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The Coton de Tulear: the most honest dog breed review you'll ever find about Coton de Tulear temperament, personality, and behavior.

coton de tulear topics

Coton de Tulear dog breed

Coton de Tulear Temperament
What's Good About 'Em,
What's Bad About 'Em

Coton de Tulear Temperament, Personality, Behavior, Traits, and Characteristics, by Michele Welton. Copyright © 2000-2014

Happy, clownish, and inquisitive, the Coton de Tulear enjoys clever games of dexterity such as "pull the stale bit of fallen cheese from under the refrigerator with your paw."

He is both boisterous and calm, dashing around the yard to play, then snuggling in your lap to snooze.

Cotons are very people-oriented and will push for as much attention as they can get. They are so sociable that they don't do well when left for long periods without companionship. "Not doing well" means unhappiness and boredom, which they may try to vent through barking and destructive chewing.

Though peaceful and gentle with everyone (humans and other pets), this breed forms a strong bond with his family and can be conservative with strangers. Socialization is important to build a confident, outgoing temperament, as there is a potential for excessive caution/timidity.

Though he does have a mild stubborn streak, the Coton de Tulear is normally a "soft" dog and responds well to non-forceful training. He prefers learning tricks to formal obedience and is especially bright-eyed when food treats are offered as rewards. Harshness only makes him wilt.

The most problematic training issue is usually housebreaking -- Cotons tend to be slow to housetrain. Barking needs to be curtailed, as well.


If you want a dog who...

  • Is small but sturdy
  • Has a soft cottony coat that can be left long or clipped short
  • Sheds very lightly (one of the best breeds for allergy sufferers)
  • Doesn't need a lot of exercise
  • Is polite with people and other animals

A Coton de Tulear may be right for you.


If you don't want to deal with...

  • "Separation anxiety" (destructiveness and barking) if left alone too much
  • Shyness or suspiciousness in some lines, or when not socialized enough
  • Frequent brushing and combing -- or buzzing the coat short every couple of months
  • Housebreaking difficulties
  • Potential for excessive barking

A Coton de Tulear may not be right for you.

But you can avoid or minimize some negative traits by
  1. choosing the RIGHT breeder and the RIGHT puppy
  2. or choosing an ADULT dog from your animal shelter or rescue group – a dog who has already proven that he doesn't have negative traits
  3. training your dog to respect you
  4. avoiding health problems by following my daily care program in 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy


More traits and characteristics of the Coton de Tulear

If I was considering a Coton de Tulear, I would be most concerned about...

  1. Separation anxiety. More than most other breeds, the Coton de Tulear needs a great deal of companionship and does not like being left alone for more than a few hours. They become anxious, which they express by chewing and barking. If you're gone very much, this is not the breed for you.

  2. Providing enough socialization. Recently, breeders and owners have been reporting uncharacteristic aggression and/or fearfulness in some Cotons. Standoffish by nature, the Coton de Tulear needs extensive exposure to people and to unusual sights and sounds. Otherwise their natural caution can become shyness or suspiciousness, which are difficult to live with.

    Coton de Tulear puppies are NOT suited to small children, no matter how well-meaning the child. Children cannot help being clumsy, and that a child meant well is little solace to a Coton de Tulear puppy who has been accidentally stepped on, sat on, rolled on, squeezed, or dropped onto the patio. Even Coton de Tulear adults may feel overwhelmed by the loud voices and quick movements that young children can't help making -- and stress and shyness may be the result.

  3. Grooming. Without frequent brushing and combing, the Coton de Tulear becomes a matted mess. If you can't (or don't want to) commit to all this brushing, you have to commit to frequent clipping to keep the coat short, neat, and healthy. Personally, I love the look of clipped Cotons -- they look like cute, perpetual puppies!

  4. Housebreaking problems. The Coton de Tulear belongs to the same "family" of dogs as the Bichon Frise, Maltese, and Havanese -- all of which are slow to housebreak. Consistent crate training is mandatory, and sometimes a doggy door is necessary.

  5. Barking. The Coton de Tulear is often too quick to sound the alarm at every new sight and sound. You have to be equally quick to stop them.



book cover To learn more about training the Coton de Tulear to be calm and well-behaved, consider my dog training book,
Teach Your Dog 100 English Words.

It's a unique Vocabulary and Respect Training Program that will make your Coton de Tulear the smartest, most well-behaved companion you've ever had.

Teaches your dog to listen to you, to pay attention to you, and to do whatever you ask him to do.



book cover My dog buying guide, Dog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams, will teach you everything you need to know about finding a healthy Coton de Tulear puppy. Health problems have become so widespread in dogs today that this book is required reading for ANYONE who is thinking of getting a purebred, crossbred, or mixed breed dog.


If you'd like to consult with me personally about whether the Coton de Tulear might be a good dog breed for your family, I offer a Dog Breed Consulting Service.


book cover Once you have your Coton de Tulear home, you need to KEEP him healthy -- or if he's having any current health problems, you need to get him back on the road to good health.

My dog health care book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy is the book you need.

Raise your dog the right way and you will be helping him live a longer, healthier life while avoiding health problems and unnecessary veterinary expenses.



Please consider adopting an ADULT Coton de Tulear...

When you're acquiring a Coton de Tulear PUPPY, you're acquiring potential -- what he one day will be. So "typical breed characteristics" are very important.

But when you acquire an adult dog, you're acquiring what he already IS and you can decide whether he is the right dog for you based on that reality. There are plenty of adult Cotons who have already proven themselves NOT to have negative characteristics that are "typical" for their breed. If you find such an adult dog, don't let "typical breed negatives" worry you. Just be happy that you found an atypical individual -- and enjoy!

Save a life. Adopt a dog.

Adopting a Dog From a Dog Breed Rescue Group

Adopting a Dog From the Animal Shelter

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