Cockapoos were one of the first of the so-called designer dogs, which were dogs created specifically as a hybrid of two well-established breeds with the purpose of combining the best characteristics of both types. The parents of a cockapoo are usually a poodle and an American cocker spaniel, although sometimes an English cocker spaniel can be a parent as well. Cockapoos can also be bred together to create multiple generations of cockapoos, but the breeder must be careful to avoid breeding related dogs to avoid problems of inbreeding. While cockapoos are not officially recognized as a breed by the American Kennel Club, there are plenty of organizations working for breed recognition and promoting these cute, friendly mixed-breed dogs.
Because the size of the cockapoo depends on the size of the parents, these dogs can range from 5 to 20 pounds in weight and from under 15 inches to over 20 inches in height. First-generation cockapoos are typically slightly larger than their parents, while cockapoos that result from the breeding of successive cockapoo generations may get smaller and smaller. Colors include tan, cream, sable, brown, white, gray, black or a mixture of colors. A cockapoo's coat is generally curly or wavy and can grow quite long, although many owners have their dogs professionally groomed on a regular basis.
The personality of a cockapoo is a huge draw for many owners. These dogs are friendly, intelligent and good-tempered. Cockapoos are often described as puppy-like because they retain their happy, playful demeanor well into old age. Because they are even-tempered, cockapoos make good therapy dogs and interact well with children, elderly people and just about anyone.
Cockapoos, like their parent breeds, are active dogs. Many owners train their cockapoos in agility, and these dogs enjoy navigating the obstacle courses of agility trials. An owner should provide a cockapoo with at least 15 minutes per day of high activity, such as playing fetch, running, or practicing agility. Cockapoos have their downtime, too. During quiet moments, a cockapoo is happy simply curling up in your lap.
A cockapoo's coat is hypoallergenic, so individuals with allergies to pet dander may be able to own this breed without experiencing problems. These dogs are easy to train and respond best to positive reinforcement. Because they are hybrids, cockapoos tend to be healthy dogs. However, when closely related cockapoos are bred together, genetic problems may develop. Because they are so sociable, cockapoos should not be left outside or on their own for long periods of time. A cockapoo who does not get enough human interaction might develop separation anxiety.