A Cockapoo may have a name that sounds like a large, white, tropical bird, but in reality, he is an incredibly popular hybrid-breed dog with a lush coat. His signature fleece-like curls come from his genetic lines: half Cocker Spaniel and half Poodle. This pairing produces a dog that stands approximately 15” at the shoulder (just below knee height) with the best traits of two equally-popular canine breeds. Many potential pet parents are drawn to this friendly breed because of their hypoallergenic qualities, which is a result of their Poodle heritage.
Are Cockapoos Good for Allergies?
To understand why some dogs trigger allergic reactions while others rarely do, some experts point to the quality of the canine coat. In many dogs, the individual hair fibers hang down or grow out straight, which in turn puts weight on the follicle that holds it in the skin. Shedding is the natural process of losing these hairs to make room for new growth, much the way humans lose and eventually regrow long strands of hair when they use a hairbrush. The trouble is that the loss of the strands in dogs brings skin dander along with them – the real allergy-causing culprit, not fur.
Because a Cockapoo typically shares at least some of the Poodle’s fleece-like coat structure, his individual hairs grow in circular or intertwined patterns. These hairs tend to “lean on” each other and lack the weight and pull found in long, straight-hair breeds. That means they don’t experience the same pulling force that causes straight-coated breeds to shed so much, and less shedding means less dander. That’s why Cockapoos – and most Poodle-derived hybrids in general – are routinely highlighted as “allergy-friendly” dogs.
Grooming Tips For Cockapoos
Because the Cockapoo is a hybrid breed, there’s no predictable coat pattern from puppy to puppy. Some breeders attempt to standardize the way a Cockapoo litter looks by breeding two Cockapoos together (rather than a Cocker Spaniel and Poodle), but even then genetics can be fickle. It’s reasonably safe to assume a puppy of the breed will have some curl or “fluff” to his coat – and that means he’ll need to be brushed regularly. Because the individual curly hairs of his coat lock together, they need to be manually removed to prevent canine fur matting and an overall ragged look.
Thankfully, grooming is a great time for pet parents and dogs to bond; he’ll love the extra attention and will look fantastic once he’s finished. That isn’t to say a professional groomer can’t lend a hand, of course: experts recommend a professional trim every few months, potentially more often in a seasonal shedding event. Special care should be taken to trim the hair around his mouth and eyes, as well as his private areas, to keep his hygiene easy to manage.
What Is A Cockapoo “Blow Coat”?
Named for the fur that “blows off,” this happens during the change of seasons, and owners will notice them beginning with the first dramatic weather shifts to warmer temperatures. Like most mammals, a Cockapoo will shed more actively as he attempts to cool off: this is a hereditary holdover from the Cocker Spaniel, which has a dense, shed-heavy undercoat for temperature regulation. A Cockapoo will have minimal to obvious blow coat depending on what traits he inherited from his parents: the more straight or gently-waved his coat is, the more likely he’ll have a noticeable seasonal shed. The shedding can be minimized or even mostly eliminated with a visit to a groomer or some patience with a “slicker” style grooming brush, which effectively removes the shed undercoat before it can fall.
Do Cockapoos Get Fur Mats?
Because the fur quality of a Cocker Spaniel and a Poodle is so varied, sometimes fur mats can form on a Cockapoo that isn’t brushed at least a few times weekly. If painful mats form in his fur that can’t be brushed out, the next step is carefully using a pair of safety scissors to cut the mat out.
If this doesn’t work or a pet parent is concerned about slipping and accidentally hurting their dog, a professional groomer can use a buzzing tool to remove mats and give an all-over close cut.
Is A Cockapoo Right For You?
A Cockapoo is an excellent canine companion for hopeful dog parents in search of a low-shedding breed. Lively, cuddly, and beautiful, he’s a hybrid pup that brings together the best of two breeds in an intelligent, loving pet. As long as his owner(s) commit to regular brushing and grooming, his fur will stay manageable and what little dander he creates won’t irritate allergies.
1) “Cockapoo.” Dogtime.com, (no publish date), https://dogtime.com/dog-breeds/cockapoo#/slide/1. Accessed October 16, 2019.
2) “Cockapoo.” Vet Street, (no publish date), http://www.vetstreet.com/dogs/cockapoo. Accessed October 16, 2019.
3) “Is a Cockapoo Right for Your Home?” CertaPet, July 10, 2019, https://www.certapet.com/cockapoo-guide/. Accessed October 16, 2019.
4) Cutts, Shannon. “Cockapoo – A Complete Guide TO The Cocker Spaniel Poodle Mix.” The Happy Puppy Site, April 16, 2019, https://thehappypuppysite.com/cockapoo/. Accessed October 16, 2019.
5) Cutts, Shannon. “Cockapoo Grooming: What’s the Best Way to Care for Your Dog?” The Happy Puppy Site, January 12, 2019, https://thehappypuppysite.com/cockapoo-grooming/. Accessed October 16, 2019.