Coton De Tulear | Tail Set and Carriage

Hallmarks of the Breed
Coton De Tulear running.


Coton De Tulear | Tail Set and Carriage

AKC STANDARD – CORRECT TAIL CARRIAGE: The tail is low set in the axis of the spinal column. At rest it is carried below the hock with the tip being raised. On the move the tail is carried happily. It is curved over the back so that the hair of the tail rests on the back with the point towards the nape, the withers, the back or the loin. In specimens with abundant coat, the tip may rest on the dorsal-lumbar region.

Coton breed running.

AKC STANDARD – TAIL FAULTS: Fault – A tail that does not reach the hock; a tail that has a complete curl loop; a gay tail; a tail that is carried completely flat over the body (snap tail). Disqualification – No tail.

IN MOTION: The correct, low set and long Coton tail carriage ALWAYS creates a discernable curve over the back. Some hair of the tail rests on the back with the point towards the nape, withers, back or loin. On heavily coated dogs, the tip may touch the dorsal-lumbar region, due only to the weight of the hair, but it should still be arced.

Correct tail standard for
Correct – Key Points: arc tail over back, tip points to nape, withers, back or loin
Incorrect tail standard for Coton breed.
Incorrect — Key Points: vertical, flat, no arch, curl/loop Disqualify – no tail

The arc will deviate in proportion according to the acceptable locations of the point of the tail tip, that point being to the nape, withers, back, or dorsal lumbar region of the loin. NOTE: Abundant hair on a well-feathered tail can somewhat visually obscure the required arc of the tail from view.

Two pictures of a Coton de Tulear dog with the correct tail in motion, showcasing the breed's tail standards.
Correct – tail set and carriage, in motion, raised, pointing forward, arced

Faults, Dqs & Deviations in Motion

FAULTS: A tail that does not reach the hock; tail that has a complete curl loop; a gay tail; a tail that is carried completely flat over the body (snap tail). DISQUALIFICATION: No tail.

ELABORATION OF TAIL FAULTS: Coton tail carriage FAULTS include, but are not limited to, tails carried vertically without the required “curve (NO ARC pointing in the prescribed manner) in the skeletal structure of the tail.” (VERTICAL/FLAGPOLE.) Tails carried flat against the loin (SNAP TAIL) or any tails carried in a CURL/LOOP. Tails carried above the horizontal level of the back (GAY TAIL). Tail not reaching the hock (SHORT TAIL). AKC STANDARD: “Any deviation from the ideal described in the standard should be penalized to the extent of the deviation.” Tails not rising to any ideally described standard positions while in motion. DISQUALIFY: NO TAIL.

Two pictures of a white Coton de Tulear dog with a white coat showcasing tail standards.
The Coton De Tulear tail is down when stacked or at rest, allowing the judge to fully appreciate the distinctive topline and tail set.

Coton de Tulear tails are “low set” and “long,” reaching slightly below the hock! As per the Standard: The TIP OF THE TAIL is ONLY SLIGHTLY RAISED AT REST. The coat may be so heavy that the tip rests on the ground.

Carefully examine The tail that never drops, or the tail that the exibitor holds down when stacked or at rest, for an incorrect tight or short tail.

Correct points of conformation
produce correct tail set and carriage

The slight rise over the loin falls away into an oblique croup, resulting in a low tail insertion. The tail is long, with the tip of the tail reaching slightly below the hock, allowing it to reach up and over the back to form the correctly carried arced tail.

Incorrect level toplines, short backs, and/or toplines that are high in the rear produce high-set tails that are unable to achieve the Standard’s requirements of proper tail carriage. A short tail, not reaching the hock, is a Standard-described “fault.” This fault impedes the dogs’ ability to carry the tail as prescribed.


The United States of America Coton de Tulear Club is your authoritative source for breed education and mentoring. We will be happy to assist you with the correct interpretation of the Breed Standard. Our website’s Judges Education page also features informative articles and a list of approved, knowledgeable mentors.

Coton de Tulear dog's motion flaws and tail standards.
Author and Graphic Designer Eileen Boyer Narieka, USACTC Breed Education Chair, AKC Judge #97955 , Email: United States of America Coton de Tulear Club, Inc. All Graphics are copyrighted to the USACTC, Inc.
  • Eileen Boyer Narieka has spent the last 23 years devoted to furthering the well-being and preservation of the magnificent Coton de Tulear through a variety of service to the breed. She currently is President of the United States of America Coton de Tulear Club and an AKC Judge. As Judges and Breed Education Chair, she enjoys sharing the extensive knowledge of the Coton she acquired through the breed’s journey from Rare Breed to nine years of full AKC recognition in the Non-Sporting Group. Eileen has authored numerous articles for SHOWSIGHT magazine.

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