Speak to any Cockapoo owner and they will tell you what fun, intelligent and at times crazy bundles of energy they can be.
The Cockapoo is the offspring of the Cocker Spaniel and Poodle and was bred as one of the first ‘designer dogs’ in the 1960s. They’re known as a hybrid and are not considered a pure-breed or pedigree dog.
Breeders wanted to combine some of the character traits of the Cocker Spaniel and Poodle to create a smart, playful companion dog with a good temperament.
They’re one of the UK’s most popular dog breeds and their endearing personalities make them an ideal family dog.
Types of Cockapoo
The most common type of Cockapoo in the UK is a Cocker Spaniel crossed with a Miniature Poodle. As a mixed breed, their offspring can have a number of different features and characteristics.
There are two types of English Cocker Spaniel: the worker and the show Cocker. Both are from the same gene pool and are technically the same breed, but they’re different in appearance and personality.
The Worker Cocker was bred its working ability and practical characteristics like stamina. Show Cockers were bred for looks.
There are also several different types of Poodles used to breed Cockapoos but the Toy and Miniature Poodle are most commonly used.
Your Cockapoo’s breeder can help you understand your pup’s parentage and genetic history. Your pup’s genetic make up will influence their overall look and temperament.
What colours can Cockapoos be?
As a crossbreed, Cockapoos come in a variety of shades and colours, the most common include: Black, white, cream, apricot (a golden brown colour), brown and red.
It’s common for puppies to start off with a jet black, chocolate brown or red coat colour before this begins to change as they grow up.
Due to the fading gene which comes from the Poodle line, Cockapoo owners often notice the lightening of their pup’s coat colour when they get older.
What does F1 and F2 mean in Cockapoos?
If you’re thinking of adopting a Cockapoo you’ll quickly learn they come in various F types such as F1 and F2. The F type will help tell you the parentage and genetic history of your dog.
Within any new litter of Cockapoos, all pups younger look very similar up until five weeks of age. At this time, it’s difficult to predict the look and coat of each pup. After five-six weeks, this begins to change and you should have a better idea of what they’ll look like.
If you know your pup’s F type this can help.
Here are some examples:
F1 Cockapoo: When a Cocker Spaniel is mated to a Poodle to produce a Cockapoo. This is known as a first generation cross and is referred to as an F1.
F1B Cockapoo: This is when a Cockapoo is mated with either a Cocker Spaniel or a Poodle. The B means ‘back-bred’ which tells you that this dog has been back-bred to a Cocker Spaniel or Poodle.
F2 Cockapoo: This is when two Cockapoos are mated together to produce the next generation. The number two reflects this second generation of Cockapoo.
F3 Cockapoo: This is when a puppy or puppies have been bred by two F2 Cockapoos
F4 Cockapoo: A Cockapoo bred from two F3 Cockapoos – and so on.
Here’s a short list of F type guides:
F1 Cockapoo + F1 Cockapoo = F2
F1 Cockapoo + Poodle = F1b
F1 Cockapoo + Cocker Spaniel = F1b
F1 Cockapoo + F2 Cockapoo = F2
F1 Cockapoo + F3 Cockapoo = F2
F1b Cockapoo + F1 Cockapoo = F2b
F2 Cockapoo + Poodle = F2b
F2 Cockapoo + Cocker Spaniel = F2b
F2 Cockapoo + F2 Cockapoo = F3
F2 Cockapoo + F3 Cockapoo = F3
F3 Cockapoo + F3 Cockapoo = F4
Regardless of the F type of the litter, you will sometimes find different variants within the same litter!
The F type won’t tell you what size your Cockapoo will be. This will determined by its parents, and its Poodle lineage.
Cockapoo coats can vary greatly and will depend on the characteristics of both parents and the F type of your pup. Tight curly coats, loose wavy coats and straighter coats are all possible with F1 Cockapoos.
Those with traits and characteristics from the Poodle line tend to have longer noses and curly coats. Those pups with a smoother coat and leaner physique, will have inherited this from a Spaniel. If a pup’s coat takes on Spaniel characteristics, its coat will shed more, while those that are shaggy tend to be non-shedding.
Cockapoo personality and characteristics
The personality, character, and appearance of Cockapoos can vary greatly depending on their parentage and ancestry.
Because they’re not a recognised pedigree breed it’s not easy to apply specific dog traits to Cockapoos in the same way you can with other breeds. But Cockapoos are generally known to be intelligent, friendly, highly energetic dogs that are easy to train.
When you first meet your Cockapoo as a puppy, you can’t immediately tell which personality traits and characteristics have been inherited. Some Cockapoos can look like a Poodle but act more like a Cocker, and vice versa but this won’t always be apparent until they become older.
Cockapoos can get on well with other dogs and children but they do not enjoy being left on their own for long periods of time.
They can be susceptible to separation anxiety issues if you don’t teach them early on how to be alone for short periods. They’re a companion breed and need owners and a family that have the time and energy to give them the attention they need.
Like all dogs, Cockapoos need good early socialisation and exposure to lots of different people, sights, sounds and experience when they’re young. This will help them grow up to be confident, well-rounded dogs.
Cockapoos need plenty of exercise and mental stimulation. As puppies they’re known to be quite hyperactive so if you’re a first time dog owner, do be prepared if you choose a Cockapoo!
Sometimes as puppies it can be difficult to provide them with enough exercise to tire them out in the way you can with other breeds but they shouldn’t be over exercised.
Their joints and bones are still growing and too much exercise can lead to ligament and joint issues later on. Once they reach adulthood, Cockapoos need at least 30 minutes of exercise each day.
Cockapoos enjoy a good walk but a great way to keep them stimulated and active is through a variety of fun play sessions.
How big do Cockapoos get?
Cockapoo come in all shapes sizes. Their adult size will depend on the parents and in particular their Poodle lineage.
Traditionally, the Cockapoo was bred from the Miniature Poodle as the size is more compatible in mating with a Spaniel, so bone structure size is similar. Both Toy and Standard Poodles are also used to breed Cockapoos.
As a guide, you can expect the following:
A Toy Poodle this will give the size of a very small toy dog. Usually under 10 inches in height
A Miniature Poodle will give you a more mid-size dog, similar to a Cocker Spaniel
A Standard Poodle will give you a dog the size of a Labrador or something even taller
You can also find variants to the size of the Spaniel. You can get smaller and larger Spaniels
Cockapoos are now one of the most popular dogs in the UK, so pet insurance for them is widely available.
In 2021 we insured more than 16,000 Cockapoos with an average premium of £358.51. That means they cost considerably less to insure than the average pet insurance cost for all dog breeds of £474.77.
One thing you do need to be aware of is how you choose their breed. If your Cockapoo is bred from a Cocker Spaniel and a Poodle, you’ll usually insure them as a crossbreed and state the breed they look most like.
But if they’re an ‘F2’ bred from two Cockapoos most insurers will now list ‘Cockapoo’ in their list of pedigree breeds and you should choose that instead.
Cockapoos are a fairly hardy crossbreed, but the average claim we paid in 2021 was £411.33.
Ear infections are one of the most common health issues that affect Cockapoos with an average claim cost of £161.02.
Your Cockapoo’s big, floppy ears are to blame. Ear infections are caused by bacteria, yeast or ear mites inside the ear which cause discomfort. You may notice that something is wrong when your pup starts shaking its head or tries to scratch its ear.
Cockapoos are also known to suffer from mobility issues due to their kneecaps becoming dislocated. This condition is known as a luxating patella and lots of small breeds are affected by the condition.
It can be expensive to put right. We saw 113 cockapoo claims for luxating patella in 2021, costing an average £855.20. It can cost even more if surgery’s needed.
If you notice your Cockapoo limping or holding an unusual posture, this may be a sign of this condition.
As they can inherit traits from both Spaniels and Poodles, it is worth speaking with a breeder or your vet to understand some of the likely health conditions that may be passed down to your Cockapoo.
Are Cockapoos hypoallergenic?
Hypoallergenic simply means those dog breeds with low shedding coats which produce less dander.
Allergens from dogs and cats are found in skin cells which stick to their hair, (dander) when dogs shed their coats this produces dander which can cause problems for people with allergies.
No dog breed is 100% hypoallergenic but as a low-shedding hybrid, Cockapoos are good for people who suffer from allergies.
As a crossbreed you can expect your Cockapoo to shed hair. How much will depend on its parents and inherited genes
There’s a lot of variety when it comes to the colour and texture of Cockapoo coats. Some coats can be very curly while others are straighter but they will generally all be low-shedding in quality.
It’s the Poodle lineage that influences whether your Cockapoo is likely to be more non-shedding. A Cockapoo with greater Spaniel genes will probably shed more hair. But compared to other dog breeds Cockapoos are known to be low-shedding.
Frequently asked questions about Cockapoos
When do Cockapoos calm down?
Owners of Cockapoos will often tell you that they can be quite a handful due to their huge bundles of energy. First-time Cockapoo owners can sometimes wonder what they’ve let themselves in for.
If you adopt a Cockapoo as a puppy you will start to notice that between the ages of 12-24 months, Cockapoos will begin to calm down a bit.
Making sure your Cockapoo gets lots of mental stimulation is important in managing their energy levels. To help them calm down you could include them in any sports or activities you do like running or cycling.
Giving your Cockapoo various puzzle toys will help keep them occupied and stimulated. Puzzle toys where you can hide some dog food is a great choice. The puzzle provides them with a good challenge and a tasty treat at the end.
How do I choose a Cockapoo puppy?
Choosing a hybrid like a Cockapoo is different to picking a puppy from a purebred litter. It’s a good idea to wait at least six to seven weeks before choosing your Cockapoo puppy. Experienced and responsible Cockapoo breeders will not let you choose any puppies that are younger.
The look, size and overall temperament of Cockapoos are not as predictable or as uniform as other dog breeds and this is something to consider when thinking about this cross breed.
How big can Cockapoos get?
Pay attention to the size of the parents! If dad’s a Standard Poodle, that little bundle of fluff could grow to the size of a Labrador – or maybe even bigger.