A Beginner’s Guide To Owning A Cockapoo: Health, Vaccinations And More

Cockapoo guide

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Cockapoo guide

A Cockapoo is a cross between a Cocker Spaniel and a poodle. These dogs may be teacup-sized or weigh 30 pounds when mature. They live up to 18 years. They are friendly and sociable and get along well with kids, other dogs, and cats. Although this breed isn’t recognized by the AKC, it has been around since the 1950s.

A Beginner’s Guide to Owning a Cockapoo

A crossbreed Cockapoo puppy combines the traits of a Cocker Spaniel and poodle in one fluffy, friendly package.

Like other crossbreeds, the size, looks, and health of Cockapoos depends to a certain extent on the breeder and even more so on nature itself. Crossing two breeds may provide some pleasant surprises, but health problems may lurk under the surface. Always deal with an experienced breeder if you want a crossbreed puppy.

Cockapoos may have different coats and colorings, even within the same litter. They generally weigh between ten and 30 pounds when grown. These affectionate dogs will fit in well in your home. They even get along with most cats! Cockapoos live to be 14 to 18 years old.

Height, Weight, and Coat

Cockapoos come in several sizes. Teacup puppies weigh six pounds or less, but toy dogs weigh up to 12 pounds. Mini cockapoos weigh 13 to 18 pounds, and large dogs weigh between 19 and 30 pounds. They usually measure 9.8 to 15 inches high.

These dogs have a long coat and may have straight or loose curls. There aren’t any standards yet for color or coat since the breed is still relatively new. Your dog may or may not shed, depending on his parents’ traits. Cocker Spaniels shed a lot, but poodles have a wiry coat that shed, although hair doesn’t usually fall to the floor.

Organizations Devoted to the Breed 

The American Kennel Club (AKC) doesn’t acknowledge this breed even though it has existed since the 1950s.

Several designer and crossbred dog organizations recognize Cockapoos as an official breed. The American Canine Hybrid Club, American Cockapoo Club, and the International Designer Canine Registry are just a few of the organizations dedicated to this crossbreed.


Ask your breeder if the pup you want has received certification from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals and Canine Eye Registry Foundation. This information will help ensure you bring home a healthy pup.


This crossbreed is generally happy and well-tempered, but a lot depends on the traits the puppy has inherited from his parents. Most Cockapoos are easy to train, eager and sociable. Keep your dog indoors, as he is a companion animal and ill-suited to long hours in the yard or park.

Cockapoos need plenty of activity and mental stimulation to prevent boredom. Set aside time each day for exercise, and buy your dog toys to keep him occupied when you’re busy or away from home.

Begin socializing your puppy at about eight weeks, and use treats and praise as rewards for progress during his social training. Cockapoos get along with children, cats, and other dogs, so they won’t usually avoid or be frightened of any member of your household.

Cockapoos don’t bark a lot, like many other toy breeds and crossbreeds. They will bark when left alone for a long time or if they see or hear a stranger approaching the house.

Your dog may suffer from separation anxiety if you leave them alone for too long. If you’re going on vacation, try to choose a dog-friendly destination and bring your pet with you.

Potty Training 

Take your new puppy outdoors every two hours. Reward your dog with a treat and/or praise when he eliminates. Always reward him when he’s outside, not when he’s back in the house. This action will let him know he needs to go outside to eliminate.

If you need to  leave your dog alone for an extended time, confine him to space with enough room to sleep, eat, and play and place newspapers or a small box filled with sod for him to use as a makeshift “bathroom.”


Every dog breed has a predisposition to certain health problems. Here are a few ailments common to Cockapoos:

Hip Dysplasia is inherited from a dog’s parents. The thigh bone won’t fit properly into the animal’s thigh bone, and it may cause pain or trouble walking. Your pet will not show discomfort, so you’ll need to go to the vet and get X-rays to diagnose this condition.

cockapoo puppy

If left untreated, hip dysplasia can turn to arthritis in older dogs. Always ask breeders fir proof that the parents don’t have this condition.

Cockapoos may develop ear infections due to their big, floppy ears. Check and clean your dog’s ears regularly. Ask your vet about appropriate ear cleaning solutions. Wipe out your dog’s ears with a cotton ball dipped in this solution.

Never put anything in the ear canal. If the dog’s ears are red or smell bad or the animal scratches his ears, he probably has an infection.

Liver diseases such as chronic active hepatitis are common in cocker spaniels and may be genetic. Always ask your breeder if either of your dog’s parents had liver disease.

Patellar luxation or slipped stifles, is common in small breeds. This condition usually affects the knee joint of a hind leg, causing it to slide in and out of the joint. This painful condition may cripple your dog, although some animals can live normal lives with less advanced versions of the disease.

Allergies are found in all dog breeds, so be aware of your dog’s reactions to bedding, shampoo, food, treats, and allergens in the air. Keep your home clean and free from dust and mildew.


Your puppy should receive all the standard shots according to this schedule. Core dog vaccines (ones that all dogs should receive) include rabies, distemper, parvovirus, Adenovirus (Types 1 and 2). Many vaccinations are necessary at six to eight weeks. Others, like rabies, are administered at three months.

Non-core vaccinations are recommended for dogs that may have a predisposition to certain conditions, outdoor dogs, or dogs that will be boarded or taken to kennels often.

These vaccinations include canine influenza or bordetella (kennel cough), which are usually seen in dogs that participate in shows or are boarded a lot. If you will let your dog go outdoors, a Lyme Disease vaccine to protect against tick bites is a good idea.

Care and Grooming 

Brush, bathe and groom your dog when he’s young, so he gets used to being examined. Give him rewards for behaving well after bathing, nail trimming or tooth brushing.

Introducing your dog to at-home grooming and exams will make things easier when you take him to the vet.

Brush your pup four to five times a week for the first six months for about ten minutes per session. Increase sessions to once a day to keep his hair from tangling and matting as the dog gets older.

Trim your dog’s nails a few times a month. If you can hear his nails on your hardwood floor when he walks, it’s time for a trim. Don’t cut too close to the bed of the nail as this will cause bleeding. You can bring your pet to the groomer to have his nails clipped if you don’t want to do it at home.

Bathe your pup in the bathroom or kitchen sink, or even in a plastic tub on the kitchen floor. Wet your dog slowly with lukewarm water from a plastic cup, and be sure to avoid the eyes. It may take awhile to thoroughly wet the fur since this breed’s fur tends to be waterproof.

Use an all-natural, chemical-free shampoo. Gently rub it into the dog’s coat and speak to the animal in a gentle, reassuring voice. Remember to wash his legs, stomach, and bottom. Avoid using shampoo on his face. A wet wipe or lukewarm water will suffice even if your dog’s face is dirty.

Rinse all shampoo off your dog with clean, lukewarm water. Check to make sure you’ve removed all shampoo before drying the dog with a big, fluffy towel. He’ll still be a little wet even after you towel him off, but you can let him air dry and shake off the rest of the water by himself.

You can use a hair dryer to dry your dog after bathing, but always keep it on the lowest setting and check your dog for signs of discomfort.

Food and Diet 

Choose both dry and wet foods made with meat, poultry, fish, vegetables and whole grains. Avoid any product with too many unpronounceable chemical names on the label. Feed a new puppy the same foods the breeder did, as changing diet too quickly will harm the animal’s stomach.

Cockapoos are picky about their food, and the breed is known for their love of raw food. Talk to your vet about commercial brands of raw pet food and how to prepare raw food for your dog at home. Refrain from feeding your dog raw meat or any other natural foods from your kitchen until you’re 100% sure of what your dog can safely eat.

Avoid giving your dog high calorie processed treats. A raw bone or plain cubed and boiled chicken are natural, healthy between-meal snacks. Always give your pet treats as a reward or occasional snack, don’t spoil them. It may seem cute at first, but his health will suffer if he consumes too many treats.

Where to Find Cockapoos 

Contact an experienced breeder through the American Canine Hybrid Club or another crossbreed organization if you aren’t familiar with breeders in your area. Don’t answer random ads on the internet. You may end up with an unhealthy dog or one that’s not really a Cockapoo.

Feature Image: CC BY-SA 4.0, Hurworth, via Wikimedia Commons. 


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