Overseeing the Cockapoo Aesthetic

 The Cockapoos fast rise to fame, has met a stand still in the world of grooming as many groomers are struggling to find ways to style this Designer breed. Town & Country has been the authority in fashioning a variety of looks for today's Cockapoos. Having graduated from the highly acclaimed New York School of Dog Grooming, I have groomed and styled many Cockapoos from New York City's best grooming salons to Brooklyn's hip & trendy boutiques.

Typically, I have found that Cockapoo owners find themselves having to settle on a less than desirable hairstyle, since there seems to be no main resource from which to reference. Traditionally, some hairstyles were based on the purpose of the breed, others to resemble a certain look. For example the Poodle historically used as a working dog, has a hairstyle suitable for its job. Their hairstyle's original function was to enhance swimming performance. I find that the key to a well groomed Cockapoo is to always maintain the "Cockapoo look" regardless of your preferred style. Most Groomers tend to categorize Cockapoos into certain other breed looks such as Bichon Frise, Cocker Spaniel, Poodle or some general puppy cut. I am always trying new grooming styles on my Cockapoos to suit a variety of different situations from seasonal changes (for making upkeep and maintenance easier during rain and snow) to all out glamour for when I wish to show them off, but they always look like Cockapoos.

A well bred, well groomed Cockapoo regardless of what type of hairstyle he or she is flashing will always 100% of the time stop people dead in their tracks. Generally Cockapoos have a very distinctive look. The most expressive part of all Cockapoos are their faces and then of course their coats. The Cockapoos face when groomed well should gently draw your attention. You should be able to see their bright round eyes and the hair around the face should fall into place perfectly. The muzzle area should have a moustache but it should not be too pronounced or overly done. The head should always have a small amount of lose wavy hair on top. Finally, the Cockapoo coat should be wavy with lose curls.

The preferred "Cockapoo Look" for me falls into these Style categories which I've created to style my dogs.

The Town & Country "Chic" look, which is a blend of styles all set a upon to create a most distinctive Cockapoo appearance. The ears are groomed back to mid length and a small patch of hair (I call it lose pom) is shaped on the top of the head to fit the size of the skull. The face and muzzle are then shaped to enhance the look of the eyes and shape of the face. The body including the tail is taken down; slightly blending into the legs, which are blended and scissored evenly to give a slightly full finished appearance.

The Town & Country "Best in Show" look, this style is by far my favorite, but I don't recommend it for those who are not experienced with grooming. The top of the head is scissored to blend with the back of the neck and then the body and tail are taken down slightly, again blending into the legs. The legs are left full and are scissored to a round full finish. The front of the neck and chest is clipped into a V shape. The ears are scissored round and blended to the head. The face and muzzle is then shaped to enhance the look of the eyes and roundness of the face.

The Town & Country "Sport" look, I love this appearance for its ease in care without compromise to style. The body and tail are taken down short to show the Cockapoos famous waves, it is then blended into the legs all the way to the shoulder and the hips. The front legs are then scissor to a cylinder shape, the back legs are scissor the same but they follow more the contour of the rear legs. The underbelly is clipped down. The ears are taken down or left full and are scissored round. The face and head are done the same as in the Town & Country "Chic" look.

Common Mistakes

One of the most common and costly mistakes owners make when attempting to groom their Cockapoo is to brush over the top of the coat and not get underneath the wavy hair near the body. The illusion is a good one but underneath is a Groomers nightmare, layers of mats. The only cure for such a situation is a shave down, one Cockapoo owners will not be happy with.

Two other such mistakes are brushing without combing out the coat afterwards, (remember brushing and combing should always go hand in hand) the other is bathing a Cockapoo before brushing and combing out the coat first. I find that there is nothing worst than a matted Cockapoo whose owner or Groomer insists on subjecting a heavily matted dog through the pains of individual mat removal to avoid a shave down.

Basic Care

Ear Maintenance
It is important for routine ear care to be performed on a regular basis. Before every bath, I stick cotton balls inside the ear canal, not so far in of course but enough so that no water can go into the canal. When you start to wash the face, eyes and head of your dogs try to avoid getting water inside the ears. The reason is that it will be the start and source of potential ear problems. Our breed and other breeds with long hanging, hairy ears are prone to ear problems. Thankfully the Cockapoo thus far is free from a lot of the major problems found in more common breeds but that is not to say that they are not subject to the more common issues. We want to try and prevent any and all problems as much as possible.

After each bath and a few times a month, I clean out their ears with cotton balls and doggie ear cleaner. The ear cleaner is specifically designed to not hold moisture in the ear and will dry fast. This is important because the ears on Cockapoos hang low and little to no air circulates under the ear.

If by any chance you smell a really bad odor and/or notice a large amount of wax inside the canal see your veterinarian. This could be an ear infection or the start of one. Also if you see the dog shaking its head persistently and scratching its ears that is also an indication of problems. Remember the first measure of prevention is catching an infection early and starting a routine to avoid any and all future problems.

I find that when grooming Cockapoos or other long eared breeds, it is best to remove as much hair as possible from the underside of the ear. And around the base surrounding the ear, this helps aid air circulation. Also removing hair from within the ear canal can vastly decreases ear problems and wax built up.

Coat Maintenance
It is very important to maintain a grooming routine aside from trips to the Groomer. Grooming is not always associated with bathing; in fact it is not necessary to constantly bath your dog. A bath every month or two works fine under normal conditions.

I find it very easy to home groom my dogs a couple times a month by merely sitting on the floor and having the dog lay beside me or on my lap and then brush and comb their coat out. Basic maintenance can easily be performed this way. Moreover I do it while watching TV, listening to music or having an interesting conversation with someone in the room. The purpose is to not only keep the Cockapoo looking its best but also to remove any developing mats before they become a bigger problem. I take this time to feel around and check for any problems that one might not normally find, if you were not looking and feeling around some of the heavier coated areas of the dog,. Ticks which normally can never be seen on long coated dogs can be found and easily removed, if by chance one managed to out smart your monthly flea and tick defense. This also serves as a bonding period between you and your dog. More importantly, proper and regular grooming contributes to a Cockapoos good health.

I always find it to be of up most importance to maintain and to honor the Cockapoos distinctive look no matter what type of hair style you chose or prefer.