Cockapoos – Choosing a Cockapoo

The Cockapoo is a mixed breed dog, also referred to as a hybrid or designer breed, derived from the Cocker Spaniel and the Poodle. Because it is not a pure bred dog, the Cockapoo is not recognized by the American Kennel Club. Ideally, a hybrid dog exhibits only the desirable traits of the two parenting breeds, but, as with any mixed breed, it is highly possible for the Cockapoo to acquire both the good and the bad characteristics of the Cocker and the Poodle.

The cocker spaniel, poodle mix has probably been around for as long as there have been Cocker Spaniels and Poodles. The popularity and selective breeding of the Cockapoo, however, are thought to have begun in the 1960s.

The Cocker Spaniel, the smallest dog of the sporting group, is an excellent hunter of birds and small game. The Cocker is thought to have a Spanish origin, and came to America from England between 1870 and 1880. Popularized by Disney's "The Lady and the Tramp", the Cocker is a beloved breed of many families. There are two AKC recognized versions of the Cocker Spaniel today, the American and the English. Either can be used in creating the Cockapoo.

The Poodle is believed to have originated in Germany as a water retriever in the 13th century. Poodles are famous for carrying supplies and messages during World War II and performing in circuses and French dog playhouses. The AKC recognizes three sizes of the poodle, the toy (a member of the AKC's toy group), the miniature, and the standard (members of the AKC's non-sporting group). The miniature or toy are more likely to be selected in parenting a Cockapoo.

The Cockapoo is an adorable dog, with a teddy bear type appearance. As do the Cocker Spaniel and the Poodle, the Cockapoo comes in many colors. There are solid colors, such as white, tan, black, shadings of brown or liver, parti-color (patchwork of two colors) and tricolor (three colors; usually white, black, and tan). Their coat is soft and wavy to curly.

Cockapoos are usually small to medium sized at about 5 to 28 pounds and about 10-15 inches in height at the shoulder, depending on parent size and which breed's size characteristics are dominant.

The ears hang to well below eye level. The tail can be docked (as both the Cocker Spaniel and the Poodles tails are docked) or left natural.

Brushing several times a week and regular trips to the groomer are necessary for a Cockapoo. Both Cockers and Poodles have continuously growing hair that must be maintained to avoid matting. Thanks to the Poodle's coat, the Cockapoo sheds minimally and has low dander, making Poodles and Cockapoos a favorite of families with asthma and allergies.

Lots of attention and exercise is necessary to prevent boredom and behavior problems. Cocker Spaniels are prone to obesity, so be sure to walk regularly and do not overfeed your Cockapoo.

Both the Cocker and the Poodle are generally intelligent and eager to please; however, the Cocker can have a stubborn side. Though they are often cheerful and playful, some Cockers can be aggressive when they don't get their way. The Cocker Spaniel is a dog that is very devoted to his family, while the Poodle is more flexible and generally has affection for everyone. A happy, good tempered breed, the Poodle is energetic, people-oriented, and quite good with children. A Cockapoo that gets the best of the gene pool can be an outgoing, easily-trained, people-friendly dog, who will probably love a good lap to curl up in at the end of the day.

Listed below are several diseases and health problems that the Cocker Spaniel and Poodle may acquire. The Cockapoo may also be particularly suscepitble.

Immune mediated hemolytic anemia is a serious blood disorder than results in profound anemia.

Urolithiasis is a condition affecting the urinary tract resulting in the formation of bladder stones.

Cataracts cause a loss of the normal transparency of the lens of the eye. The problem can occur in one or both eyes and can lead to blindness.

Glaucoma is a painful and serious condition that causes pressure within the eye to increase. It can lead to blindness if not treated early.

Epilepsy is a seizure disorder that develops between the ages of 2 to 5 years.

Hypothyroidism results when the thyroid gland does not function adequately. Without enough thyroid hormone, illness can occur.

Otitis is an infection of the ear.

The average life span of the Cockapoo is 14-18 years.

To learn more about the Cockapoo's parenting breeds, please read PetPlace's breed profiles on the Cocker Spaniel and the Poodle.