The cockapoo, also known as a spoodle, is a hybrid (designer) dog.   Although they are essentially a mutt, what makes this pooch particularly different from other mongrels is the fact that they are the result of deliberately crossing two diverse purebreds – dogs with a defined ancestry – together.  Moreover, they are often recognized by the American Canine Hybrid Club (ACHC).  Usually, crossbred canines are given their title by blending the two breed names to form a word.  Hence, cockapoos are a cocker spaniel (cocka) and poodle (poo) mix.

Even though they are not recognized as being purebred, there is a difference between a true cockapoo and one that’s not.  To obtain an official hybrid canine the origins of these dogs must always consist of half cocker (either American or English) and half poodle.   This doesn’t mean two cocka-poos cannot be bred together, it simply means that the two pooches used for breeding must come from a line that was started from the precise half and half mixing and at no point were any other poodles or cocker-spaniels mated to a cock-a-poo to throw off the 50/50 balance.

Depending on where a person obtains their pet, they may have a first, second or higher generation cockapoo crossbreed.  To give you an idea of the differences, the following is a basic breakdown:

F1 – 1st-generation – This is when one parent is a pure-cocker and the other is a pure-poodle.

F2 – 2nd-generation – Two F1 cock-a-poos are crossed.

F3 – 3rd-generation – This can result from an F2-F2 cross or a second gen dog bred to a pooch of multiple generations (I.E. F2-F6)

Multi-generation – Crossing two F3’s or anything higher.

Just like any pure breeds, it is important for you to know the genetics of a cockapoo.  This is because these mixed pets comprise strong characteristics of both their parents and each offspring of a single litter can be quite unique.  For instance, some puppies may have a stronger poodle appearance or temperament, while others may lean towards the cocker side.   Therefore, breeders need to carefully select the animals for their breeding program to ensure the best traits are carried on and the less favorable are eliminated for future generations.

There is a fine science when it comes to hybrids and the sweet cockapoo is no exception.  Remember this when you look for your four-legged designer companion.