Show or pet?
Show/Breedable Cotons versus Pets or Companions
Dog showing is a sport, and for some it is an expensive hobby. Some dogs and some breeders love the sport. Winning at the shows does not necessarily mean a superior dog in terms of passing on desirable traits to offspring. The current trend for the show dogs is to have profuse coats that can even trail on the ground (this makes sense; a beautifully groomed bouffant coat is very showy). Larger dogs are showier and so some of the winning champions are over the standard in weight since the dogs are not weighed at the shows. There is no requirement for show dogs to be genetically healthy (although reputable breeders regularly test their dogs for various problems). Showing can be a wonderful social experience for dogs and owners alike, and many show dogs although not all, have good temperaments. Some show dogs love all animals and people and love to show. Others are shy or somewhat fearful of strange dogs and people and prefer the comfort of their own family.
Every puppy in a litter has a different temperament. A good breeder is keenly aware of the difference in the puppies' personalities and tries to match the personality of the puppy to what the new owner wants and needs. Only a small fraction of the puppies in a given litter should be considered truly potential show quality and worthy of carrying on the genes of the breed. Reputable breeders place these only with an experienced breeder or with a novice they are prepared to mentor.
Question any breeder who tells you the entire litter is show quality. Puppies can be considered show quality because they can compete and win in conformation shows in the baby class when they are only three months old. It is quite possible to gain a championship in the U.S. before reaching one year of age. However, the puppy continues growing until at least a year old. Upper and lower jaw can continue to grow at different rates. The long bones of the legs are just beginning their growth, and no puppy should be considered breedable quality until at least a year old and meets all conformation and health tests.
Reputable breeders may very well sell a potentially breedable puppy to a family home as a pet with a spay/neuter contract because they seek to find the very best possible homes for their puppies. As a result, some pet quality puppies may be flawless, others may be missing a bit of pigmentation here or there, or may not be quite the best specimen representative of the standard, but often only an experienced breeder or a show judge can tell the difference.
If you want a pet for your living situation, a pet quality Coton has all the desirable temperament characteristics and beauty of a show specimen and generally costs only two thirds as much.
There are health benefits of spaying females. They will not ever develop pyometra, a potential fatal uterine infection. They are less prone to cancer of the mammary glands later in life. Some males may mark less if neutered.