Coton de Tulear Q & A
proud “Mimi”. Maplewood Cotons is family affair and are very involved with the dogs and regularly take one home for a visit while we are out of town. The Coton is a very versatile dog in that they can do agility, obedience, therapy and be a lap dog for sure. Cotons are very smart and eager to learn new things. I have to say the Cotons love to be where your are and travel like pros. I truly enjoy the families who get a new furever family member as they keep me updated with news and pictures. JUSTINE ROMANO I live in New Jersey with my husband and my daughter who is in high school, and I own and groom my eight Cotons, which is a full time job. My first career was in the fashion industry. After, I owned a grooming business and met my first Coton in 1998. In 2008, I began to show my dogs as a hobby. My opinion of the current quality of purebred dogs? I am glad to see in the USA, most breeders are abiding and breeding to the AKC breed standard. As for my breed, I do like the AKC breed standard. However, I believe there is always room for improvement and it needs to be shorter. The biggest concern I have about the breed? What concerns me most is that some breeders are not doing the health testing we have available for our breed and some of the new breeders are not being mentored. As a breeder, I would have liked to create type in our breed while following the breed standard. Due to health testing being my main priority, I will not line breed. Our gene pool is too small and dou- bling up on outstanding dogs can also double up on health issues. I choose to outcross to avoid the health issues that could occur. Also, I breed for temperament, a Coton de Tulear should be as happy in the show ring as they are at home. The most important advice I have for a new breeder is to have a great mentor. An experienced breeder that will educate them about our breed and tell the background of dogs in the pedigree. A new breeder should take it slow and start with one well bred Coton and show the dog to its AKC Championship. This will help the new breeder develop an educated eye regarding strengths and faults of their dog. Also, this will serve them well when choosing a potential mate for their first litter. In my opinion the goal in breed- ing is to breed dogs better than the parents. I would like to share with Judges that our breed needs to be felt with their hands, not just looked at. The appearance can be deceiv- ing due to the enormous coat. Judges must feel the dog to find the correct structure. Also, watch for movement as our standard reads, our breed should have free, flowing movement. Although our present AKC breed standard is very long, please read it. I am the chairperson of the breed education committee now, my goal is to summarize and shorten the breed standard next year. As I breeder, I have learned to investigate every dog in the pedi- gree, have a great software program that shows six generations of dogs in a pedigree or more and perform a co-efficiency percentage before breeding. What I find most interesting about our breed is the presence of the fading color gene. Puppies can have spots of color which should fade by adulthood to white or very light areas of beige or gray. As an exhibitor, I would advise to be most professional in behav- ior and appearance, never display negativity and always be positive regardless of the outcome of the Judges decision in the ring. Always show respect toward the Judges. It is not appropriate for any exhibi- tor to educate a Judge on our breed or ask about another dog while in the show ring. If you have a concern, approach a Judge outside the show ring and ask only about the faults or objections of your particular dog. Lastly, always present the Coton de Tulear in the show ring clean and free of mats.
Most of the funny moments in the show ring are embarrassing. At our first show in Miscellaneous in AKC, I brought three of my dogs. My female was young and frightened at the loud indoor show. As we entered the ring, she crawled on her elbows the entire way around the ring. The exhibitor behind me called her “the Swiffer mop”! Her call name is now Swiffer. TIFFANY LAITNER I live in Norman, Oklaho-
ma. Dogs are my life now, but prior to training and show- ing dogs, I was a stay at home mom to our son. He now attends Princeton University. It gives me time to pursue my dream of working with dogs. I showed my first Coton in 2008, but did not have my first litter until 2014. I started showing in the Coton world in 2008, but I am not new to the world of
dog showing and breeding. I began training my first animals at the age of seven. By the age of thirteen, I trained my guinea pigs to roll over, play dead and shake hands. I also taught the family dog to pull a wagon with my baby brother in it. When I was14, I met a wonderful lady and dog trainer named Ginny Bruce. Ginny taught me AKC obedience and scent hurdling. In 1985, I had the top two 4-H obedience dogs in Arizona and a High in Trial at an ASCA show with a standard poodle. I also became one of six teenagers to train the first Seeing Eye puppies in Arizona. Now 30 years later, I have trained and taught in Agility, Obedi- ence, and Conformation. I was a board member of Contact Zonies Agility Club, the largest USDAA agility club in Arizona. I was a member of good standing with the Cavalier Club of Central Ari- zona, the 2nd largest AKC Cavalier Spaniel Club in the US. I also worked as a private personal dog trainer in the rescue realm. I co- founded AZ Cavalier Rescue, worked as a foster for both Lucky Star Cavalier Rescue and Soft Coated Wheaten Rescue. In 2008, I purchased my first Coton. At the tender age of twelve weeks, Windsong’s Melody in Motion took a Best In Show in UKC, with good competition, at her first show. Unfortunately Mel’s bite went off, and she was not able to be shown further. I continued to work and show Cotons with my dear friend Livina Day, of Day Dreaming Cotons, until 2010 when a job change brought me and my family from Arizona out to Norman, Oklahoma. My family and I live on ten acres just east of Norman, Okla- homa. Although I enjoy showing my “little white fluffy” dogs, my passion is performance sports and playing out in out in the fields where my dogs love being dirty little farm dogs. I believe a successful breeding program begins with a plan. Dr. Stephen Covey famously said “Begin with the end in mind.” What do you want to accomplish by breeding? Are you breeding for the moment or for a lifetime. Years ago, I read an article that talked about German Short Haired Pointers. The point of the article was to say that many breeders even reputable breeders do not have the slightest idea why they are breeding, and if you looked at some of the top kennels, they may be full of winners, but there was no uni- formity within the kennel. It was a hodge podge of whatever was winning at the moment. I believe that in order to have a successful program you need to have a vision in your mind as to what your kennel is going to dog to promote the Coton for future generations. For me, I like movement. I select my lines based upon structure and movement. My dogs’ coats may not be as long or thick as some
296 • S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , A UGUST 2019
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