Cockapoo vs Labradoodle, how do you decide?
Comparing the Cocker Spaniel Poodle mix and the Labrador Retriever Poodle mix is tough. Both of these hybrids are adorable, intelligent, friendly and charming.
Due to both having Poodle and gundog heritage, these mixes have a lot in common too.
But the best way to figure out which one is right for you is to delve into their differences.
Cockapoo vs Labradoodle Origins
In the canine world, designer dogs are a relatively new phenomenon.
It might surprise you that the Cockapoo, which originated in the U.S., has only been around since the early 1960s or so.
Labradoodles are also one of the original hybrids. They came onto the scene in Australia in the late 1980s.
Cocker Spaniel Origins
There are two different types of Cocker Spaniel.
The English Cocker Spaniel was founded first, to help hunt feathered game.
The Cocker Spaniel most of us are familiar with was refined later, in the U.S. Their primary purpose changed from gundog work, to providing companionship.
And their appearance has changed too. The American variety today is shorter, and has a thicker coat, than their English forefathers.
Labrador Retriever Origins
The Labrador is descended from the St. John’s Water Dog, a water retriever from Newfoundland.
These dogs were bred with British hunting dogs during the latter half of the 19th century to create the popular breed we know today.
Modern Labs are one of the most successful dog breeds ever. Besides gundog work, they’re also employed in other roles such as service dogs and search and rescue dogs.
And of course, they’re very popular pets!
Of course, the breed which unites the Labradoodle and the Cockapoo is the Poodle.
And Standard Poodles are, in fact, another breed initially used to hunt and retrieve waterfowl!
Their name even comes from the old German word pudeln, which means “to splash in water”.
Miniature and Toy Poodles were created after the Standard Poodle, to capture their clever, affectionate temperament in a smaller dog.
And whilst some Miniature Poodles have been used as working dogs, Mini and Toy pups are almost always bred with companionship in mind.
Cockapoo vs Labradoodle Size
The three sizes of Poodle also give rise to a lot of variation in Labradoodle and Cockapoo size.
Labradoodles are usually a cross between a Lab and a Standard Poodle.
Labradors stand 21.5 to 24.5 inches tall and weigh 55 to 80 pounds.
Whereas Standard Poodles stand over 15 inches and weigh 40 to 70 pounds.
So the offspring of these dogs are about 21 to 24 inches tall and weigh 55 to 80 pounds.
Mini Labradoodles, with a Miniature Poodle parent, will be smaller.
Cockapoos are smaller than both sizes of Labradoodle, since Cocker Spaniels are only 13.5 to 15.5 inches tall and weigh between 20 and 30 pounds.
To keep them compact, Cocker Spaniels are usually crossed with a Miniature Poodle. Miniature Poodles are 10 to 15 inches tall and weigh 10 to 15 pounds.
So Cockapoos generally weigh around 20 pounds and stand roughly 15 inches.
As with all mixed breed puppies, looking at their parents’ size is the best way to estimate how big they will grow.
Cockapoo vs Labradoodle Coat
One of the reasons Poodle mixes are so popular is because of their curly coat.
Poodles are often described as “non-shedding” and “hypoallergenic”.
It’s true that Poodles and Poodle-cross dogs tend to shed less than other breeds, because they don’t have an undercoat, and when they do lose hair it tends to get caught in their curls.
But there isn’t really any dog that doesn’t shed somewhat, or is completely allergen-free.
Cockapoo’s can inherit the Poodle’s tight curls, have the long, silky coat of the Cocker Spaniel, or be some combination of both.
Likewise, Labradoodles may get the low-shedding Poodle coat. Or the coarse, shedding Labrador coat. Or a fleecy coat that’s somewhere in between.
Cockapoos that inherit their coat from a Cocker Spaniel will shed moderately, but Labradoodles with a Labrador may shed a lot.
Labradoodle vs Cockapoo Color
Coat texture isn’t the only thing that’s impossible to predict in Poodle crosses. An amazing variety of colors are possible too!
Cocker Spaniels are traditionally recognized in 6 colors:
- White and buff
Labs come in 3 officially recognized colors:
But, the non-standard dilute colors charcoal, silver and champagne are also gaining popularity among pet owners.
And Poodles are blessed with coats in a whopping 10 standard shades:
- Café au lait
Which means both Cockapoo and Labradoodle puppies are born is a dazzling array of beautiful, and sometimes unexpected colors.
Cockapoo vs Labradoodle Grooming
Poodle coats need lots of care. Not only daily brushing to avoid matting, but regular haircuts to stay tidy.
Cocker Spaniel coats shed moderately and require consistent brushing to remove tangles and debris.
Lab coats are the least maintenance intensive on a day to day basis.
But even though their double-coat is short, it’s very dense with fur.
This means they still need to be brushed regularly to cut down on finding loose hairs everywhere.
Since it’s impossible to predict the coat texture and grooming needs of a Cockapoo or a Labradoodle while they’re a puppy, just ask yourself about either “am I ready for a lot of coat maintenance?”
Cockapoo vs Labradoodle Temperament
Both the Cockapoo and Labradoodle have friendly, playful, and sociable personalities.
Either of these dogs are great companions and family pets in the right environment.
They are both likely to be energetic and boisterous at time, but the Labradoodle’s larger size means they’re more likely to accidentally knock over small children or elderly people.
And whilst Cockers and Labs are both outgoing and confident around new people, if either of these hybrids take after the Standard Poodle, they may be more reserved around strangers.
Either mix will be incredibly loyal and loving around their family though, and keen to interact and take part in games.
Cockapoo vs Labradoodle Exercise
Despite their smaller size, Cockapoos rarely need less exercise than a Labradoodle.
Remember, they still come from working stock, and have bags of stamina!
Cockapoos need daily exercise, whether it’s a game of fetch or a walk in the park. Cockapoos from English Cocker Spaniel parents are likely to need significantly more exercise than Cockapoos from U.S. Cocker parents.
Labradoodles need at least an hour or two of daily activity to burn off excess energy and avoid boredom.
Both hybrids love to run around and play outdoors. Besides physical outlets for their energy, you’ll also need to find ways to use up their mental energy.
Such as training games, puzzle feeders and toys.
And as these dogs are the offspring of dogs bred to be in the water, so your Cockapoo or Labradoodle is likely to love swimming.
Cockapoo vs Labradoodle Training
Both of these dog are very smart and eager to please, the ideal combination for training.
They’re also highly motivated to work closely alongside a human handler – a trait from their old hunting days.
Only positive reinforcement methods should be used to train any dog. Harsh words or punishment will only serve to make them frightened of you and unsure what to do next.
Both mixes do well in agility training, since their keen intellect loves a challenge.
Cockapoo vs Labradoodle Health
The average lifespan of a Cockapoo is 10 to 14 years
The Labradoodle, 12 to 14 years.
Generally speaking, smaller dogs live longer than large dogs, so the size of the Poodle parent may have an impact.
Finding healthy puppies
Both mixed breeds are at risk of genetic diseases that affect the Poodlen notably:
- Chondrodystrophy, a form of dwarfism
- Hip dysplasia
- Elbow dysplasia
- Tooth and gum diseases
- Luxating patellas (kneecaps that slip out of place)
- Sebaceous adenitis, a skin disease
Cockapoos are also vulnerable to hereditary disease which commonly affect Cocker Spaniels:
- Elbow dysplasia
- Hip dysplasia
- Patella luxation
- Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), a genetic eye disorder that can cause blindness
- Thyroid disease
And Labradoodles are at increased risk of congenital diseases in Labradors:
- Elbow dysplasia
- Hip dysplasia
- Thyroid disease
Happily, all of these conditions can be screened for in potential breeding dogs, so that sufferers and carriers can be excluded from breeding programs.
To find a health Cockapoo or Labradoodle puppy , insist on seeing certificates to prove all the relevant diseases have been screened against.
Cockapoo vs Labradoodle – Which Dog is Right for Me?
Both of these dogs have sweet, playful personalities that are well-suited for most family situations.
If they inherit a curly coat they will need a lot of time dedicated to grooming.
A Labradoodle will be significantly larger than a Cockapoo, so if you have a smaller living space, the Cockapoo may be the better option.
Only you can decide, but whichever dog you choose, make sure to buy from a reputable breeder who screens their breeding stock for inherited health conditions.
References and Further Reading
Li, Y, et al., “Cellular Proliferative Capacity and Life Span in Small and Large Dogs,” The Journals of Gerontology, 1996.
Aguirre, GD, et al., “Progressive retinal atrophy in the Miniature Poodle: an electrophysiologic study,” Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 1972.
Löscher, W., et al., “Evaluation of epileptic dogs as an animal model of human epilepsy,” Arzneimittel-forschung, 1984.
Randolph, JF, et al., “Factor XII deficiency and von Willebrand’s disease in a family of miniature poodle dogs,” The Cornell Veterinarian, 1986.
Sigle, KJ, et al., “Long-term complications after phacoemulsification for cataract removal in dogs: 172 cases (1995–2002),” Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 2006.
Panciera DL, “Hypothyroidism in dogs: 66 cases (1987-1992),” Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 1994.