Cockapoos, as you may or may not already know, are by far the most popular of all crossbreeds in the country, and fourth of all breeds in general. This means that there is greater demand for Cockapoos than many of the recognised pure breed or pedigree dogs, including the likes of English Bulldogs and Labradors.
One of the most confusing things, if you are new to crossbreeds and particularly Cockapoos though, when looking at dogs for sale adverts is the rather confusing names they are given. For example, you may come across a Cockapoo for sale that has been advertised as either a Cockapoo F1, F1b, F2.
When it comes to dog ownership, whether you choose to adopt or own, we feel strongly that you should do as much research as possible. You need to make sure that not only is a Cockapoo right for you, but also that a dog in general is right for you.
As it would be helpful to understand these F designations, that’s what we are going to discuss in this post. We want to ensure you understand the jargon, so you know exactly what you are getting.
First things first.
What Exactly is a Cockapoo?
Just in case you are not aware, Cockapoos are hybrid dogs that involve the crossing of a Cocker Spaniel with a Poodle (any size). However, the name also acts as an umbrella descriptor for all generations of Cockapoos, whether it is Cockapoos crossed with other Cockapoos and Cockapoos crossed with one of the parent breeds.
What do these F Designators Mean in Relation to Cockapoos?
The F followed by a number that is often placed after Cockapoo dogs and litters is a reference to the actual crossing or mixture that was involved with the creation of that dog. For example, a first generation cross of Cocker Spaniel and Poodle, and those where Cockapoos have been bred with Cockapoos, and all other combinations.
The F therefore tells you the ancestry of the litter or dog is, but should not be seen as some indicator as to the worth or quality of the dog, but is noted to describe the origins and background.
So, what do the Different F designations Relate to with Cockapoos?
- An F1 Cockapoo refers to the first-generation cross breeding of a Cocker Spaniel and Poodle.
- An F2 Cockapoo refers to the mating of two first generation Cockapoos bred with one another.
What are Throwbacks?
There is quite a bit of variation in terms of individual dog’s appearance, especially when it comes to F2 Cockapoos, and you may even find that some will actually look like their grandparents, be it the Cocker Spaniel or the Poodle, than a more conventional Cockapoo.
These are known in the world of cross breeding as throwbacks, or puppies with the ‘grandfather effect’. However, this ‘grandfather effect’ and the precise appearance the dog will have as an adult will only be apparent once they are between six to eight weeks old.
What is Back-Crossing?
It is important, while we discuss this subject, to note that Cockapoos are not always the result of a crossing with a Cocker Spaniel with a Poodle or just two Cockapoos together. You have what is known as back-crossing, which is the mating of a Cockapoo with one of the parent breeds.
You know that a dog is a back-cross, because it has the letter b next to the F designation. For instance, an F1 Cockapoo that has been bred with a Cocker Spaniel or a Poodle will have the designation F1b, while an F2 Cockapoo that has been mated with a Cocker Spaniel or Poodle will have the F2b designation.
Some breeders rely on back-crossing to avoid the ‘grandfather effect’ found in subsequent litter generations. For example, when a first-generation Cockapoo, or F1 Cockapoo, does not have a coat that sheds less, as is usually desired, then they could be bred back with a poodle to strengthen and enhance this particular trait in that particular dog’s puppies. Back-crossing is also used as a way to give breeder the opportunity to tweak their puppies’ appearance or to improve the desirable characteristics.
An Overview of Cockapoo F Designations
To give you a better understanding of the different Cockapoo generations and their relevant designations we have laid out clearly below.
- F1 – Cocker Spaniel and Poodle bred together to create a Cockapoo
- F1b – Poodle or Cocker Spaniel bred together with an F1 Cockapoo
- F2 – Two F1 Cockapoos bred together
- F2b – Either a Cocker Spaniel or Poodle bred together with an F2 Cockapoo or an F1b Cockapoo and an F1 Cockapoo
- F3 – Two F2 Cockapoos bred together
- F4 – Two F3 Cockapoos bred together
The numbers beside the F continue on more or less indefinitely, so you can, believe it or not, eventually have an F10 Cockapoo which would be two F9 Cockapoos bred together
If that all sounds straight-forward, we might be about to blow your mind a little. Because when you mate two Cockapoos from different generations, like an F1 Cockapoo with an F2 Cockapoo for example, it gets a bit more complex.
If there is a generational gap between the F designations of the parents, the one in the middle is used to describe it. So, mating an F3 Cockapoo with an F1 Cockapoo results in an F2 Cockapoo.
When there are no generational gaps, however, like mating an F1 Cockapoo with an F2 Cockapoo, the highest number is the number used.
Admittedly, it can be a bit overwhelming and complicated trying to understand the generations and F designations, particularly if you are new to hybrid dogs and breeding. We hope though, that the above chart helps to make it a little simpler. When in doubt about anything, just ask the breeder and they will be able to explain things for you.
Needless to say, it is still an important part of buying and adopting Cockapoos that you need to understand so you don’t get lost with all the different jargon.