The only problem with falling in love with a dog is that they don’t live long enough. Entering into a love affair with your Cockapoo will mean accepting they probably won’t outlive you and will end up breaking your heart when they are ready to cross the Rainbow Bridge. But how long can you expect your Cockapoo to be with you?
Genetics, health, a wholesome diet, and even luck will all play a part in the lifespan of each Cockapoo. The Cocker Spaniel and the Poodle live respectively between 10 and 15 years and 11 to 16 years. On average, the Cockapoo will live to thirteen years and beyond.
To get an insight into this emotive question, we need to look at the two parent breeds that make up the Cockapoo DNA and if mixing these two breeds results in a longer-lasting friend.
What you do need to remember, is that any “average” lifespan will depend highly on the dog’s genetics, lifestyle, diet, health conditions, and just pure pot-luck. For instance, a dog that has been regularly vet checked, vaccinated, fed a nutritionally appropriate diet, and been generally well cared for will naturally live longer than a dog who hasn’t benefitted from the same care.
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Cocker Spaniel Lifespan
Cocker Spaniels are considered a long-lasting breed, with many lasting between 10 and 15 years.
The English Cocker has an average lifespan of 12 to 15 years, while the American Cocker has a lifespan of 10 to 14 years.
Unfortunately, the Cocker Spaniel has a lot of health issues and will usually die from one or a mixture of illnesses and diseases that this breed is prone to.
Standard Poodles have an average lifespan of between 11 and 13 years. Miniature and Toy Poodles live on average between 14 and 16 years.
The Poodle is largely considered a high-maintenance breed, due to its tendency to have various allergies, skin issues, and propensity to develop cancer.
Does the Size of Cockapoo Make a Difference to Lifespan?
The Cockapoo is usually bred from the Miniature, but sometimes from the Toy, if breeding through generations of “back breeding” to achieve a smaller sized Cockapoo.
Commonly, the smaller the dog, the longer they will live. So, taking this into account, if you have a Mini Cockapoo, it will generally live a couple of years longer than a Standard Cockapoo.
English Cocker Spaniels live on average a year longer than the American Cocker Spaniel, so depending on the parent breed of the Spaniel side, this can have an impact on your Cockapoo’s longevity.
Life-Limiting Illnesses of the Cockapoo
When we say Life-Limiting, we are specifically talking about mild to serious illnesses that could potentially be life-threatening, if left untreated or undiagnosed. Often a life-limiting illness can progress to a life-threatening illness due to possible growing severity and the dog’s expected quality of life.
- Cataracts – This is the leading cause of blindness in both dogs and people, and Cocker Spaniels are highly predisposed.
- Progressive Renal Atrophy – An inherited disease, seen in both Cocker Spaniels and Poodles. Currently, there is no cure, and will eventually cause blindness.
- Ear Infections – Given the Cockapoo’s floppy ears and their love of swimming, this can lead to ear issues. Otitis is a particularly nasty condition, causing inflammation, pain and sometimes deafness.
- Dermatitis – Poodles are renowned for their predisposition to allergies and skin problems.
- Allergies – Both Cocker Spaniels and Poodles can suffer from allergies that may cause damage to internal organs if not addressed properly. Both breeds are often allergic to grains.
- Ligament Issues – Particularly tears are prevalent in the Cocker Spaniel
- Hip Dysplasia – Both parent breeds can suffer this painful condition. This can lead to arthritis.
- Bladder or Kidney Stones – This can mean lifelong medication
- Obesity – The Cocker Spaniel can be prone to obesity, thus increasing the chance that your Cockapoo will be too. Obesity in dogs, much like in humans, is totally avoidable.
- Tracheal Collapse – Prevalent in smaller Poodles. Be careful when walking your Cockapoo and try to use a harness or something that does not put pressure on the throat.
Common Life-Ending Illnesses of the Cockapoo
When we talk about Life-Ending, we are specifically talking about serious to terminal illnesses that could immediately cause death or are currently untreatable. Palliative care or euthanasia are sadly the only options in these situations.
- Mitral Valve Disease – Common in Cockapoos. This is when the valves of the heart don’t close properly. This is an inherited condition from the Cocker Spaniel side.
- Epilepsy – This is inherited from the Poodle side. Seizures can range from mild and insignificant, to catastrophic.
- Irritable Bowel Disease – Many Cockapoos suffer from IBS. This will cause malabsorption of certain nutrients and can lead to other conditions as a result.
- Arthritis – Prevalent in Cockapoos who have not been exercised properly, who are obese, or have inherited the gene from one of the parent breeds. Both Poodles and Cocker Spaniels are highly prone to arthritis.
- Hypothyroidism – This is technically a mild disease, but hard to diagnose. Often, by the time your Cockapoo’s disease is identified, there has been irreparable damage to organs, such as the heart and kidneys. Hypothyroidism causes weight gain, skin issues, lethargy, and hair loss.
- Immune Medicated Haemolytic Anaemia – Usually when the dog’s immune system overreacts to a threat, leading to the destruction of healthy red blood cells.
- Cancer – This is the number one cause of death in all dogs, but is common in Cockapoos due to the high occurrence of Cancer on the Poodle side.
Does Hybrid Vigor Improve the Cockapoo Lifespan?
The lifespan of the Cockapoo will depend on proper health care, physical and mental stimulation, and a good diet, but a lot also depends on genetics and breeding.
Health problems caused by genetics can be eliminated if the parent dogs are thoroughly health tested. If a genetic issue is found with either potential parent dog, then it should not be used for breeding because of the risk of passing the gene on. This is true with any breed of dog, whether a Purebred, Hybrid, Cross, or Mixed Breed dog.
Hybrids are about expanding the gene pool available to future litters, thus reducing the risk of closely linked DNA between litters.
Hybrid Vigor is where the gene pool is widened, thus enabling the desired traits, colors, personalities, sizes, and above all, health, to be refined and tailored by a breeder, to produce healthier future generations.
Cockapoos are becoming increasingly popular; therefore, their gene pool is ever-expanding, thus presenting the potential to out-breed the inherited diseases and illnesses that are currently present in the Cockapoo.
If you think of a purebred dog’s gene pool to be more of a “puddle”, with the recycling of age-old generational traits and genetics being used, then Hybrid Vigor produces more of a “lake” of varied genes that introduce new DNA mixes to the Cockapoo breed.
The F1 Cockapoo (50/50) is aesthetically the least desirable, due to the unpredictability of the coat and shedding possibilities, but, it is actually the healthiest generation that benefits the most from hybrid vigor. This is the generation that will most likely have the longest life.
F1b Cockapoos (25% Cocker Spaniel and 75% Poodle) will benefit a little less than the F1 from hybrid vigor but produces a more “saleable” and desirable dog due to its more predictable coat and appearance.
Hybrid vigor reduces with each generation due to the re-mixing of recycled genes and DNA. This can obviously mean a reduction in life expectancy due to the increased risk of inherited diseases.
How Old was the Oldest Cockapoo?
There are no official records of Cockapoo ages, but some have been known to reach the ripe old age of 22! Given the longevity of both parent-breeds, it wouldn’t be a crazy statement to make, that your Cockapoo will be a very long-standing member of your family.
There was a Toy Poodle whose owners sought to put in the Guinness World Records Book who lived to the age of 24, 25, or 26. Uncle Chichi’s age could not be proven as he was adopted from a rescue center and records proving his age had been lost.
Uno, a Cocker Spaniel, held the record of the longest living of it’s breed. He lived to the age of 22.
What will Improve my Cockapoo’s Life?
In any case, it shouldn’t be big news to you, that a long-living, healthy and happy Cockapoo will need love, care, and exercise.
- Good breeding – Choose a dog from a breeder who prides themselves in their breeding programme. A good breeder will be educated in hybrid vigor and inherited diseases of both parent breeds. They will have had both parent breeds thoroughly tested for any issues and be happy to show you the proof.
- Exercise – Exercise your dog appropriate to its age. Puppies should not be exercised too much as it can cause joint and ligament issues. Repetitive ball-throwing games may harm your dog’s joints.
- Veterinary checks – Regular check-ups will help to identify an illness before it progresses into something more serious.
- Diet – Feed your Cockapoo a healthy well-balanced diet containing nutritionally appropriate food to match your dog’s age and exercise level.
- Love – A happy dog will be relaxed and content. Stress in your Cockapoo will encourage the release of the hormone cortisol. This can cause weight loss, eating non-edible items through stress-chewing, and sometimes, a weakened immune system.