How to groom a Cockapoo

How to groom a Cockapoo

Cockapoos are a hybrid/designer dog bred by crossing a Cocker Spaniel with a Poodle. Cockapoos are loyal, energetic, affectionate and fun-loving dogs that make wonderful family pets and companions.


Because Cockapoos are a cross-breed, they come in all sorts of shapes and sizes with some dogs leaning towards the Cocker Spaniel whereas other inherit more Poodle traits whether it’s their physical traits or their temperaments. Some dogs may have the curly coat of a Poodle and others could have much straighter and longer hair because they inherited more of a Spaniel's coat, so it really does depend on the luck of the draw as to how a puppy Cockapoo turns out.


The full, adult coat won't develop until the puppy is around 6 months - 1 year old. During this period of 'puppy coat' you won't know what coat type/texture you're going to have.


Coat Type

Combination/Silky   OR    Long/Curly

Some dogs inherit more of a Poodle-like coat, whilst others have a much sleeker coat like the Cocker Spaniel.

Pet Grooming Option

Bathe & Brush Out with Clipper Trim


Grooming Notes

  • Cockapoo puppies < 6 months, don't require much grooming, however, brushing a couple of times a week is recommended to familiarise the puppy with the grooming process
  • When the adult coat begins to develop (6+months) the coat can become more prone to tangling/knotting. At this stage, regular brushing is a must.
  • Cockapoos with a more Cocker Spaniel-like coat tend to be easier to groom, due to their wavy, smooth coat. These coats are still thick and can easily trap debris, so regular brushing is still a must to stay on top of tangles.
  • Cockapoos with the more Poodle-like coat tend to be more challenging to maintain. This type of coat will have a tight curl and be coarser to the touch.
  • It's important to pay attention to those harder to reach areas, such as armpits, chest, undercarriage, inner thigh and tail.

Grooming Guide

There is no 'correct' cut. It's just the one you personally love - so it doesn't matter if you have your Cockapoo shaved down short, or keep the hair long and shaggy. The only important factor is if you have enough time to maintain your chosen groom so that it doesn't become painful for your dog. Below is a grooming guide for the ever popular 'teddy bear' cut. Another popular grooming style is to leave the beard longer.

Prior To Bathing

  • Pluck hair from the ear canal only as necessary
  • Some intensive conditioner can be applied to serious matts/tangles that can be brushed out after bathing
  • Brush the coat thoroughly with a Pin brush. Ensure that you are brushing right down to the skin, and not just the top of the coat. 
  • Use a comb to check the coat for any knots/matts missed by the brush. Pay attention to the armpits, legs and ears.

If you are grooming a trimmed/clipped coat, remove excess coat before bathing using a long/medium comb guide


Drying The Coat

  • Towel dry immediately after bathing, use a fresh towel each time one becomes saturated
  • Once there is little/no water being absorbed by a towel, use a high-velocity blaster to remove excess water. Work from the rump forwards.
  • Keep one hand on the dog at all times to stabilise and comfort it.
  • Avoid adding tangles to the coat by keeping the airflow in a downward direction.
  • When no water is being sprayed from the coat, finish drying using a heated stand dryer while brushing the coat - brush only where the air is striking the coat. This will straighten and fluff the coat.


After Bathing

When brushing use gentle strokes to avoid brush burn. Take extra care in sensitive areas such as armpits, inner thighs, ears, neck and tail. Take extra care in tangle prone areas such as legs, armpits, collar area, ears and tail.

Clipping the Body and Setting Shape

Try to avoid blades with an 'F' or 'FC' which are 'Finish Cut' blades and will leave too neat a clip for your 'shaggy' friend

  • Clip the main part of the body, moving in the same direction of hair growth with the blade length of choice. You can quickly trim away most of the long hair with a longer blade, then go over again to neaten up.
  • Stand your dog up and clip the undercarriage with the same blade length as you used on the body. Clip from the chest towards the intimate areas
  • Clip the easy to matt areas (armpits, bum, collar area and behind/under ears) against the grain. This will result in the hair being slightly shorter and easier to manage.
  • You can trim sanitary areas (under tail and tummy) shorter to help keep these areas clean, this can be achieved with a shorted blade/guide and/or thinning scissors
  • Shave paw pads with a #15-#40 blade or trim using safety scissors
  • Round feet by first blocking the foot to form a square. Use long curved scissors to round the outline of the foot
  • Use a damp cloth to go over the muzzle after bathing, wiping away tear stains
  • For the 'teddy bear' cut we want a 'chrysanthemum' muzzle, with the nose at the centre (this means that the hair around the nose and chin should form a circle). Visualise the circle of your chrysanthemum and the hair that is outside that circle and hair obscuring vision.

When trimming hair with scissors, just trim a little at a time. You can always cut more, but you can't put hair back.

Trimming the Jawline, Cheeks and Face
  • Holding the muzzle, lift the ear out of the way. Visualise a semi-circle from the ear to the chin. This is the line you're going to trim.
  • Using your curved scissors in the 'U' shape (with the tips points upward), line the curve of your scissors up with the natural curve of the jawline. Trim a little, have a look and trim a little more.
  • Use the curved scissors to shape the area beneath the muzzle in the same way as you did the top skull, moving from one cheek to the other. Don't release the ear until you have finished all your work at the bottom of the muzzle/neck as it can be easy to snip the long ear leather.
Trimming the Neck

For tighter, curly coats you might choose to clip the coat shorter (1/4 inch) or leave it slightly longer (3/8 inch)

For a medium/fuzzy curl you might prefer a medium clip (3/8 inch) or longer (1/2 inch). If you choose to go longer (3/4 inch) then you can expect to be grooming more frequently to maintain the length.

  • Clip the hair from the back of the skull, down to the body and shoulders and around to the throat and chest - moving in the same direction of natural growth
  • When clipping the throat and chest, hold the muzzle up towards the sky and hold the ears out of the way to avoid getting them caught
  • Use blending scissors to blend areas of longer coat on the head to the neck
Trimming the Ears
  • Hold the ear up and comb out the hair around the edge and base of the ear. Following the line, you created for the jaw earlier, use your curved scissors to trim the hair that is longer than the ear leather. You can trim the hair to follow the natural border of the ear, leaving them short and neat, or leave the fringe on the ear slightly longer. The shorter the fringe on the ear, the more round your finished face will appear.
  • Depending on the desired length of the body coat, you may wish to use a clipper on the outer leather of the ear. Holding the ear in your palm, follow the direction of hair growth with your clippers. If you prefer a more shaggy look, skip this step.
Trimming around the Eyes
  • Using curved scissors in a 'U' shape, gently trim the hair from the corners of each eye (at the base of the muzzle). Take extra caution when using scissors near the eyes - using the centre of the shaft if you are unsure
  • Using curved scissors in a 'U' shape, lightly trim the hair between the eyes - this trim should be subtle and not obvious
  • Visualising the chrysanthemum again, snip away any hair that is still outside this circle. To do this, flip your curved scissors so that they are more like an 'n', where the point is to the floor. Keep a nice amount of length on the hair around the muzzle.
Trimming the Skull
  • Clip or scissor the top skull being careful not to remove the eyebrows. Cut from behind the eyebrows towards the body starting with a 1/2 inch guide, and going down to a 1/4 inch if you like. Cutting the top skull too short will mean you can't achieve enough height for the round face.
  • Using curved scissors in the 'n' shape, carefully snip away any hair not falling into your circular shape, starting from one ear and moving across the skull to the other ear. If your Cockapoo has more silky Cocker Spaniel-like hair, you can follow the process with blending scissors to help remove any scissor/clipper marks.

Grooming Tool Recommendations

Other Health Recommendations

Clipper Blade Recommendations

Shampoo Recommendations

For everyday use, mild/hypoallergenic shampoos are recommended.

Cocker Spaniel-like Coat Types (Straight/Wavy)

Poodle-like Coat Types (Curly/Coarse)

Conditioner Recommendations

An intensive conditioner is great for both coat types, specifically to use on the more matt prone areas and serious tangles/matts.

Cocker Spaniel-like Coat Types (Straight/Wavy)

With this coat type, a conditioner is great to add weight, strength and shine to the coat. It can also help protect the hair during brushing - although a brushing spray is always recommended.

Poodle-like Coat Types (Curly/Coarse)

With this coat type you don’t want to overly soften or weigh down the coat, so a lighter ‘rinse’ conditioner can be beneficial.

Coat Care Recommendations

Cocker Spaniel-like Coat Types (Straight/Wavy)

Poodle-like Coat Types (Curly/Coarse)