Kaitlyn Arford
By Kaitlyn Arford. Reviewed by Barri J. Morrison, DVM on Feb. 8, 2023
tan cockapoo dog standing at the beach

In This Article

General Care

Poodles and Cocker Spaniels were some of the most popular dog breeds in the 20th century. In the 1960s, the first Cockapoo dog was born in the U.S. due to an accidental breeding between a Poodle and a Cocker Spaniel. Cockapoos can stand less than 10 inches to over 15 inches, depending on the size of their Poodle parent.

But the dogs became beloved, and Cockapoos began to be bred intentionally. Pet parents love the mixed breed for their intelligence, sweet disposition, and low-shed coat. Today, Cockapoos are one of the most popular “doodle” dog breeds.

Caring for a Cockapoo

chart depicting a cockapoo dog's breed characteristics

Cockapoos are a calm canine to add to your family. They are exuberant, friendly, and always happy to spend time around other people and pets. Their happy personality makes them a great pal for children, though interactions between kids and dogs (no matter the breed) should always be supervised. 

The Cockapoo’s calm demeanor also means you won’t need to run marathons every day to tire them out; this small dog has a moderate amount of energy. They typically just need a couple of walks per day, a game of fetch, or a good swim to be happy. But while their exercise needs are fairly low-maintenance, you will need to spend time (and money!) keeping up with their grooming requirements.

Cockapoo Health Issues

Cockapoos are prone to eye conditions and other health issues, according to the Cockapoo Owners Club UK. Pet parents should consider purchasing pet insurance before bringing home a Cockapoo puppy, as they may need surgery for more serious conditions.


Cocker Spaniels and Poodles are both prone to cataracts, so there’s a chance your Cockapoo will develop this as well. Dogs with this condition develop cloudy eye lenses that can obstruct their vision. While you probably won’t see cataracts in a puppy, full-grown Cockapoos may develop cataracts as they age. 

There is no way to reverse cataract development, but they can be surgically removed.


Cockapoos can also develop glaucoma. This health condition creates pressure on the eye due to a blockage, obstructing a dog’s vision. If left untreated, glaucoma will lead to blindness.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)

Cockapoos can inherit progressive retinal atrophy, or PRA, when the retina begins to deteriorate. This condition doesn’t have a cure, and pet parents who have Cockapoos with PRA will need to help their dog adapt to life without sight. Your veterinarian can diagnose this condition and provide guidance on how to help your Cockapoo navigate their new reality.

Hip dysplasia 

Hip dysplasia is a genetic condition Cockapoos can inherit. The condition is a deformity when the hip joint doesn't fit together correctly and becomes loose. Although most dogs are born with hip dysplasia, smaller breeds like the Cockapoo may not develop signs until they grow older. This condition causes a lot of pain, and your veterinarian will manage it with medications, therapy, and orthopedic surgery, depending on the severity. 


Cockapoos tend to become overweight, so adults should be fed a balanced diet and shouldn’t eat a ton of table scraps. Obesity in dogs can decrease lifespan and make them more likely to develop other conditions, including high blood pressure, heart or kidney disease, or diabetes. If your Cockapoo starts packing on pounds, work with your veterinarian to adjust their diet and help them maintain a healthy weight. 

What To Feed a Cockapoo

Cockapoos should eat dog food approved by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) that’s appropriate for their life stage. Cockapoo puppies need to be fed a food formulated specifically for puppies before moving to an adult dog food when they reach their first birthday. 

How To Feed a Cockapoo

Adult Cockapoos should be fed twice daily, ideally in the morning and evening. Cockapoo puppies need to eat more frequently, as much as three or four times a day, on a consistent feeding schedule

Because Cockapoos can easily become overweight, avoid feeding them table scraps and excessive treats. Food-based rewards during training sessions are fine, but treats should make up a small portion of their daily calories.

How Much Should You Feed a Cockapoo?

The amount you need to feed your Cockapoo varies from dog to dog. Follow the food label to determine the correct amount to feed them and ask your veterinarian how much your pup needs to eat. 

Nutritional Tips for Cockapoos

While Cockapoos get most of their nutrients from AAFCO-approved dog food, they may benefit from joint supplements. Speak to your veterinarian before giving your Cockapoo any supplements so you choose what’s best for your canine companion.

Behavior and Training Tips for Cockapoo

Cockapoo Personality and Temperament

Poodles are a very intelligent dog breed. Cocker spaniels are a sporting breed known for their calm and sweet personality. Cockapoos, in turn, are the perfect doggy cocktail: curious, eager, to please, outgoing, highly intelligent, and trainable, according to the American Cockapoo Club. Cockapoos can be happy in one-person households and in families with young children.

Cockapoo Behavior

Cockapoos can live in any environment, from an urban apartment to a sprawling farm. While they don’t have the always-on-the-go personality of some other breeds, Cockapoos still need to be mentally and physically stimulated.

“From an energy standpoint, they can be quite active and will need social enrichment through the form of toys, daily walks, and other physical and mental stimulation,” says Hunter Finn, DVM, and owner of Pet Method Animal Hospital.

Cockapoos are known to be quiet dogs and do not bark often, but they can be a bit anxious and develop separation anxiety. Some may bark in reaction to something (like the mail carrier approaching the house) or when they’re left alone for a long time. Dogs of any age with anxiety issues might benefit from a calming probiotic supplement or calming treat to help ease their stress. 

Cockapoo Training

Cockapoos are great for first-time pet owners. Their combination of smarts and eagerness to please makes them easy to train with positive reinforcement through tiny treats, playtime, and praise. 

Like every dog, Cockapoo puppies need to be socialized early so they are exposed to a wide variety of people, places, animals, and situations. Enroll your pup in obedience classes as soon as possible and introduce them to as many new things as you can. Cockapoos enjoy learning, so you may want to consider trick training and advanced obedience classes as they grow.

Fun Activities for Cockapoos

Cockapoo Grooming Guide

Cockapoos shed infrequently and don’t tend to smell, making them a popular pick for families. But you’ll still need to take care of their coats with regular brushing and occasional baths. Cockapoos also need their nails clipped about every six weeks—or whenever you hear their nails hitting the ground.

Skin Care

Cockapoos shouldn’t need any special skin care aside from baths every few months. But if you notice any external parasites, fleas, or lice, take your dog to the veterinarian right away.

Cockapoos can sometimes develop skin disorders like seborrheic dermatitis and skin allergies.

“Some cockapoos may need frequent bathing, up to once a week or more if they have diseases such as ichthyosis, allergies, or chronic skin infections,” Finn says.

Coat Care

Cockapoos have wavy or curly coats that shed very little. They are commonly cream, white, red, or chocolate, but it’s also not uncommon to find black Cockapoos. No matter their color or fur texture, Cockapoos will likely need to see a professional groomer every 4-6 weeks to keep their hair tidy and free of matting. Brush their coats between grooming appointments.

Ear Care

Cockapoos usually have long, floppy ears that need regular cleaning because they can trap moisture and debris. Examine your Cockapoo’s ears every week, especially after baths, swimming, or any exposure to water. You shouldn’t see redness, swelling, or lacerations, and Cockapoo ears should not smell bad. 

If you find something unusual or if your Cockapoo is showing signs of pain by shaking their head or scratching at their ears, speak to your veterinarian.

Eye Care

Because Cockapoos are prone to a few eye conditions, pet parents need to examine their Cockapoo’s eyes regularly. Look for any watery discharge, swelling, bulging eyeballs, redness, or cloudiness. 

Cockapoos may show signs of pain by closing their eyes, excessively scratching at them, or not allowing you to touch them. If you suspect something is wrong, book an appointment with your veterinarian.

Teeth Care

Cockapoo pet parents should brush their dog’s teeth daily to deter tartar buildup and delay the development of dental disease.

Considerations for Pet Parents

Cockapoos have a moderate amount of energy, so while they will need daily walks, they won’t require nonstop activity to keep them occupied and happy. Cockapoos are relatively laid-back pups who enjoy living in a house or apartment, with singles or families.

Cockapoos tend to be healthy dogs and, when well cared for, have a long lifespan—up to 15 years! But because Cockapoos are a “designer” hybrid dog, choose only reputable Cockapoo breeders. Ask your Cockapoo breeder for health screenings and certificates so you know about any preexisting health conditions. The American Cockapoo Club has a list of vetted breeders to start your search.

Cockapoo FAQs

How big do Cockapoos get?

Typically, Cockapoos weigh between 15-22 pounds and stand 10-18 inches. Of course, the specific size of a Cockapoo depends on their type. 

  • Toy Cockapoos (who have a Toy Poodle parent) stand 10 inches or less and weigh less than 12 pounds. 

  • Miniature Cockapoos (with a Miniature Poodle parent) generally stand around 10 inches or more and weigh about 12 pounds. 

  • Standard Cockapoos (bred from a Standard Poodle parent) stand 15 inches or higher and weigh over 20 pounds.

How long do Cockapoos live?

Cockapoos live 12-15 years. Though they can have a long lifespan, the exact length of their life depends on factors including their overall health, care, and lifestyle.

Is a Cockapoo hypoallergenic?

“Hypoallergenic” dogs are actually a myth, as every dog shed allergens through their fur, saliva, and urine. That said, Cockapoos are more allergen-friendly than many other dog breeds and can be a good fit for people who are allergic to dogs. But before bringing home a Cockapoo puppy, spend time with the breed to see how you react. 

What’s the difference between Cavapoos vs. Cockapoos?

Cockapoos are a Poodle-Cocker Spaniel mix, while Cavapoos are a hybrid of a Poodle and a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. If you’re debating adopting a Cavapoo vs. Cockapoo, know that both are cute dogs with curly coats that come in many colors, similar sizes and temperaments, and shed very little. 

Featured Image: iStock/simonbradfield

Kaitlyn Arford


Kaitlyn Arford

Freelance Writer

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