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The Cockapoo is one of the more established crossbreeds, consisting of the Cocker Spaniel (show type or working) and the Poodle (Toy or Miniature), in rarer cases the American Cocker Spaniel may be used.

It’s relatively easy to find reputable Cockapoo breeders as there are many breed clubs which are run by dedicated people that care about the breed. These clubs are committed to the responsible breeding and ensuring all puppies and dogs are as healthy and good tempered as possible.

The Cockapoo can be a first cross (with one spaniel and one poodle parent), can be bred back to one of the original breeds, or be two Cockapoos bred together - so there are varieties in size, shape, coat types and temperaments.

  • Dog suitable for non-experienced owners
  • Some training required
  • Enjoys vigorous walks
  • Enjoys walking one to two hours a day
  • Small dog
  • Minimum drool
  • Requires grooming daily
  • Don't mind
  • Don't mind
  • Not a guard dog
  • May require training to live with other pets
  • May require training to live with kids

Key Facts

Lifespan: 12–15 years
Weight: 3–8.5kg
Height: 25–40cm
Colours: The Cockapoo can be any of the colours common to the Cocker Spaniel or the Poodle including: black; red; orange; brown; combinations of black with white; liver with white; red and white; blue roan; orange roan; black roan; particolours and tricolours
Size: Small to Medium


Family-friendly: 5/5
Exercise needs: 3/5
Easy to train: 4/5
Tolerates being alone: 3/5
Likes other pets: 5/5
Energy level: 3/5
Grooming needs: 2/5
Shedding: 1/5
Cockapoo dog running near the sea


Like most crossbreeds, the personality of a Cockapoo depends on the parents and how they have been bred and reared.

It’s clear from looking at the two breeds that make up the Cockapoo that this is an active dog who needs a lot of exercise and input (often more than many new owners expect) - and needs to be a part of the family. When the crossbreeding turns out as expected, the Cockapoo possesses all of the intelligence of the Poodle with the spirit of the Cocker Spaniel, resulting in a wonderful companion.

The personality of a Cockapoo seems to be more consistent when they are first crosses (F1). As a line successively bred, they can be either bred back to one of the original breeds (and so strengthen either the Spaniel or the Poodle personalities) or else be bred to another Cockapoo - in which case there is less predictability.

Cockapoo outside of house

History and Origins

The Cockapoo is one of the oldest and most established of the ‘designer crossbreeds’ and originated in the US as far back as the 1960s. The idea of the Cockapoo was to create a non-shedding, active and intelligent companion dog who required less coat care than other breeds of a similar size.

While there are breed clubs in the UK and all over the world, the Cockapoo currently isn’t recognised by any international Kennel Clubs. To properly understand the origins of the breed, it requires an understanding of the two breeds that go into the formation of the Cockapoo.

The English Cocker Spaniel is considered to be one of the most popular spaniel breeds and one of the oldest land spaniels. Interestingly, before the 1800s, the Cocker and Springer Spaniel were classed as the ‘Land Spaniel’, but due to their differing sizes they were used for very different tasks. The larger ones were used for ‘springing’ game, whereas the smaller ones were for flushing out woodcock. The difference between the two breeds became further distinct with selective breeding and in 1893, they were finally recognised as two separate breeds.

The Standard Poodle on the other hand originated in Germany, despite many believing that they were bred in France. Created as a water retrieving dog, this breed is a hard-working type that’s highly intelligent. The Miniature and Toy Poodle varieties were created later on for those that wanted all the personality and enthusiasm of the Standard Poodle, but was a fraction of the size.

The Cockapoo can have any combination of the two breeds in their appearance, behaviour and temperament.

Health and Common Issues

One aim with crossbreeds is to dilute or eliminate any inherited health issues that may exist within one or other of the breeds. This dilution or elimination is only likely if only one parent is the carrier of any particular condition, and where this is a first cross (F1). As this can’t always be guaranteed, all parents should be health tested prior to breeding:

Cocker Spaniel - eye tests and hip scoring should be done, and there are several DNA tests that may also be required.

Poodle - eye tests and hip scoring should be done.

Information on DNA health tests for both breeds can be found on the Kennel Club’s website.

The Cockapoo Club of GB also suggests that where relevant, testing should be done for:

  • Progressive retinal atrophy
  • Retinal Dysplasia
  • Glaucoma
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Familial Nephropathy
  • Von Willebrand Disease
  • Phosphofructokinase (PFK) disease
Exercise Needs

Both the breeds that make up the Cockapoo are active and enjoy exercise and will be happy with between an hour or two hours every day. They will also enjoy games, training, interactive toys and being involved in all family activities too.

Space Requirements

The Cockapoo isn’t a large dog and doesn’t need a huge amount of space, however they are very active and will appreciate a garden and access to the great outdoors for the long walks they will need.

Nutrition and Feeding

Your dog's diet needs to have the right balance of all the main nutrient groups including a constant supply of fresh water. It's important to conduct regular body condition scores to ensure you keep your dog in ideal shape and remember to feed them at least twice daily and in accordance with the feeding guidelines of their particular food.

Grooming Cockapoos

It’s difficult to predict what kind of coat the Cockapoo is going to have as they may inherit a coat like a Cocker Spaniel or they may inherit the Poodle coat (or any mixtures of the two!). This means they may not shed or shed minimally (the Poodle coat), but in that case will require regular trimming, or else they may shed (the Spaniel coat) and may or may not have an undercoat that is prone to matting.

Find a good local groomer who can either look after your Cockapoo’s coat or teach you how to do it yourself as their coat develops. They can be anything from low maintenance to high maintenance so be prepared for either!

Another thing to bear in mind with the regular grooming of Cockapoos is that ear care is extremely important. Both breeds can have problems with excessive hair inside the ears and the potential for infections of foreign bodies entering the ear canal.

Training Cockapoos

This is a very active dog who is smart and busy and will need training if you want any hopes of a quiet life! They are a joy to train as both the breeds are intelligent and love working with their owner, but they will learn bad habits as quickly as good ones so reward-based training should start early and be ongoing. This is a great breed for dog sports such as agility or even pet gundog work, and they will love having an active job to do.

It’s important to train a Cockapoo to enjoy handling and grooming (as they will need a lot of it) and to happily give up any prizes they may rather hold onto, always using positive, reward-based methods.

Given they have a working gundog background, they should be well socialised with cats (who they can learn to live with happily), but always be watched with caution around other small animals and birds.

Best Family Dog Breeds

If the Cockapoo is sourced from a reliable breeder and well-trained from puppyhood, they will make fabulous family dogs, be a total joy to own and will get on with everyone. In other words, almost the perfect dog! However, an untrained or bored Cockapoo can easily become unruly and overly boisterous, so always make sure to provide them with plenty of mental stimulation and adequate training.

did you know?

Did You Know?

  • The Cockapoo isn’t currently recognised by the UK Kennel Club due to it being a mixed breed.
  • Cockapoos produce low amounts of dander and hair, so they’re popularly chosen as dogs for those with allergies or sensitivities.
  • They’re known as ‘people dogs’ and love to spend time with their families.
  • Cockapoos don’t have a strong doggy odour (providing regular grooming and trimming is carried out).

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