Please note - only the breeders listed are NACR registered breeders. Any other breeders claiming to be "associated" with the NACR are falsely representing themselves and the NACR which is an unethical action.
Cockapoo (pronounced KOK-a-poo); noun, definition - As the name brings to mind, a cross between cocker spaniel and poodle. Through documentation and establishment of a genetic database this wonderful hybrid is being brought to status as its own breed. A dog of outstanding intelligence, wonderful disposition, abounding affection, low to no shedding or 'doggy' odor, easily trained and long lived. A dog that is amazingly forgiving of the indiscretions of small children with a keen intelligence any adult can appreciate. Cockapoos come in a myriad of colors and a range of sizes to fit any family's desires.
Cockapoos have been bred since at least the 1950's as an ideal companion pet and family dog. The hybrid vigor resulting from crossing these two popular breeds creates a dog that exhibits not only the "best of both" breeds but produces a better family pet than in either parent breed. The Cockapoo has become known and in demand for its wonderful disposition, high intelligence and curiosity, devoted loyalty, as well as for the hypoallergenic characteristics of little to no dander, shedding or odor.
Founded in 1999 and in continuous operation since, the NACR is well established as the registry for cockapoos, also working in conjunction with CERF, OFA and PennHip. The NACR database now includes first through sixth generation cockapoos, maintaining the mission of documenting and providing a healthy gene pool while establishing the heritage of the Cockapoo. Registration provides a traceable background which in turn provides the information needed to define a cockapoo as being a breed of its own, which will continue to bring the cockapoo to breed status.
A true cockapoo is ONLY a purposeful, planned crossing of a purebred cocker spaniel with a purebred poodle. Without a traceable background anything cute and fuzzy could be (and has been) passed off as a "cockapoo" by unscrupulous people. The characteristics of a cockapoo are hereditary, and therefore with a known background you can get an accurate prediction (within the laws of genetics and statistical error) of what to expect in cockapoo offspring in terms of size, color, temperament, intelligence. (E.g. you don't get a 30 lb pup out of 10 lb parents). While cockapoos can encompass a large size range from perhaps 6lbs to 75 lbs considering a standard poodle for a mom the more average cockapoo is in the 15 - 20 lb range based on the standard use of a toy to mini poodle and a cocker. We have all heard tales of the "cockapoo" from unknown sources that grew up to be 65 lbs., looked suspiciously like the dog down the road and nothing like a poodle or cocker much less a cockapoo. Registration alleviates these problems since the breeding stock and resulting offspring are traceable to pure cocker and poodle lines. In searching for a cockapoo to take into your life your only concern should be choosing the size and color of your new best friend. As people continue to discover the wonderful qualities of the cockapoo, as with anything truly good - there are always those trying to capitalize on the cockapoo name by breeding anything cute and fuzzy and calling it a "cockapoo" - by obtaining a cockapoo through NACR registered breeders you should be insured of getting a true cockapoo.
The North American Cockapoo Registry is dedicated to recording the breeding of cockapoos as being the correct breeding involving only pure (traceable) cocker spaniels and pure (traceable) poodles to create the cockapoo and true cockapoo to cockapoo for generational breeding. In time with the cooperation of the dedicated NACR breeders, the NACR will also be able to provide the scientific and genetic basis needed to declare the cockapoo a true breed, up from a hybrid cross. This does not imply or require acceptance by the AKC or any other national kennel club; only science defines a breed. Once a breed has been scientifically and genetically established, then it may be petitioned to be registered in any national kennel club but this is only for the purpose of participating in that organization's shows and competitions; it has nothing to do with the declaration of the breed. At this time, it is not the intention of the NACR to petition for listing in any of these groups; it is only to prove and protect the breeding of cockapoos. However - in cooperation with the NACR - the national databases for OFA and Cerf have given the cockapoo its own breed classification instead of being listed under the lump heading of hybrid.
The NACR highly encourages genetic testing for hereditary defects to further enhance to well-being of the cockapoo as a wonderful family companion. As such the NACR will maintain in the database this information as a matter of public record. The consumers demand for a healthy dog will be the driving force in eliminating many of the genetic problems that plague all dogs pure bred - hybrid or mongrel.
What is a Cockapoo?
As you would think from the name - a cockapoo is a cross between a cocker spaniel and a poodle. Cockapoos have been recognized by the American people as a very special cross since about 1960.
Cockapoos can be any size from the smallest poodle in the poodle's recent pedigree to the largest cocker in the cocker's recent pedigree, to potentially a little larger due to hybrid vigor. Thus, if the poodle is the biggest poodle in the litter but the genes carry smaller it is possible to get something smaller than either parent. This is not normally the case but it could happen. Of course, the same goes for the other end of the scale. The national average by poll of 500 cockapoo owners was 15lbs, this reflecting the usual use of a toy poodle at 8 lbs and an average cocker spaniel at 22 lbs. A teacup poodle and a toy cocker could produce a 2 lb cockapoo, while a standard poodle and large cocker have produced a 65 pound cockapoo.
Cockapoos will almost always show strong characteristics of both parents. They could lean a little to poodle or a little to cocker. Some may be a little curlier and some may have blockier heads but they definitely show both parents in a unique way that is what gives cockapoos such a special look, but it is highly unlikely they would inherit a predominance of genes from either parent. Second generation has the highest incidence of pups that will lean more to the looks of either parent breed. This does not make 2nd generation bad – just something to be aware of. By 3rd generation very few if any throwbacks are seen just as in 1st generation and 4th generation on this almost never happens.
In getting the best of both worlds cockapoos acquire a keen intelligence, more from the poodle (which has consistently ranked among the world's smartest dogs) than from the cocker (which is not a criticism, but cockers are not noted for high intelligence). Cockapoos get some sturdiness from the cocker - as cockers have heavier bone structure. The cocker also contributes a laid back attitude towards life as well as considerable ‘sweetness’ as long as the breeder has chosen both parents based on temperament in addition to the important factors of looks and genetic soundness. The hair coat of the cockapoo tends to be wavy but not as tightly curled neither as the poodle nor absolutely straight like some cockers. Poodles are noted for longevity as are hybrids giving the cockapoo a double dose of longevity. (Average life expectancy by poll appears to be 15 to 18 years.)
The indeterminate hair type of the poodle (continuous growth of approximately ½ inch a month) contributes the low to no shedding characteristic to the cockapoo, while the cocker adds some silkiness. The resulting hair type is also very low allergenic - without an undercoat producing excess dander.
Cockapoos are noted for their wonderful dispositions and great tolerance of the indiscretions of children, with a very forgiving nature.
Thus, for people wanting a low to no odor and low to no shedding, highly intelligent dog that is easy to train and absolutely wonderful for children of all ages, playful and energetic but easy to care for, and that will be around for a while, the ideal dog is the cockapoo.
A more detailed look -
According to a 1930 AKC standards book, poodles originally came from Germany perhaps the western slopes of Russia many centuries ago; the name is from the German "pudel" meaning to splash in water. They were developed as a hunting dog. They had good scenting ability and were used to hunt rabbits, locate game birds and retrieve from land or water (notice the web feet and the hair type that sheds water so readily).The haircut on the poodle is based on a functional purpose. the shaggy coat was clipped for the water retrieving job. The dogs swam faster and had more endurance with less hair but needed some protection from the elements thus the extra hair on the chest to protect the lungs and the hair on the leg joints for warmth and protection. A pompom was left on the tail to mark the dogs place in the water as was a pompom on the head to facilitate pulling the dog back into the boat - thus the poodle cut. The French used them in circuses because of the superior intelligence and trainability thus the moniker "French Poodle". Cocker Spaniels probably originated in Spain, as the name indicates. They were first used for hunting woodcocks, thus the cocker Spaniel shorted to cocker spaniel. They were considered to be merry alert little hunters, keen of scent and clever in retrieving game (and very fond of water).
A cockapoo is exactly what it sounds like 1/2 cocker spaniel and 1/2 poodle. It is not a mutt but a hybrid. A mutt can be anything that had canine parentage. A hybrid is a cross between two known entities. A breed is formed through careful record keeping over the generations until a certain ideal is well established and reproducing or breeding true.
First or Beyond Generation Cockapoo?
Most cockapoos you see are first generation (that is, a cocker and poodle cross (this is called F1), but there are increasing numbers of second and even third (any generation after first is breeding cockapoo to cockapoo). Breeding cockapoo to cockapoo is increasing as the hybrid endures and breeders continue to develop it. Breeding down through the generations helps to stabilize size and looks, with size the more important factor. For example, an 8 lb poodle and a 25 lb cocker could produce 8 to perhaps 30 lb pups (hybrid vigor can increase size as well as factoring in anything in the recent bloodline of either parent ). The 2nd generation (F2) can have the "grandfather effect", producing more of the original poodle or cocker in looks. By the 3rd generation (F3) things start to stabilize in size and looks. F2's and beyond can have more color variation as the mix of color genes becomes stronger. By F7 a breed is basically established to minimal variation and is arguably (both scientifically and within the dog fancy) a breed.
As a cockapoo puppy buyer you should be more concerned with the characteristics of the individual dog than the generation. There can be some variation in any generation but if you let your breeder know what it is you are looking for in a pup they can help you select the best pup for your family. No matter the generation, as long as health, temperament and looks (which is the entire package that makes the dog) -are paid attention to, you should be fine. Let the breeders worry about breeding the generations for science and what have you - and as an owner concentrate on choosing the best dog for your family. People getting hung up on the '"perfect" specimen for any breed is what pushed so many of the known breeds into the problems they have now with health and temperament due to inbreeding - these are the things that we are working so hard to avoid in the development of the cockapoo. Just as you would not worry about what generation a cocker or poodle or any other now-known breed is if you were to choose a puppy, you shouldn't be worrying about it now as a cockapoo owner or would-be owner; the prime concern should be the best dog for you and your family.
It is most important to realize and remember that one can't take a cocker from the flea market that is aggressive, and a poodle from a free ad in the paper that is a hyper-active yappy ankle biter and expect a good pup (please understand that we are not saying that all cockers are aggressive or all poodles yappy, but just as in any breed there are better individual dogs than others and it is the better ones that need to be selected for breeding). This is why it is most important to choose a solid, reputable breeder with experience in and dedication to breeding cockapoos. A pup from an NACR breeder that is paying attention to all aspects should be a good family member for the next 15 - 18 years.
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