On the surface, the Havanese and coton de Tulear seem like twins separated at birth. The similarities in the two breeds far outweigh the differences, as they're both companion breeds, bred specifically to be small, friendly additions to any home. Some differences do exist between these hairy pooches, however, but they are few.
Size-wise, the difference between the breeds is practically a non-issue. Based on the ideal specifics of the breeds, the Havanese is the smaller of the two, but not by much. A full-grown Havanese stands between 8 and 12 inches tall, while a coton ranges from 10 to 12 inches. Neither dog will strain your lap as you snuggle, as the Havanese ranges from 7 to 14 pounds full grown, with the coton tipping the scales at 12 to 15 pounds.
The Hairy Details
At first glance, both breeds seem to rock the same long and fluffy hairstyle, but their textures and treatment differ. The Havanese sports a double coat, ranging in texture from silky to fluffy, and can be curly, wavy or straight. Coton coats are typically long and straight, and prone to dryness. Havanese are available in a range of coat colors, while cotons typically only offer a range of white, yellow and champagne. Both breeds shed only minimally, but regular grooming is necessary to prevent mats. The Havanese coat tends to cord -- that is, develop dreadlocks -- if not brushed regularly.
Live Long and Prosper
Although you can't predict or guarantee how long any individual dog will live, as genetics, lifestyle and overall health have big impact, you can get a good estimate based on the breed's history. In the case of Havanese and cotons, you'll most likely have your little pooch for 14 to 16 years or more. Health-wise, the coton may have an advantage over the Havanese, as they don't seem to have any breed-specific health concerns. Havanese are prone to deafness, leg and hip issues and eye problems such as cataracts and progressive retinal atrophy.
Supply and Demand
Possibly the biggest difference between the two breeds is a purely commercial aspect -- availability. Simply put, you're more likely to find a Havanese breeder than a coton de Tulear breeder. The coton is a rare breed in the United States, mostly because it hasn't yet gained the popularity or notoriety of other, more popular and well-known breeds. Finding a breeder and purchasing a coton could offer a challenge, whereas the more-established Havanese may be easier to locate.
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