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.
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.