Questions to ask a breeder (with Answers)

Are you a Code of Ethics Breeder?


Why do you breed dogs?

Puppies are fun, and, the income off-sets the expense of showing dogs. Furthermore, I am considered crazy by all my relatives.

How did you choose the Coton?

I wanted a small breed that would compete well in performance sports. Unlike other breeds, Coton were not artificial selected to perform a given function, they are the result of a few hundred years of natural selection.

How long have you been involved with Cotons?

Beginning in 2012

Do you support rescue?

I do. Fortunately, we don’t have many Cotons in rescue, yet. I am also a member of the Texas Great Pyrenees Rescue, they unfortunately have more than they can handle.

Do you breed any other breed of dog?


What are the health concerns of the Coton de Tuléar breed?

The parents should be genotyped for Canine Multifocal Retinopathy 2 (CMR2); Degenerative Myelopathy (DM); Neonatal Cerebellar Ataxia (Bandera’s syndrome BNAT); Primary hyperoxaluria (PH); van Willebrand’s Disease (vWD1).

Parents should also be certified by licensed veterinarians for soundness of joint (hip, elbow, knee & shoulder), health of the heart and eyes.

Do you do health screening tests on your breeding dogs? If so, what tests? Can I find testing certification on

My dogs have been genotyped for Canine Multifocal Retinopathy 2 (CMR2), Degenerative Myelopathy (DM), Neonatal Cerebellar Ataxia (Bandera’s syndrome), Primary hyperoxaluria (PH), van Willebrand’s Disease (vWD1), and are homozygous dominate. Additionally, the dogs are examined by veterinarian specialists for patella luxation, cardiac defects, congenital deafness (BAER), and have hip and elbows x-rayed.  CHIC numbers for individual dogs are listed on the dog’s page.

Do you have a veterinarian who sees your Cotons on a regular basis?

My regular vet is Beard Clinic in Navasota; however, I also use specialists for certain screenings.

Are the parents related? What is the inbreeding co-efficient of the upcoming litter?

The inbreeding coefficient represents the amount of blood-relationship of the parents. Because only a few dogs were exported from Madagascar, the gene pool is small. 20-30 years ago, it was common to line breed closely. A great deal more is known now about genetics and the gene pool has increased in size. Inbreeding isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  However, I advise a puppy purchaser examine at least 5 generations of a pup to look for excessive inbreeding.

How do you keep yourself educated and informed as a breeder?

I receive information from many sources. My formal education is in Animal Science (BS), Genetics (MS), Food Chemistry (PhD). I work in nutrition research, and regularly read scientific journals. I am a member of the Bred with a Heart program with AKC, and utilize those resources. I participate in course work through the Institute of Canine Biology, and am a member of Breeders only on Facebook.  I receive numerous emails from dog related organizations.  Additionally, I am a member of multiple dog clubs, which distribute information.  I currently the chair of the health committee for North American Coton Association, and the Board of Directors for my local kennel club.

Are you active in any competitive or social activities with your Cotons other than breeding?

My dogs and I compete in Rally, traditional Obedience, Conformation, Agility and are involved in therapy.

Do you require companion dogs to be neutered or spayed?

Yes, spaying and neutering benefit the owner and the dog.

What kind of guarantee do you provide for your puppies?

I guarantee the pups for one year against congenital defects.

Where do your Cotons live? Inside? Kennel?

My dogs have the run of the house, and access to the yard. Prospective buyers have the opportunity to meet all my dogs.

Are your dogs registered with the AKC, if not, where are they registered?

AKC. They can be dual registered with UKC & IABCA.

Can you briefly explain the raising process for your pups up to the time they leave your home?

I assist the mama dog delivering the pups (always in the middle of the night). I handle the pups at least twice a day during the first few weeks. As soon as they are big enough to get into trouble, I provide play things for mental stimulus, chew toys, noise makers, different textures, etc. They are on rubber mats for good traction. Research indicates that good traction and exercise are critical for the development of good structure, healthy joints, and muscle mass. Mama dogs teaches them to potty on artificial turf, (indoors) and weather permitting, I send them outside to play. I introduce them to the leash and car rides. When mama-dog allows such, they will play with the other dogs in the household. I start offering food at 4 weeks, although, the pups usually just put their feet in the bowl. I also give them hard chew toys for those emerging teeth. Serious eating starts about 6 weeks. I have found that coton puppies mature more slowly than other breeds. Mama-dog will start weaning around 7-8 weeks. I like to keep my pups at least 9 weeks.

Do you ship puppies?

I haven’t in the past, and have found that the cost exceeds the cost of new owner coming and picking up the pup. I also think meeting people and dogs in person is a great idea.

How many litters do you have a year? How many litters will you allow your females?

I follow the AKC recommendations. One litter per year for any mama-dog.

Do you perform temperament and personality tests on your puppies?

Personality tests on puppies under one year of age, have no scientific validity in predicting adult behavior. These tests can be used to identify, un-socialized, neglected or abused dogs, so I would encourage a prospective dog owner to be familiar with normal puppy behavior.

Size of parents?

All my dogs are between 9-11 inches at the withers.

What sort of an educational and support system do you offer to new puppy owners?

My puppy buyers receive written and hands on training concerning grooming, training, feeding, what to expect at different ages and immunization schedules. I am available throughout the life of their dog, and I regularly contact puppy people owners when I have news to share.

What vaccination and other health care do the puppies receive?

I follow the American Veterinary Medical Association, AVMA, for vaccine, and worming schedules. Puppies are current on vaccines, and worming when they go to their new homes. I also send puppies home with heart-worm and flea/tick preventatives.

Are you willing to take back any dog you produce, regardless of age, if the owner is unable to keep the dog for any reason?


Do you stand behind the puppies you sell for the life of that Coton?

Yes, I keep in contact with my puppy people.

What additional items are provided with the puppy?

The puppy will have a binder with all paper work, (copies of parent pedigrees, titles, health record, AKC registration papers); basic feeding and grooming supplies.  

How much?

Several factors affect the price; puppy’s conformation, gender, titles of the parents and any training pup has received.

Can you send me references of people who have purchased puppies from you before? Can you send me a copy of your contracts?

Yes; however, I do require a completed puppy questionnaire first. Unfortunately, this type of information has been used inappropriately. References, sample contract, pedigrees, links to health screening etc. are available to those with serious interest.