Hybrid Breeds
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Cockapoo: Get to Know a Hybrid Dog Breed

These boisterous, sweet bundles of fur are the first official hybrid breed. Silly name, sweet dog.

 |  Jun 14th 2012  |   14 Contributions


A Cockapoo is a cross between a Cocker Spaniel and a Miniature Poodle or Toy Poodle. And whoever christened this particular mutt mix with the name "Cockapoo" was just plain mean -- how ridiculous does that sound? But then again, the alternative was probably "Pooker" and that doesn't sound right either.

Every Thursday we'll be profiling popular mix-up pups (also see: Puggle and Labradoodle) and here's what we've dug up on the Cockapoo:

What Cockapoo Dogs Are Like to Live With

Cockapoos tend to inherit the intelligence of the Poodle and the cheerfulness of the Cocker Spaniel. They are jovial companions who are good with children, and friends to everyone. They are usually easy to train but it depends on the characteristics they’ve inherited. A Cockapoo who leans more toward his Cocker parent may be a bit harder to train.

You don't need to spend much time grooming a Cockapoo. They have low-shedding coats, which can be beneficial to allergy sufferers. To take advantage of this, they need to be groomed every month or two.

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Things You Should Know About the Cockapoo

Because the Cockapoo is so people-oriented, these dogs may suffer from separation anxiety. Spending quality time playing with and walking your pup will help with this, as will training. Cockapoos should never be left outside or alone for long periods because they are companion dogs. Most Poodle crosses, including the Cockapoo, are more active than you might expect. Moderate playing and exercising are definitely required. 

Cockapoos tend to be healthy dogs. They often benefit from “hybrid vigor,” which occurs when new blood is bred into a group -- essentially the opposite of in-breeding. That said, they can suffer from patellar luxation, where the kneecap slides in and out; several eye disorders, including cataracts (prevalent in Cockers); and skin allergies.

Cockapoo History: Fast Facts

+ Cockapoos showed up in the U.S. in the 1960s and maybe even a decade earlier. They are the oldest known planned hybrid, which gives breeders the advantage of many years of trial and error. But it also means that there are more disreputable breeders to look out for. Cockapoos can be tough to find to rescue because they have one of the lowest surrender rates.

+ One of its ancestors, the Cocker Spaniel, originated in Britain. It was originally bred to hunt woodcock, hence the name. A Cockapoo is usually the result of an American Cocker Spaniel cross, but English Cocker Spaniel crosses are sometimes seen.

+ The Cockapoo’s other ancestor, the Poodle, was bred to retrieve in the water. The Miniature Poodle was also bred for hunting. The Toy Poodle was developed in Britain in the 19th century as a “sleeve dog,” who rode in ladies' sleeves. 

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The Look of the Cockapoo

The Cockapoo is usually a cross between a Cocker Spaniel and a Miniature Poodle or a Toy Poodle. Occasionally, a Standard Poodle is bred, resulting in a Maxi Cockapoo. Depending on its genes, the Cockapoo may look more like a Cocker or more like a Poodle. In general, they have slightly curly coats in tan, cream, or a mix of white and brown, but can also be seen in red, black, and even silver. 

Cockapoos can look a bit like miniature Golden Retrievers with a perm. They are usually in proportion, with a strong and agile gait. Their heads are rounded and their snouts are well-defined. A Cockapoo’s tail may be docked, or left as a feathery extension.

Whether cream or silver, docked or not, a Cockapoo is likely to be a most jovial companion who, with moderate training and exercise, makes a great family pet.

Quick Facts About Cockapoos

+ Cockapoos weigh 12 to 24 pounds and stand 10 to 15 inches tall. 

+ They are long-lived, with an average lifespan of 13 to 15 years and sometimes as long as 20 years.

+ Ideal human companions include families who want a happy dog, those who have time to bond with their pet, moderate exercisers, and allergy sufferers.

+ Trademark traits include their happy-go-lucky demeanor; that soft, low-shedding coat; and being known as the first planned “designer dog” (hybrid).

+ Has the kitschy alternative name of Spoodle.

Dogster readers: Do you have a Cockapoo in your life? 

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