COCKAPOO lovers have stripped off for a naked calendar in a bid to combat negative publicity surrounding the designer dogs.
Proud owners of the Cocker Spaniel and Poodle crossbreed appear in a series of saucy snaps ranging from Scottish lochs to English seaside resorts.
The women from the Cockapoo Community Facebook group are upset the trendy pooches – which sell for up to £1,500 – are described by critics as mere “mongrels” and “mutts”.
They also want cash raised by the calendar to help fund a charity which tackles “puppy farmers” many of whom have turned to breeding Cockapoos.
Wendy Embisu Mulela, the founder of the Facebook group, said: “The idea of a calendar was suggested first of all, as an off the cuff remark.
“Everyone was laughing, but later, I decided to set up a seperate Facebook group, it snowballed from there.”
Wendy, from Lytham St Annes, Lancs, added: “Some of the women were apprehensive at first, but I did mine and posted my pictures. That gave people a bit of confidence, because one person had already done it.
“There were a few hiccups along the way. At one location – I’m not going to say where – everyone had stripped off, dressing gowns off, and a local nursery came for a walk, so everyone had to scramble to put towels over themselves.
“The dogs themselves were a challenge, in a few pictures they were used to cover the women up, but were often moving! The photographers became dog trainers for the day.”
Wendy, 55, explained the reasoning behind the shoot.
She said: “There was a story in a magazine, Dogs Today, asking, ‘should cockapoos become a breed?’ I firmly believed no! I like the unpredictability of them.
“The calendar shows that people, like the dogs, are not standardised, we come in all shapes and sizes.
“Also, we thought we could raise money for three charities, Give a Dog a Bone… and an animal a home, which is our club charity, Make-A-Wish Foundation, and The Doodle Trust.
Gillian Monk, the Scotland organiser for the calendar, explained how the Scottish locations were chosen.
Gillian, 45, from Glasgow, said: “We had a scouting trip, we spent a whole day going round central Scotland, trying to find beautiful locations that would show off Scottish scenery, but were also quiet.
“We wanted to get a bit of tartan in too.
“With the shot at the loch, we met up early, at 8am, when it was quiet. There were actually some canoeists on the loch at the time, so there was a lot of giggling throughout the shoot.”
Monk also explained that she did not want cockapoos to be subject to standardised breeding, which could make them unhealthy.
She said: “We want cockapoos to be family friendly dogs, they don’t have to be a certain standard. Not everyone looks the same in the calendar. Not all dogs look the same.
“If you look at pugs, there’s stories about how they can’t breathe cause of the way they’re bred, and there’s similar stories with other pedigree breeds.
“Also, because they’re becoming so popular, puppy farmers are breeding cockerpoos in Europe unhealthily, and trafficking them over to the UK.
“One of our chosen charities, The Doodle Trust, works to stop these practices.”
“We’re going to run 100 calendars initially, but we hope to sell a lot more. Our group has over 2,000 members, so hopefully we can.”