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Choosing Cockapoo puppy - advice please

(58 Posts)
EveryLittleThing Thu 07-Jan-16 12:00:54

Hi there - we are in a dilemma - we have found a brilliant breeder who has ticked all our boxes. She breeds cockapoos from 2 cocker spaniel bitches and a stud miniature poodle. One bitch is a working cocker spaniel and the other is a show cocker. Working cocker was due to give birth around now but her list was full so we are on the list for the show cocker which will be mated next month when she comes into season. However we have just had a call from the breeder to say that the working cocker has just delivered and had an extra puppy (girl) that was not seen on the scan - would we like it?

Very excited about the prospect of having a puppy sooner than anticipated but here is the dilemma:

a) being on the bottom of the list we would get zero choice of which puppy we get. I'm worried about ending up with a puppy that might not be the right temperament \ fit for us - I had psyched myself up and read all about how to choose a puppy etc and now that process will not take place. Breeder knows how keen we are to end up with the best possible temperament for our family and says that she does do her best to steer\match each family with the right puppy - after all she will have known them for 5-6 weeks and will have a fair idea of their personality by then. So we could end up with the right one for us.

b) if we wait for the next litter we will be top of the list and get first choice but it's a risk isn't it? What if she doesn't fall pregnant or doesn't have many pups or has all boys (we're keener on a girl but it's not a dealbreaker).

c) Plus DH is keener on having the working cocker puppies than the show cocker. I'm quite getting tangled about the difference - are show cocker cockapoos calmer? Are Working ones easier to train? confused

SO - Do we say - bird in the hand - whatever we end up with will be fine, there's not much in it and it will save all the angst of waiting and possible disappointments? Or do I be patient and wait and have a choice?

So sorry - I've waffled on - cannot believe I am getting so flustered over this! blush

Lonecatwithkitten Thu 07-Jan-16 13:51:44

First question is have all the dogs had the optigen blood test to check if they are carrying the gene for PRA this is a condition that affects cocker spaniel and poodles and the dogs go blind at a very young age. If they have not done this or try to bluff you about it run fast. There are cockerpoo breeders who check this, but the are not usually breeding F1s ( cocker X poodle) they are normal members of the cockerpoo club and are breeding to type ( trying to create a true breed) and their pups are F2 ( cockerpoo X cockerpoo), F1b ( cockerpoo X poodle).

tabulahrasa Thu 07-Jan-16 13:56:18

"I'm quite getting tangled about the difference - are show cocker cockapoos calmer?"

Who knows...they're crosses, they can come out like cockers or poodles and poodles are pretty active.

But working cockers are considerably more active and energetic than show ones.

"Are Working ones easier to train?"


Dieu Thu 07-Jan-16 14:05:07

I honestly think you're overthinking this. Go with the first litter and put it in fate's hands. As you say, who knows how much later another litter could be in the pipeline, and if you're happy with the breeder (and satisfied that she'll do all the relevant health checks, breed for temperament, etc) then you shouldn't go too far wrong.

Dieu Thu 07-Jan-16 14:05:40

Oh, and good luck!

Dieu Thu 07-Jan-16 14:07:42

Last one from me: don't get too fixated on typical breed characteristics. They are all individual, particularly in a crossbreed I'd imagine.
I have a Shih Tzu that most definitely isn't a lap dog, doesn't particularly like cuddles, etc. Not true to form at all! Keep an open mind smile

EveryLittleThing Thu 07-Jan-16 14:29:24

Lonecat - thanks for that advice - yes, we have been very thorough in our checks and the breeder has shown us all the relevant health check documentation for mum and dad. We've met both mums and the dad, and are really happy that we have found an ethical breeder - she gave us as much of a good grilling as we gave her. She explained all about the genetic conditions and what testing she has had done. The puppies are F1.

EveryLittleThing Thu 07-Jan-16 14:36:29

tabulah - thanks for your comments. Yes, I know they can favour either side or be a complete mix. But I had read somewhere that cockapoos bred from show cockers have different traits to cockapoos bred form working cockers and I was just wondering if that difference was significant or negligible - e.g. in terms of trainability - working cocker spaniels are obviously bred for working all day and therefore have been bred to have more stamina and energy, and perhaps are more biddable since they have to respond to commands in the field etc whereas show cocker spaniels are bred to stand around passively while they're prodded and poked and inspected). Gross oversimplification maybe but was just wondering if that difference was significant for a cockapoo puppy. grin

EveryLittleThing Thu 07-Jan-16 14:37:49

Dieu - yes I know confused - which is why I wanted someone to tell me what to do advice grin

EveryLittleThing Thu 07-Jan-16 14:39:52

And Dieu - thank you - yes, am resolving now to just stop obsessing relax and see how it goes

mrslaughan Thu 07-Jan-16 15:08:18

Well I imagine if they take over the cocker side, and it's a show cocker they could be calmer, but then they could take after the poodle size and then it really doesn't matter what sort of cocker it is.

I would be more concerned about health test and why these people are breeding them ...... A mother at school proudly was saying a friend has just got a puppy from the same parents as her cockerpoo, who would only be 9months old if that, which means the poor mum has had 2 litters in way less than a year. Sorry it just makes my blood boil.

needastrongone Thu 07-Jan-16 15:56:14

OP - What is the breeders reason for having the litter? If she has 2 bitches and one stud, she's a breeding for money, whatever checks she has done and how fantastic she has been. Sorry. For me, that's not a reason to breed.

FWIW, our working cocker is the easiest dog in the world. He comes from strong working stock (think FC through both lines). Our breeder had a litter because he wanted a puppy to work in the field, and had 4 colleagues that would take a puppy from the litter. His bitch has been spayed since then.

I am not trying to be a PITA, I am sure that I come like that. It's just it is incredibly difficult to find a breeder that is having a litter for all the right reasons. Puppy farming is massive. Cross-breeds are amazingly fashionable and sell for more money than a pedigree dog, so there's more room for profit and exploitation.

Anyway, our cocker is calm, placid, timid, biddable and gentle. He's a delight, and has been a perfect dog really. He's easier than our Springer, who comes from less strong working lines. I think it depends on the dog really. He will curl up after a long walk and sleep, the Springer wonders what's next grin

Good luck, I am sure all will be fine. What's the reason for choosing a cockerpoo rather than a poodle or a cocker?

Good luck again.

needastrongone Thu 07-Jan-16 15:59:54

Poodles and cockers are both intelligent dogs, so will need lots of training to keep them occupied. Clicker training is good fun. And the KC good citizen awards are useful, you get a polite, well mannered dog for the input.

Where did you find the breeder? Folk on here are very experienced, so may be able to provide insight.

EveryLittleThing Thu 07-Jan-16 16:24:38

mrslaughan - I agree and have spent some considerable time trying to find someone who I think is genuine and ethical. I came across many who were breeding back to back and in terrible conditions (different breeds) - it was terrible and horrifying. Makes my blood boil too. Plus the way certain breeders would try and find out which other breeders I had been to see and then try to discredit them. I think this sort of behaviour is spread across breeders of all manner of dog types, whether pedigree, pure bred or "designer". This breeder classes herself as a hobby breeder but she clearly loves her animals and they are first and foremost family pets.

EveryLittleThing Thu 07-Jan-16 16:35:08

needa - thanks for your comments. As I said above, I spent a long time researching breeders, but before that I spent a long time researching breeds too. Talking to owners, visiting friends with dogs, talking to breeders, vets, groomers, reading etc. I don't want a cockapoo because it is a "designer" dog or "trendy" (as some people would say) - but the more I have found out about these dogs, the more I feel that they would suit what we are looking for. Yes, any dog is going to be an unknown quantity no matter how hard you try to eliminate the risks. I don't really like the pure poodle look. I'm worried that a pure spaniel might be too difficult to handle and they shed a lot. I did love the (show) cocker spaniel mother when I visited the breeder - she fell asleep on my lap! I guess I'm trying to find a gentle, easily trainable dog with a steady temperament that would be good for my dd. I've read that cockapoos are increasingly used as therapy dogs especially for children on the spectrum and this is an important consideration for me as DD is ADHD.

I don't want to make a mistake choosing a dog - this would be so unfair to the dog, to dd and to us all as a family. I love animals and would never support poor practice. Just want to find the right family member for us.

EveryLittleThing Thu 07-Jan-16 16:36:50

PS Found the breeder from the accredited list in the affiliated club for cockapoos.

TrionicLettuce Thu 07-Jan-16 17:01:07

Was that the Cockapoo Club GB? If so then unfortunately a good proportion of their "approved" breeders are puppy farmers. Even their so called "hobby breeders" can breed up to 5 litters a year.

Poodles of all sizes are active, bright dogs and the smaller ones can be very buzzy little things indeed. If you're worried that a show cocker would be too much then a cross to a poodle isn't terribly likely to do much in the way of toning them down.

tabulahrasa Thu 07-Jan-16 17:20:53

" I'm worried that a pure spaniel might be too difficult to handle and they shed a lot."

But adding poodle makes them more likely to be livelier and more intelligent, intelligence isn't always a good thing. With dogs you want trainability and bidability...rather than strictly speaking intelligence as that means they have their own ideas about things, can often out think their trainer and are more likely to get bored which means they'll develop unwanted behaviours to combat their boredom.

Also poodle crosses often shed,the only way you can definitely get non shedding dogs is with parents from two non shedding breeds. (Or the same non shedding breed also) and why would you buy a dog that is half a breed you don't like the look of? What if it ends up looking like a poodle? If you don't like them, get a dog without any poodle in it. Though if you leave poodles unclipped they're pretty damn hard to tell apart from most poodle crosses, so I never understand that issue anyway.

Scottandcharlene Thu 07-Jan-16 17:28:33

We recently got a Cockapoo puppy and went through a long thought/research process before doing it. We were fortunate to find a family pet (show cocker) who's owner was doing it for a one off, it was very genuine. Our vet said they are the perfect dog in his opinion. It is such a shame they have the 'designer' label as the fact is they do make amazing family pets. The puppy farmers disgust me and I wish they didn't exist, but if you are lucky enough to come across a genuine puppy then why shouldn't you buy it - dogs are a long term commitment and the right dog for the right family is really important. Our little puppy is perfect and learns so quickly, we love her.

needastrongone Thu 07-Jan-16 17:37:53

Yep, I made that mistake just the other week, when I asked a lady that I met out walking if her dog was a cockerpoo, to be rather defensively told no, a Poodle.

My spaniels are fine, and don't shed much at all, especially when clipped short. Like I say, one 'needs' more than the other in terms of input, although, with their breeding, you would imagine the cocker to be the needy one.

I am afraid I don't know what a hobby breeder is, does that mean they don't charge or charge little? I can't imagine you would want to risk your dogs life, which is potentially what you are doing letting them have a litter worse case scenario, if they are a treasured family pet. I love my boys to bits, and wouldn't needlessly put them at risk. I can sort of understand it, if they are working dogs (just!!!). In fact, our springers mother had a litter of 14, needed an emergency C-section and was unable to feed her litter initially, why do that for no good reason?

I am sure your puppy will be absolutely fine, and will add so much to your lives and will be lovely, as you will ensure that the puppy is loved and trained and gets all it needs.

needastrongone Thu 07-Jan-16 17:42:10

scott, but this breeder has two bitches and a stud dog, which isn't a one off is it? And your dog sounds lovely, as I am sure this puppy will be.

I quite like the poodle look smile

Anyway, I'm off.

tabulahrasa Thu 07-Jan-16 17:44:42

"I am afraid I don't know what a hobby breeder is, does that mean they don't charge or charge little?"

It usually means they don't do anything with their dogs so aren't breeding for any other reason than to sell the offspring of their pets...I'm not sure why that is classed as a hobby over someone who breeds to get a working or show standard puppy though?

WorkingItOutAsIGo Thu 07-Jan-16 18:01:24

Happy cockapoo owner here: based on all the dogs I meet I would say only get a working cocker parented cockapoo if you are confident you can give her enough exercise and stimulation. They all seem to need a lot. My 1/2 show cocker cockapoo needs 60-90 mins good walks a day - the working cocker ones need more! But they are great dogs and we love ours dearly. Good luck!

Greyhorses Thu 07-Jan-16 18:10:11

I would personally go for a poodle from a kennel club breeder. Not sure what is wrong with a 'plain' poodle and why people feel the need to cross things into them...But if I had too choose I prefer the working strain of spaniel as the show line carries more health problems in my opinion.

Any breeder who has two bitches with litters so close together along with a stud dog at home is not one I would choose to buy from though regardless of breed or type...sorry!

Maryz Thu 07-Jan-16 18:15:50

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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