Cockapoo Breed Guide
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Cockapoo Breed Info & Background
Cockapoo’s are a hybrid dog breed resulting from a cross between a Cocker Spaniel and Poodle. Although the Cockapoo breed is not recognized by the AKC, they have become a very popular dog in a relatively short period of time. While the precise origins of the Cockapoo breed are unknown, they have become increasingly common since the 1960’s. Cherished for their even temperament, low shedding hair, and small size, Cockapoo’s pack a lot of personality and style into a small package.
Cockapoos have been bred since the 1960’s with an eye towards creating a breed that combines the best characteristics and personality traits of both the Poodle and Cocker Spaniel. From Poodles, Cockapoo breeders hoped to bring its curly, hypo-allergenic, and low-maintenance coat. Additionally, they wanted to draw from the Poodle’s innate intelligence and demeanor. From the Cocker Spaniel side, breeders hoped to bring the Spaniel’s love of people and family, as well as their small, sturdy stature, and easy-going temperament.
Today’s Cockapoos may be first-generation, being direct descendants of a Cocker Spaniel and Poodle, or both parents may be Cockapoo’s. Depending on the height of the Cockapoo, it may be considered a teacup variety, measuring about 10” tall or less, up to a standard Cockapoo, measuring 15” tall or more. Being a hybrid breed, Cockapoos can also have coats that encompass the broad range of coat colors of both Cocker Spaniels and Poodles, resulting in a multitude of beautiful combinations.
Cockapoo Temperament & Personality
Cockapoos have generally inherited the Cocker Spaniel’s easygoing and mild-mannered temperament. As such, Cockapoos are known as affectionate family dogs that love their owner or family. They are considered very social animals and do well with others of both the two and four-legged variety. Owners describe their Cockapoos as being extremely intelligent with a friendly and cheerful personality. However, the high intelligence inherited from their Poodle lineage has both advantages and disadvantages. On the one hand, Cockapoos take to training well and are quick learners and eager to please their owner. On the other hand, Cockapoos that are not given the attention they need and become bored have been known to exhibit destructive behavior. Nonetheless, Cockapoos are great family dogs and are considered excellent companions for those living in apartments or condos, or those that live in an urban environment.
Training a Cockapoo
Cockapoos have been regarded as a very easy dog to train. Their high intelligence and desire to please combine to make a breed that takes to new training quickly, and retains that training well. Cockapoo owners are rewarded for putting in the effort to train effectively and thoroughly. Cockapoo owners need to ensure that their training is started at an early age and is followed through on to ensure that any Cockapoo behavior problems don’t present through adolescence. Cockapoos are also sensitive to their owner’s moods, so scolding or negative feedback can greatly affect your little pup’s mood. Cockapoo’s excel at agility training or solving puzzles, so ensuring that your training regimen includes these activities is recommended for both a healthy and happy companion.
Exercise Requirements for a Cockapoo
Cockapoo’s vary in size, so their exercise recommendations should be adjusted accordingly. Cockapoos are fairly high energy dogs, so meeting their needs for exercise and stimulation is an important aspect of having a happy, well-adjusted companion with good behavior. As a general rule, your Cockapoo will require at least a 20-minute walk a day at a minimum. For teacup varieties, this requirement may be flexible, as many owners report that a short walk around the block suffices to keep them happy. For larger standard Cockapoo’s, you will want to consider a longer walk or playtime during weekdays, and a few extended sessions on the weekends. Remember to take into account the size of your Cockapoo and adjust their exercise regimen to fit their needs and energy levels.
Because they are a hybrid breed, a Cockapoo lifespan is much longer than purebreds. The average Cockapoo life expectancy ranges anywhere from 13 to 16 years, with some living as long as 20 years.
Breed Popularity of a Cockapoo
Cockapoos have become increasingly popular within the last two decades. This is due in part to their pleasant demeanor and trainability, which make them a great breed for first time owners or families. Their popularity has seen a marked increase in recent years due to their appearance in public with celebrities toting the teacup variety.
Cockapoo Feeding Requirements
Ensuring your Cockapoo is as healthy and happy as possible will require paying some attention to their diet. Cockapoo owners are encouraged to seek out a high-protein food source that uses high-quality ingredients. Avoid grain based fillers such as corn, wheat, and soy because these ingredients may cause Cockapoo allergies. For smaller teacup and mini varieties of Cockapoo weighing less than 12lbs, ½ cup to ¾ cup of dried food split into two meals should be sufficient. For larger varieties weighing 25lbs or less, ¾ cup to 1 cup of food split into two even meals should be sufficient. Determining the right amount of food will depend on how active your Cockapoo is, if they are overweight and if the food you are feeding them has a high amount of fillers in it. Be sure not to overfeed your Cockapoo to avoid bloat and gastric torsion.
How to Groom a Cockapoo
Like all breeds, Cockapoo’s require regular brushing and care to ensure they are happy and healthy. Cockapoo’s hair sheds very little and produces much less dander than other breeds. It is recommended to begin brushing your Cockapoo as a puppy to get them used to the process. Many owners have their Cockapoo’s groomed, to both maintain a healthy coat and also to take advantage of the numerous cute cuts that Cockapoo’s are known for. Besides caring for their coat, you should ensure optimal Cockapoo health by regularly checking and cleaning their eyes and ears, and doing a regular nail trim.
Are Cockapoos Good with Children?
Cockapoos are great with kids! They are renowned as excellent companions for kids. They have the energy levels to keep up with even the most active children, and yet they also have the patience necessary to make them the perfect family dogs.
Cockapoo Health Issues
The positive benefit of choosing a hybrid breed such as Cockapoos is that they generally have fewer health issues and longer lifespans than purebreds. However, Cockapoo’s can be susceptible to some potentially serious health problems that are important to pay attention for if you are an owner.
Patella Luxation: Patella luxation is a condition that primarily affects miniature and teacup breeds. Because both parental lineages of the Cockapoo (the Poodle and Cocker Spaniel) are affected by this condition, it is a common ailment in the Cockapoo breed. Patella luxation occurs when the kneecap (patella) dislocates from its normal position. The most common sign of this occurring is sudden lameness in one limb, usually occurring during activity or exercise.
Hip Dysplasia: Hip dysplasia is not as common in Cockapoo’s as larger breeds, but it can still affect a minority of them. Hip dysplasia is an extremely painful condition characterized by a loose connection where the femur sits in the pelvic girdle. This loose connection causes cartilage between the bones to wear unevenly, resulting in a buildup of scar tissue. Once your dog gets older, the scar tissue and damage in the hip connection causes painful arthritis and lameness. You can determine if your dog has hip dysplasia at a young age by having your veterinarian conduct a physical exam of their hips.
Progressive Retinal Atrophy: Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) is a Cockapoo eye problem where the photoreceptor cells in your dog’s eyes deteriorate over time. At first, the signs of PRA are fairly minor. Typically, dogs suffering from PRA will have difficulty distinguishing objects in dim light. However, as the disease progresses their ability to see will continue to be restricted, eventually resulting in total loss of vision. When acquiring your Cockapoo, inquire with the breeder about whether either parent lineages suffer from PRA, as it is an inherited disease.
Glaucoma: Glaucoma is a disease where there is an increase in fluid pressure in your dog’s eyes. This pressure builds up over time due to inadequate drainage, eventually affecting your animal’s vision. Because both parent lineages of the Cockapoo are predisposed towards developing glaucoma, it is important to be mindful of the signs and symptoms in order to quickly address the condition. Be aware if your Cockapoo exhibits signs of eye pain, characterized by rubbing at their eye or shying away when you touch one side of their face. Watery discharge from the eyes can also be an indication of glaucoma. Lastly, if you notice physical swelling of the eye, be sure to consult your veterinarian immediately.
Cataracts: Cataracts are a condition where the lens of the eye becomes cloudy and occluded. As this condition progresses, it can lead to diminished and even complete loss of vision. Cataracts can appear at any age, but most often appear in aging dogs. Cataracts are most often linked to heredity, so it is important to inquire with your breeder whether the parents have a history of cataracts. Cocker Spaniels are predisposed towards cataracts, so it is important to pay attention to the appearance of your dog’s eyes as a Cockapoo owner.
Ear Infections: Cockapoos are predisposed towards ear infections, so it is important as a Cockapoo owner to make checking and cleaning of the ears a regular part of your dog’s grooming regimen. Cockapoo’s fluffy, long ears inhibit the flow of air around the ear, allowing yeast or bacteria to build up. Common signs of an ear infection are a brown discharge accumulating near the ear, or a distinct and unpleasant smell emanating from your dog’s ear. Other things to look out for are if your Cockapoo shy’s away when you are near their ear, indicating pain, or if you notice them shaking their head often or repeatedly scratching at one ear. Ear infections are most often treated with medication, so it is important to catch them early and follow through on a treatment plan.