A Cockapoo (also known as a spoodle) is a mixed-breed dog that is the cross between either Cocker Spaniel breeds (American Cocker Spaniel or English Cocker Spaniel) and a poodle (in most cases a miniature poodle or toy poodle).
A Cockapoo can be the result of either the American Cocker Spaniel or English Cocker Spaniel with a Poodle. They have been known in the United States since the 1950s.
Purebred breed associations such as The Kennel Club, the American Kennel Club, the United Kennel Club, or the Canadian Kennel Club, do not recognize the Cockapoo.
Due to their popularity, Cockapoos are one of the mixed breed dogs most susceptible to be bred by puppy farms or unscrupulous amateur breeders looking to maximize profit. Potential owners should carefully research where they are purchasing their puppy from in order not to support this industry.
Smaller dogs tend to be quite long-lived, and hence it is not unusual for Cockapoos to have a lifespan of 14–18 years.
Purebred Poodles and Cocker Spaniels can suffer from luxating patellas (loose knees), and this may be passed on to their offspring. An OFA (Orthopedic Foundation for Animals) exam is therefore recommended to check for this problem before dogs are bred.
Purebred Poodles and Cocker Spaniels can also suffer from a number of eye disorders, including progressive retinal atrophy (PRA). A CERF (Canine Eye Registration Foundation) exam and DNA test for PRA should, therefore, be performed before breeding.
Like many floppy-eared breeds, Cockapoos can be subject to ear infections, and it is important to keep their ears clean and dry.
Cockapoos have become popular because they generally combine the outgoing, loving personality of the Cocker Spaniel with the low-shedding, low-dander qualities of the Poodle. Cockapoos are active and thrive when they receive regular exercise. Cockapoos can be very agile, excelling at “retrieve” games and enjoying activities such as swimming. Cockapoos are frequently very needy dogs and as such are not suitable to be left alone for long periods as they frequently suffer from separation distress or anxiety.
The Cockapoo is a cross-breed, not a purebred, and does not “breed true.” In breeders’ terms, “breeding true” means that the pups will have consistently predictable characteristics. Cockapoos, however, may inherit the characteristics of either or both their parent breeds. While some Cockapoos appear more similar to Cocker Spaniels, others will exhibit more Poodle traits, creating a variation in Cockapoo appearance and temperament.