If you are considering buying a Coton de Tulear let’s talk about the importance of Health & what to look for from a breeder. 


Over the last few years DNA Health testing has become available for lots of breeds and a vital tool for breeders in order to continue to breed healthy dogs. 


DNA Health testing is very very different from a breeder taking their dogs to a vet for annual vaccinations and a health check exam. 

A vaccination card or a print off of blood tests from their vet is NOT proof the dogs have been dna health tested. 

This is also not proof the dogs cannot pass certain genetic health conditions onto their puppies.


DNA health tests are done using saliva or blood and the sample is then sent away to a laboratory for genetic analysis. 

The breeder either receives the results via post or by signing into an online account available through the lab. 

Then the DNA health results are available for the breeder to print off & the breeder can also get the laboratory to send owners & their chosen veterinary surgery the dogs results.


Why do breeders need to DNA test ?

Breeders test their breeding dogs for conditions that may affect the parents & offspring. Some conditions, dogs can live with without concerns, others will hinder the dogs quality of life and some worst case scenario, can shorten the dogs life expectancy. surgery can cost thousands of pounds and sometimes moré treatments are require.
This is why DNA health testing is so important to both breeders and owners.


If a breeder cannot produce copies of DNA health certificates of the disorders they have tested for, there is a chance their dogs have not been tested at all.

WARNING Be very careful not all breeders are honest. Look at the breeders results, Ask what the results mean. What are the breeders testing for. What are the conditions? Will the conditions affect your puppy?. Are the disorders recessive or a more serious dominant disorder. What does the term Carrier, Clear & Affected mean?


Some breeders can even change their dna results to try to show you the dogs they are breeding and selling are clear of disorders. Be very careful of reading 2 copies of a clear gene, ( this result has been changed). There is only one way to be 100% certain if your Coton is clear of testable disorders and that's to only buy from a breeder who health tests all the puppies in the litter and your puppies health test results come to you and your chosen veterinary from the laboratory directly. These types of breeders are very hard to find. If you are reading this you have found one here at Cukoton Cotons de Tulear.


Coton de Tulear breeders should DNA health test ALL their dogs before breeding for the following health disorders and documentation provided to all puppy buyers:

Some conditions it is recommended that breeders get ALL puppies tested for the conditions. Here at Cukoton we health test all our dogs for all DNA health disorders possible and our dogs are clear. 

Chondrodystrophy (CDDY with risk of IVDD) (effects the disc's in the spinal region, can cause paralysis or early death. Operations range from £10k -£15k) - Your puppy needs testing for this condition to be safe.


Chondrodysplasia (CDPA) types of dwarfism


Canine Multi-Focal Retinopathy (CMR2) are raised lesions on the retina of the eye


Hyperuricosuria (HUU) is hard stones to form in the bladder, can cause urinary & bladders problems 


Von Willebrand Disease Type 1 (VWD Type 1) which is a bleeding disorder 


Degenerative Myleopathy (DM) is progressive neurological disorder that affects the spinal cord


Primary Hyperoxaluria (PHPT) is a deficiency of a liver enzyme needed to break down calcium oxalate crystals


Malignant Hyperthermia (MH), causes extreme muscle contractions, increased metabolism, rapid heartbeat and elevated temperature


These tests and their results are very important to see before even considering buying a Coton de Tulear puppy. 

Please only buy from a breeder who has done the tests ABOVE and are willing to discuss  & explain the test results with you. This will help assist you find the healthiest puppy possible to the breeders knowledge at the time. 


Other tests the breeders may have done are:


Neonatal Ataxia (NA) is damage to the cerebellum, which controls coordination & movement in new born puppies.


Primary Lens Luxation (PLL) is dislocation of the lens of the eye


Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA-PRCD) is where cells in the retina of the eye degenerate and die


The Coton de Tulear is regarded as a relatively healthy breed.  However there are some disorders that the Coton de Tulear can suffer from that can cost a great deal of money for an operation or even cause early death.  

Cukoton use Embark, Labloklin UK or Animal Genetics UK for the tests listed above. The tests are very easy to do, a kit is sent containing buccal swabs. 3 buccal swabs will be sufficient for all 10 tests. First seperate and dont feed the dog being tested for at least 2 hours. Then take the buccal swab and place inside dogs mouth on the cheek making circular motions for at least 20 seconds. Let the swab dry then place it in the plastic container or envelope supplied and send back to the labs. The tests can take from 1 week to 6 weeks as some may need to be sent to America.

Yearly eye examinations and a thorough health check every year is also a must. It is very important to us that our Cotons are long lived happy and healthy. ALL breeds of dogs DO suffer from health conditions, some breeds are more susceptible than others.  The Coton's ancestor were apparently the Bichon Frise so I would think more health conditions linked to the Bichon Frise will possibly come to light as times goes on. 

More information about other disorders are listed in A- Z of General Canine Health problems in the menu under health.



A-Z of Dog diseases and common health problems by Dick Lane