Coton de Tulear vs. Lhasa Apso: Which Breed to Get?

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Coton de Tulear vs. Lhasa ApsoIf you are looking for a small, loving, and friendly breed, you might consider getting a Coton de Tulear or a Lhasa Apso.

One of these breeds may be the perfect companion pooch for your lifestyle and family, so check out the following sections to find out more about them and which one you should get.

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Coton de Tulear and Lhasa Apso History

Coton de Tulear’s name is derived from its cotton-like coat and its native town of Tulear, located in Madagascar. It is part of the bichon family of dogs.

The history of this pooch is largely unknown, but it’s believed that its ancestors reached Madagascar in the 16th century. Back then, seamen used to love and keep small companion dogs, which remained isolated on the island. There, Coton de Tulear’s ancestors went through selective breeding to reach the appearance and temperament of the breed today.

This pooch finally became popular in Europe in the mid-20th century.

Lhasa Apso is native to Tibet and has a history of a thousand years. Its name is based on the city of Lhasa, and these small pups used to be watchdogs in palaces and temples. Thanks to their fine hearing, Lhasa Apsos would alert monks if anyone was getting close to the doors – and especially if they went past the outdoor watchdogs.

This breed is associated with Dalai Lama, who is believed to have gifted a pair of dogs to Suydam Cutting, a world traveler and naturalist.

Coton de Tulear vs. Lhasa Apso: What Are the Breeds Like?

Next, we’ll take a look at what these two breeds are like.


As the name suggests, Coton de Tulear has a fluffy, cotton-like coat. It is long and soft and is known as hypoallergenic – which means it triggers fewer allergies than other breeds. The long and soft hair is also known as low-shedding. Most Cotons are white, but puppies may be born with yellow or even black spots, which fade or disappear as the dog ages. This is a small breed, usually reaching up to 10”-11” in height and a maximum of 13-15 lbs in weight at maturity.

Lhasa Apso reaches a similar size at maturity (maximum 10”-11” inches and 12-18 lbs). However, the coat color is variable – ranging from white to cream and even black or red. Some of the less common coat colors are gray, silver, or blue. The coats grow long, and even their beards can grow if owners decide not to trim them.

Life Expectancy and Aging Profile

A Lhasa Apso is expected to live 12-15 years, while a Coton de Tulear usually lives between 15 and 19 years. However, the actual lifespan of your puppy depends on many factors, including the reputation of the breeder, genetics, and lifestyle. These small breeds are usually fully matured at 1 year old.


Cotons are small and zesty, so they will surely keep you entertained with their lovable personalities. They are wonderful companion dogs, easy to adapt, and quite versatile.

One thing to keep in mind is that they do tend to be quite territorial – if not trained properly, this could mean they are a bit aggressive with visitors, are prone to barking, and have difficult behaviors when you are not at home. It’s very important to start training and socializing your Coton de Tulear as early as possible.

This breed is an excellent family companion, but they do best in households where there is always someone at home; otherwise, they may suffer from separation anxiety, which leads to excessive chewing and other destructive behaviors.

Lhasa Apsos think of themselves as much bigger dogs – so, don’t be discouraged by the small, funny looks; in fact, this breed is a skilled watchdog, highly independent, and extremely devoted. It may cuddle and spend time with you – but only when it feels like it. Their temperament is reminiscent of their native location, the Himalayas, where they think of themselves as great snow lions rather than the cuddly toy breed they are.

If you have sensitive neighbors and you live in a small apartment, you may want to think twice; despite the small size, Lhasas are excellent watchdogs and they do their job well – they will alert you any time there is an unexpected event.


Cotons are intelligent and easy to train, but their attention span is quite short, so you need to keep training sessions brief and varied. They love solving problems on their own and they learn very quickly. Also, they can adapt to routines quite well.

Lhasa Apsos are also intelligent, but definitely more independent than Cotons, which means that sometimes they may not feel like listening to you. These dogs prefer to rely on themselves rather than on their human companion. At the end of the day, patience and early training are key to having a well-behaved mature Lhasa Apso.

Coton de Tulear vs. Lhasa Apso: Which One Is Easier to Keep?

Below, we’ll take a look at which of these breeds is easier to keep.

Required Living Space

Cotons are playful and inquisitive. Overall, they are active dogs, but thanks to their small size, they can easily adapt to a smaller living space. Having a small secured yard can be quite helpful, but an apartment may work fine as long as you take the time to go outside as often as needed.

Lhasas are more independent and need their own space, but as long as you respect that, they don’t need a large home, thanks to their small size. Similar to a Coton, as long as you have the required time to take them outdoors for exercise every day, this breed is quite adaptable to just about any home size.


Coton de Tulear has a long, luscious coat. It should be brushed frequently, at least 3-4 times per week to avoid mats and tangles, especially around the ears and legs. It should be bathed as frequently as necessary, based on how much time they spend outdoors and how often you brush them to remove dirt and debris. After the bath, make sure you pat the coat, not rub it, to avoid tangling.

Lhasa Apso has a long coat that will grow permanently, so it needs frequent trimming. On the good side, you can opt for a short trim, keeping the coat quite short and easier to maintain. Some owners prefer to keep the coat to the ground, but the longer the hair is, the more difficult it is to keep it clean and untangled. If you opt for a short coat, weekly brushing is sufficient; a long coat requires daily brushing to prevent matting.

Other than that, both breeds require a regular grooming routine that includes nail checking (and trimming if necessary), checking ears for wax buildup or irritation, and daily teeth brushing.

Walking and Exercise

Both breeds are small, so even if they are quite active, about 60 minutes of activity per day will suffice to keep them entertained and healthy. You could plan morning and evening walks, playtime during the day, and other games.

You may also opt for dog-friendly puzzle toys to keep your pooch mentally stimulated. These dogs prefer playing with their humans rather than by themselves, so you need to make sure you have time each day to keep your pup active.

Coton de Tulear vs. Lhasa Apso: How Much Do They Cost?

Coton de Tulear is not a very common breed, so you should expect to pay from $2,000 to $4,000 for a purebred puppy. This may depend on your location and the breeders in your area. A Lhasa Apso generally costs less, from $500 to $1,200, but the price may also vary depending on your region. Apart from this, you should also consider other costs like transportation, vet checks, and puppy supplies.

Coton de Tulear vs. Lhasa Apso: Which Should You Get as a Pet?

Coton de Tulear is a great choice for families or single-person households as long as there is someone at home to spend time with the pooch. This dog is entertaining, and loves to play, but is also calm and loves cuddling.

If you have kids, a Coton de Tulear may be a better choice as they are more adaptable and tolerant. Lhasa Apsos are more independent, but may still adapt well to a family with older kids as long as the kids are taught how to respect the dog’s private space.

Cotons are great choices for seniors, smaller or larger households, and are considered hypoallergenic. These dogs are quite protective, so they will be by your side no matter what you do. However, they do tend to bark, so they may disrupt your neighbors, especially if you live in a shared building.

The Lhasa Apso, however, may be a better fit for families with older children. They are fierce protectors of the home, but not aggressive. This breed is also excellent for seniors, doesn’t require much activity per day, and is easier to maintain if you opt for a shorter cut.


All in all, Coton de Tulear and Lhasa Apso are popular breeds with loving, entertaining, and loyal personalities. No matter which one you decide to bring home, you need to make sure your puppy is trained and socialized at an early age so that it can grow into a well-mannered adult dog.

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