Havanese vs. Coton de Tulear: Which Breed to Get?

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Havanese vs. Coton de TulearThe Havanese and Coton de Tulear are two popular dog breeds that are often compared to each other. While the two dogs share some similarities, there are also some key differences between them.

In this post, we’ll take a closer look at these two breeds and compare their features. We’ll also discuss which breed might be a better fit for you and your family. So, without further ado, let’s get started!

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Havanese vs. Coton de Tulear: A Detailed Comparison

To understand the modern breeds, we first should take a close look at where they come from and what they were bred for.


The Havanese and the Coton de Tulear actually are related if you go back and look at the origins of the two breeds. Firstly, both Havanese and Coton de Tulear are descendants of the Bichon family that formed out of Tenerife dogs.

The Havanese breed developed when Tenerife dogs were brought to Cuba in the 1500s by Spanish noblemen and farmers. Vacationing Europeans then fell in love with the breed and brought them back to their countries, where they quickly became popular with the nobility.

In the case of the Coton de Tulear, when the dogs arrived in Madagascar, they soon became quite popular, quickly becoming pets in royal courts and rich households.

While they were popular in the households of the wealthy elites, many of these dogs were actually street urchins. A long while later in the 1970s, the breed was brought to France by visiting Frenchmen that wished to establish them as a breed.

While the backstories of these two beloved breeds are somewhat similar in nature, each dog has their unique traits and personalities developed over time.


Continuing the trend of similarities between the Havanese and the Coton de Tulear, their appearances are similar, but with their own unique aspects.

Havanese dogs typically have a coat of medium length that is straight or wavy. Cotons have a distinctive long coat that is soft and thick, and this cotton-like coat is where their name is derived from.

Both of these breeds require regular grooming due to the nature of their coats. To maintain their beautiful, long coats, both breeds need to be brushed or combed multiple times a week and may need a trim occasionally to help maintain their coats.

Havanese tend to have gold, black, champagne, or white coats, while the cottony coat of the Coton de Tulear comes most commonly in white, champagne, and tri-colored with white, brown, and black.


Below is a summary of how big these dogs can grow to be:

Havanese Coton de Tulear
Weight Male: 8-13 lbs.

Female: 7-12 lbs.

Male: 9-15 lbs.

Female: 8-13 lbs.

Height Male: 11 in.

Female: 10 in.

Male: 10-11 in.

Female: 9-10 in. 

Each of these two breeds has a unique style and shape to them as well. Along with their long and cottony coats, the Coton de Tulear commonly has dark eyes that are round and wide-set. Both breeds have similar face shapes and both can grow hair that may cover their eyes.

Aging Profile

The lifespan of both the Havanese and Coton de Tulear are similar, with Coton de Tulear dogs living around 14 to 16 years, and Havanese living from 10 to 15 years.

Havanese pups reach adulthood anywhere from 6 to 8 months while the Coton de Tulear pups take a bit longer and usually reach adulthood, somewhere between 10 to 12 months.

Every dog needs at least some kind of exercise each day in order to live a long, happy, and healthy life. Havanese need anywhere from 20 to 40 minutes a day of exercise, and the Coton de Tulear requires somewhere between 30 to 40 minutes.

Both these breeds will be more than happy to cuddle up with you after a long day, but like any dog, they need daily exercise to stay healthy and stimulated.


These two breeds are wonderful companion dogs – after all, that is what they were bred for! They have similar temperaments, but each has a unique personality. Havanese are characterized as charming, happy, social, and gentle pups that are very social dogs and will want to meet anyone and everyone that you pass when going on a walk.

The personality of a Coton de Tulear is usually that of a people-pleaser, they are very social and enjoy spending time with their people. They are relatively easy to train and they love being the center of attention.

Usually, Coton de Tulears do not bark often, but occasionally will, just like any dog. Both breeds are incredibly social and love frequently interacting with people, playing, and entertaining.


Both breeds are intelligent dogs that will learn new tricks and commands quickly. Unlike other stubborn breeds, Havanese and Cotons love pleasing their humans which makes them relatively easy to train.

If you can keep your dog engaged and interested in training, these two breeds will learn fast. It is important to train and socialize your dog from an early age, and these two breeds can make that process a little easier.


Both breeds are known to have moderate to high grooming needs. Their beautiful coats grow constantly and will need a trim every once in a while to prevent mats and tangles. In addition, they will require brushing several times a week and a bath once every week or two.

Being small dogs, these breeds are also prone to tear stains and eye problems. Their light-colored coats don’t help mask the unsightly stains either!

Keeping your dog’s face clean and free of debris can help, as can using some specially formulated wipes or products designed to remove tear stains.

In addition, just like for any dog, you’ll have to regularly clean their ears, clip their nails, and check them thoroughly for pests like ticks and fleas.

Other Factors

Finances are important to consider before adopting a new fur baby, alongside regular costs for owning a dog, and the adoption costs are important to note. On average, a Havanese puppy will run you about $1,000 to $1,500, occasionally up to $2,500 depending on the bloodline it comes from.

Coton de Tulear puppies are a bit rarer, and hence, more expensive on average, ranging from $2,000 to $4,000. While it is important to ensure that you can financially handle caring for a dog after adoption, these initial procurement costs are steep enough to be an important factor too.

The prominent lifestyle in your household plays an important factor to consider when thinking about adopting a new furry family member. Coton de Tulear and Havanese dogs are loving, affectionate dogs that do not like being left alone for long periods of time.

They are prone to separation anxiety and will do best in households with a family member at home most of the day.

If your lifestyle means leaving them home alone for a long time each day, you may want to consider looking at another breed before adopting.

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

These two breeds both make excellent pets, and they each have their unique personality traits and behavioral tendencies. For those households with children, either dog would make a wonderful addition to your family.

Havanese are wonderful family dogs that interact well with children and any other pets as long as they are properly socialized at a younger age. Coton de Tulears are also great with kids, especially with their fun-loving and energetic nature. As long as the kids know how to interact with dogs, and the dog is socialized properly, then either of these two breeds will do great.

Socialization is an important part of every dog’s life, and both the breeds we have discussed here will need and will benefit from proper socialization. If properly socialized there are not many differences in regard to the temperament and behavior of these two breeds.

The big bonus for both breeds is that their long, flowy coats are hypoallergenic, making them suitable for people with allergies. They are low shedders whose fur and dander are unlikely to trigger a reaction.

By comparing these two breeds we can see a wide range of similarities between the Havanese and the Coton de Tulear breeds. The temperament of these dogs can vary from the descriptions given here based on their training and socialization, along with early life events, but they are very similar breeds.

The most notable difference that could impact a decision is that the Coton de Tulear has a tendency to live longer than a Havanese dog will.


So, what’s the verdict? Which one is better for you – a Havanese or a Coton de Tulear? It really depends on your lifestyle and what you’re looking for in a dog.

Ultimately, both dogs make great pets and will bring years of happiness to their families. We hope we helped clear up some of the confusion about these two breeds. Good luck!

Considering Other Breeds Too?

Make sure to read how the Havanese compares with other breeds too:

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