Buying a Cockapoo Puppy

Finding the perfect puppy for you is an exciting time but also needs some careful thought and planning. The cute little Cockapoo puppy will soon grow into an adult dog and will hopefully be part of your life for approximately 12-18 years. Deciding what variation of Cockapoo is right for you is key and you can help narrow down the choice by looking at the following:

  • Size
  • Type
  • Coat colour
  • Breeder
  • Timing


The size of Cockapoos can vary dramatically and will depend on the type of the parent dogs used.  For example, if you prefer a smaller Cockapoo then look at Toy Poodles crosses or American Cocker crosses.  If you want a slightly larger Cockapoo then look at Miniature Poodle crosses etc..  However, remember this is only a guide and individual dogs can vary.  Your breeder should be able to give you an indication of the size the puppy will grow into but the best guide of all is to see the size of the parents. 

There are several variations of Cockapoo so clarified here are some of the terms that you may encounter:


F1 denoting the first cross between any Cocker Spaniel and a Toy or Miniature Poodle.

F1 American Toy Cockapoo – the cross breeding of an American Show Cocker Spaniel with a Toy Poodle.

F1 American Miniature Cockapoo – the cross breeding of an American Show Cocker Spaniel with a Miniature Poodle.

F1 English Toy Cockapoo – the cross breeding of an English Show Cocker Spaniel or English Working Cocker Spaniel with a Toy Poodle.

F1 English Cockapoo – the cross breeding of English Show Cocker Spaniel, English Working Cocker Spaniel or a Show x Working Cocker Spaniel with a Miniature Poodle.

F1 Show Cockapoo – the cross breeding of an English Show Cocker Spaniel with a Miniature Poodle.

F1 Working Cockapoo – the cross breeding of an English Working Cocker Spaniel with a Miniature Poodle.

F2, F3 etc and ‘b’

F2 denoting a breeding cross of F1 x F1.

The F number increases by one position with each generation. The F generation will only increase by one position from the lowest F number denominator. For example, F2 x F4 results in an F3.

If any of the F2, F3 etc Cockapoo variations are then subsequently ‘bred back’ to one of the original Cocker Spaniel or Poodle breeds the resulting Cockapoos will carry a suffix of ‘b’. For example, if an F1 Cockapoo is bred back to a Cocker Spaniel or Poodle the result will be an F1b Cockapoo.

A Cockapoo that is already suffixed with a ‘b’ cannot be bred back again, and therefore must be bred with another Cockapoo of any generation from F1 onwards.


Coat Colour
Cockapoos can come in all sorts of colours and markings.  Take a look at our Coat Colour Gallery to see a large variety of coat colours.


Cockapoo Breeders

No dog breeder in the UK may breed 3 litters or more a year unless they have a current Council Breeding License permitting them to do so. However even if a single litter has all of its puppies advertised and sold then the breeder is deemed to be in the ‘business of breeding’ and should legally obtain a license from their local council. 

The type of breeder you choose to buy from will be a personal choice.  Some breeders will only produce one type of Cockapoo, others may produce a variety of the different types.  Breeders are often categorized into two types:

  • Smaller hobby breeder
  • Larger licensed breeder

The most important requirement is that the breeder genuinely cares for the health and welfare of both their puppies and their breeding dogs and follows good breeding practices.  Here at the Cockapoo Club of Great Britain we believe health testing is essential to ensure your puppy does not inherit certain genetic conditions that can exist in Cocker Spaniels and Poodles.

Ideally you should make a shortlist of your preferred breeders and visit them to find out more information and to meet the parent dogs to see their temperament and size.  A good breeder would never refuse a visit for fact finding and research.  If you visit a selection of breeders, you may well see a cross section of different types of housing used for the breeding dogs.  It is important that the breeding bitch is in an environment that she is comfortable with.  For example, if she is a house pet then to have her pups in the solitude of an outside kennel may well be stressful for her.  On the contrary, a kennelled bitch may feel equally stressed by having her pups in the hustle and bustle of a home environment.  The environment therefore needs to be appropriate for each individual situation.  It is wise not to take your wallet or purse with you on your fact finding tour otherwise you may be tempted to buy the first puppy you meet!  Our guide of What To Look For and what questions to ask may be helpful in making your final breeder selection.

Smaller hobby breeder
Hobby breeders usually raise puppies in the home and are legally allowed to have up to 2 litters per year.  The Dam (the bitch who will be Mum) usually lives in the home and the Sire (the dog who will be dad) may live in the home or be a Stud dog from elsewhere. Some hobby breeders will health test their breeding dogs but not all.  Always check with the individual breeder.

Larger licensed breeder
Larger breeders who have three litters or more per year require a breeding license from the local authority.  There will usually be a larger number of breeding dogs in this type of environment and they are more likely to have a resident Stud dog or dogs.  Some are born and raised in the home and some outside of the home in special accommodation.  Licensed breeders are more likely to have health tested most or all of their breeding dogs.  Always check with the individual breeder.

Getting the timing right to welcome your new puppy home is often overlooked.  Caring for a new puppy is very time consuming, particularly when house training.  Think carefully about how much time you will have in those first few weeks and the practicalities of getting your home and garden prepared.  More information regarding this is on the Taking Puppy Home page.  Please note that if you have thought about the timing and have a specific period of time in mind, it might narrow down your breeder choice because you will be governed more by time and therefore fewer litters may be available for collection at the time that suits you.

Starting your search – Your Puppy Buying Checklist

This checklist is relevant whether you are considering a home, hobby or licensed breeder. There are some important questions to ask and things to do before considering visiting breeders that will help you narrow your search down to 2 or 3 preferred breeders:

1. Google the breeder name and check out at least the first 3 pages.

2. Use Google earth and street view to see what the premises looks like. It’s not 
always up to date but it is a good starting point.

3. Telephone rather than emailing so you actually talk to someone then start with the following questions:

  • Ask if they are aware of the Cockapoo Club of GB and whether they are applying for approved breeder status where the puppies would get registration papers.
  • Ask what health testing they do. As an absolute minimum they should have one dog (mother (dam) or father (sire)) PRA clear from DNA testing (Progressive Retinal Atrophy).
  • Any additional testing is desirable (eg BVA for Glaucoma, X-ray and then scoring for Hip Dysplasia and DNA tests for Familial Nephropathy, PFK and/or Retinal Dysplasia depending on breed of dam and sire. See health testing page for more information.
  • Always ask whether they can show you the health test papers if you visit.
  • Ask if you will be able to see the puppies with the dam and whether you will be able to meet the sire. As an absolute minimum, you should see the puppies with their mother.
Extract from: Social Development of Puppies Early Social Investment Pays Major Dividends
by Wayne Hunthausen, DVM. 

The influence of the environment may actually come into play prior to birth.  In fact, studies have shown that when pregnant rats are subjected to stimuli that maintain a constant state of fear, the offspring show a higher incidence of fearful behaviors, decreased learning and poor reproductive behavior of the offspring when they become adults.  It is suspected that maternal stress during late pregnancy may change hormonal secretion in fetal males, effecting behavioral development.  It’s not unlikely that excessive stress on the bitch can also have harmful effects on her pups and should be avoided, especially during the third trimester of the pregnancy.  On the other hand, providing her with a friendly environment that encourages positive social contact is likely to promote desirable emotional development of her offspring.
  • Ask about vaccinations, worming and flea treatments the puppies will have.

They should want to know about you too and the kind of home you will be offering one of their puppies.

No dog breeder in the UK may breed 3 litters or more a year unless they have a current Council Breeding License permitting them to do so. However even if a single litter has all of its puppies advertised and sold then the breeder is deemed to be in the ‘business of breeding’ and should legally obtain a license from their local council. 

Poor breeders quickly lose interest once you start asking questions whereas a good breeder is very happy to let you know all about their breeding experience and knowledge.

We recommend visiting at least 2 or 3 different breeders before making an educated choice, and making the first visit a “fact finding tour” without taking a cheque book.