What you can expect from a Rare Breed Coton de Tuléar®
The Rare Breed Coton de Tuléar® is a wonderful, clownish, happy, adaptable, boisterous Companion Dog. They quickly become an integral part of the family, content to sit on your lap or at your feet, and yet instantly ready for thoughtful, gentle play, a race around the yard, or to read your mind when you are thinking of a walk or a hike or a ride in the car.
Expect to take your companion with you almost everywhere in your daily travels and on vacation with you and your family. Given that the Coton has hair rather than normal dog fur, you can expect a companion that has little or no shedding, no dander (a cause of allergies in people), no doggy odor even when wet, a dry coat that sheds dirt, a dog to snuggle up with on your couch, favorite chair, or in your bed, and a dog that has very few significant genetic diseases.
The Coton de Tuléar is an alert dog and naturally territorial. You won't find a Coton sleeping on the threshold of an open front door while the burglar steps over the dog. Cotons will bark at the doorbell to let you know something is happening. They are highly intelligent and some love to watch TV, particularly Animal Planet, where they respond to pleasant and unpleasant scenes each in their own individual ways. They might even bark at the sound of a doorbell coming from a TV program. They will bark to let you know an intruder has entered the yard, whether it be a delivery person or a mailman. They bark when it is necessary, but they are definitely not yappy like some toy breeds. With time and the correct support and training they can adjust well to normal street and neighborhood sounds, and so can become well adapted to urban living, and though they do enjoy a race around a yard at high speed, they do not require a great deal of exercise and so they are well suited to apartment or condominium living.
Coton puppy dancing on hind legs though charming, is NOT to be encouraged in a young puppy until the growth plates close at one year of age or damage can be done to orthopedic development! As with all dogs, Cotons must be well-trained and thoroughly socialized however, because they were bred specifically to bond deeply to humans far more so than the typical dog breed has been, Cotons do not follow the same developmental timelines that other dog breeds do. They are well known to bond to their humans at ANY age if carefully matched to each individual situation. Thus there is no narrow window for socialization as is the norm for other dogs! Indeed, Coton puppies go through developmental stages just as human children do with periods of confidence as well as fear periods when they are cautious of new experiences and so it is important to be aware of these potential fear stages and to not expose them to new experiences during those stages or the new experience can imprint as fear. A good breeder will share information on these stages, how to recognize the signs, how to work with it in a positive way, and when the fear stages might occur which is generally between 8-10 weeks of age and around the change of teeth from baby teeth to adult teeth.
Careful Socialization is not what you might expect! It actually should consist of appropriate neurological stimulation of the young puppy that begins with the breeder and includes exposure to toys of various colors, shapes, and textures; tunnels for vestibular coordination; exposure to an assortment of the usual household sounds that can include anything ranging from blenders, vacuum cleaners, pots and pans banging, children crying and shouting, fireworks, car horns, thunder and lightning, ambulances, and every other sort of sound you can think of. And yes, these sounds are available to breeders as mp3s recordings that they can play for their puppies! And all these things, toys and sounds, etc. are the important prelude to later socialization and obedience training of the older puppy.
Code of Ethics Breeders of the American Coton Club are also encouraged to work with the recommendations for Newborn Training and Habituation (excerpted from "Developing High Achievers" originally published as "Early Neurological Stimulation" as developed by Dr. Carmen L. Battaglia, PhD.)breedingbetterdogs.com
Once your Coton puppy has completed it's Vaccination Protocol as recommended by Dr. Jean Dodds ( Dr Jean Dodds Corrected Vaccination Protocol 22ND JUL 2018) it is advisable to carefully and safely expose your puppy to different people on the street, in stores, at the park, men with beards, people in uniform, people wearing floppy hats. But do use common sense and be cautious about children in strollers, folks on roller blades, riding skateboards, riding bicycles, and dogs who are off-leash- especially larger-breed dogs who might well view a Coton as prey- regardless of what their well-meaning owner might claim about their dog being friendly. You never know what might trigger the prey drive in another dog!
If your Coton is exposed to new experiences in a safe and positive manner during this later period, they will stand a better chance of adjusting to new experiences throughout their lives.
Similarly, this is the time to invite a few friends over so the puppy will be comfortable with strangers in the home. It is a good idea to have your Coton puppy attend Puppy classes initially with other small breed puppies and then expose them eventually to other, larger, gentle dogs in a safe and controlled environment. Be aware that this can be a contractual obligation set by your breeder.
Good training is a must for a well-behaved family member so be prepared to invest time and energy with your Coton puppy to ensure a happy family member!
Cotons come in a variety of individual personalities just like humans do with some being very outgoing and others being more reserved but in general they are very curious about everything we do and want to be with you all the time, wherever you go, even to the bathroom. They also like to have their own private cave-like space where they can enjoy a bit of quiet time to themselves every so often- just like we do. Some really love car rides and enjoy being taken into stores- others do not. A good breeder will take the time to carefully interview a prospective client in order to select the puppy that is most suitable to the people they will be living with and to the environment they will be living in.
Cotons are usually accepted in any store where food isn't sold, and can usually accompany you to restaurants where there is outdoor seating. The most outgoing Cotons thrive on attention from clerks and strangers, others might not. Be prepared to attract a lot of attention with a well mannered Coton accompanying you.
Cotons de Tulear are companion dogs. No dog of any breed is truly happy nor can it really thrive - especially a Companion Breed like the Coton de Tuléar - if left alone at home for long periods of time, for example, if the owner works 8 hours a day and spends another hour or two commuting. Please think again about getting a puppy if you cannot be a companion for it. If you can meet the puppy's requirements, a Coton de Tuléar puppy will enrich your life beyond measure.