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Purebred Coton de Tulear | Variations of Breed Size

Purebred Coton de Tulear

Purebred Coton de Tulear – Do not hesitate to call for the wicket!

Correct height is the base of all purebred Coton de Tulear ratios.
Dogs may be a 1/3 longer than bitches, and weights may be almost double.

Evaluate Cotons for weight and condition according to correct body proportions of heights and lengths within the range of prescribed weights. The Coton is a sturdy dog with moderate bone. Larger sizes may produce heavier bone and muscle. Bitches are proportionately smaller, but should feel appropriately muscled and never be fine-boned.

It is important that judges not be influenced by size, and reward an exhibit reflecting standard merits within allowable sizes for the sex of the individual exhibit rather than compared to each other in height and weight, with the ideal height range being preferred only if all other considerations are equal.

Purebred Coton de Tulear
Please note the amounts of coat forward, rear, and over the topline.

Hands-on skeletal evaluations are vital to determine correct proportions under the visual illusion created by profuse Coton de Tulear coat!

A judge who does not use his hands to determine the correct height-to-length ratio of 2 high 3 long definite rectangular body and points of skeletal conformation of the Coton de Tulear does the breed a great disservice.

Purebred Coton de Tulear
The profuse coat of the Coton de Tulear and its grooming creates a multitude of illusions!

“Did your hands confirm what your eyes perceived?”

The uniquely defining characteristics of the silhouette of the Coton de Tulear are created by correctly proportioned ratios, a distinctive rise beginning over the loin that falls away, without flatness, into an oblique croup and low tail set.

Purebred Coton de Tulear
Tails are down at rest and for conformation evaluation.

Please note the wide variations of shapes, sizes, and silhouettes in the graphic above, all of which may be presented for evaluation. Profuse coats reaching 3″ forward of point of the shoulder, head furnishings, combined with inches of heavily coated rear assemblies and tails, make visual conformation impossible. An arch over the loin can easily be groomed into place on a level topline, and make a flat croup appear to be correctly oblique (slanted) to accommodate the low tail set. Short-backed dogs will not have the correct topline, croup, and tail set. Movement will be negatively affected, as the gait will be shortened.

Severely penalize sculpted coats, creative grooming altering the natural appearance of the dog, and any trimming anywhere other than feet and pads. (See Standard.)

Head Standard: The head is SHORT. The ratio is 2 parts head to 5 parts body. The head is wide and appears triangular in shape when viewed from above. Muzzle-to-Skull ratio: 5 parts muzzle to 9 parts skull (backskull). See Elaboration of the Standard for head details and how to measure.

Disproportionately large heads, caused by over-grooming or “teasing” (backcombing), distort the natural silhouette, as do long necks. Severely penalize parting and trimming of heads to shorten disproportionately long, downfaced muzzles. This creative grooming causes the stop to appear deep (stop is slight) with deep set eyes, and is frequently accompanied by trimming around the eyes. This is to be severely penalized.

Severely Fault: Any grooming and sculpting of the coat to create the illusion of body length. Forward and rear combing of a profuse coat will definitely affect the natural silhouette. Remember that skeletal points only are to be evaluated for correct proportions.

Any grooming or trimming of the furnishing that is done to narrow or cow-hocked rears to “deceive the eye” and create the illusion of width is to be severely penalized.

The AKC Coton de Tulear Standard and Educational Resources, including an in-depth Elaboration of the Standard can be found on

Go to the RESOURCES link to Judges Education to find the drop-down links to the Standard and Printable Educational Guidelines.

Please Note: is the AKC approved Parent Breed Club website.

Purebred Coton de Tulear – Faults & Disqualifications

Fault – Any deviation from the ideal described in the standard should be penalized to the extent of the deviation.

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).

Fault – A dip behind shoulder blades or a steep or flat croup is to be penalized.

Severe Fault – A wheel back or flat back are to be severely penalized

Severe Fault – An overly large or bulging eye is a severe fault as is an almond-shaped, obliquely set eye.

Severe Fault – Atypical hair or hair that is tightly curled, wooly or silky.

Severe Fault – Any trimming, sculpting or grooming of the coat which alters the natural appearance.

Severe Fault – Any color, except 5% of light tan (mixture of white and light tan hair) appearing in one area of the coat or scattered throughout the coat is a severe fault in an adult Coton over 12 months of age.

Purebred Coton de Tulear

Purebred Coton de Tulear – Disqualifications

Height – Any bitch less than 8.5 inches or taller than 11 inches in height; any dog less than 9.5 inches or taller than 12 inches in height. The minimum height disqualification does not apply to puppies under 12 months of age.

Eye(s) of any color other than brown or black.

Total lack of pigment on the eye rim(s), nose or lips.

Color – Black on the body is a disqualification at any age.

No tail.

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

Purebred Coton de Tulear | Variations of Breed Size
By Eileen Boyer Narieka, AKC Judge
Breed/Judges Education Chair & Vice President of the United States of America Coton de Tulear Club

(Graphics by Eileen Narieka are copyrighted to USACTC, Inc.)