Why Breed Cockapoos Beyond The First Generation?
The simple answer is that as we breed to the Standards down the generations, we develop a replaceable dog and become a breed. 1st generation Cockapoos are not a breed but a hybrid mix commonly called “mutts.” Although a 1st generation Cockapoo should make a good pet, genetically speaking there is a lot of variety in appearance of the offspring. Some may even shed and have doggy odor. In terms of the laws of genetics, statistically, out of four pups, one will look like a Cocker or some variation thereof, one like a Poodle or variation and two will look like Cockapoos. Then if a breeder takes the two Cockapoos, breeds them with unrelated Cockapoo looking dogs, there will be about 1 in 4 of the second generation will look unusual.
Then the breeder takes the best of the second generation, breeds to an unrelated second generation, the odds become much more reliable with only a 1 in 8 throwback to the parent breeds. Similarly, the best 3rd generation bred to another unrelated third generation will produce 1 in 16 that do not look like Cockapoos.
There are other factors which influence: The prepotency of the stud, or mixing of the generations. By the 4th generation almost all predictably look like Cockapoos and have the qualities of personality, low/non shed and looks firmly set. ONLY with this type of
selective breeding does one get dogs who reproduce reliably.
Some AKC registration provable 1st and second generation look more like some other type of cross such as Dacshund x Cocker and may shed and have doggy odor. One of the most prominent faults are dogs with long coats and short hair on their heads
and faces. For a more scientific explanation we include the views of a biologist with support for our statements and also support for our strong position on not breeding related pairs.
What Does Cerf mean?
CERF is the acronym for Canine Eye Research Foundation: Veterinary Ophthalmologists submit results of eye exams to the Foundation. The data are stored for the various recognized breeds. However, Cockapoos are not yet included in the database. When we use the term “CERF” or CERF or CERF’d it means that the breeding stock being used by a particular breeder has passed the Ophthalmological exam. The Ophthalmologist looks for a host of inherited eye diseases found in dogs. Many breeds, including Cocker Spaniels and Poodles, have high rates of inherited eye disease. PRA (Progressive Retinal Atrophy) is perhaps the most common disorder, and results in dogs that develop cataracts and glaucoma early in life. We have seen Cockapoos develop it at 5-8 years. Glaucoma can be very painful and is treated with constant and expensive eye drops or by enucleation (I.E.removal of the eye.) Cataracts sometimes can be removed by Vet Ophthalmologists with sight being restored, but again is very expensive.
These diseases are ALMOST totally preventable if the breeder has his/her stock CERF’d annually. The exam is painless. Even with clearances, pups may develop disease later from hidden recessive genes. That is why breeder followup is so important. Scientists are working on DNA and genetic markers so that in the not too distant future, breeders will be able to eradicate the disorders from their lines. The Cockapoo Club of America, in the near future, will only accept breeding dogs for registration and show who have current eye exams.
WHEN WILL THE COCKAPOO BE ACCEPTED BY THE AKC?
We do not plan to be associated with the AKC as our focus and purposes are different. We breed a remarkably different dog whose “work” is primarily intended to be the perfect family pet, which means focus on the unique personality, health, temperament and longevity with a much less important focus on “beauty.”
WHY CAN’T I FIND A “REAL” COCKAPOO AT MY LOCAL SHELTER?
Because Cockapoos are so popular and in such great demand, people do not “get rid of them” and because our good breeders guarantee to take back any dog they have bred rather than see it wind up in a shelter. Again, good breeders usually maintain a waiting list of people wanting adult dogs. And Cockapoos in shelters, if you do find one, may not truly be a Cockapoo but may make a fine pet. We encourage people who are not fussy about parentage to adopt from the pound.
ARE COCKAPOOS HEALTHIER THAN THEIR PUREBRED ANCESTORS?
Yes, definitely. Our wider genetic pool enlarges the possibility of lower defect rates and this is maintained through deliberate out breeding. Also, the best breeders will have their dogs tested for Inherited Eye Diseases (called CERF) because eye disease (Progressive Retinal Atrophy and others) is so prominent in Cockers and Poodles. We also encourage testing for Hip Dysplasia, Luxating Patella’s and elbow problems, although these are less common. The American Cocker has a list of at least 53 genetically transmitted problems, the English 22 , the miniature Poodle 43, and the toy Poodle 48. The breeds with the highest number of problems are the German Shepherd and the Springer Spaniel, which exhibit more than 63. The breed with the least number of problems (at 2) is the Jack Russell Terrier, whose Club has not allowed any inbreeding or line breeding. Source: Canine Consumer Report, published by the Association of Veterinarians for Animal Rights, PO Box 6269, Vacaville, CA 95696-6269. Printed 1996.