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Is A Merle Cockapoo A Real Deal, Or A Red Flag?

Is A Merle Cockapoo A Real Deal, Or A Red Flag?

It is always delightful to see a small canine with a merle coat. However, in this particular case, we need to raise the question: ‘‘How reliable is a Merle Cockapoo puppy?’’

In a nutshell, Merle Cockapoos are a crossbreed between a Poodle and a Cocker Spaniel. Still, many reputable breeders and dog experts doubt the reliability of this particular dog as neither of its dog parents has the merle pattern in the first place.

That’s why seeing Merle Cockapoos is not an everyday thing. Still, there are a number of breeders who accept the merle gene in a Cockapoo puppy, as long as it comes from a single merle parent.

Are Merle Cockapoos Even Real?

merle cockapoo holding in mouth something
Photo from: @keelothecockapoo

Actually, Merle Cockapoos are, indeed, real dogs that come from two distinguished parents – the Poodle and the Cocker Spaniel. However, nobody actually knows how these merle canines have come to existence as none of these purebred dog parents have the merle color pattern in their coat.

Many experts believe that the merle gene has been transferred from one of these ancestors to their offspring, but it is generally highly unlikely to see a Poodle or a Cocker Spaniel with the merle pattern.

There is a high chance that a puppy with the merle pattern will not be as healthy as other Cockapoo puppies as the merle gene can cause many health issues. Still, the most common opinion states that this is related only to puppies with a double merle gene.

Both of the Cockapoo’s dog parents are pretty healthy dogs.

However, Poodles are qualified among the healthiest dog breeds in the world, which makes this breed so special. Their offspring, Cockapoos, or also popularly known as Cockerpoos, Spoodles, and Cockerdoodles, have inherited this trait as they happily live up to 15 years.

What Two Breeds Make The Merle Cockapoo

Even though there are many doubts about this hybrid dog, Merle Cockapoo puppies also come from two purebred dogs – the Mini, or Toy poodle, and the Cocker Spaniel.

Still, there is a plethora of breeders and dog experts who believe this merle canine has a tinge of some other breed as neither Poodles nor Spaniels have the merle color pattern in their coat.

On the contrary, some believe that the merle gene has been implanted in the Cockapoo’s parents since the early developmental stage.

There is a slight possibility that the gene was transferred to the Cockapoo’s parents from a common ancestor. That explains why this mutation was transferred to these designer dogs in the latter stage.

Still, this mixed breed is a favorable dog among dog owners as it makes a fantastic family dog. In fact, both of its parents make excellent family dog breeds, and they are highly favorable among families with small children.


dog poodle in the garden

Poodles come in various sizes, among which the most popular are Standard, Miniature and Toy Poodles. However, some breeders distinguish the standard one from the Giant Poodle, while others claim these two are actually the same breed.

Generally, all three types of this dog are AKC recognized, which makes this dog quite favorable. Mini Poodles stand up to 15 inches in height, while they weigh around 10 to 15 pounds. On the other hand, the Toy canines reach no more than 10 inches in height, and they don’t weigh more than 6 pounds.

These canines come in various coat patterns such as apricot, cream, white, black, gray, red, silver, or a parti-color. Unfortunately, the merle color pattern is not AKC recognized. However, there are some Merle Poodles that you can find on the market.

On the other hand, we have a plethora of dogs that display this color pattern such as Dachshunds, Australian Shepherds, Great Danes, and Border Collies.

Poodles generally easily adapt to new environments, and their intelligence level is high. These canines make amazing family dogs as they get along with other pets, as well as with small children.

Cocker Spaniel

cute cocker spaniel sitting on the floor with brush next to him

The Cocker Spaniel is an abbreviation for the American Cocker Spaniel. This prefix was added in order to distinguish the canine from the English Cocker Spaniel. Even though many people don’t see the difference, these two dogs are different in many aspects.

Still, what we are looking for is the American one as these canines make the Spoodle’s parent. These purebred canines are long-term members of the American Kennel Club, which puts them on the very top of the list of the most desired family dogs in the U.S.

These canines reach up to 15.5 inches in height. On the other hand, they weigh between 25 and 30 pounds on average. While English Spaniels have a much longer lifespan, these purebred canines reach up to 14 years of life.

The most popular color patterns of this doggie are black, brown, cream, sable, silver, red, buff, and golden. Again, the merle color pattern is not AKC recognized, but we can still find the Merle Cocker Spaniel at some breeders.

However, many dog experts don’t recommend these canines as they are bred by unreliable backyard breeders.

These canines are almost as good as Poodles when it comes to family life. They learn new tricks easily, adapt to children and small pets, and their natural level of socialization is pretty high.

A Little Walk Throughout The Merle Cockapoo’s History

While there is a rise in their popularity, these Merle canines’ history is still pretty vague. There is a belief that these canines have come into existence from parents with the merle gene, which was inherited from common ancestors.

For instance, Old English Sheepdogs are a very high possibility.

On the other hand, some Cockapoo breeders believe that this canine doesn’t have the exclusive bloodline of a Poodle and a Cocker Spaniel. On the contrary, they believe that these canines were born as a result of mixing these two dogs with another breed, which explains the merle pigmentation on their coat.

Still, we can say with certainty that Cockapoo puppies have been among us for the last sixty years as they were originally designed in the 1960s. The idea behind this crossbreed was to design a charming toy dog with excellent family traits.

These hypoallergenic canines make excellent home dogs as they attach to their families easily, and do well around other pets, too.

Physical Appearance

merle cockapoo laying on the bed
Photo from: @luna_the_merlecockapoo

The Cockapoo breed stands among the most charming dogs in the world, which is a trait of both of its parents. These canines don’t exceed 14 inches in height, and they weigh only 15 pounds. Their small size makes them ideal for indoor life as they don’t need much space.

Still, these canines are pretty active as their playfulness level is pretty high.

When it comes to their coat, these canines come in many color variants, among which the most popular ones are solid colors such as red, apricot, cream, tan, black, and white. There are also parti-colored Cockapoo puppies, such as black and brown, or tan and white.

However, the rarest color pattern in a Spoodle puppy is merle. Actually, these canines come in two different merle variants most of the time – a blue merle and a red merle. Even though this is not the favorite color of reputable breeders, these canines are still pretty popular in the U.S.

Many dog owners mix the merle pattern with the roan pattern, but these two are not the same.

Spoodles could come in three different coat variants – a tight-curly one, a wavy one, or a straight one. One thing is for sure – these canines are not excessive shedders, which makes them perfect for indoor life.

Still, these canines need frequent grooming, which is why you may want to consider the best brushes for a Cockapoo on the market.


These Merle Canines come in different sizes as they come from different Poodle parents. Standard, Toy, and Mini Cockapoo dogs are the most popular in the family.

Generally, these dogs weigh around 15 pounds, while they stand up to 14 inches in height.

However, most dog owners prefer this canine in smaller versions as they fit better into a family, and their physical needs are slightly lower.

These canines’ size makes them ideal for occasional walks, simple play in the back yard, or frolicking in a dog park.

Coat Type

These canines come in three different variants when it comes to coat type. The most popular one is a tight-curly coat. However, there are many Cockapoo canines that also come in a wavy or a straight coat.

Their coat type depends on the bloodline, which is why Spoodles with a curly coat have over 50 percent of the Poodle’s bloodline.

Still, all three types need frequent grooming and maintenance, which is why choosing the best dog shampoos for a Cockapoo puppy is a must.

Some canines can be allergic to certain shampoo ingredients, which is why a consultation with a vet is pretty wise.

What Are The Other Colors In A Cockapoo?

While Red Merle and Blue Merle Cockapoos make adorable and charming dogs, there are many different colors that these canines appear in.

Some of the most popular Cockapoo colors are red, apricot, cream, black, white, and tan. Black Cockapoos are a whole new thing as they are distinct with their uniqueness, charm, and rarity. On the other hand, there are many parti-colored Cockapoo puppies in the U.S., too.

These Doodles are true fashionista dogs, which is why having them represents a real joy. Their charming looks indeed have a positive correlation with their character as they are as affectionate and cute as they look.

The Merle Cockapoo’s Temperament

merle cockapoo sitting on the grass
Photo from: @luna_the_merlecockapoo

The temperament of these merle canines matches perfectly with novice owners. In fact, these canines are recommended for all families with both small and bigger children.

Spoodles are generally well-behaved dogs that have a sassy nature. They love playing indoors with other family members as they are curious, active, and friendly. Still, these canines need early socialization and obedience training.

Cockapoo training generally does not represent an overwhelming activity. These canines react well to positive reinforcement techniques, such as dog toys, or snacks. They are eager to please, and they will do anything for a snack.

This is not an aggressive dog breed by default, which is why these dogs are perfect for big crowds and families that have friends coming over to their house all the time.


Socialization training from an early age is a very good idea when it comes to these merle puppies. Even though they are very companionable dogs, they may be mischievous at times and insecure around new people if not socialized properly.

Any dog lover should subject their puppy to early socialization as it is just the right thing to do. Other than that, you can teach your canine obedience tricks as Cockapoos respond well to positive reinforcement techniques, such as interactive dog toys or healthy snacks.

Generally, these canines don’t need much time for adaptation, which is why the overall process of socialization is very pleasant and not at all overwhelming.

In fact, these canines are recommended for first-time dog owners as they don’t require as firm of leadership as some aggressive dog breeds.

However, once they are adapted, they won’t let go. Bear in mind that these canines can suffer from severe separation anxiety, which is why you may reconsider your choice in case you have a busy schedule.


Keeping your merle puppy indoors is the only way. Merle Spoodles are not trained to be outside dogs as they don’t do well apart from their owners.

On the other hand, this dog breed is not a watchdog, which is why it is not smart to keep a Spoodle outside. Their fragile body physique makes them vulnerable to predators and bigger dogs.

Still, this puppy doesn’t qualify among those low-energy, lazy dog breeds. On the contrary, these merle pooches are extremely active, and they enjoy accompanying their owner on walks and road trips.

Spoodles are very adaptable to house life. You don’t need to worry about keeping them active all the time as they are perfectly capable of entertaining themselves.

Merle Cockapoos Around Kids

The first thing that you should know about this dog is that Spoodles are not an aggressive dog breed. In fact, these canines make excellent companions and therapy dogs as they share your emotions, and they want to be with you all the time.

The level of affection these toy canines show will melt your heart as these merle doggies with blue eyes (most of the time) have an adorable temperament.

Having a Cockapoo around kids shouldn’t be a problem. Still, the playtime between kids and this dog should be supervised as Spoodles are prone to injuries caused by reckless playing.

Other than that, your entire family will most certainly enjoy the company of this dog. A puppy doesn’t necessarily choose a specific pack leader, but it bonds with all family members equally.

The Most Common Health Issues

merle cockapoo laying on the couch
Photo from: @luna_the_merlecockapoo

Even though it comes from two very healthy dog breeds, Cockerdoodles are still prone to several health problems: hip dysplasia, patellar luxation, glaucoma, and allergies.

However, there is a low possibility of your dog developing hip dysplasia if you buy the puppy from a reputable breeder.

On the other hand, double merle dogs have a health risk of being born blind and deaf.

That’s why crossbreeding two merle dogs is not a good option, ever.

In order to keep your puppy healthy at all times, you should subject it to regular health exams and yearly vet checkups. Furthermore, giving your dog the best dog food for Cockapoos is an unavoidable part of this dog’s dieting.

These cute canines are prone to gaining weight, which is why you need to establish a well-planned feeding chart from day one.


1. How Much Is A Merle Cockapoo?

Generally, these merle puppies are more expensive than their solid-colored counterparts. The reason for that is that the merle color pattern is extremely rare, which is why you can expect to pay anywhere between $1900 and $3000 for your merle pooch.

On the other hand, make sure you buy this canine from a reputable breeder. The overall cost may be a little higher than in other kennels, but it pays off in the long run.

The reason why puppies are more expensive from reputable breeders is that they generally come with a health guarantee, a leash and a dog training collar, its first pack of food, a microchip, and vet papers.

Read Also: 7 Cockapoo Breeders In Illinois – The Best Of The Prairie State

2. What Is The Average Lifespan Of A Cockapoo?

Since this puppy comes as a mix between two very healthy dogs, its lifespan is pretty respectable. These fashionable dogs live between 13 and 16 years on average.

However, in order to keep your puppy healthy, you need to take care of your Cockapoo’s feeding chart, its daily habits, and its level of activity.

Additionally, subjecting a Cockapoo to regular vet exams is a good idea as these puppies have certain health risks such as glaucoma, allergies, luxating patella, and hip dysplasia.


The Merle Cockapoo is not the most common dog among dog lovers. That’s because this color pattern in Cockapoos is rare, which is why these pooches are slightly more expensive than their other, solid-colored counterparts.

Still, these canines are, indeed, a real deal, even though there are many people who claim that the Merle Spoodle is not the exclusive mix of a Poodle and a Spaniel.

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