Blue Merle Cockapoo: Facts, Origin & History
Recently, there has been an increase in the number of Merle Cockapoos available for adoption. These dogs have a very interesting coloration that many dog owners are drawn to. However, everything isn’t as it seems with this breed.
Neither Cocker Spaniels nor Poodles (the two breeds that make a Cockapoo) come in a merle coloration. Therefore, a Cockapoo can’t come in a merle coloration, either. There are very few breeds that do come with a merle coat, and it often isn’t very common within these breeds, either.
There are several different ways the merle Cockapoo may appear. While a mutation can lead to a puppy suddenly becoming merle, this is extremely rare. Instead, it is more likely that merle Cockapoos aren’t Cockapoos at all. Instead, they are likely the result of another dog mixed in with the breed to bring about the merle coloration.
Shelties, collies, or the Australian Shepherd were likely used to bring about this merle gene. Likely, this was done to increase the “rarity” of the puppies and make them worth more money.
To completely understand how this merle coloration came to be and why they likely aren’t Cockapoos, let’s look at the Cockapoo’s history.
What is a Cockapoo?
A cockapoo is a mixed breed between a Cocker Spaniel and Poodle—hence the name. This dog can inherit any trait from either parent. Therefore, you often don’t know what you’re getting until your dog is full-grown. Therefore, cockapoos are a bit of a coin flip.
However, this is one of the most popular mixed breeds out there. They are also one of the oldest to take off. In fact, these dogs are more popular than Poodles and Cocker Spaniels by themselves.
These dogs are bred to be companion animals. They are not commonly utilized for hunting, herding, or any work. Because they are very intelligent, they are also easy to train. However, their popularity isn’t entirely a good thing. Many breeders now see them as a way to make money since buyers often pay quite a bit.
While not all cockapoo breeders are bad, many puppy mills and backyard breeders have begun to produce them. Their breeding is not regulated by any sort of breed club. Therefore, breeders don’t have any regulations to look at (or even a definition of what a cockapoo is). There is no list of “approved” breeders out there.
Often, these dogs are bred entirely to sell. They aren’t shown in any kennel club, as they are not a recognized breed. Therefore, “novelty” and “rareness” often make puppies more expensive. Breeders aren’t working towards any breed standard, as with other breeds. Often, “rare” puppies can cost as much as $1,000—easily.
In the end, the merle coloration fits into this category. It is often advertised as a rare coloration, and the price tags for these dogs are often higher. However, neither Cocker Spaniels nor Poodles come in the merle coloration. Therefore, how any cockapoo ends up with this coloration is a bit controversial.