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Are Cockapoos Smarter Than an Average Dog? Breed Intelligence & FAQ

Melissa Gunter

By Melissa Gunter

phantom cockapoo dog relaxing on a grass in the garden

Cockapoos are best known for being adorable, low-shedding, bundles of joy that can easily win the hearts of their families. These medium-sized dogs love to play, cuddle, or take on anything else you may be up to. Before bringing a new dog into the house, however, it’s common to question the intelligence level of the breed. While it’s true that all dogs are different, using the breed standard can tell you a lot.

For Cockapoos, that breed standard consists of the Poodle and the Cocker Spaniel since they are the parent breeds. Since they are considered a crossbreed, Cockapoos don’t show up on most lists of smartest dogs. That doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be there though. Thanks to having two of the smartest dog breeds in their lineage, the Cockapoo is considered to be slightly more intelligent than an average dog. Let’s learn more about these dogs and their intelligence.

divider 9Perfect Parents

The Cockapoo breed can thank its parents for passing down their intelligence. If you’ve never owned a Poodle, you may see them as the divas of the dog world. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. The Poodle is actually considered the 2nd smartest dog breed around. They are a great example of how perception can be deceiving as this breed was even once used for hunting before they became known for their cute hairstyles and runway presence. Poodles are easy to train and can be considered problem solvers. This high level of intelligence is one of the main reasons the Cockapoo breed is so smart.

The Cockapoo’s other parent breed is the Cocker Spaniel. The beauty and poise of the Cocker Spaniel are legendary. People have forgotten over the years, however, that this working-class dog was once a hunter and beloved for its abilities in the field. The Cocker Spaniel is known for being a quick learner who wants nothing more than to please its owner. They are also quick when it comes to learning new tasks or figuring things out. With the bloodlines of both these highly intelligent breeds coming together to create the Cockapoo, it’s understandable that the resulting breed would be so smart.

cockapoo dog sitting in door porch waiting to be taken for walk
Image Credit: gemphoto, Shutterstock

Why Aren’t Cockapoos on Most Intelligent Dog Lists?

If you’re considering a Cockapoo as the newest member of the family, you may have checked the most intelligent dog lists online to find their rankings. Sadly, they aren’t there. Now, before you panic, that isn’t due to their intelligence level. Dog intelligence rankings are done for purebreds only.

Yes, a Cockapoo can be tested, but since they are the result of crossbreeding and considered a designer dog, you won’t find the breed’s name. While this may make Cockapoo owners upset, with crossbreeding creating so many new breeds, sticking to pure breeds when doing these types of tests is understandable. The Cockapoo’s parent breeds are on the lists, however. The Poodle ranks as the 2nd smartest dog breed and the Cocker Spaniel comes in at the 20th position on most lists.

How to Test My Cockapoos Intelligence

Now that you know your Cockapoo descends from two intelligent dog breeds, yet doesn’t get a ranking of its own on intelligent dog lists, you may want to perform your own test. Luckily, you can. Let’s learn how to test and score your Cockapoo’s intelligence so you can tell all your friends just how smart your pooch is.

close up image of roan cockapoo dog
Image Credit: KBarber84, Shutterstock

Test One

Using a blanket or towel, allow your Cockapoo to familiarize itself with the item, then place it on the dog’s head. You want to see how quickly they can get the towel or blanket off. This tests their problem-solving skills. If they succeed within the first 15 seconds they get three points. If it takes 15 to 30 seconds your dog gets two points. If it takes longer than 30 seconds, your Cockapoo only gets one point for this test.

Test Two

This test judges your Cockapoo’s ability to absorb information and remember what they’ve learned. Using three containers, let your Cockapoo watch as you place a treat or piece of food under one of the containers. Now, divert your dog’s attention away from the containers. This test determines whether they remember what you did with the treat so distraction is key. After a few moments, let your dog return to the containers.

If your Cockapoo immediately goes for the correct container they get three points. For dogs that inspect another container before choosing the correct one, two points. If your pooch checks both of the wrong cups before choosing the correct one, they only receive one point.

apricot cockapoo dog sitting on a path in a field of wild flowers
Image Credit: mountaintreks, Shutterstock

Test Three

Another test often used is the leash test. This helps determine your dog’s ability to recollect associations. When you and your Cockapoo are having a day without the need for their leash, walk over and pick it up. Don’t move, wait to see how they react. If your dog instantly knows what’s going on and is excited, they get three points. For dogs that need you to move toward the door to show them, it’s time for a walk, two points. If your pooch has no idea what your actions mean, give them one point.

Test Four

The last test is used to score your Cockapoo’s problem-solving skills and creativity. Grab a treat or piece of food and place it under the edge of a piece of furniture. Dogs that snatch the treat using just their paws get three points. If they use their nose and paws, two points. Cockapoos that give up without retrieving the treat score one point on this test.

Cute Cockapoo dog sit on table
Image Credit: MT.PHOTOSTOCK, Shutterstock

Tallying the Score

These tests are not dangerous for your Cockapoo and can be a quick way to test their intelligence at home. After completing all four tests you can tally the results following the guide below:

  • 12 points: A perfect score for a highly intelligent dog
  • 8 – 10 points: Your Cockapoo is quite clever
  • 5 – 8 points: You Cockapoo lacks motivation and needs assistance completing tasks
  • 5: Does it really matter if your dog is a genius? They are made to love!

divider 9Final Thoughts

Yes, the Cockapoo is a highly intelligent dog, but when it comes to bringing one home to be part of the family, whether they are smarter than your neighbor’s dog shouldn’t matter. Dogs are meant to be our best friends and confidants. Intelligence is great for training and learning tricks, but unless you’re planning on having your dog compete in intelligence trials, it doesn’t really matter. What matters most is what’s inside and the bond your pooch shares with its family.

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Featured Image Credit: Alena Veasey, Shutterstock

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