Although most cockapoos are healthy, they can suffer from certain problems common to their parent breeds.
Both poodles and cocker spaniels can suffer from luxating patellas (loose knees). An OFA (Orthopedic Foundation for Animals) exam is required to check for this problem before dogs are bred. Poodles and cocker spaniels can also suffer from a number of eye disorders, including progressive retinal atrophy (PRA). A CERF (Canine Eye Registration Foundation) exam and DNA test for PRA should be performed before breeding.
Like many floppy-eared breeds, cockapoos can be subject to ear infections, and it's important to keep their ears clean and dry.
Although they can suffer from certain health problems, overall cockapoos are healthy, happy dogs. As with a lot of smaller dogs they tend to be quite long-lived, and it's not unusual for cockapoos to live to 15 years or more.
Cockapoos have become popular because they generally combine the outgoing, loving personality of the cocker spaniel with the low-shedding, low-dander qualities of the poodle. The poodle parent also contributes intelligence and a tendency to be very active, resulting in a loving, intelligent, energetic and agile dog that sheds very little.
Strictly speaking, the cockapoo cannot be described as a purebred because it does not 'breed true'. In breeders' terms, 'breeding true' means that the pups will have more consistently predictable characteristics, and will resemble both their parents, rather than exhibiting the varying characteristics of the dog breeds in their ancestries.
Cockapoos, however, may inherit the characteristics of either or both their parent breeds. While some cockapoos appear more similar to cocker spaniels, others will exhibit more poodle traits, creating a variation in cockapoo appearance and temperament. Cockapoo size and weight are a function of what type of dogs the parents were. Breeders usually use a toy or miniature poodle as the poodle parent. The following table describes the weights, and heights of toy poodles, miniature poodles cocker spaniels and cockapoos, using AKC standards and other information.
While this table provides averages for cockapoo height and weight, an individual dog may be larger or smaller depending upon the size of its parents.
The coat of the Cockapoo will vary from dog to dog. Some will have the sleeker coat of the spaniel, while others may have curlier, coarser fur like a Poodle. For many Cockapoo's, their hair will be a mixture somewhere between the two. This means that regular brushing and trimming will be required in order to keep the hair healthy and matt-free.
There are currently three cockapoo clubs in America that are working towards developing the cockapoo by breeding successive generations, and establishing the cockapoo as a recognized breed.