Frequently Asked Questions


What health issues do Cotons have?

We are often asked about health issues that are inherent to the Coton breed.  The Coton is known to be a very hardy, healthy breed.  Our first litter of Coton puppies was born in the Fall of 2005.  Since that time we have seen very little, if any real concern in our lines nor those of our Coton breeder friends. Our first male threw one puppy with a heart defect in each of our first 3 litters (all born within weeks of one another).  He was promptly neutered and placed in a lovely pet home.  We have also seen or heard of the ulna growth plate closing prematurely.  This requires a surgery but is not a life threatening issue.  It is not necessarily a genetic defect since this condition can be brought on by the puppy putting too much force on the front legs during those months when s/he is growing into an adult dog.  We recommend that you not allow your dog to jump up and down off furniture until s/he is fully grown to minimize the chance of the ulna growth plate closing prematurely.  If you allow your dog on your sofa or bed, purchase some pet stairs to aid his climb up and down.  It's cheaper than surgery! 

Another thing that is very common is umbilical hernias.  Some vets will say that this is a genetic defect, however, that is not true in most cases. A "true" hernia is a mid-line defect in the body wall.  This is rare.  Most umbilical hernias are "delayed closures" of the area where the umbilical cord once connected to the puppy.  They will typically close on their own during the first year.  If it doesn't your vet may suggest that he close it up when your dog is spayed or neutered.  Here is an informative article about umbilical hernias.



Will tri-colored puppies keep their color?

People frequently ask us about how much color the puppies will
retain when they are adults.  That is difficult to answer.  It
depends on the intensity of the color as a puppy AND whether
you are planning to cut the dog's hair short, which tends to cut
off the color, as their undercoat is typically white.  To help
answer these questions I am posting some pictures below of
puppies at birth and then a bit older.  Hope it helps you to get
an idea of what to expect.
Bear in mind that all of the puppies featured in this
section are living in their new forever homes so they are not

This is Dakota at 6 months old.  You can see that she still has color, it is just lighter.

This is Dakota when she was 1
week old.  She had lots of black on her face and body.

Here is Dusty at 6 months old.  You can see he still has quite a bit of color, it is just lighter. 

This is Dusty when he was 1 week old. He had a lot of dark brown coloring.

This is Apollo at 7 months.  The color is more of a light gray now.  His brown markings are more visible. 

This is Apollo as a 3 month oldpuppy.  He was about 90% black when he was born.  I had never had a puppy born with that much color before, nor since.

This is a picture of a true black and white coton.  I received this picture from her owner in early 2013. She was about 4 years old.  Black and white cotons are rare.  You can see that they maintain the intensity of color much better than the tri-color. 

What can I do about my puppy's tear stains?

Many people worry about tear stains on a white dog.  We have found that tearing is very common during teething--usually between 6-12 weeks.  Excessive tearing can cause a "red yeast infection" that causes the reddish stains under the puppy's eyes.  It can take 2-3 months for stains to completely go away after the tearing stops.  Here are some suggestions if you still struggle with tear stains after that time:

*Keep your dog's eyes clean--use an eye cleaner daily until the stains subside.
*Trim your dog's hair so that it does not fall over his eyes.  This can cause irritation that can result in tearing.

*Switch to a high quality dog food such as pawTree.(
*Feed a grain feed diet.

*Be sure to feed and water using stainless steel or ceramic bowl - no plastic

*Consider your household cleaner.  Sometimes switching to an all natural cleaner will clear up tearing.

*This could be allergies if the dog is past teething.  Try pawTree's Allergy Support Plus to alleviate allergies. (

Why do my puppy's ears flip backward?

There doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason as to why some puppy's ears flip "inside out" and others don't. I have heard some people refer to it as "rose ears", however, in my experience, this condition resolves as the puppy grows and his ears get bigger and the hair is heavier. In the meantime, just flip the ear back the way it should go and don't worry about it.

How has my puppy been socialized?

Is he used to having interactions with people?

Puppies that are born at our house live in the one of the main rooms of our house.  They are socialized to the sights and sounds of daily life from the day that they are born.  We interact with the puppies on a daily basis.  In addition, our grandchildren are at the house frequently and they love to play with the puppies!  People are always welcome to come to the house to visit us and the puppies.  We frequently have visitors at the house who will sit on the floor and play with the puppies for hours--literally! 
Even though your puppy has been socialized to the sights and sounds of our house, it may take a period of adjustment for him to become accustomed to his new home.  Be patient and simply spend a lot of time with your puppy in the early days of his arrival to your home and before you know it he will settled in and will be socialized to all the sights and sounds of his new life!


Is my puppy ready for solid food?

We start feeding the puppies "gruel" at 4 weeks old.  This is dry food that we have ground into a powder in the blender, then added water to make it a porridge consistency.  At 6 weeks we will begin to soften the kibble by pouring hot water over them and letting them sit for a while before feeding them to the puppies.  At 7 weeks we introduce the dry kibble.  Your puppy should be able to eat dry kibbles when you take him home.  See our Breeder Recommendations page for more details on what we feed our dogs.



How can I help my puppy acclimate on those first few nights away from his mommy and littermates?

Your puppy is going to cry and need a lot of attention during those first days away from his mommy.  We suggest that you have a small kennel for him to sleep in that you place next to your bed.  Cover the kennel with an old towel or small blanket. Go to bed a little earlier than normal that first night.  When your puppy starts to cry, tap a couple of times on the top of the kennel and say "No".  We call this a "thunderstorm".  Do this every time your puppy makes a sound.  Within 10-15 minutes your puppy should calm down and go to sleep. This has worked over and over again for us.  


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