What is a Sproodle?

Spaniel and Poodle cross

The Cockapoo Club of America was founded in 1998 by Mary D. Foley. Its goal is to breed the perfect family pet.

The Cockapoo is a crossbreed. Opening your heart and home to a crossbreed is like opening a beautifully wrapped package on your birthday: you can never be sure what’s inside. It’s often assumed that a crossbreed will combine the best of two or more breeds, but genetics doesn’t always work that way. The way genes express themselves is not always subject to a breeder’s control, even less so when two different breeds are crossed. That’s something to keep in mind before you lay down lots of money for a dog that you have been assured will be hypoallergenic or healthier than a purebred.

Before anyone ever realized the marketing potential of so-called “designer dogs, " one crossbreed had already established a hold on America’s heart. The Cockapoo is the result of mating a Cocker Spaniel and a Poodle or is the offspring of two Cocker/Poodle mixes bred with each other. Cockapoos are bright-eyed, scruffy-coated puppies that can grow into dogs that retain a puppy-dog charm.

Cross-bred puppies like the Cockapoo can look very different even if they're from the same littler. The Cockapoo's size, color, coat type, temperament, activity level, and health risks will vary depending on what traits an individual puppy has inherited.

At their best, they are friendly and affectionate, and, at weights ranging from 6 to 30 pounds, they are a comfortable size for most homes.

Poodles have a reputation for being hypoallergenic, meaning that they can supposedly be tolerated by people who have allergies to dogs. Because they have the Poodle in their heritage, Cockapoos are sometimes promoted as being hypoallergenic. But allergies are caused not by a particular dog coat type but by dander (the dead skin cells that are shed by all dogs and people). There is no scientific evidence that any breed or cross breed is more or less allergenic than any other dog. Some people with allergies may react less severely to particular dogs, but no reputable breeder will guarantee that her dogs are hypoallergenic.

Cockapoos are companion dogs. They love their people and need to live in the house, never outdoors.

Other Quick Facts

  • A well-socialized Cockapoo should have a happy, friendly temperament.
  • The Cockapoo is sometimes touted as being hypoallergenic, but all dogs produce dander (dead skin cells) and can cause allergic reactions to varying degrees.
  • Cockapoos come in different colors and sizes depending on the genes they inherit.

More on Vetstreet.com:

The History of the Cockapoo

A Cockapoo is a cross breed, the result of a mating between a Cocker Spaniel and a Poodle or two Cocker/Poodle crosses. The dogs have been popular since the '50s.

Cockapoo Temperament and Personality

The Cockapoo's temperament will vary depending (in part) on what traits an individual puppy has inherited from his parents. At his best, the Cockapoo is friendly, people-oriented, and easy to train. He's a companion dog on both sides of the pedigree, so he should live indoors with his family and never be kept in the backyard or garage for long amounts of time. He's also a hunting and working dog on both sides of his pedigree, so he needs a certain amount of activity to keep him from becoming bored.

If you begin socialization and training early and use positive reinforcement techniques such as praise, play, and food rewards, you will be rewarded with a wonderful companion.

Cockapoos have a moderate activity level that is adaptable to their owner’s lifestyle. They need a nice walk or active playtime each day. If you’re interested and the dog is in overall good health (your vet can help determine this), they are athletic enough to participate in such dog sports as agility, flyball, obedience, and rally.

The perfect Cockapoo doesn’t come ready made from the breeder. Any dog, no matter how nice, can develop obnoxious habits such as barking, digging, and counter-surfing if left untrained or unsupervised. And any dog can be a trial to live with in adolescence. Start training your puppy the day you bring him home. Even at eight weeks old, he is capable of soaking up everything you can teach him. Don't wait until he is six months old to begin training, or you will have a more headstrong dog to deal with.

If possible, get him into puppy kindergarten class by the time he is 10 to 12 weeks old, and socialize, socialize, socialize. However, be aware that many puppy training classes require certain vaccines (like kennel cough) to be up to date, and many veterinarians recommend limited exposure to other dogs and public places until puppy vaccines (including rabies, distemper and parvovirus) have been completed. In lieu of formal training, you can begin training your puppy at home and socializing him among family and friends until puppy vaccines are completed.

Talk to the breeder, describe exactly what you’re looking for in a dog, and ask for assistance in selecting a puppy. Breeders see the puppies daily and can make uncannily accurate recommendations once they know about your lifestyle and personality. Whatever you want from a Cockapoo, look for one whose parents have nice personalities and who has been well socialized from early puppyhood.

What You Need to Know About Cockapoo Health

All dogs, whether purebreds, crossbreeds, or mixes, have the potential to develop genetic health problems, just as all people have the potential to inherit a particular disease. Run, don’t walk, from any breeder who does not offer a health guarantee on puppies, who tells you that the mixed breed is 100 percent healthy and has no known problems, or who tells you that her puppies are isolated from the main part of the household for health reasons. A reputable breeder will be honest and open about health problems in the mixed breed and the incidence with which they occur in her lines.

Cockapoos may be susceptible to the health problems of both the Cocker Spaniel and Poodle, but there’s also a chance that the genetic diversity introduced by mixing two breeds may lower the chances of developing certain inherited diseases. The very nature of genetic variation makes this difficult to predict for a mixed breed dog. Please refer to the breed guides on Cocker Spaniels and Poodles for an overview of some of the inherited diseases reported in these two breeds.

Not all inherited conditions are detectable in a growing puppy, and it can be hard to predict whether an animal will be free of these maladies, which is why you must find a reputable breeder who is committed to breeding the healthiest animals possible. They should be able to produce independent certification that the parents of the dog (and grandparents, etc.) have been screened for genetic defects and deemed healthy for breeding. At a minimum, ask the breeder to show evidence that both of the puppy’s parents have the appropriate certifications from health registries like the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals, Canine Eye Registry Foundation, etc.

Breeders who wish to earn a star rating from the Cockapoo Club of America must have their breeding stock certified annually by the Canine Eye Registry Foundation and by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals. Other information about the CCA’s star ratings is available on its website.

Don't fall for a bad breeder's lies. If the breeder tells you the tests aren't necessary because she's never had problems in her lines, her dogs have been "vet checked, " or gives any other excuse for skimping on the genetic testing of their dogs, walk away immediately.

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