Do Cockapoos Fade in Color? A Color Guide With Pictures


Cockapoos are an adorable dog breed that comes in a variety of beautiful colors. Unfortunately, many Cockapoos’ beautiful coats fade as they grow into adulthood. Why does this happen, and does it happen to all Cockapoos? 

Many Cockapoos “fade” or “clear” in color by the time they reach the age of two. Cockapoos fade as a result of a gene inherited from their Poodle parent, resulting in a lighter color shade later in life. While not every Cockapoo will fade, it’s an incredibly common phenomenon in the breed.

In this article, we’ll explore why Cockapoos often fade in color, when their coat begins to fade, and how fading affects their eventual adult coat color. 

Why Do Cockapoos Fade in Color?

A Cockapoo’s coat fades as they age due to a gene they inherit from their Poodle parent. This fading gene is dominant, meaning that a Cockapoo only needs to acquire one copy for its color to fade. While the fading gene mainly affects black, brown, or red Poodles; it can affect a Cockapoo of any color.

If your Cockapoo has a Poodle parent with a faded coat, there’s an excellent chance that your Cockapoo’s coat will fade into adulthood as well. 

If you plan to adopt a Cockapoo puppy specifically for its brilliantly vivid coat color, you may want to consider adopting a different breed. Just because your Cockapoo puppy is born with a gorgeous coat doesn’t mean they’ll be that same color by adulthood. In fact, it’s almost a guarantee that your Cockapoo puppy will be a different color in the future.

When Do Cockapoo Puppies Begin To Fade?

Cockapoos puppies usually begin to fade in color at about six months of age when their adult coats begin to come in. Therefore the dark-colored Cockapoo puppy you adopt often develops a much lighter color shade within just a few months of adoption.

Fading in Cockapoos, unfortunately, is a long process that can slowly occur over many years. Owners often post photos of their dog online every few months to show just how much their dog has faded. Though you might see some fading within just a few months, the most drastic changes happen over the span of a few years. 

Common Cockapoo Coat Colors

Before diving into what a faded Cockapoo looks like, let’s go over the common coat colors and patterns found in Cockapoos. Unlike other dog breeds, Cockapoos are unique in that their coats come in many colors and combinations. Cockapoos can come in black, brown, red, apricot, white, or some unique combination of any of those colors. 

Solid Colored Cockapoos

Solid-colored Cockapoos are the most common kind of Cockapoos you’ll find. These Cockapoos are easy to breed because there isn’t much planning necessary to get the colors right. 

There are five primary colors that Cockapoos come in:

  • Black
  • Apricot
  • Red
  • Brown
  • Cream or White

Black and red are the most popular colors for Cockapoo owners. These colors stand out the most and come in many beautiful shades. Black Cockapoos can be as dark as Black Labradors or fade into gray or blue. Red Cockapoos are the same shade as Irish Setters, making them a popular option to purchase and breed. 

A solid-colored Cockapoo may have some other minor color markings on its coat, such as a bit of white on one paw or an ear. These markings are minimal. To be a true multicolored Cockapoo, the secondary colors must be substantial and fall into a specific pattern.

Multicolored Coat Patterns

Unlike some dog breeds, Cockapoos come in a variety of patterns. Each Cockapoo has a unique color and pattern combination.

The most common multicolored coat patterns found in Cockapoos include: 

1. Tuxedo Coats

Tuxedo Cockapoos have a solid primary color covering most of their body, except for their chest area. The most common type of Tuxedo Cockapoo is one with a black with a white chest, which looks exactly like a tuxedo! However, this coat pattern can come in other forms, including dark brown with a white chest and red with either a tan or white chest. 

2. Phantom Coats

Phantom Cockapoos are dogs with a stand-out base color with secondary colors that show up in small areas like little phantoms. These secondary colors only show up in small areas on particular body regions, like the chin, throat, chest, eyebrows, legs, paws, and tail. 

Phantom Cockapoos can come in three base colors:

  • Black
  • Chocolate
  • Red

The base color will be darker and cover most of the body,

The phantom Cockapoo’s markings are lighter and include colors such as:

  • Cream
  • Tan
  • White
  • Apricot

3. Parti Coats

Parti-colored is a fancy way of saying that a Cockapoo is multicolored or “particular” colored. Parti Cockapoos come in coats of either two or three colors, with two colors being most common. These colors reside in equal areas of the Cockapoo, unlike other coat patterns where there may be one primary dominant color.

The most common particolored Cockapoos will have a white base with a dark secondary color. Black and white combinations are the most popular with breeders, as well as owners.

4. Roan Coats

Roan Cockapoos have a solid base color, such as black or brown, with white hairs mixed in throughout their coat. A roan Cockapoo can be blue, brown, or red. While Brown and Red Roans are instantly obvious Roans, a Blue Roan will be a little less obvious with a black base with white hairs mixed in. This combination gives off a blue hue, giving them their name.

5. Sable Coats

Sable Cockapoos have a solid dark base color with hair that’s lighter at the tips. Often, Sables will have a base color that is brown, black, or red and tips that are a lighter shade of those colors or white. Sable Cockapoos are particularly susceptible to fading as they age, making the color difference between the base and tips less pronounced over time. 

6. Merle Coats

Merle is a term used to describe a mottled coat pattern that appears faded in certain areas. A merle coat will have patches of a solid color mixed with a lighter color. This lighter color is a result of the defect in the gene that produces coat color. The flawed pigmentation produces hairs that are lighter than found in a non-merle Cockapoo.

Though merle Cockapoos are gorgeous, they often come with a variety of health problems. Therefore, you should never breed a merle with another merle, as the offspring can be deaf, blind, or suffer from other health issues. 

After reading this section, you may look at your Cockapoo and think, “My dog doesn’t fit into any of these categories!” That’s okay! As a crossbreed, Cockapoos come in far greater variety than do purebred breeds. Therefore, it’s hard to document every single type of Cockapoo out there. If your dog doesn’t fit neatly into any of the categories above, then be proud to know that your Cockapoo is truly unique.

How Does Fading Affect a Cockapoo’s Final Color?

As mentioned above, the color of your Cockapoo puppy’s coat may not be the same in adulthood. 

Many Cockapoos “fade” or “clear” as an adult due to genetics, prescribed medications, sunlight, or even untreated skin disease. In most cases, a Cockapoos final color will resemble a lighter version of his original birth color. Most commonly, black coats will fade to grey, apricot to cream, and brown coats fade to beige.

However, some Cockapoo owners have reported their dog developing a completely different color in adulthood. For example, some owners have noticed their dark chocolate brown puppy turning into a beige or nearly white adult. 

Black

Black Cockapoos are particularly susceptible to the fading gene. Fading in black cockapoos can vary, resulting in many hues of black, gray, or silver.

Black is a common color in Cockapoos, whether they’re solid or multicolored. A solid or black tuxedo Cockapoo puppy may become a gray Cockapoo adult. Black Sables and Blue Roans may look more like solid-colored Cockapoos as they age due to drastic fading. 

Brown

Brown is another color that is very susceptible to fading. Brown Cockapoos already come in a variety of shades, from dark chocolate brown to light beige. Dark brown Cockapoos are more likely to have pronounced fading than light brown Cockapoos. Some Cockapoo owners have reported that their dark chocolate brown Cockapoo turned beige within two years of adoption. 

Red

The gorgeous deep red found in many Cockapoos is sadly also susceptible to fading. Red Cockapoos fade to a lighter shade of red, apricot, or even white or cream. Many owners purchase their red Cockapoos specifically for their gorgeous red color and are often disappointed to see their puppy’s color fade over time. 

Apricot

Apricot Cockapoo puppies are not immune to fading either. They’ll often become a white or cream color by the time they’re adults. However, apricot Cockapoos sometimes keep their original color in their ears and muzzle. 

White

White is the only color that doesn’t fade because it’s already the most faded color possible. However, a mostly white dog with some dark areas — such as Phantom or Parti coats — will see fading in darker colors. A Cockapoo that’s either half or mostly white in puppyhood may be completely white in adulthood, depending on the original colors of the coat and how much fading occurs. 

Multicolored

Cockapoos that are multicolored may not fade evenly. Darker colors like black, brown, or red are more likely to fade drastically than light colors like cream or white. This means that though you may adopt a multicolored puppy, their coat may look more uniform as an adult. 

All coat patterns are susceptible to fading, and the contrast of the colors declines as the Cockapoos age, resulting in a more uniform Cockapoo coat. 

Can Color Fading Be Prevented in Cockapoos?

Many owners are saddened to see their beautiful Cockapoo puppy fade into a lighter or dimmer shade. But is there a way to prevent this? 

There is no known way to completely prevent color fading in Cockapoos. Fading in Cockapoos results from a dominant gene inherited from the Poodle parent, leading to all offspring experiencing coat fading. Therefore, ensuring a puppy’s Poodle parent has not faded is the best way to ensure a non-fading coat.

There’s no way to figure out if your puppy will fade just by looking at them. To get an idea if your puppy will fade or not, you’ll need to see the puppy’s parents. 

This is easier said than done.

The Poodle parent is responsible for passing on the fading gene, so you specifically need to see what they look like. And, it doesn’t matter whether the Poodle is the mother or father; they’re equally likely to pass this gene onto their offspring whether they’re male or female.

If a Poodle parent does have a faded coat, then they’ll pass that gene to their offspring. The fading gene is dominant, meaning that all affected offspring will also experience this coat fading. 

Unfortunately, many breeders don’t introduce the parents to the potential buyers of their puppies. Furthermore, it’s even more difficult to get this information if you adopt your Cockapoo from a shelter or pet store. If you can see the Cockapoo’s parents or get information about them, make sure to note whether their Poodle half is faded. 

You won’t find this information in most cases, so it’s a gamble whether your Cockapoo will fade. There’s no other way to tell for sure before purchasing, and there’s nothing you can do to prevent this from happening. 

Why You Should Get a Cockapoo, Despite Fading Coat Colors

Many would-be owners are turned off by the fact that Cockapoos fade over time. Some owners who adopt Cockapoos are disappointed that their once beautiful and bright-colored Cockapoo has faded to a duller color. 

However, Cockapoos are one of the best dog breeds you can adopt because they make great companions. Adopting a dog should be more about finding a canine companion to love and share your life with. Coat color should only be a minor detail in your search for the perfect pet.

Cockapoos make great family pets due to their: 

1. Great Personalitities

Cockapoos are incredibly loving and social dogs. If you’re looking for a loyal, friendly pet that adores being a part of the family, then a Cockapoo will be perfect for you!

Cockapoos love to cuddle, socialize, and do everything they can to make their owners happy. They’re often friendly with strangers and love to play with other dogs. If you adopt a Cockapoo, you’ll be gaining a wonderful and delightful addition to your family. 

2. Hypoallergenic Coats

One of the best perks of Cockapoos is that they’re hypoallergenic. Cockapoos don’t shed very often, which prevents their hair or dead skin cells from interacting with humans who have allergies. So if you’re looking for a dog, but either you or a loved one has allergies, a Cockapoo is a perfect choice. 

3. Low Odor

Though dogs are great pets, no one enjoys their smells. However, Cockapoos are one of the few breeds that don’t have a strong odor. Of course, they are susceptible to smells if they’ve gotten into something gross or rolled around in something smelly. Cockapoos are still dogs, after all. 

4. High Intelligentence

Cockapoos are intelligent dogs and easy to train. This high intelligence comes from their Poodle parent. However, a Cockapoos’ increased intelligence combined with high energy means that they need frequent stimulation to avoid getting into mischief.

5. Little Need For Exercise

Though Cockapoos can be pretty energetic, they don’t need nearly as much exercise as other breeds. No exercise regime is necessary for this crossbreed. Cockapoos just need a little time outside each day and lots of playtime and cuddles. 

6. Love of Children

Cockapoos are people-loving, friendly, energetic dogs that need lots of playtime. This trait makes them perfect companions for children! Cockapoos often develop deep bonds with children through constant play and activities. 

7. Extreme Variety

We’ve already made it clear that Cockapoos come in a variety of colors. This makes Cockapoos unique, as many breeds have basic sizes and coats. Although many Cockapoos wind up with faded coats, you still have many options to choose from if you want a specific colored pet. 

And though many people don’t like that their coats fade, some owners think it’s a great feature of a Cockapoo! These owners believe that the changing coats of Cockapoos only add to the variety that this breed comes in. 

8. Cuteness Factor

Faded coat or not, Cockapoos are still adorable dogs! If cuteness is a huge factor in your choice of dog, you still can’t go wrong with a Cockapoo. Cockapoos are tiny, cuddly balls of curly hair that are hard to ignore. And unlike some breeds, their cuteness doesn’t go away as they age. 

Cockapoos are incredible dogs to own. There are many reasons why this breed is one of the most popular cross breeds to date. Many owners over the decades have been able to look past color fading issues and love the Cockapoo for its incredible personality. 

Final Thoughts

Unfortunately, many Cockapoos have brilliant coats that fade over time. This phenomenon is due to genetics, and there’s no way to prevent it. Although this is a common occurrence in the breed, this is no reason not to get one. Cockapoos are great pets with friendly personalities and great intelligence. No matter what color your pet ends up being, you’ll still have an incredible canine companion to love. 

Brent Hartman

I'm Brent Hartman. I've been a dog lover my entire life and have owned many animals over the years. When my black lab Angus passed away, I was looking for another friend to share my life with. As a result of my research, I've come to love poodles and wanted to share some of what I've learned with you. Whether you're looking to adopt a poodle, or already own one, I created Poodle report to be the ultimate guide to help you find the answers you need.

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