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Differences between a havanese & a coton de tulear

Updated July 20, 2017

A Havanese and a Coton de Tulear share many traits. Both dog breeds sport long “cottony” hair that sheds minimally. They are both small but sturdy breeds that have happy dispositions and get along with other pets and children. Both are also thought to be descendants of the Bichon family of dogs, which started with the Tenerife breed. However, for all their similarities, they do have a few differences.

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Coton de Tulears originally came from Madagascar. A ship was said to have wrecked off the coast of Madagascar in the 15th century, and small, white dogs of unknown breed that swam ashore were the only survivors, according to United States of America Coton de Tulear Club lore. These dogs then bred with wild terriers on the island and the Coton de Tulear breed was born.

Havanese are descendants of dogs brought to Cuba in the 16th century by Spanish settlers, according to the Havanese Club of America. They are Cuba’s National Dog and are the only breed native to the country.


While the Coton de Tulear is white, champagne and white, or tricolour, Havanese come in an array of colours ranging from white, black and chocolate to blue brindle, fawn and red.

Height and Weight

Coton de Tulears are slightly larger, weighing in at 5.44 to 6.8kg. and standing 10 to 12 inches tall, while Havanese weigh 7 to 13lbs. and are 8 to 11 inches tall.

Nose and Eyes

The eyes of a Coton de Tulear are dark brown and perfectly round while its nose is black. The Havanese also has dark brown eyes, but they are more almond-shaped, and the nose is solid black or dark chocolate brown, depending on the colour of the dog.


Perhaps the most noticeable difference between the Coton de Tulear and Havanese breeds is the tail. While the Havanese carries its plumed tail loosely curled over its lower back, like many dogs in the Bichon family, the Coton de Tulear’s tail hangs below the tarsal joint of the hind legs.

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About the Author

B. is an editor and writer for Demand Media.

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