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Hi all,

My long-term partner and I have just bought our first flat together, and we would absolutely love to get a puppy.

We live in London and our new flat is the upper floor of a maisonette. It has 2 bedrooms and a garden (but the garden is not closed off). The flat backs onto a park and we'll only be a 10 minute drive from the countryside.

We both work during the day, so we'll be out of the house from roughly 9am-6pm Monday-Friday.

During its first year we would send it to doggy day care, and in subsequent years we would get someone in to walk it during the day. We would also walk it ourselves in the mornings and evenings and at weekends.

I know these conditions are not ideal, and we both want to make sure we get a dog that will be happy with these living conditions (if any exist!)

In our hearts, we really want a cockapoo... I know traits in cross-breeds vary, but they seem like great, playful, family friendly dogs. I've also read that they tend to suffer from separation anxiety, so I'm not sure if our set-up will work for them.

Is getting a cockapoo a crazy idea? Is it unfair on the dog? Is anyone in a similar situation? How has it worked out for you? Are there any other breeds you'd particularly recommend for these living arrangements?

Sorry, so many questions - we've never owned a dog before, so any advice is very welcome!

Thanks :)
 

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Don't take anything that you read on the internet about Cockapoos at face value. These dogs really run the gamut. As they are not a recognized breed, there are no breed clubs or standards set out to create a dog that is uniform in appearance and behavior, AND on top of that, no clubs or associations are regulating genetic issues that can crop up in any line such as: fear aggression, reactivity, resource guarding, separation anxiety, and so forth. If a member of the Labrador Association of Britain is found to be running a puppy mill, or is breeding together pairs that consistently produce dogs with epilepsy... They get investigated and blacklisted. If a breeder who is not part of a network of breed enthusiasts does the same... Well, unless animal control finds out, they will continue to do their thing and breed/sell puppies with a severe, debilitating and potentially hazardous issue.

This is really the crux of the issue with cockapoos, or for that matter any designer breed or product of a "backyard breeder". If the puppies have issues, you will never head about it.

What qualities drove you to cockapoos? If you want a low-energy dog, an italian greyhound, a whippet, a french bulldog or an english bulldog is a good bet. For sociable, affectionate, non-shedding breeds, check into havanese, bichon frise, poodles, and soft-coated wheaten terriers.
 

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Considering the lives some dogs have to deal with, spending 9 to 6 at home isn't all bad.

Our pup sometimes has to deal 10 hours a day alone, he just sleeps, or chews his bone or whatever. When I come home, he's definitely happy to see me, goes out for a pee or a run. He doesn't get separation anxiety, never been one for toys, just kind of does his own thing - and yes, I have had cameras up to watch him.

If your heart is set on a cockpoo, then do it. Don't believe everything you read online.
 

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Mixed breeds aren't necessarily a bad thing. Pick your breeder carefully. Make sure they health test their breeding dogs for any diseases found in either parent breed, same as you would if you wanted a pure bred dog. People can responsibly breed crosses.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the replies everyone.

In a dog, we're aiming for the following traits:

Fun, friendly and sociable
Good with children
Low-shedding (ideally low levels of drooling too)
Small to medium size
Medium energy levels

We liked the cockapoo because it ticked all of those boxes, and because it's pretty damn cute :p We did look at the french bulldog and the whippet, but I guess we're just not as drawn to them.

Kelly, would it not be possible to find reputable breeders, even if the dog isn't a standard breed? Assuming we did the appropriate amount of research, visited them, saw both of the parents etc.
 

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IMO, whether you are going to be able to find a "responsible breeder" of a designer mutt like Cockapoos is going to depend heavily on what you consider responsible. A lot of dog-people consider it irresponsible to be breeding a designer mix in the first place. Some may consider it responsible only when they are breeding towards a very specific goal (for example, breeding with the intention of establishing specific traits in a line and doing only a certain number of F1- poodle to cocker spaniel- breedings). Some might consider "responsible" just to mean that a breeder is only breeding when they have a full waiting list and know their puppies will have homes and are doing the health tests recommended for both Cockers and Poodles. From all the breeders in the world, yeah, you'll probably be able to find one up to your standards, and maybe more than one depending on what those standards are.

Certainly, however, you're going to find more bad breeders for this kind of mix than you are good, and the bad ones are likely to be really, really bad. Definitely visit any breeder you're curious about and see their dogs and get a good feel of them as people. If you have any reservations about someone, trust your gut instinct. With most actual breeds, I would say that you should keep in mind breeders might not want strangers coming to their homes unannounced/ some hesitation at allowing you to visit their home might be normal simple because breeders are people with private lives too, but with a designer mix like this I wouldn't get one from them unless you are welcome to visit and the person seems up to snuff in every way you can think of.

The biggest issue I see with Cockapoos is just that their isn't really any way to know what you're going to get in a dog, because their are no breed traits to follow, and Cockers and Poodles are two very different breeds. I will always be weary of getting any kind of designer mix, simply because IMO there's no real way to know exactly what you're getting. Coat type and level of shedding as well as energy level and general temperament traits like biddability and problem solving are going to vary depending on which breed they take after and also depending on what type of each breed is making up the mix (ie, working vs feild bred and American or English Cocker, and what line and size the poodle comes from). What is most troubling to me about this mix, however, is that both have a propensity to have very shoddy temperament/nerves and health if they come from less reputable breeders, and I would have to question where the breeding stock is coming from, since I can't imagine a great many reputable Cocker or Poodle breeders are letting their dogs go on to be used to breed crossbred dogs.

Some ideas of breeds that fit that:
- Boston Terriers (I'm a little biased, since they're "my" breed, but they really are fun loving pups great for families with children, although they can range from couch potatoes to wildly energetic, and do tend to be very high energy though not neccessarily destructive puppies)
- Toy or mini Poodles
- Havanese
-Shih Tzus (one of my personal faves, lol)
- Cocker Spaniels (though they do tend to be nippy/smarky as they age, IME, I have yet to meet an older Cocker at dog parks/on walks- and I've met quite a few- that the owner didn't warn me "might bite me" if I tried to pet it, though I wonder if this has more to do with how they're been socialized/trained than a true breed trait)
 
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