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Subject: rec.pets.dogs: Cockapoos Mixed-Breed-FAQ
This article was archived around: 21 May 2006 04:23:15 GMT
Posting-frequency: 30 days
Last-modified: 29 Jan 1998
There are many FAQ's available for this group. For a complete
listing of these, get the "Complete List of RPD FAQs". This article
is posted bimonthly in rec.pets.dogs, and is available via anonymous ftp
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This article is Copyright 1997 by the Author(s) listed below.
It may be freely distributed on the Internet in its entirety without
alteration provided that this copyright notice is not removed.
It may NOT reside at another website (use links, please) other
than the URL listed above without the permission of the Author(s).
This article may not be sold for profit nor incorporated in other
documents without he Author(s)'s permission and is provided "as is"
without express or implied warranty.
Cindy Tittle Moore, April 1997
Table of Contents
* What is a "cockapoo"?
* But don't people breed "cockapoos"?
* What are their characteristics and temperament like?
* What are their physical traits?
* Are they healthy?
What is a "cockapoo"?
A "cockapoo" is the name given to a mix between a Toy or Miniature
Poodle and a Cocker Spaniel. It is not a breed of dog. Presumably the
first couple of "cockapoos" were bred accidentally and someone came up
with the name in trying to be clever and catchy.
However, because there is no central registry body for "cockapoos,"
(and no, the "Continental Kennel Club" does not count) there is
nothing to stop anyone from claiming that any particular dog is a
"cockapoo". The name has been applied to Cocker/Poodle crosses, to the
offspring of Cocker/Poodle crosses, and sometimes to any smallish,
long-haired dog whose parentage is unknown. Not a few people have had
the experience of acquiring a "cockapoo" puppy that grew up to be very
large, betraying the fact that its parents were not what they were
said to have been.
Unfortunately, many people do believe the "cockapoo" is actually a
breed and is actually registered by the AKC or some other reputable
kennel club. This is not the case. A _breed_ of dog is defined by the
ability of two animals of the same breed to produce others just like
it. An established breed, moreover, has a well defined "standard" that
clearly lists how it should look or how it should perform.
If you breed two "cockapoos" together, you will get results ranging
from very much poodle like to very cocker like, with no uniformity or
Other mixed breeds that are marketed under cute names include
peekapoos, maltipoos, and the like. All the caveats I list here apply
to these mixes as well.
But don't people breed "cockapoos"?
Yes, unfortunately. There are many unethical breeders who have cashed
in on the cute name of the "breed" and who continually breed poodles
and cockers together to get the "cockapoos" for their clientele.
If "cockapoo" breeders were actually interested in establishing this
as a real breed, you would see them forming a breed club and hammering
out a descriptive standard. You would find them selectively breeding
"cockapoos" to "cockapoos", making an effort to keep the dogs they
thought would best contribute to the quality of their dogs, keeping
detailed breeding records that can later form records acceptable to
the AKC, and selling their extra puppies on non breeding agreements.
I have not yet found any such breeders. But I can find plenty of other
clubs that are in the process of stabilizing and documenting their new
breed, for example the National Cesky Terrier Club.
What are their characteristics and temperament like?
Because they are a mixed breed there is no predicting this. They are
only as good OR as bad as their parents.
Please don't believe I'm down on these dogs just because they are not
purebred. I have worked with many mixes and rescued and placed a few.
What I am saying is that you cannot reliably predict anything about an
individual "cockapoo" because there is no well defined standard, or
body of responsible, dedicated breeders intent on improving the breed.
There are many sweet "cockapoos" that make excellent pets. This is
also true of many mixed breed dogs. However, there are others that do
not make good pets, because their "breeders" bred the first Cocker
Spaniel they got their hands on with the first Toy or Miniature Poodle
they got with no regard to health or temperament. In this case, it is
just the luck of the draw if your "cockapoo" will be sweet tempered or
You can improve the odds by adopting an older "cockapoo" from the
shelter, so you are not surprised by its size, coat type, color, or
What are their physical traits?
They are usually small dogs, generally under 30lbs, often under 20lbs
but sometimes they are (much) bigger. They have a loose, curly coat
but it can be tightly curled or straight, too. Their color will depend
on the cocker and the poodle's colors (both of which can come in a
variety of colors), but are usually light colored.
You probably will not be able to avoid surprises of this sort if you
get a "cockapoo" puppy. If you want to be very sure of what you are
getting, then look for adult "cockapoos" to adopt.
Are they healthy?
Again, this is nearly impossible to predict. Some are, some are not.
They are at potential risk of health problems common to either Toy
Poodles or Cocker Spaniels. This can include:
* hip dysplasia
* progressive retinal atrophy
* poor temperaments
* skin and ear problems
* luxating patellas
* gastric torsion
among others. With any dog, your chance of avoiding health problems is
greatly increased if the dog's ancestors and relatives (the more the
better) were screened for genetic disease themselves. However, the
kind of careful, knowledgable breeder who performs this kind of
screening will NOT knowingly sell to someone who intends to mix
breeds, so your odds of finding a "cockapoo" from generations of
health-screened ancestors are so slim as to be nonexistent.
And since the breeders of these mixes aren't terribly concerned with
breeding to any standard, they aren't terribly concerned with
screening out any of the health problems either.
Cindy Tittle Moore, firstname.lastname@example.org