Performance Sports

The Coton de Tulear and Performance Sports

The Coton de Tulear is a lively, alert, and bright breed. They excel at a variety of dog “sports” (not just cuddling and being a lap dog) and compete successfully in all of them. The Coton de Tulear enjoys being with its pack leader and is anxious to please. It is fun for the dog, for the handler, and for those who watch these spirited little dogs. It is a great way to meet other dog lovers, too. The foundation for all the canine sports, and for doggie life in general, is adequate obedience training.


Basic obedience training makes any dog a better human companion. We have all heard the “Sit!” and “Down!” and the most important command of all, “COME!” Coming when called is probably the most critical command your dog should know. We humans set the example of being Pack Leader throughout the life of our dog. Good obedience training makes a pleasant life with your Coton.

The AKC sponsors a “Canine Good Citizen” program which demonstrates a dogs ability to behave, follow simple commands. and be sociable. In addition, the AKC holds formal obedience trials where you and your dog follow a judge’s direction in moving, and stationary, commands (“Heel” and “Down”). Advanced competitions involve scent discrimination and retrieving.


Agility is a sport where a handler directs a dog over obstacles such as jumps, seesaws, through tires and weave poles. Accuracy, as in following the handler’s direction, is even more important than speed.

Because many Coton de Tulears are athletic, anxious to please their owners, and very bright, they do well in agility.

Several Cotons compete at the National Level, one Coton has over 100 titles! Agility events are sponsored by the AKC, the USDAA (United States Dog Agility Association), NADAC (North American Dog Agility Council), CPE (Canine Performance Events) and TDAA (Teacup Dog Agility Association). Agility classes and competitions are held all over the United States, Canada, and the world.

Special Award of Merit


LUCKY is the Coton de Tulear owned by Brenda Magnon of Cowboy Cotons, and handled by Ileana Nadal of Cool Critters. 



Rally is an AKC dog sport that combines obedience and agility. A judge sets up a ring with 15-20 stations with a specified activity at each station. For example, a judge might tell you, “Down the dog and walk around your dog.”

Canine Freestyle

Canine musical freestyle, also known as “doggie dancing” is another wonderful sport to enjoy. It is a choreographed performance set to music showing the relationship between the dog and handler. The graceful, flowing coat of the Coton de Tulear, along with its gay facial expression, make the Coton a wonderful dancing partner.

Using basic obedience skills, especially creative heeling, a lovely dance routine can be developed.

Jan Weiner, of Sandwich, MA and her Lilyhill Chocolate Chip


This is a new sport developed in Germany and similar to soccer. The handler directs the dog to put eight balls of varying sizes into a goal in fifteen minutes. The handler uses a variety of obedience and herding cues to direct the dog.

All of the above sports can be enjoyed just for fun, or for competition. All of them strengthen the bond between dog and owner/handler.