The great debate over good and evil. What defines the other side? Is it genetic? Environmental? Family structure or a lack of it? Those and many many more questions have been raised through the years and the Agathocacological debate will continue for as long as humans are alive. I wanted to put this page up, not to try and define the breed Coton de Tulear, but to let you know what types of things you might encounter if you were to purchase one of these lovely dogs.
Traits of the Coton de Tulear are subject to individual dogs and the pros and cons (Good and Bad) contained on this page are as subjective as I can supply based on my personal and professional experience with the breed. These traits are constantly updated as additional information is learned or acquired. Think of this more as a guide on things you will have to do and options to counter those things.
The Coton de Tulear is a wonderful, happy loving breed. They are hypo-allergenic, in fact they are one of the best dogs for people that suffer from allergies. They have hair like you and me instead of fur, so they do not shed any more than a person with long hair. This does not mean they do not lose hair. Regular brushing, which is required for the breed unless you run them with a puppy cut. Daily brushing is required anyway so this reduces the normal loss of hair tremendously. Their hair is often self cleaning, but depending on how you keep your dogs coat, long or short, a lot of brushing helps maintain that cleanliness. Brushing and matte removal, if done from a young age on a daily basis can be a bonding experience like no other. Our dogs absolutely love to be brushed. They are brushed from the first day onwards to get them used to it and it becomes a ritual they love.
Coton de Tulears have a very light canine smell. Often unique to each dog, but by no means can it be considered as a ‘dog’ smell as dogs with fur tend to have. Even when wet they tend to not have a strong canine smell, often times none at all.
The Coton is a playful, affectionate, intelligent breed. Cotons are known to have a habit of jumping up and walking on their hind legs, affectionately called the Coton Dance. Most Cotons love meeting new people and are very curious in new situations. Cotons are easy to train, as they are very eager to please. Cotons are great with kids and other animals if properly socialized when young. The Coton de Tulear has a large dog personality much like the Lab. Cotons love to swim, run, and play. They adapt well to any kind of living environment. A common trait of the Coton de Tulear behavior, is to come alive in the evening. Often times my dogs want to play fetch at just about the time I want to go to bed 🙂
The Fédération Cynologique Internationale standard gives the Coton’s weight as from 4 to 6 kg (8.8 to 13 lb) for males and 3.5 to 5 kg (7.7 to 11 lb) for females. The Coton’s height (including tolerance) is from 25 to 30 cm (9.8 to 12 in) tall for males and from 22 to 27 cm (8.7 to 11 in) for females. These statistic can very wildly and often depend on diet when growing, time of neutering and other factors. Moriarty is almost 18lbs while Annie is only just barely 12lbs.
Because the Coton de Tuear is such a pack animal, they tend to bond to one owner or family and because of that strong bond they can suffer from separation anxiety if not addressed when young and the owner leaves during the day for work or vacations. As usual, if a young dog is properly socialized this will not happen; but it’s the owners job to make sure that they introduce their new puppy to as many new people, animals and as many new situations as possible to prevent this. If it is not addressed early by the owner, this anxiety can be easily addressed by creating a repetitious pattern when leaving and arriving so that your dog will know, by body language, when you are leaving and that you will be back. All people considering this breed should take this into account before bringing one of these into your life. They will require gentle guidance and training to avoid this issue.
Although generally quiet, Cotons can become very vocal, grunting, barking and making other noises when having fun or when the owner is leaving. As with any trait of dogs, this can be corrected with proper training and should be to reduce this trait if it is not desired.
Because of the long, soft nature of the breeds hair, it requires daily grooming, brushing and maintenance and often requires weekly bathing or more. If this is something that you do not want to do you can always keep a ‘Puppy Cut’ which is when the dog is maintained in a short haircut, often with the ears and tail left fluffy while the body is trimmed short.
This breed requires a lot of attention to the hair and this must be a strong consideration, but a well maintained coat on a Coton de Tulear is a wonderful thing. There are few things as soft in this world that you can pet anytime you want and is happy to get that attention!
This breed has very little genetic issues but they can suffer from teeth issues as all small dog breeds can. All small breed dogs should have their teeth cleaned and inspected every six months by a veterinarian. You should also train your dog early to allow brushing with finger brushes or a normal tooth brush and doggy toothpaste and feed them doggy dental treats to promote healthy and clean teeth.
Another issue that can occur in small breed dogs with long backs is injury from jumping. Cotons should be prevented from jumping down, especially long distances, no matter how much they love it. This warning goes for all long, small dogs and should always be considered depending on your lifestyle and the lifestyle you are looking for in a dog. While this is rare, it can occur and has nothing to do with genetics or this breed in general. This is just something to consider when looking at any long, small breed.
Other traits of the Coton de Tulear are many and often as endearing as the breed is itself. I hate to turn this into a good and evil situation making people weigh this breed by just what is listed. I have had many different breeds through my life and none of them stolen my heart like this breed has. The way they look at you, dance on their back legs, roll over to get their bellies rubbed, stretch by leaning all the way forward and then all the way back. I can go on and on and all of them together are what makes this breed one of the best dog breeds in the world, bar none. They are as rare as they are precious and we are proud to continue striving to keep this breed pure and healthy.
Author Mitchell Tuckness