Cockapoos—also known as Cockerpoos, Cockadoodles, and (in Australia) Spoodles—are the original designer dogs.
In this article, I will cover whether Cockapoos are good apartment dogs or not, and things you need to keep in mind.
Are Cockapoos Good Apartment Dogs?
Dog breeders first got the idea of crossing Cocker Spaniels and Poodles in the 1950s.
The result is a hybrid dog with three highly desirable characteristics:
- Manageable size,
- Happy temperament, and a
- “Hypoallergenic” if not always allergen-free coat.
These three highly desirable characteristics make Cockapoos a good choice for apartment living.
They are almost always small enough to meet weight limits in rental agreements.
Cockapoos that take after their Cocker Spaniel parent more than their Poodle parent will shed, but even these Cockapoos will not shed excessively.
More importantly for most dog lovers, Cockapoos are intelligent, easy to train, eager to please, affectionate and loyal with a sunny disposition.
Cockapoos get along well with other dogs and with people of all ages, from children to seniors.
Even if you have never owned a dog before, you won’t be challenged by taking care of a Cockapoo.
These dogs can be trained to a high level.
They excel at agility competitions. Cockapoos can be trained to be emotional support dogs, therapy dogs, and service dogs. They are one of the few designer dogs that can be trained for these jobs.
What Cockapoos Get from Their Parents
Every Cockapoo is a cross between a Cocker Spaniel and a Poodle.
The size of the Cockapoo depends on the kinds of Cocker Spaniel and Poodle it was bred from. To a lesser extent, its temperament and activity level do, too.
Cocker Spaniel Characteristics in Cockapoos
The American Kennel Club identifies Cocker Spaniels as smart, happy, and gentle, but doesn’t make a distinction between different sizes.
The truth is, the different sizes of Cocker Spaniels have some very different behavioral characteristics.
- English Show Cocker Spaniels are large dogs that have long ears and wavy hair, as well as a domed head. They don’t bark. They don’t snore. They don’t drool. They don’t dig. But they need lots of attention.
- Working Cocker Spaniels were bred to flush birds out of underbrush for hunters. Like all working dogs, they need a job to do to be happy.
- American Cocker Spaniels were bred for showing in competitions. They are smaller than the other two strains, and usually have a sweet disposition. They are open to strangers and lovey-dovey with the people they know.
All Cocker Spaniels love to use their noses.
This means you need to teach your Cockapoo the Recall command before you think of letting them off leash on their daily walk. Otherwise, they will run away, pursuing every interesting scent.
Cockapoos bred from Working Cocker Spaniels need more exercise than other Cockapoos.
Every Cockapoo wants to jump up into your lap and snuggle.
Cockapoos bred from English Spaniels get too large to do this as adults, but they still want physical demonstrations of affection.
Cockapoos bred from Show Spaniels tend to know that they are beautiful.
They generally won’t be as eager to please as Cockapoos bred from working dogs. But they are less likely to grow too large to meet size limitations in your lease.
Poodle Characteristics in Cockapoos
Poodles don’t shed. They are close to being truly hypoallergenic.
This is the reason they are so popular for creating designer dogs, such as Labradoodles, Goldendoodles, Schnoodles, Maltipoos, and so on.
Poodles are popular because they are wonderfully intelligent. They seem to be able to sense and respond to human emotions.
Cockapoos that get this characteristic tend to be more sensitive to loud noises, arguments, and traffic noise than other designer dogs.
How You Can Tell You Are Buying the Right Cockapoo Puppy
Good breeders know how to bring out the best in Cockapoo puppies by training.
If you see a Cockapoo puppy that is happy and loves to play and is eager to meet new people, you can be sure the breeder socializes puppies properly from the first day they are alive.
If you see a Cockapoo puppy that is shy or aggressive, you can count on needing to send your dog to the trainer to get bad habits corrected.
What to Expect of Cockapoo Puppies in Apartment Living
Cockapoo puppies have five characteristics that make them well-suited to apartment living.
- They are biddable, that is, they are willing to learn.
- They are eager to please their human family.
- They prefer to keep themselves clean.
- They don’t poop where they eat or sleep.
- Most Cockapoos will do anything for a treat or praise.
These characteristics come in handy when you are house-training your Cockapoo.
House Training Your Cockapoo Puppy
Most experts recommend that you set aside an entire week for training your Cockapoo.
When you first bring your Cockapoo puppy home, she will assume that your entire apartment is her den and it’s OK to urinate and defecate anywhere.
You will need to remind your Cockapoo puppy gently and persistently that it is not OK to make a mess inside your home.
Most experts recommend that you do not attempt to train Cockapoos with pee pads.
They can become dependent on them, so that they continue to go inside on the pad even as adults. Worse, they can get the idea that any soft material, like a blanket or a comforter, is an acceptable toilet.
Instead, experts advise setting up a schedule for taking your puppy outside at the following times:
- Immediately after they wake up in the morning.
- Shortly after they feed.
- Immediately after a drink.
- Whenever they get excited.
- After every playtime.
- Last thing before going to sleep at night.
Initially, you will need to plan to take your Cockapoo puppy outside for toileting once an hour, even when they don’t need to go.
They will eventually get the idea and stop making a mess in your apartment, if you can take them to the same place every time.
When they are adults, they can potty in a variety of locations, but taking your Cockapoo to a variety of toileting locations is too much for them to learn all at once.
Cockapoo Puppies Need to Be Kept on a Short Leash
When you are first getting into the routine of living with a Cockapoo puppy in an apartment, you will need to keep one thing in mind:
Cockapoos love to use their noses.
If you don’t have a short leash to keep your Cockapoo puppy within about six feet (2 meters) of you, expect lots of roaming and joyfully taking in the odors of the world, and very little getting down to business.
Especially for potty time, you will need to keep your Cockapoo on a short leash.
Preventing Hip Dysplasia
Breeders usually test parent dogs to make sure that their puppies won’t carry the genes for hip dysplasia, but sometimes the problem isn’t detected.
Hip dysplasia is a failure to grow cartilage to hold the ball-and-socket hip joint in place.
Dogs that develop hip dysplasia will have a hind leg that sticks out sideways, or they will limp, and they will have difficulty going up and down stairs.
Forcing your Cockapoo puppy to go up and down stairs can trigger hip dysplasia.
If you don’t live on the ground floor, you will need to use an elevator, or carry your puppy so they don’t have to go up and down stairs on their own.
Cockapoos who make it to adulthood without developing the problem usually can handle one or two flights of stairs a few times a day, but it’s better to have an elevator for them, too.
Making Your Apartment Puppy-Proof
Don’t forget to take the standard safety precautions to get your apartment ready for your Cockapoo puppy!
Here’s a checklist.
- Move valuables and breakables where your puppy can’t reach them. This includes children’s plush dolls and toys.
- Cover electrical cords so your puppy will not chew on them.
- Put cleansers and chemicals behind latched cabinet doors.
- Remove carpets and throw rugs to keep them clean and usable.
- Define some physical boundaries with a puppy gate. Don’t let your Cockapoo puppy roam freely throughout your apartment.
- Get a crate. Keep it open during the day so your Cockapoo can feel comfortable inside.
- Buy puppy toys! Toys will keep your Cockapoo occupied when you need to direct your attention to something else.
What to Expect from a Full-Grown Cockapoo in Apartment Living
Adult Cockapoos are almost always well-suited to apartment living. They only need about 15 minutes of outdoor exercise every day.
They will let you know when someone is at the door, but they don’t bark very much otherwise.
They get along well with cats if you introduce them gradually, letting them get to know your cat’s scent before they meet your cat face to face.
How do Rescue Cockapoos do in Apartment Living?
People give up dogs for a variety of reasons. They may get engaged to someone who is allergic to dogs. They may take a job overseas. Older owners go into nursing care.
And sometimes Cockapoos wind up in rescue centers because they are difficult dogs.
Find out as much as you can about any rescue Cockapoo you are thinking about adopting before you take them home.
Keep in mind that Cockapoos can be “Velcro” dogs, needing constant attention because they were traumatized earlier in life.
And don’t expect every Cockapoo to be hypoallergenic!
If you are willing to accept an imperfect but loving dog, then consider taking in a rescue Cockapoo. For information on where you may be able to find a rescue Cockapoo, visit Oodle Life.
Frequently Asked Questions About Keeping Cockapoos in Apartments
How big can Cockapoos get?
Even a “Maxi” Cockapoo, bred from a Standard Poodle and any of the three strains of Cocker Spaniel, is unlikely to grow to weigh more than 24 pounds (11 kg) or stand more than 15 inches (38 cm) tall.
When will my Cockapoo stop growing?
Cockapoos usually reach their adult height by the time they are nine months old, and stop gaining weight around their first birthday.
Are Cockapoos easy to potty train?
Most Cockapoos can be toilet trained in about two weeks, if the owner can stick to the program described earlier in this article.
Can Cockapoos be left alone?
Cockapoos love attention. They can be left alone with their toys or another pet for several hours at a time, but unfortunate incidents are less likely if someone can come in to check on them during the day.
What size crate will I need for my Cockapoo?
Cockapoos do well in 36-inch (90 cm) crates. This gives even adult Cockapoos room to stretch out comfortably.
Start your Cockapoo puppy in this adult-sized trait, and they will learn to be comfortable in it for the rest of their lives, especially if the crate has a divider for storing your Cockapoo’s toys.
Other articles you may also like: