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Cocker Spaniel vs Cockapoo: Visual Differences & Overview

Written by: Greg Iacono

Last Updated on April 30, 2024 by Dogster Team

Cocker Spaniel vs Cockapoo

Cocker Spaniel vs Cockapoo: Visual Differences & Overview

Once one of the most popular dogs in the United States, the Cocker Spaniel is still #29 on the American Kennel Club’s (AKC’s) list of most popular breeds. However, Poodles are ranked 5th thanks to their many wonderful attributes. It’s no big surprise, then, that a cross between these two outstanding dogs, the adorable Cockapoo, might just be more popular than both!

Deciding which is best for you won’t be easy because both breeds bring a lot to the table. However, the detailed info below will certainly help you determine whether a Cocker Spaniel or Cockapoo is ideal for your home.

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Visual Differences

Cocker Spaniel vs Cockapoo side by side
Image Credit: (L) Serova_Ekaterina, Shutterstock | (R) MT.PHOTOSTOCK, Shutterstock

At a Glance

Cocker Spaniel
  • Average height (adult): 14.5–5 inches
  • Average weight (adult): 20–30 pounds
  • Lifespan: 10–14 years
  • Exercise: 1+ hours a day
  • Grooming needs: Moderate to high
  • Family-friendly: Mostly
  • Other pet-friendly: Yes
  • Trainability: Energetic, adaptable, eager but slightly stubborn
  • Average height (adult): 10–18 inches
  • Average weight (adult): 15–22 pounds
  • Lifespan: 12–15 years
  • Exercise: 1+ hours a day
  • Grooming needs: High
  • Family-friendly: Yes
  • Other pet-friendly: Yes
  • Trainability: Intelligent but must be well-trained

Cocker Spaniel Overview

cocker spaniel dog walking on grass
Image Credit: Lenkadan, Shutterstock


The Cocker Spaniel has a giant-sized personality and is one of the happiest, most exuberant dogs you’ll meet. They are the ultimate people pleasers and love nothing more than to spend their days following their owners around. They also love to play and romp but also enjoy learning new tricks and performing them for their favorite humans.

Cocker Spaniels are also a very sensitive breed and respond better to positive than negative reinforcement when training.


Cocker Spaniels are active dogs that need a lot of physical and mental activity to stay happy and healthy. These are dogs best owned by young, active families who like to get out and walk, run, hike, play in the yard, etc. The average Cocker Spaniel needs around an hour or more of daily exercise to stay healthy and mentally stimulated.


Cocker Spaniels are a highly intelligent breed that’s relatively easy to train. Cockers have been trained for hundreds of years to be hunting dogs and are quite adept at learning new commands and tricks. They do well with positive reinforcement, as noted earlier, and are food-motivated which makes treat training a good choice.

Health & Care ❤️

You must seek out a reputable and caring breeder when adopting a Cocker Spaniel. That way, the chance you adopt one that’s in excellent health will be much higher. The good news is that Cockers are a relatively healthy dog breed. Like most, though, they face several health issues, including progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) and patellar luxation.

Due to the Cocker’s long, luxurious ears, cleaning them regularly is essential.

Cocker Spaniel giving paw training
Image Credit: O_Lypa, Shutterstock

Grooming ✂️

Dog groomers recommend brushing a Cocker Spaniel three to four times a week, which is quite a bit more than some breeds. They don’t require as much grooming as the Cockapoo, but because of their long, luxurious hair, brushing is essential to prevent matting and tangling. A fine, medium-spaced metal dog brush, in combination with a gentle slicker brush, will help your Cocker’s coat to stay beautiful.

It’s a good idea to let your veterinarian show you how to clean your pet’s ears, also. Cocker Spaniels will also need to visit the groomer every 6 weeks for a trim.

Suitable For:

Although the Cocker Spaniel will do well in a large household with many family members, it will thrive in an apartment setting with a single owner with lots of time to focus on their new puppy. However, the dog will need to exercise at a nearby green space to stay healthy. Remember, these dogs need a lot of activity, both mentally and physically, to stay healthy.

Those with limited mobility or time issues will probably be better off with a different breed.

  • Highly adaptive
  • Bark infrequently
  • Get along well with kids
  • Healthy
  • Extremely intelligent and easy to train
  • Can be aggressive
  • Doesn’t tolerate very small children well
  • Needs a significant amount of exercise
  • Needs frequent brushing

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Cockapoo Overview


The Cockapoo is an adorable designer breed with affection, intelligence, and a sweet nature inherited from the Cocker Spaniel and Poodle. These friendly dogs are very enthusiastic and happy to please their owners. Some are quite silly and enjoy being the center of attention in their family.

A Cockapoo is everyone’s friend, which, unfortunately, makes them a substandard watchdog. However, Cockapoos make fantastic pets and wonderful companions, especially for seniors and singles.

Black Cockapoo on the field
Image Credit: Kimberley Rennie, Shutterstock


Although they certainly aren’t couch potatoes, Cockapoos don’t need excessive activity to stay healthy and happy. Trainers recommend taking a Cockapoo for two walks a day and engaging in play sessions. One interesting fact to note is that veterinarians recommend engaging with your Cockapoo for short periods several times a day. They stay more interested that way.


While training is essential for all dogs, the Cockapoo also needs socialization with other people, pets, and surroundings. The average Cockapoo is highly intelligent and can learn new commands and tricks easily. What you do want to teach it, however, is how to handle being alone because Cockapoos tend to suffer from separation anxiety.

Health & Care ❤️

According to experts, the Cockapoo is a healthy, hardy dog and, when bred by a trustworthy breeder, should live a long, healthy life. Like most canines, the Cockapoo suffers from several health issues, including hip dysplasia, cataracts, liver disease, and patellar luxation.

Asian woman owner grooming hair dryer to dry Cockapoo dog hair
Image Credit: MT.PHOTOSTOCK, Shutterstock

Grooming ✂️

You may need to take a Cockapoo to the groomer more frequently than a Cocker Spaniel. Unlike their Poodle parent, Cockapoos don’t require as much trimming but do need to be brushed very often. Also, cleaning their ears at least once a week is recommended if you have a Cockapoo with floppy ears.

If you’re lucky, your Cockapoo puppy will also be close to hypoallergenic thanks to its Poodle heritage.

Suitable For:

If you’re looking for a companion dog, few are as lovable, fun, and affectionate as the Cockapoo. These dogs can adapt to almost any living situation, including apartment living. Because they’re so sweet and relatively small, singles and seniors can easily handle a Cockapoo.

If you have a large family, it’s best that your children are older so that, when engaging with your pet, they don’t accidentally injure it.

  • Friendly with everyone
  • Don’t bark often
  • Don’t shed a lot
  • Come in several sizes
  • Fun, energetic dogs
  • Love to snuggle
  • Some can be slightly aggressive
  • Need lots of socialization
  • Tend to suffer from separation anxiety

Tips for Choosing a Breeder

While the Cocker Spaniel is a purebred dog breed and recognized by the AKC, the Cockapoo is not, at least not yet. That fact notwithstanding, the best place to adopt either one of these fine canines is from a breeder, as finding either one at a shelter will be difficult.

That makes locating a reputable, compassionate, and caring breeder essential. That way, the puppy you adopt will become a happy, healthy adult dog. Below are a few tips to follow when searching for a breeder of Cocker Spaniels or Cockapoos.

1. Check Online Reviews

Nowadays, there are many online review sites available where you can see what others have said about a particular breeder. If you see sterling reviews and five stars, that’s likely a good sign.

2. Meet the Breeder in Person

If you find a breeder who lives close enough, going to their facility and meeting them in person is a must. You will get a better idea of what kind of person they are and an opportunity to see their breeding facility and determine if they’re compassionate and caring.

If you visit a breeder, and they won’t let you see what’s going on “behind the scenes” at their breeding facility, keep searching.

3. Ask to See Your Puppy’s Papers

Any breeder who’s breeding dogs compassionately can give you papers showing their lineage, bloodlines, health reports, and more. Even if you don’t want to show your Cocker Spaniel or Cockapoo, seeing their papers will help determine if they have strong bloodlines.

4. Ask Questions!

Whichever breed you choose, you’ll be getting a pet that will be with you for the next decade at least. For that reason, you must ask as many questions as possible.

5. Take Your Time and Be Patient

Adopting a new dog takes time, patience, and diligence unless you go to a shelter and find an adult ready to go. Even if you find a reputable breeder, they might not have a puppy available immediately. Be patient, and in time, that patience will be rewarded.

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Which Breed Is Right for You?

Choosing between a Cockapoo and a Cocker Spaniel is admittedly a difficult task. These fine breeds are affectionate and energetic and get along very well with their human families. Both are also loyal, medium-sized dogs that are social and intelligent. Lastly, the Cockapoo and Cocker Spaniel need a relatively high amount of mental and physical stimulation to stay healthy and happy.

However, it must be noted that the Cockapoo is likely the sweeter of the two dogs. Cocker Spaniels often have problems with territoriality and can be standoffish with strangers. Conversely, the Cockapoo will make friends with practically anyone and, if socialized well, will gladly share its living space.

Whichever of these two beautiful breeds you choose, if you socialize and train them well and raise them with tender loving care, the result will be a lovely, well-behaved pet and affectionate companion.

See Also:

Featured Image Credit: (T) Anima Pictura, Shutterstock | (B) MT.PHOTOSTOCK, Shutterstock

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