Dog Breed Profile: Health and Fitness Tips for Cockapoo
Known as a Cock-a-poo or Cocker Poodle, the dog breed is a cross between a Cocker Spaniel and a Poodle and is one of the oldest hybrid dog breeds.
First bred in the United States in the 1950s, it’s unclear whether Cockapoos were a beautiful accident or bred on purpose.
Good-natured and intelligent, Cockapoos are known for having a combination of the best qualities of a Cocker Spaniel and a Poodle. The adorable, outgoing personality of the Cocker Spaniel and the low shedding qualities of the Poodle.
Highly adaptable dogs, they are easily trained and good with children, which is why they are very popular with families. Affectionate and very accepting of everyone, Cockapoos thrive on human attention and will offer a lifetime of loving companionship.
Size & Colour
As a cross breed, their size and colour will differ from pure breeds due to their parents being from two different breeds. They can come in all sorts of colours and sizes which all depends on their ancestors. No Cockapoo is the same, but generally they can fall in one of the four size categories below.
The Teacup Toy - Weights less than 6 pounds and less than 10 inches tall.
The Toy Cockapoo - Weights under 12 pounds with a sturdier build and can reach 10 inches in height.
The Miniature Cockapoo - Weighs 13 to 18 pounds and can range between 11 and 14 inches high.
The Standard or Maxi Cockapoo - Weighs more than 19 pounds and be at least 15 inches in height.
In terms of their colour, they also have a wide range which all depends on the balance between the two breeds. They can be a solid colour of a mix of any of the colours stated below;
- Black with spots (referred to as Tuxedo)
- Brown of varying shades
- Sable (when grey, tan, gold or silver hairs are tipped with black)
- Roan (when a dark colour is flecked with lighter colours)
- Merle (when a dark colour is mixed with lighter patches, giving a mottled effect)
- Beige (with brown and grey markings)
The coat type of a Cockapoo will also vary in characteristics which are determined by the Poodle and the Cocker Spaniel. All Cockapoos however have a long single layer coat that moults twice a year. There are three possible coat types - a tight curly coat that resembles the Poodle, a loose wavy coat and a straighter coat that resembles the Cocker Spaniel.
Very popular with allergy sufferers, Cockapoos are known for being low shedding dogs, especially if their coat is closer to the poodle. However, their coats grow very quickly which means they need to visit the dog groomer a couple of times a year to keep their coat comfortable and to allow visibility around their eyes.
Although they are considered as hypoallergenic dogs, Cockapoos have high grooming needs. Regular grooming and brushing is required for the Cockapoo not only because of their fast-growing coat but it’s the only way to prevent tangles and matts from forming, especially for Cockapoos who have tighter curls.
Cockapoos differ from other breeds because if their coat is brushed dry, their fur will frizz from damaged hair shafts. The best technique for brushing this breed is to firstly brush your fingers through their fur to remove any dead or loose hair. Then you should mist your dog’s coat with a detangling spray and while wet, brushing from root to tip from the paws up.
Prone to ear infections because of their floppy ears, regular ear checks should also take place when grooming your pet to check for any signs of infection.
When it comes to bathing, it all depends on the lifestyle of your Cockapoo. Generally speaking once every two to three months would be sufficient to keep your pet happy and healthy. However if your Cockapoo spends a lot of time outdoors then more frequently would be beneficial - one every one or two months and the same goes for if they are primarily inside the house - once every four to six months.
Always bear in mind that if you bathe your pet too frequently, this will cause their skin to dry out and strip away essential oils that keeps their coat healthy. If you notice that their skin is dry, you are bathing too often.
Intelligent, playful breeds who have a lot of energy, adult Cockapoos need a moderate amount of exercise between 40 to 60 minutes a day outside, consisting of a shorter walk in the morning and a longer, more interesting one in the evening.
Very engaging with canine sport, Cockapoos love outdoor activities like obedience trials, agility exercises and frisbee games - check out our Dog Toys that would be great for this breed. Cockapoo puppies should never be over exercised because it will cause problems for their growing joints and bones which will cause more problems in the future.
Whilst outdoor daily walks and activities are a must, mental stimulation should not be avoided as Cockapoos are very smart breeds. Puzzle games are a great way to stimulate your dog’s mind and prevent boredom. Lickimats, Nina Ottosson Puzzle Games and Kongs are excellent mental stimulation toys that keep your dogs occupied and entertained.
Cockapoos should also have the freedom of a garden to roam around to burn off steam. However, make sure there are no weaknesses or holes in your fences because their intelligent brains will find a way to escape!
The lifespan of a Cockapoo averages between 12 to 15 years and like with all breeds, they are prone to certain health conditions. Ear infections are very common with this breed because of their floppy ears that can trap bacteria in. Daily checks and gentle cleaning should take place when grooming, and check for discharge or a bad odor.
Unfortunately, Cockapoos can also have Hip Dysplasia, which is an inherited condition where the thigh bone doesn't fit snugly into the hip joint. It leaves the joint unstable and prone to injury or arthritis in later years.
Patellar Luxation which, put simply, is a dislocated kneecap is commonly seen in small dogs like Cockapoos. Treatment depends on the severity of the condition and surgery may be likely in some and other dogs can lead relatively normal lives even with the condition.
Would You Suit a Cockapoo?
A very adaptable breed, they can live in an apartment or a house but should never live outdoors. A social breed who thrive on family atmosphere and company, they are companion dogs that should never be left alone for long periods of time. They can suffer from separation anxiety which can lead to destructive behaviour and excessive barking.
So if you are out of the house most days and you’re unable to bring your dog with you, maybe a Cockapoo is not the right breed for you. They are very smart, loving breeds who are great with children and if properly trained, walked and looked after, they will suit most families as long as you take the time to give them the attention they need.
Although low shedding, their long, curly coat needs a lot of maintenance and daily grooming. They are prone to tangles and knots which can eventually become hard mats if not taken care of. This is why daily grooming of a Cockapoo is so important.
Do you think you’ll suit a Cockapoo? As always, make sure you do your research before getting a pet to discover if they will suit your exercise requirements and lifestyle so they can be properly looked after.
Want to know more about dog breeds? Check out our previous breed profile on the Shih Tzu. Did you know ‘Shih Tzu’ means little lion in Mandarin?