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rec.pets.dogs: Cockapoos Mixed-Breed-FAQ


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Archive-name: dogs-faq/mixed-breeds/cockapoos
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Last-modified: 29 Jan 1998

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                                  "Cockapoos"
                                       
Author

   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
   predictability.
   
   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
   not.
   
   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
   temperament.
     _________________________________________________________________
                                      
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
     * epilepsy
     * poor temperaments
     * allergies
     * skin and ear problems
     * Legg-Calve-Perthes
     * luxating patellas
     * hypothyroidism
     * cryptorchidism
     * 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.
     _________________________________________________________________
                                      
   
    "Cockapoo" FAQ
    Cindy Tittle Moore, rpd-info@zmall.com

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