The Cockapoo: A Vet’s Guide

Are you looking for a fun, gentle, happy-go-lucky pooch? If so, the cockapoo may be the perfect dog for you! Cockapoos are known for their big personalities and clownish behavior. So if you’re looking for a lovable, happy dog to add to your family, a cockapoo may be perfect for you!

Cockapoos are one of my favorite Doodles. They are almost always sweet-natured and calm in the consulting room – usually more so than their pet parents!

This clever cross between two very different breeds – the Cocker Spaniel and Poodle is a popular doodle for a reason. These intelligent dogs are great as pets or service animals thanks to the high intelligence level of the Poodle and level-headedness of the Cocker Spaniel.

Today’s breed review will share everything you need to know about the Cockapoo, from breed characteristics to temperament and possible health issues. I will also share some frequently asked questions regarding this highly sought-after designer breed. So without further ado, let’s get started.

black cockapoo

Overview of the Cockapoo

Cockapoos are a favorite designer doodle breed in America and the UK and are actually the first deliberate Poodle crossbreed developed back in the 1960s by accident.

Cockapoos are a hybrid or crossbreed, which means they are a cross between two different purebred dogs. In this case, the Cockapoo is created by breeding a Cocker Spaniel with a Poodle.

This mix results in what many believe to be the best of both worlds—a hypoallergenic coat and intelligence of the Poodle combined with the gentle, people-pleasing personality of the Cocker Spaniel.

HeightAdult Cockapoos range in height from 10-20 inches
Average weight12 to 25 lbs.
Lifespan13 to 16 years
AdaptabilityAdapts well to active households
TemperamentFriendly, extroverted, playful, clingy
Energy levelActive. They do require daily exercise
Dog friendlyYes if well socialized
Pet friendlyGets along well with other pets
Child friendlyKid-friendly companion dog
IntelligenceModerate to high
TrainabilityHighly trainable
BarkingCan be known to bark and howl – if left alone
Apartment/small space adaptabilityHighly adaptable to smaller spaces
Grooming levelModerate to high depending on coat type. The curlier the more brushing they require to avoid matting
Shedding levelMinimal
Best ForOne-person households, seniors, first-time pet owners, families with young kids, and couples
white cockapoo lyin gon rug

Cockapoo temperament

With a friendly demeanor and extraordinarily happy nature, cockapoos get along with almost everyone they meet. These small dogs are super joyous, and they prefer devoting their life to their loving human families. 

Cockapoos do well with one-person pet parents as well as families with young children. They enjoy playing with other dogs, kids, and other pet members of the family such as cats. 

As stated by the American Cockapoo Club, cockapoos can sometimes be called velcro dogs as they love to be with their owners ALL the time including trips to the bathroom. If you want a dog with some independence then this may not be the right breed for you.

These designer dogs can develop separation anxiety, which leads to unwanted behaviors that most cockapoo owners may not appreciate.

These energetic dogs are highly trainable and respond well to positive reinforcement. They do require mental stimulation otherwise they can become bored, which can lead to destructive behaviors.

History of the Cockapoo

The Cockapoo is the original designer crossbreed that’s been around since the 1960s! Their initial breeding was accidental but resulted in a litter of puppies who had the intelligence and low shedding coat type of a Poodle parent and the easy-going temperament of the Cocker Spaniel.

Over time, these hybrid dogs gained popularity, and enthusiasts began crossing Cocker spaniels with poodles to recreate the low-shedding results for allergy sufferers.

Though Cockapoo puppies make excellent companion dogs and have been around for quite some time, the American Kennel Club does not consider them an actual breed. Instead, they are recognized as mixed breeds. Nonetheless, different cockapoo breeding organizations are trying hard to get this loyal pooch recognized as a true breed.


The poodle is an extremely friendly and energetic pup famous for its show-dog appearance. This elegant-looking canine is also ranked as one of the most sharp-witted of all breeds. These pure breeds are associated with France, but their origin traces back to Germany. Poodles come in three sizes: standard, toy, and miniature. Beneath their curly, hypoallergenic coat and impressive hairdos are excellent companions best for all seasons.

Today’s poodles may seem to represent a life of luxury and leisure, do not be deceived: these are real canines bred to perform real jobs. It may be hard to believe but poodles were originally water retrievers. Used to fetch waterfowl for their hunter owners.

Poodles have friendly and outgoing personalities. They prefer living an active lifestyle, and their intelligence also affects their temperament. These attention seekers adore kids and are open to strangers. American kennel club officially recognized them as a pure breed in 1887.

Cocker Spaniel

With their big dreamy eyes, lively nature, and unconditional loyalty, Cocker spaniels are just the right pet for many households. These highly trainable and social dogs originated in Spain in the 14th century. By the 1800s, Cocker spaniels were divided into two main groups: Hunters and companions (toys).

The people-oriented Cocker Spaniels are believed to have come to North America with the pilgrims, where they became equally popular among pet parents and breeders.

Their popularity rose over decades, and the American Kennel Club officially recognized them as a pure breed in 1878. These pups were among the nine dog breeds first accepted by the American Kennel Club. The AKC separated American Cocker spaniels from their English counterparts in 1946.

Cocker spaniels offer excellent companionship, and they also make wonderful therapy dogs. They do well in agility competitions and make trustworthy family pets. Cocker Spaniels are also great with the elderly, children, and other pets.

red merle cockapoo


You may notice them in 4 size categories:


As the name implies, teacup Cockapoos are pint-sized and are usually produced by breeding a toy Cockapoo with a toy Poodle. Be wary of teacup-sized dogs as they are often unethically bred whereby the breeder prioritizes size over health.

  • Height: 10inches (25cm)
  • Weight: 7 pounds (3kg)

Toy Cockapoo:

A Toy Cockapoo is a hybrid of a Cocker Spaniel and a Toy Poodle.

  • Height: They stand at around 10-14 inches (25-35 cm)
  • Weight: Between 6-12 pounds (3-5 kg).

Miniature Cockapoo:

The Miniature Cockapoo is a cross between the American Cocker Spaniel and the Miniature Poodle.

  • Height: They stand at around 14-16 inches (35-40 cm)
  • Weight: Between 13-18 pounds (6-8 kg).

Standard Cockapoo (Maxi Cockapoo): 

The Standard Cockapoo is a cross between the English Cocker Spaniel and the Standard Poodle.

  • Height: They stand at around 15-20 inches (38-51 cm)
  • Weight: Between 19-40 pounds (11-18 kg).

Coat Types and Colors

Cockapoos come in a wide array of colors and coat types. Coats vary from straight to wavy to curly and are often described as “wooly”.

Just like height and weight, the coat color also varies wildly in these little guys. These furballs come in various coat colors, including apricot, black, cream, white, red, and chocolate (are you feeling hungry yet?).

They are also known for having a patterned multi-colored coat. These include chocolate merle, black and white (parti), and blue merle.

Brown cockapoo

Cockapoo Health and diseases

Being an offspring of the Poodle and Cocker Spaniel, Cockapoo’s have adopted some of the best attributes of each breed known as hybrid vigor. They are generally healthy robust dogs due to this.

However, just like any dog, you are always a product of your parent’s genetics. If the parents have a heritable disease it can pass down to the offspring. If you want to increase your likelihood of getting a healthy cockapoo it is important to steer clear of puppy mills and vet the breeder.

Find a reputable breeder willing to provide you with the health certificates of parent breeds. Ask what genetic testing the breeder has done and if you can, visit the facilities and meet the parents.

Here I have listed some hereditary issues that seem to affect the Cockapoo the most and that we tend to see when they come to the vets.

Luxating patella

Cockapoos often suffer from a disease where their knee caps become dislocated. This condition is commonly known as luxating patella, and many small breeds are prone to it. Holding a back leg up and “hopping” on the other and then, soon after appearing normal again is a common sign that you will notice. Check out this video below on a Jack Russel with a luxating patella.

Though surgery is the best way to tackle this situation, medications and physiotherapy may also work in milder cases.

Hip dysplasia

If a pup’s hip joints don’t develop as they should, the result could be a painful health issue known as hip dysplasia. This condition is quite common in both poodles and Cocker spaniels, which means there is a pretty healthy chance that the offspring is likely to inherit this issue as well.

Limping, reluctance to go on walks, and pain are some usual indicators to watch out for. Medications and carefully planned workout routines can be a great help in relieving some of these symptoms. However, in severe cases, hip replacement surgery may be required.

Make sure to check with the breeder if they have screened the parents for Hip Dysplasia – it is easily diagnosed on x-rays and parents that suffer from it should not be bred.

Ear infections

Your Cockapoo’s adorable-looking floppy ears offer a clue to another health issue, ear infections. These infections are usually a result of moisture and bacteria getting trapped inside the ear canal, which is common in dogs with droopy ears.

Regular grooming and checking can help you keep these issues at bay. You can also consult your veterinarians and ask for their recommendations for the best ear care products.


A vision-based genetic problem that may affect this designer breed is cataracts. This condition causes cloudiness of the lens, which leads to vision problems.

Cataracts usually form gradually and may not be noticeable in the initial stages. However, as the problem progresses, your dog may start bumping into things or have trouble finding his food bowl.

Usually, senior dogs suffer from this condition, and it can be surgically removed to improve their eyesight.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)

Progressive Retinal Atrophy is an inherited eye disease that causes the gradual deterioration of the retina. This leads to complete blindness over time.

Although this is a degenerative disease, there are ways to manage it and help your furry friend enjoy his life to the fullest.


Allergies, especially environmental allergies, are pretty common in many dogs, and Cockapoos are no exception. Dogs can develop allergic reactions to many things, from the food they consume to the substance they come in contact with such as dust mites or pollen. So there is no harm in keeping an eye on the unusual symptoms and reaching out to a qualified vet for help when needed.

Liver disease

Liver diseases are becoming an increasing problem in Cocker spaniels. Copper toxicosis and chronic active hepatitis are the two forms of this condition, and both may or may not be genetic. More research is needed on the genetic effects of this disease; thereby, it’s better to question Cockapoo breeders about the parent’s liver history beforehand.

black and tan cockapoo

Feeding your Cockapoo

How much food your cocker spaniel poodle mix consumes depends on many things such as his age, activity level, size, physique, and metabolism. So it goes without saying that no two dogs need the same amount of food. A couch potato definitely needs less food than a highly active adult cockapoo.

The quality of food also makes a difference in nourishing your canine friend as well – lower quality foods you tend to need to feed more and higher quality less. This is why looking at bag prices can be misleading.

As a general rule of thumb, you should feed your cockapoo according to their ideal body weight and use the feeding guidelines on the bag (go for the lower range, to begin with). Adjust accordingly depending on if they gain or lose weight on that amount of food.

To keep your puppy in good shape, divide this food into two equal meals per day and keep treats to a minimum as they can pack on the pounds. Treats should only account for 10% of your dog’s calorie consumption per day.


As stated earlier, cockapoos have a rich variety of coat colors, and they come in a wide range of coat types, all requiring frequent grooming. Not only does regular brushing keep your dog’s coat healthy, but it also helps you bond with your beloved pet.

Start getting your cockapoo used to being groomed from an early age so that he doesn’t put up a fight when you try to comb him as an adult. Cockapoos can get matted easily. Get a good quality dog brush and use it regularly – at least once or twice a week but ideally daily.

Trim your pup’s fur every 12 weeks and give a good bath about once every four weeks. Avoid giving too many baths and using human products as they can make your pooch’s skin dry and itchy.


Well, when it comes to purchasing a cockapoo puppy, there isn’t a set price across the board. Many breeders charge a range of different prices, but cockapoo admirers can expect to spend around $450-$2600 USD on a cockapoo, where the average price is $2000.

Coat color also plays a role with rarer colors costing more (even though there is no difference in personality or health). If you plan on getting one from a reputable breeder, you may have to spend around $1500 to $2600.

Summing Up

No doubt, cockapoo puppies make the perfect pets for many people. Not only are they smart, but their low shedding coats and affectionate personality also make them incredibly practical pets. If you wish to have a dog that is quick at learning new commands, has a moderate energy level, and gets along well with everyone, then cockapoos are the god that you better not miss!


Q: How do Cockapoos interact with children and other pets?

Cockapoos are known for their friendliness. They get along with everyone; kids and other pets are no exception.

Even though cockapoos have a friendly disposition, it’s a good idea to start socializing them from a young age to avoid any fear or aggressive behavior around strangers (including children) later on in life.

Q: Are Cockapoos hypoallergenic?

No dog breed is 100% hypoallergenic, but some breeds are less likely to trigger allergies than others. Cockapoos belong to this category as they don’t shed much and produce very little dander.

So, if you’re allergic to dogs but still want to get one as a pet, a cockapoo might be the right breed for you.

Q: How much exercise does a Cockapoo need?

Cockapoos are moderate energy dogs. They need around 30-60 minutes of exercise per day, which can be in the form of a walk, run, or playtime.

If you live in an apartment, this breed is still a good choice as they don’t need a lot of space to run around. Just make sure you take them out for a walk every day and give them plenty of opportunities to play indoors and outdoors

Q: What is the average life expectancy of a cockapoo?

As stated by the Cockapoo Club of America, the average life expectancy of a cockapoo is around 13 to 16 years. They have been known to live as long as 20 years!

Q: Do cockapoos make good therapy dogs?

Cockapoos have a naturally loving and calm temperament which makes them ideal therapy dogs. They are also non-shedding and hypoallergenic, which is an added bonus for people with allergies.

If you’re looking for a therapy dog, a cockapoo would be a great choice. Just make sure you get one from a reputable breeder who has socialized the puppies from an early age.

Q: Are cockapoos easy to train?

Cockapoos are known for their intelligence and are often referred to as “The Einsteins of the dog world”. They are quick learners and pick up new commands quickly.

With that said, like all dogs, they will need patience and consistency when being trained. But overall, cockapoos are relatively easy to train.

Q: Do cockapoos bark a lot?

Cockapoos are not known for being yappy dogs, but all dogs bark from time to time. It really depends on what is causing them to bark.

If they are properly trained and socialized, cockapoos should only bark when there is something worth barking at. However, if they are bored or anxious, they may bark more often.

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