To understand Cockapoo generations, you first need to understand that Cockapoos are hybrids. The word “hybrid”is a genetic term referring to the result of a cross between two genetically unlike individuals. In Cockapoos, the two genetically different individuals are the Poodle and the Cocker Spaniel; their mating produces a hybrid, which is the Cockapoo.
To keep track of generations, scientists use the term “filial”(F). Filial pertains to the sequence of generations following the original parental generation. The original parental generation includes two different purebred animals. Each generation following the parental generation (P generation) is designated with an F followed by a number that indicates the generation sequence (F1, F2, F3,etc.). This is standard scientific nomenclature when identifying generations for most living organisms-from Cockapoos to livestock to fruit trees to people.
In Cockapoos, the parental generation is the breeding of a Poodle with a Cocker Spaniel. Their offspring are designated as first filial generation or F1 Cockapoos. If you breed an F1 Cockapoo with an F1 Cockapoo their offspring will be a second filial generation or F2 Cockapoos.
Poodle x Cocker Spaniel = F1 Cockapoo
F1 Cockapoo x F1 Cockapoo= F2 Cockapoo
F2 Cockapoo x F2 Cockapoo= F3 Cockapoo
F3 Cockapoo x F3 Cockapoo= F4 Cockapoo
F4 Cockapoo x F4 Cockapoo= F5 Cockapoo
The term multi-generational refers to any Cockapoo that is designated as an F3 or higher-generation.
The above types of breeding, no matter what filial, results in Cockapoos that are 50% poodle and 50% Cocker Spaniel hybrids. As filial generations increase (F3, F4, F5, and beyond), so does the genetic stability and phenotype predictability of the offspring. Each subsequent multi-generation dog is able to produce more consistent offspring then the generation before it. This is how different breeds are developed. Throughout the course of many, many generations, only dogs with the specific traits that are chosen to represent that breed are allowed to reproduce. Therefore, undesirable traits are not passed to future generations.
Now, let’s talk about what the “b” means in filial generations (F1b, F2b, etc.). The “b” stands for the term “breed-back”. It means that a filial generation was bred back to a parent generation. In our context, it means that a Cockapoo was bred-back to either a Poodle or a Cocker Spaniel, and the resulting offspring are no longer pure filial generations (true Cockapoos). A Cockapoo that is bred to a Poodle produces offspring that are genetically 75% Poodle and only 25% Cocker Spaniel. Likewise, a Cockapoo that is bred to a Cocker Spaniel produces offspring that are 75% Cocker Spaniel and only 25% Poodle. The dogs that are produced should not be labeled as Cockapoos. A more appropriate term for these dogs would be either a Poodle-cross or a Cocker Spaniel-cross because genetically they highly favor one breed over the other, and are no longer an equal representation of both breeds. A true Cockapoo will always be equal amounts of Poodle and Cocker Spaniel.
(Please note that this is an extremely simplified lesson in Cockapoo genetics. Genetics and the inheritance of genetic traits is much more complicated.)