From The Blog

Choosing your cockapoo’s colour and coat type


How much does your cockapoo coat type and colour matter?

I well remember my conversation with the breeder when she questioned me about the type of cockapoo I was looking for.

A female, that was easy.

More poodle than cocker – I’m allergic to animal fur – no problem.

Colour? Even easier thought I, my instant response was golden. However, it appeared I hadn’t done my research here as golden – the colour of very dark honey in my eyes – was actually red, which comes in varying shades. Some 18 months later what I now have is a white cockapoo with a splash of apricot. If asked at the time I would most definitely have said that I didn’t want a white-coated cockapoo when we live in rainy Cheshire!

Do I care?

Oww this is so hard to admit, but when I see my ‘perfect’ colour cockapoo out and about I have to say that there is a real pang of envy; deep down red was the colour I’d set my heart on. However, when you fall totally in love with your dog and she with you, at the end of the day surely what colour they arrive at adulthood shouldn’t matter.

Tip One – Be prepared

So my first tip as a novice is be prepared…your cockapoo’s coat could end up any colour or mix of colours. I recently met a man in a local park who had bought a solid jet-black puppy and his adult coat grew into a rich sable colour (yes, it was what attracted me to talk to him!).

And believe me, having now met so many cockapoo and cavapoo owners, what you begin with is rarely what you end up with. When considering colours, your cockapoo can start off solid chocolate, jet black, apricot, pronounced red or multi-coloured as puppies, but the fading gene in the poodle line means that this can change dramatically over time. In my case Freya went from solid sable ears, face, legs and back markings, to ‘tea-stain’ traces of where the colour used to be.

So basically all the solid colours can fade to much lighter versions of their original selves, and the multi-coloured coats can become one primary, faded colour with the odd marking, eg, at the end of the tail, or on the face. Of course this doesn’t always happen, but you need to be prepared for it.

Below are images of Freya and her two best friends, half sister Amber (both had the same solid white poodle Dad) and her ‘stepbrother’ Digby.

Freya eight weeks, seven months and
today at 18 months with her colour fading fast.
Digby at 10 weeks, six months and now at four years. He has lost his white socks
and face, but kept his white tail tip, and retained his six-month champagne colour.
Amber not looking happy after her first groom at four months, and today at 20 months.
She was bought as a tri chocolate sable cockapoo, but the black has now
receded (other than her fabulous eyelashes) and the white almost disappeared.

There are some great puppy to adult examples on the GB Cockapoo Club site.

Does Size Matter?

And the size of your cockapoo – along with his or her coat type – is not guaranteed either. A toy cockapoo can reach up to 24cm in height with a sturdy build; the larger ones can reach 5.4kg. The miniature cockapoo ranges between 28 and 35cm high and weighs 6 to 7kg. The standard cockapoo should be at least 38cm in height and weigh more than 9kg. Freya was bought as a miniature, but has grown to a small standard at 43cm high and 9.6kg.

In terms of coat, at around eight weeks a good breeder should be able to identify whether a puppy coat will lean more towards a poodle’s, or a spaniel’s, but there’s a huge variation in between and it’s always going to be a gamble.

There are a myriad of eventual coat type and colour combinations – you only have to follow the #cockapoo hashtag on Instgram to discover this. I have written more in depth about this, along with the different cockapoo coat types, here.

Tip 2 – The most important choice of all

So my final tip on choosing your cockapoo is yes, naturally the aesthetics will matter, but what is far more important is their temperament and quality of breeding. I can remember Alison telling me Freya had a really sweet nature and she was absolutely right. Freya’s incredibly sociable and loves people, children and other dogs. She’s quick to learn and great fun to be with. There are still frustrations; at 18 months she’s still in teenage mode and can be a little challenging at times, but loved by all who meet her and a such a delight. 

4 Comments

  • Great to read this thank you. I had googled the cockapoo fade gene as my gorgeous baby Clover has changed so much from the beautiful dark red to a much lighter biscuity colour. But as you say – by the time they fade you love them so much. They really are wonderful dogs aren’t they? X

    • They most certainly are Janie…I now have Frankie, puppy number two, and didn’t even think about the colour too much this time. Freya is now almost white, obviously her pure white Dad’s genes had the most influence in the end.

  • Thank you so much for sharing this information. Our Louie is almost 2 years, and he is buff with apricot ears–far little apricot/red that I had hoped. We purchased at 7 weeks, and the breeder was able to give accurate estimates of coat texture and color. And yes, the best personality and most affectionate. However, we are now in the market for a red(deep red) cockapoo. I was not aware of the fading gene of poodle. This information will definitely help us with our choice–current breeder requires selection at 3 weeks, which is very difficult as texture and color are so unreliable! Really a gamble!

    • Delighted you found the article useful Faith. I don’t blame you for wanting fox red like me, it’s a really popular colour, but as with chocolate it does have a tendency to fade. I chose a red coat with Frankie (Freya’s little sister). She and her siblings were dark at three weeks, caramel with red ears and muzzle when we collected her at 11 weeks. Now at 10 months she is now a beautiful golden colour still with red ears, just like her Mum who kept her original colouring. Having said that, Frankie’s already fading, but she’s totally adorable. Other than male/female you can’t determine anything accurately at three weeks, it’s just too early, but good luck! Don’t forget to read the article about life with a second pup.
      https://freyathecockapoo.com/2020/05/29/life-with-a-second-puppy/

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