established in 2008 - Breeding since 2016
It all started with a little black Cockapoo puppy from a large dubious dog breeding facility.
It was early 2008 and I was on the verge of an early mid-life crisis, I turned to Mark and said, "I need more cute cuddles in my life... you choose two legs or four?" Mark did not want to have another baby so the answer was easy... FOUR!
At that time we already had a very old and slightly senile Golden Retriever and having lived about 12 years with all her dog hair shedding and floating tumble-weed style across the kitchen I was quite keen to find a low (or no) shedding puppy. So the research started... and once I saw a picture of a Cockapoo I was "sold" The teddy bear features are so adorable why would I need to look elsewhere? I looked into the personality of a cockapoo a little but at the time I didnt come across much information other than because they were a mixed breed I should look at the traits of the two parent breeds. I looked at Poodles and Cocker Spaniels and from my research I decided I was likely to have a clever gun dog that would be comfortable in water and might do some tricks! That sounded fine to me! I already had a gun dog in the Golden Retriever and she had been an easy and delightful dog. And of course the slightly smaller size of the cockapoo and the non-shedding coat were something I was completely sold on. I could not wait. It was my birthday in February... I didn't really want anything else except a cockapoo puppy. We were quite naive as our golden retriever had come from a reputable breeder and we were not aware that because of the growing popularity of the cockapoo there were many dodgy breeding facilities around. So with a quick search on an internet site we found a male cockapoo puppy for sale at a price we could afford. We decided Saturday night that we would go get that puppy. We went to church as usual on the Sunday morning and then climbed into the car to travel to buy a puppy that afternoon. NO PROPER THOUGHT went into this!!!
When we arrived... The puppy was in a cardboard box with his siblings in the corner of a large shed. The rest of the shed had several whelping areas fenced off with cocker spaniel bitches with very young litters or a pregnant cocker spaniel bitches... or indeed our puppy's mother sat alone in a whelping area separated from her babies. I felt uncomfortable with the puppy being pulled from the cardboard box from under his siblings paws as they were all clambering to get to us and using his head as a stepping stone! But once he was placed in my arms i couldn't put him back in there. We were led past his mother's pen and into the garden. As we carried our puppy into the breeder's kitchen to fill out "paperwork" the breeder gestured at a fence where several male dogs were jumping up at a fence enthusiastically and he told us the black poodle was our puppy's dad. He was HUGE! He had a huge afro so it was hard to tell but I felt that he looked bigger than a "miniature poodle" as described in the listing. The breeder assured me that he was a miniature poodle. ...SIDE NOTE: I am now an experienced breeder and the sire I use is a miniature poodle... I now know that the black afro boy I saw that day was definitely a standard and NOT a miniature.
I think the breeder checked that we had a garden. But I don't remember answering any questions about our ability to care for the puppy. He was happy to have his money and send us on our way. We got in the car and drove off. It wasn't until we were nearly home that I realised it was late Sunday afternoon and shops would be closed. We had absolutely NOTHING in the house for this puppy. We had gone on a crazy midlife whim and bought a puppy without any planning and without any sanity checks from the breeder. This is a hundred percent the WORST WAY to get a puppy!!
We named the puppy Jazz and he spent his first night in a washing basket with a cushion as his bed. Our Golden Retriever was so laid back that she accepted him fairly easily and so at least he had a furry housemate to snuggle with.
We were quite lucky on many fronts. Jazz was not unwell apart from a hernia which had not been mentioned when we bought him. However, he had some quirks and there were challenges as we brought him up as a puppy and we thought these were just little quirks we could overcome. But the second mistake we made was to not enrol him and ourselves in puppy classes. Our Golden retriever had spoiled us in how easy she was to train. We mistakenly thought that if a cockapoo was a "clever" dog we wouldn't need training classes. we were wrong. For some reason a local Jack Russel took a dislike to Jazz and started attacking him. As a result Jazz became nervous of other dogs. He would bark at certain breeds and others he could walk past. But he became less and less at ease in the presence of other dogs. It became quite stressful to walk him as walking past other dogs was difficult and off lead dogs brought horrible encounters! I couldn't figure out what was wrong. Approx 6 months after we brought Jazz home our Golden Retriever died. Jazz mourned her as much as we did. and a few new paranoid behaviours introduced themselves in his personality.
Roll forwards several years and we engaged a dog behaviourist to give us tips on Jazz's behaviours. She didn't help much. However she did suggest that much of his problems could stem from being separated from his mother too young. I suspect this is true. However my inexperience in those days means that any training I tried to implement to help him with his negative behaviours really didnt solve anything and maybe made him worse.
This history of Jazz our first cockapoo is included here because he is the reason we took the rest of the journey to bring us to where we are now.
Jazz introduced us to Cockapoo character and quirks. And despite some troubled behaviours we absolutely fell in love with the breed.
Jazz's troubled behaviour has taught me so very much and has inspired me to learn more about dog training and dog behaviour theory. This is why I have such a huge bank of advice and help to offer to new puppy owners and to other dog owners in general.
I had always wanted to breed dogs. When my children had grown I felt the time was right and the Cockapoo breed had won my heart. I knew what I needed to do.
In early 2014 We bought a puppy, Grace our Cocker Spaniel with the hope of breeding cockapoos from her. THIS TIME we researched and planned and got ready for our new addition to the home!! AND we took her to PUPPY CLASSES. She was an absolute SUPERSTAR in class. If you think a cockapoo is clever because of their poodle ancestors think again - Cocker Spaniels are VERY clever and they deploy their nose as dogs should to find and locate items fantastically.
We got all the health tests for Grace to breed and made sure she had certification to show that she was free of all hereditary diseases.
We found a miniature poodle with a wonderful temperament who lived not too far from us and when she was three years old we took the plunge. Muggles (the poodle stud) was such a gentleman and Grace took to being a mum fantastically - I was so proud of her. Nature took over and she did everything as she should. More than that she trusted me so much that she let me be part of it all.
Grace has had two litters and we plan to have only one more from her.
We kept one of her puppies from the first litter (Jolyne) and have enjoyed taking another puppy through the puppy class experience and teaching another cockapoo puppy how to live in this world. One thing that has really struck me through breeding well is seeing the difference in the puppies we produce and how Jazz was as a puppy. We produce happy confident well adjusted healthy puppies. We give them a huge selection of experiences and we keep them with their mummy right up until they leave here. It's fascinating to watch how Grace teaches them to play well and she shows them what is too rough or unsociable dog behaviours. IT IS SO IMPORTANT for PUPPIES to LEARN FROM THEIR MOTHER in those early weeks and months of life.
We go above and beyond in our pursuit to produce GOOD Cockapoo puppies, well adjusted, happy and healthy puppies with a fantastic temperament. We also quiz our potential new owners a lot. People cannot just turn up and buy a Faithful friends puppy. They go through a rigorous application process over several months and are pushed to seriously question whether they are ready for a puppy to join their lives. especially a cockapoo with their cockapoo needs. (If you want to know more about the breed and our breeding program please check out our puppies page).
Jazz introduced us to the breed that has become our love. becoming part of the Cockapoo Club of Great Britain and Working with Grace and her litters we have gained so much insight and understanding of what this breed need and love. We hope that we can share from this wealth of experience to help you as you enjoy every day life with your cockapoo.