Cockapoo: The First of the "Designer" Dogs

If you think the Cockapoo may sound familiar, that's because it is considered to be the first of the "designer dogs."

Let's "dig" into this adorable hybrid called the Cockapoo.

cockapoo looking up at the camera

Cockapoo History

Even though the pairing of a Cocker Spaniel with a Poodle may have been accidental, it was a sweet surprise. The Cockapoo made its debut in the 1960s and has been a family favorite ever since, so much so, that they even have their own club.

The Cockapoo Club of America was formed in 1999. Its main ideals were to bring this lovable crossbreed into purebred status. To do this, they encouraged breeders to mate Cockapoos with other Cockapoos - rather than Cocker Spaniel to Poodle - to create the desired qualities.


In 2004, the American Cockapoo Club was formed with members that want to keep the lineage "pure" by not mixing generations;

"to see genuine Cockapoos bred with lines that can be traced back to their originating roots of AKC/CKC Cocker Spaniels and AKC/CKC Poodles." {excerpt link}.

What Does a Cockapoo Look Like?

The Cockapoo has received the best qualities of both the Cocker Spaniel and the Poodle. In the looks department, this little cutie sports a coat of fluffy waves and soft curls with floppy ears, dark eyes and a distinctive muzzle and black nose.

Due to its Poodle lineage, it is also available in four sizes;

  • Teacup Toy - Weighs less than six pounds and 10 inches at the shoulder.
  • Toy - 10 inches at the shoulder with a sturdier build. Can reach weights up to 12 pounds.
  • Miniature - 11 to 14 inches in height and weights of 13 to 18 pounds.
  • Maxi (Standard) - At least 15 inches at the shoulder and over 19 pounds.
young red cockapoo puppy

Cockapoo Coat

The coat of the Cockapoo will be a mix of both its parents and will also be dependant upon whether it is a first generation Cockapoo (one Spaniel parent and one Poodle parent) or a generational Cockapoo.


Ideally, the dog will have a single, long coat that can range from straight to loose curls, but not kinky. They come in all colors and color-combos seen in both the Poodle and the Cocker.

The Cockapoo is also being bred to be odorless, hypoallergenic, and low to non-shedding.

The Temperament of the Cockapoo

Not only is the Cockapoo adorable, its happy-go-lucky personality will melt even the coldest of hearts. This dog makes a great companion for both the young and the young-at-heart. It loves everyone it meets and will instantly want to play.

With early socialization, the Cockapoo will be an outgoing pet that loves to take walks, go for hikes, or play with his pals at the doggy park.

Want a cuddly-companion? The Cockapoo may be the one for you, as he likes nothing better than to cozy up on the sofa for some one-on-one time. The downside of having a pooch that loves its human companion is the Cockapoo can suffer from separation anxiety, so don't leave your pet alone for long periods.


Cockapoos are an intelligent dog and is relatively easy to train. Always use positive reinforcement methods for the best results.

Watch this cute compilation of the Cockapoo (just try not to want one)!

Health Concerns

The Cockapoo may be prone to the same health issues as its parents. However, while most are generally healthy, you will want to be aware of the following conditions.

  1. Eye Problems - such as cataracts that affect the lens of the eye.
  2. Slipped Stifles - a condition when the knee joint slips in and out of place. This usually occurs in the hind legs.
  3. Ear infections - because this dog has floppy ears, dirt, debris, and moisture can become trapped inside the ear canal causing infections.
  4. Hip Dysplasia - a genetic disease which affects how the thigh bone fits into the hip joint.
  5. Allergies - the three main types of allergies your Cockapoo may suffer from are contact, food, and inhalant.
  6. Liver Disease - two types of liver disease may affect your Cockapoo (both inherited); chronic active hepatitis and copper toxicosis.
cockapoo puppy playing in the grass


Although the above list of health concerns may affect some Cockapoos, they are a relatively healthy hybrid. Pet parents will be happy to know their lifespan is from 12 to 15 years-old - but that may seem too short for a beloved member of the family.

Cockapoo Maintenance

To have a healthy, happy Cockapoo, you will need to provide your furry friend with a proper diet, exercise, and grooming. Regular checkups with your veterinarian and annual vaccinations will also keep your Cockapoo in tip-top shape. Plus, it will help prevent, or catch, any of the above health concerns before they become a serious issue.

Food & Water

Always feed your Cockapoo the highest quality food that fits your budget. Foods that list a fresh meat source as the first ingredient are the best choice (i.e. chicken, beef, fish, etc.). The amount of food you feed your pet will depend upon the individual animal - dogs that are larger and/or more active will need more calories each day.

A general "rule-of-paw" for feeding your Cockapoo is ¼ to ¾ cups a day divided into two portions. You may also want to supplement your dog with a high quality canned food mixed into the dry. Canned food provides your canine with an added boost of both protein and moisture that many dry foods are missing.

And of course, fresh water should be provided at all times.

happy cockapoo puppy on a leash


Most healthy Cockapoos have a moderate level of energy, so spend at least 15 minutes each day walking, hiking, or playing a rousing game of fetch at the park or in your backyard.

Cockapoos are an intelligent breed, so why not get your pet involved in agility, obedience classes, or even give flyball a whirl? Regardless of the activity, your Cockapoo will love spending his time with you.


The Cockapoos coat should be maintained by brushing it at least twice a week. However, you only need to bathe this dog when absolutely necessary, as this preserves his natural oils.

Because of the Cockapoos floppy ears, ear maintenance is crucial to avoid infections. Make a habit of checking and cleaning your Cockapoos ears each week. To clean the ears use a cotton ball moistened by a vet-approved cleanser, gently wipe the only area you can see. Do not stick cotton swabs into the canal as this could damage your pet's ear drum.

You will know when your Cockapoo has an infection if the inside of the ear;

  • Has a usual odor
  • Is red
  • Seems tender
  • Your dog is frequently shaking his head
  • Excessive scratching at the ear(s).

Brush your Cockapoos teeth at least twice to three times a week, and provide dental chews, or rubber toys to help reduce plaque and tartar buildup.

Lastly, if your dog doesn't wear his toenails down naturally, then you will need to trim them a couple of times a month. If you are uncomfortable with this process, enlist the help of a dog groomer.


If you have fallen in love with the Cockapoo and think it will be the perfect pal for you and your family, then do some research to find a reputable breeder or rescue organization. Never purchase a Cockapoo (or any dog) from a puppy mill as these facilities have no regard for the health or wellbeing of the parent dogs or the puppies they produce.

Once you have your Cockapoo, follow our helpful tips to ensure your new companion will grow to be a healthy, happy member of the family.

Further reading:

  1. Daily Mail Online. Cockapoo carnage! Britain's fallen for the adorable crossbreed
  2. The Guardian. Bowled over by a cockapoo.
  3. Alan Kenworthy (November 5, 2014). Cockapoos - The Owners Guide from Puppy to Old Age - Choosing, Caring for, Grooming, Health, Training and Understanding Your Cockapoo Dog


Not rated
Affiliate Disclosure

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.