assistance dogs|
|Weight:||6–30 lbs, depending on the Poodle parent|
|Temperament:||Energetic, sociable, and happy. Find out more…|
|Coat:||Varies from long and scruffy, to tight and curly. Find out more…|
Common Cockapoo Questions:
Follow the links to find out more!
|Are Cockapoos good family dogs?||Yes, provided they are well socialised.|
|Are Cockapoos hypoallergenic?||They may be low shedding. But no dog is truly hypoallergenic.|
|Do Cockapoos Bark?||Yes, but you can train them to bark less.|
|How Long Do Cockapoos Live?||10-14 years|
|Do Cockapoos have any health problems?||Some joint problems, prone to PRA. Increased risk of some rarer conditions.|
Pros And Cons of Getting A Cockapoo
|Loyal and loving||Need lots of exercise|
|May be low shedding||Need lots of mental stimulation|
|Easy to train||High maintenance|
|Clever and active||Prone to barking|
What Else Is In This Guide?
- History of the Cockapoo
- Fun facts about the Cockapoo
- Training and exercising your Cockapoo
- Cockapoo health and care
- Rescuing a Cockapoo
- Finding a Cockapoo puppy
- Raising a Cockapoo puppy
History and Original Purpose of the Cockapoo
The Cockapoo is a mix between a Cocker Spaniel and a Poodle.
The other parent is an English or American Cocker Spaniel (American or English).
It doesn’t matter which breed is the mother, and which is the father.
Both Poodles and Cocker Spaniels were originally bred as hunting dogs. Poodles were used to retrieve from water, and Cockers to hunt and flush game from undergrowth and then retrieve it.
This means both dogs were bred to be intelligent, and highly trainable.
Poodles have a bit of a reputation for being aloof with strangers. And Cockers are known for their warmer, more overtly friendly nature.
The two breeds were crossed in the 1950s, in an attempt to combine the Cocker’s personality with the Poodle’s tight, low shedding coat.
Fun Facts About Cockapoos
Celebrities are clearly not immune to the Cockapoo’s charms.
For example, Lady Gaga, Ashley Judd, Minka Kelly and Harry Styles are all regularly spotted with the same sidekick: their beloved Cockapoo dogs.
This mix is popular partly because they look like big teddy bears!
Cockapoos are sometimes called by other names, including:
- Cocker Spaniel Poodle mix
- Cocker Spaniel Poodle
- Cocker Poodle
Cockapoo Size and Appearance
Cockapoo size varies widely depending on the size of the parents, and on random chance.
|Size:||Standard, mini or toy||Medium||Mini, small, or medium|
|Height:||Stnd: 15-24 inches|
Mini: 10-15 inches
Toy: <10 inches
|US: 13-16 inches|
UK: 15-17 inches
|US: 20-30 lbs|
UK: 26-34 lbs
At the tiny end of the scale, the teacup Cockapoo will weigh less than 6 pounds.
The toy Cockapoo will weigh less than 12 pounds at adulthood, and a mini Cockapoo will weigh in at anywhere from 13 to 18 pounds.
Cocker Spaniel Poodle mixes tend to have a broader head the average Poodle. Their fur varies between long and scruffy and tight curls, and comes in the same huge range of colors that Poodles do.
Are Cockapoos Hypoallergenic?
The “designer dog” craze was started by a man named Wally Conron.
He began crossing breeds in an effort to produce a hypoallergenic guide dog, for a blind woman whose husband was highly allergic to dogs.
But Conlon couldn’t find a single purebred dog that fit the bill. So, he crossed a Labrador Retriever with a Poodle.
This is where the “Labradoodle” was born. However, even this dog wasn’t truly hypoallergenic.
This is because allergies are caused by pet dander. And all pets, regardless of breed, produce some dander.
Do Cockapoos Shed?
All dogs shed to some degree. The Poodle’s tight coat is low shedding. But the Cocker Spaniel’s is not. A Cockapoo dog can have either coat type, or something in between.
And unfortunately, you cannot predict which coat they will inherit. So they may be less likely to trigger allergies. But they may not.
If a breeder tells you their litter will be hypoallergenic, walk away.
The typical temperament of a mix breed can be hard to predict. It can be any combination of the parent breeds’ temperaments.
It is important to make sure that both parents are friendly, when you buy a Cocker Spaniel Poodle mix.
In general, Poodles are friendly, if a little ‘standoffish’ with strangers. And Cocker Spaniels are loving and very loyal. Both breeds are clever and active.
As a result, the Cockapoo’s personality, is usually a happy, fun-loving, energetic, and sociable.
Any dog has the capacity to bark. And may bark more if they discover barking is in some way rewarding.
But Cockapoos are a little more prone to barking than average. This tendency comes chiefly from their excitable Cocker Spaniel parent.
It’s important not to reward Cockapoo barking. And to make use of resources like this one if you need to train your cocker spaniel mix pup not to bark.
Training and Exercising your Cockapoo
The good news here is Cockapoos as a whole are people-centric and eager to please.
Your Cockapoo will likely want to be where you are, doing whatever you are doing.
These dogs are social and people-oriented.
So, the closer your bond is, the easier Cockapoo training will become.
Throughout training, positive reinforcement will be your key to success. Cockapoos are particularly sensitive to punishment, so avoid this at all costs.
Cockapoos are active, intelligent dogs. They need daily exercise, and regular training to stimulate their minds, too.
Exercise doesn’t have to mean a walk, it can be training or retrieving practice for example. The important thing is to keep your Poodle Spaniel mix busy.
At the end up the day they will still want to cuddle up on your lap, as long as they’ve spend enough energy!
Cockapoo Health and Care
The health problems your Cockapoo may suffer will depend on whether their Poodle parent was a Toy, Mini, or Standard size. And on whether their spaniel parent was an American Cocker (known just as a Cocker in the USA) or an English Cocker (known just as a Cocker everywhere except the USA!).
Cockapoo Heath Risks To Be Aware Of
|Heart and blood:|
Heart valve disease, von Willebrand’s disease
|Joints:||Hip dysplasia, patella luxation|
Heart Valve Disease
Cocker Spaniels are liable to develop leaky heart valves as they grown older. This allows blood to flow ‘backwards’ in the heart, which make the heart less efficient.
In the early stages medications will help extend life. But in the later stages the dog develops heart failure, a leading cause of Cocker Spaniel death. Sadly operations to repair heart valves are not yet commonly performed on dogs.
Von Willebrand’s disease>
All Poodles are at risk of von Willebrand’s disease. A blood clotting disorder that causes excessive bleeding. There is a DNA test for von Willebrand’s, which all breeding Poodles should have.
Cocker spaniels are prone to epilepsy and seizures. These can often be treated with medication.
It’s possible that this risk is passed onto their Cockapoo puppies.
Progressive Retinal Atrophy
Progressive retinal atrophy, or PRA, is an inherited condition. Both Poodles and Cockers are prone to this disease, which causes blindness.
There is a test readily available, that will show if your puppy’s parents carry the PRA gene and can pass the disease on to their puppies.
Cocker spaniels and standard poodles are prone to hip dysplasia. A condition where the hip socket doesn’t form properly, and the joint doesn’t develop in the correct shape.
Hip dysplasia causes pain. It affects the movement and function of the hip joint. Some cases are improved by surgery. Without surgery it can severely limit your pup’s quality of life.
Your puppy’s Cocker and standard Poodle parents should have their hips ‘scored’ by a veterinarian.
Hip dysplasia is caused by multiple factors so it’s worth reading up on how to exercise your young Cocker Spaniel Poodle mix safely, too.
Toy and Miniature Poodles are among a number of smaller breeds that can suffer from Patella Luxation. This is a kneecap that ‘pops’ out of joint easily. It may require surgery.
General Health of Cross Breeds
A Cockapoo puppy can inherit heath conditions from either parent, or from both.
Where a condition is only common in one of the parent breeds, the puppy’s risk should be somewhere in between the two parents’ risks.
So the problem will be less likely than it is for the ‘at risk’ breed, but still more common than average. Exactly how likely each problem is, depends on a number of unpredictable factors.
You can follow these links to find out more about health risks for your puppy’s parents:
Both parents should have all the usual health checks and tests before being bred. Even when breeding for cross breed puppies.
Only use breeders who test both parents for all the diseases relevant to their respective breeds.
Cocker Spaniels have long ears, and need help keeping these clean to reduce ear infections. Most Cockapoos will need similar maintenance to keep their ears in tip top health.
You’ll also need to trim your pup’s nails on a regular basic, with clippers or a nail grinder.
Regular grooming is essential to keep the Cockapoo coat in good condition. The best way to keep this simple is to establish a daily routine of brushing for five minutes.
What is the Cockapoo Lifespan?
The life expectancy of a mixed breed dog is largely determined by the average lifespan of the parent breeds.
The average lifespan of a Cocker Spaniel is 11.5 years, while the Miniature Poodle can live up to 14 years or more.
The average life expectancy of a Cocker Spaniel Poodle mix is about 13 years. Mixes that include mini Poodles or English Cockers tend to live a little longer than those between American Cockers and Standard Poodles.
Do Cockapoos Make Good Family Pets?
A well-bred, well-raised Cockapoo can make a wonderful addition to most families.
It’s important to meet the parents before choosing your puppy. This is because nice dogs generally produce nice puppies.
Once your pup comes home, socialisation is key. Make sure you have lots of visitors, and introduce your puppy to lots of different sights and sounds. This will maximise your chance of having a friendly, confident, adult dog.
Cockapoos are intelligent dogs, and older children will love helping to train them.
Rescuing a Cockapoo
Cockapoo rescue can be tremendously satisfying.
You are giving a relinquished dog a loving forever home – what could feel better?
Plus, your costs will likely be quite a bit lower, even with adoption fees and possible spay/neuter fees.
Of course, there are also some trade-offs in pursuing a rescue Cockapoo.
Firstly, there is no guarantee that you are getting a pure cross-bred Cockapoo.
Even if the dog you are considering looks and acts like one, you can’t be sure.
Secondly, you won’t likely know much if anything about your new companion’s parents or background. Your new Cockapoo dog may have bad habits that take a while to undo, or have been poorly socialized. It’s important to understand these risks and to do your research before taking on a rescue dog.
Finding a Rescue Center
There are relatively few rescue centers that specialise in Cockapoos. However, it’s worth contacting your local rescues, to see if they have any Cockapoo dogs in. And specialist Cocker Spaniel and Poodle rescues will often take in mix breed pups too.
Cockapoo Breed Rescues
|USA:||Carolina Poodle Rescue |
Cocker Spaniel Resources Inc.
|UK:||The Cockapoo Club of GB |
Cockapoo for Life
|Canada:||Rescue Me Canada |
Cocker Spaniel Rescue
|Australia:||Rescue Me Australia |
Finding a Cockapoo Puppy
If you’re buying a puppy it’s always important to make sure you use a reputable breeder.
The breeder should be happy for you to meet and spend time with both the parents, and be able to provide results for all the relevant health tests for both breeds. They may be able to provide references from previous customers.
They should start your puppy’s socialization, and be able to talk to you about how they are doing this. And be happy for you to see where the puppies are being kept.
Look for clean puppies, and friendly parents!
Where to Avoid
Make every effort to avoid buying from puppy farms. Make sure to read our article on ‘How To Spot A Puppy Farm’.
Cocker Spaniel poodle mixes can cost from between $1000 to $3000, depending on demand in your area.
Cheaper puppies without the relevant health checks can seem very tempting, but will often end up costing more in the long run. Both in vets bills, and in heart ache.
Raising a Cockapoo Puppy
Raising a puppy in the right way is not a small job. It requires some knowledge, and a lot of time.
Fortunately, we’ve got lots of free guides to help you along the way.
You may find some of these articles helpful:
- Feeding a Cockapoo Puppy
- Cockapoo Grooming
- How To Train A Cockapoo
- Puppy Crying At Night
- Potty Training Schedule
- Puppy Care Guide
And if you’d like some more support in the early days, take a look at our Dogsnet Puppy Parenting course, created by Happy Puppy Site founder, Pippa.
Cockapoo Products and Accessories
Life with a dog is always easier when you’ve got the right kit:
- Best Harness for a Cockapoo
- Top Cockapoo Toys
- Best Shampoo for a Cockapoo
- Cockapoo Brushes
- Best Food for Cockapoos
Torn between two different cute mixes? We can help!
Check out these direct comparisons between Cockapoos and similar breeds.
And you can find out more about some other similar breeds here:
The Cockapoo: Summary
Cockapoos are clever, active, loyal little dogs, with a lot to offer a family.
They do need regular grooming, and may object loudly to being left alone. They are best suited to home that can provide lots of physical activity and mental stimulation.
If you’ve had a Cockapoo in your life, we’d love to hear about your experience in the comments below!
References And Resources
- Gough A, Thomas A, O’Neill D. 2018 Breed Predispositions to Disease In Dogs and Cats. Wiley Blackwell
- O’Neill et al. 2013. Longevity and Mortality of Owned Dogs In England. The Veterinary Journal
- Adams VJ, et al. Results of a Survey of UK Purebred Dogs. Journal of Small Animal Practice. 2010
- Duffy D et al. Breed differences in canine aggression. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 2008
- Farrell, L.L., et al. “The Challenges of Pedigree Dog Health: Approaches to Combating Inherited Disease.” Canine Genetics and Epidemiology, 2015.
- Oberbauer, A.M., et al. “Ten Inherited Disorders in Purebred Dogs by Functional Breed Groupings.” Canine Genetics and Epidemiology, 2015.
- “English Cocker Spaniel.” Animal Health Center for Dogs and Cats. 2019.
- “Poodle (Miniature / Standard).” American Kennel Club. 2019.
- Coren, S. “A Designer Dog-Maker Regrets His Creation.” Psychology Today. 2014.
- Collins, R., et al. “Allergy-Free Dogs.” Healthline. 2016.
- Kane, J. “10 Reasons You Need A Poodle Crossbreed In Your Life.” The Huffington Post. 2015.
- Lambrecht, K. “Your Cocker Spaniel.” West Towne Veterinary Center. 2014.