The cockapoo is a mixed breed dog that results from mating an American Cocker Spaniel to a miniature or toy size Poodle. The Cockapoo may also be called a Cockerpoo or a Spoodle. The latter term is more common in Australia. Both in the US and Australia, this hybrid dog has been bred since the 1960s.
Mixed breed dogs like the cockapoo are often called hybrid breeds. They tend to be heartier than purebred dogs because they can lose some of the unfavorable qualities of a purebred. This is called hybrid vigor. However, great variance exists in a first generation cockapoo. Some may resemble one parent more than the other.
What breeders attempt to strive for in the cockapoo is a small-stature dog about 14 inches (35.56 cm) tall at the shoulder. The dog should have a rounded face, square body, long ears, and a curly coat. Actually the American Cockapoo Club recognizes three types of coat: flat, tight curl and medium curl. Medium curl is considered the most desirable. Coat color can also vary considerably, from solid colors to black, brown or apricot mixed with white.
Cockapoo dogs that grow up to achieve this appearance are often bred with other cockapoos. In fact, in most cases, the modern cockapoo is a result of two cockapoo parents instead of a spaniel/poodle mix. It isn’t unusual for two first generation parents to have puppies that are quite different from each other in appearance. Again, new puppies may be selected for breeding as having the most desirable cockapoo qualities.
Owners of cockapoos describe their temperament as very cheerful, loyal, and affectionate. They are considered good dogs with young children, and easy to train. They are also well suited to a myriad of living conditions.
A cockapoo can be happy in an apartment or on a farm. They do tend to bond closely with owners and may feel depressed if they are left for long periods of time. Thus the dog may not be good for people who are infrequently at home, as with those who work long hours.
Cockapoos are blessed with long lives. They may live for up to 18 years, and some have lived to be older than 20. They have a low incidence of health risks, but they do need frequent coat care. They also need to have their ears kept clean since they can be somewhat prone to ear infections.
The American Kennel Club, or any other club that recognizes breeds does not recognize the cockapoo. However, its charm and popularity continues to rise. It would not be surprising at a future date for cockapoos to become a recognized breed. However, this could only occur if all puppies were bred from cockapoo parents.