A lot of Poodle hybrids, including the Cockapoo (Poodle-Cocker Spaniel mix), have become popular due to their curly coats. Breeders often advertise these mixes as hypoallergenic or low-shed. But, how true is that? Are Cockapoos really hypoallergenic? Do they shed?
Although no dog breed is 100% hypoallergenic, Cockapoos are a good option for allergy sufferers because they are low shedding and do not let off as much danger in comparison with other dogs. Cockapoos with curly coats inherited from their Poodle parent are most hypoallergenic while Cockapoos with straight coats are not.
Let’s look at some of the different things that play a role in how much your Cockapoo will shed. I’ll also go through some ways that you can minimize any allergic reactions that may still occur if you have a Cockapoo.
Genetics of Cockapoo Shedding
Poodles have always been preferred by those that have allergies. The reason for this is that their tight curls do not shed as much as the hair of other dogs.
Shedding causes an increase in the release of dead skin cells, called dander. A lot of people are allergic to pet dander, rather than to the actual hair of the animal. This means that low-shed dogs like the Poodle do not cause as much irritation.
Cocker Spaniels, on the other hand, shed a lot. They have straight, flat hair that seems to get all over furniture and clothing.
This excessive amount of shedding, even when groomed regularly, means that Cocker Spaniels are not a good choice for those that have even mild allergies.
How Generation Affects Cockapoo Shedding
When looking at the genetics of Cockapoo shedding, we can see that the Poodle and the Cocker Spaniel seem to be at opposite ends of the extreme. This means that a Cockapoo that is more like a Poodle will shed less and be more hypoallergenic. A Cockapoo that is more like a Cocker Spaniel is not a good option if you want a dog that doesn’t shed.
Taking all of this into account, the likelihood of a backcrossed Cockapoo (F1b or F1bb) being hypoallergenic is far greater than an F1 or F2 generation.
Cockapoos that have been backcrossed twice, in other words, F1bb Cockapoos, are even better.
So, depending on the severity of your allergies or desire for a low shedding dog, consider only an F1b or F1bb Cockapoo.
How to Make Sure Your Cockapoo is Hypoallergenic
Ask Your Breeder
There are a variety of different factors that go into just how hypoallergenic and low shedding your Cockapoo is going to be. Poodles have slightly different fur textures, certain Cockapoo characteristics need to be selected when backcrossing, and many more.
This means that the difference between Cockapoo puppies with similar generations can be quite big.
Your breeder will be able to give you accurate information on their specific litter and will be able to recommend the best puppy in that litter.
Examine the Coat
It isn’t possible to ask a knowledgeable breeder all the time. Perhaps you are considering a Cockapoo from an accidental litter, or you want to adopt an older one.
In cases like this, looking at their coat is the best way to tell whether or not the Cockapoo is going to be hypoallergenic. The tighter their curls are, the better.
Remember, Cockapoos can have very tightly bound ringlets – the kind that looks like no brush could ever go through them even right after they’ve been groomed.
Even puppies should start showing these thick curls as early as two weeks old.
How to Reduce Cockapoo Dander
Even if you get a Cockapoo with the ideal coat, it will still lose some skin cells, which means you may still experience an allergic reaction to them. There are, however, some additional things that you can do to minimize the dander even further.
Regular grooming helps remove skin cells and dust that may be stuck in their coat. If this is done regularly, it will reduce the amount of dander around your house.
I recommend letting a groomer take care of this regularly. The reason for letting them do it, rather than attempting it yourself, is that all the dander and loose hair that is removed when your Cockapoo is brushed will remain at the dog groomers, rather than your home.
Groomers are also experienced in trimming fur. If your Cockapoo is given a short haircut, its fur will not hold as many allergens, and there will be less of it when they shed.
Clean Your Home
Pet dander is almost invisible to the naked eye until there’s a lot of it. Then, your Cockapoo’s skin cells will look just like yours; dust.
Make sure that you clean off any horizontal surfaces in your home regularly, as this is where the dander will most likely gather. I also recommend that you vacuum your floors daily.
It’s a good idea to clean your floors with something that has a HEPA filter. That way, you don’t blow the fine particles into the air. Be diligent about cleaning and replacing the filter as required too.
Close Off Certain Rooms
Ultimately, the only way that you can ensure that whoever is allergic to pet dander or fur does not come into contact with it is to prevent interaction with the Cockapoo or anywhere it goes.
This is unrealistic for a lot of people.
If only one person in your house only suffers from symptoms such as difficulty breathing when sleeping, preventing your pet from entering certain rooms in the house is the best solution.
You can keep that person’s bedroom door closed to prevent allergies from entering. Or you can close off an entire section of your house using a pet gate. These are very effective against smaller Cockapoo varieties and can be adjusted to fit most hallways or stairwells.