The First Designer Breed: Cockapoo Dogs

Pet Type


April 29, 2020

When it comes to dog appearances, the possibilities are quite literally endless. There are dogs that range from being barely five pounds to dogs that weigh over 250 pounds. There are dogs that can fit into a teacup to dogs that are taller than most people when standing on their hind legs.

Dogs come in just about all natural fur colors and patterns, and they come in a number of different shapes as well. No matter what kind of dog you are looking for, you can rest assured knowing that there is going to be a dog that fits your wants.

With that being said, there are some people who want a very specific type of dog, often wanting to cross the characteristics of one purebred dog with another. This is where mixed breeds come into play. These breeds are slightly different than mutt dogs, as they are often born from two specifically chosen purebred parents. These designer dogs, as they are known as, are bred for the purpose of crossing the characteristics of two breeds that people appreciate. One of the first examples, and often cited as the first designer breeds, is the cockapoo.

What Is the History of the Cockapoo?

While most designer breeds are only a decade or two old, the cockapoo is a breed that has been around for over half a century, making it one of the oldest designer breeds around, if not the oldest already. This is important to note, as there will be a more solid background on temperament, behaviors, and most importantly, health.

The cockapoo, a mixture of the poodle and the cocker spaniel, was popularized in the 1960s. It is believed by some people that the first occurrence of this breed was accidental, but people loved the puppies so much that it became intentional from then on. In fact, it has been around long enough that there are plenty of people out there who are working on getting the cockapoo recognized as an established breed.

To establish these breed standards, the Cockapoo Club of America was formed in 1999. This club works to promote the process of creating purebred cockapoos, working to create the perfect breed of two dogs. Other breeding enthusiasts didn’t appreciate the idea of a multi-generational breeding process, so the American Cockapoo Club was formed in 2004. This club focuses more on creating first-generation cockapoos with their own breed standards. The most prominent of which is that their heritage can be traced back to certified purebred parents of both the cocker spaniel and the poodle.

With as much effort that has gone into making the cockapoo a registered purebred, its popularity has surged throughout the years, making it one of the most famous designer dog breeds around. You can be confident that, as long as you are working with a responsible breeder, that you will be able to adopt a cockapoo puppy in good health.

What Does the Cockapoo Look Like?

The cockapoo’s appearance takes qualities from both the cocker spaniel and the poodle. The poodle, as with many other mixed breed dogs involving the poodle, adds the element of curled fur to the dog. Depending on the parent poodle, the cockapoo’s fur can range from slightly wavy to completely curled. The curlier the fur is, the more maintenance it will need. The fur can come in just about any natural dog fur color, and it can even come in a variety of patterns and markings depending on the parent dogs.

Its stature is broader than the average poodle’s, resembling the cocker spaniel more. Its size varies wildly, as some people breed standard-sized parents and other people focus on miniature and toy-sized parents. Its weight, for example, can be anywhere from 6 to 30 pounds. The height can be anywhere from five or six inches to 14 or 15 inches tall, also depending on the parent breeds’ heights.

How Does the Cockapoo Behave?

These dogs are intelligent and outgoing, combining the personalities of both the poodle and the cocker spaniel. This means that they will be eager and able to learn a variety of commands and tricks, and they will enjoy mentally stimulating toys and games.

They thrive off attention, often coming over to you and trying to get your attention if they feel as if you are not giving enough of it. They are companion dogs at their core, forming a bond with you as the owner that will last for your dog’s lifetime. They enjoy playing with their owners and are generally outgoing with strangers and other animals.

As long as a young child knows how to properly interact and play with dogs, the cockapoo can easily get along with younger children as well. This makes them an excellent addition to just about any and every family that could use a fun-loving companion. The best way to pass the time with these dogs is to invest in mind-stimulating games and activities, as this will keep your dog both active and entertained.

How Do You Care for Cockapoos?

Caring for the cockapoo is relatively easy, even for first-time dog owners. They are considerably adaptable when it comes to their energy levels. If you lead a more sedentary life, or if you don’t always have the time to take your dog out on long walks, the cockapoo can adapt to this to some extent. This means that, as long as they get at least one decent walk in and some playtime with you, then they will generally be happy.

With that being said, if you want to give this dog a more active lifestyle, they are athletic enough to participate in competitive dog sports. This adaptability is what makes this dog such a good choice for just about all families.

Because of the variation in fur due to the poodle’s genetic influence, it is hard to give a solid answer on how much grooming the dog requires. It depends almost entirely on just how curly the fur is. If the fur is almost completely straight, then your dog will only need grooming two to three times a week.

However, if the fur is curled, you will absolutely need to brush it daily and give it regular baths. If you have the money, you can always consider sending your dog to a groomer regularly and just bathing the dog between visits, but this can be money-consuming. You will also need to clip the dog’s fur regularly if you want to maintain its appearance, although most people do leave this to the experts.

How Is the Cockapoo’s Health?

When all is said and done, these dogs tend to be relatively healthy. With mixed dog breeds, it is difficult to determine just how healthy they can be. This is because they can inherit all of the genetic issues from both sides of the family, giving the dog double the chances of developing something problematic.

You will need to speak to the dog breeder about the puppy’s parents to determine what your dog is at risk for. If a breeder does not want to offer this information, then stay away from that breeder. Reliable breeders should always be willing to talk about what their puppies are at risk for developing. These dogs have an average life expectancy of 12 to 18 years.