Deciding between a Cavalier, a Havanese or a Coton

If you are wondering what is the right dog for you, this is the place to be. In this introductory forum we talk about topics such as breed vs. mix, size, age, grooming, breeders, shelters, rescues as well as requirements for exercise, space and care. No question is too silly here. This particular forum is for getting and giving helpful, nice advice. It is definitely not a forum for criticizing someone else's opinion, knowledge or advice. This forum is all about tail wagging and learning.


Member Since
Barked: Wed Apr 4, '12 12:45pm PST 
Really finding this forum helpful! Thanks to all who post.

Here is our situation. We are retired empty nesters with a cat in an apartment in Hawaii (no yard, high floor so we'd need a small dog). We enjoy walking - we walk an hour every morning or could possibly walk a dog twice a day. We are first-time dog owners but grooming doesn't scare us. Lots of barking not a plus, however, as we are in close quarters.

The tricky part - we live in rabies-free Hawaii (no shipping from mainland allowed for dogs under 10 months). Small dogs aren't very popular here, with a very limited supply of reputable breeders, zero luck at rescues (with little sign of change) and a shelter whose small dogs are almost entirely chihuahuas.

We've narrowed the field to three and I was hoping for your advice. All three options are expensive and approximately the same in cost:

* Cavalier - as there are no vet cardiologists in state, and shipping from mainland is difficult, we are talking to breeders in Australia. We found one that seems excellent - full heart/hip/eye certifications, DNA testing for curly coat (not sure what this is) and dry eye plus MRIs performed on parents and three of the four grandparents. No rabies in Australia so we can get a pup. We love the Cavalier temperament. Downsides are despite all this testing I'm still a little bit worried about the health of this breed, and we can't meet the breeder in person. (We also found a good breeder in the U.S., but the wait there would be seven months.)

* Havanese - We found a local breeder we like. A little concerned about housebreaking difficulties (we have never owned a dog before) and barking. Also there are no pups available until later this year.

* Coton - Amazingly, Hawaii has an excellent breeder of Cotons (go figure). It is such a rare breed the reviews we've read are a little all over the place - little concerned about housebreaking and barking. Also no pups available for quite a while.

Any advice appreciated!
Jake Earned- his wings- 10.02.15

I am Murphy's- Law Embodied! <3- Me!
Barked: Wed Apr 4, '12 10:41pm PST 
keep pup is unique and may not match a breed standard.

I own a beagle that rarely ever bays. I mean rarely I can count on my hand the number of times jake has bayed unprovoked. just one hand. it takes quite a bit of egging to get him to make any type of noise at all. I don't know how who ever had him before me did it but he's pretty "bomb" proof as far as strange noises, people and situations go.

with the cavailer unless you're lucky its only a matter of time before something shows up. I haven't met too many healthy ones and i know a few people whom had to put their pups barely 3 and 4 down because of disease when the parents tested out okay. If you're not worried about the heart you have to watch the brain .

House breaking can be done easily if you use potty pads and get a potty patch maybe? Since you're not going to be taking the dog out to relieve itself i assume? Since you stated you don't have a yard and you live on a high floor.

Living in a rabies free zone does present an issue for you but don't rush into a puppy.the right pup will be there when its time and I would worry about shipping a dog from Australia to Hawaii especially if you never met the pup before hand. You're best off going yourself to that breeder and seeing the pups and parents first hand. I never trust anything online and always want to see myself in person.

Good luck on your pup search.
Jackson Tan

Lad about town
Barked: Thu Apr 5, '12 3:22am PST 
Hello guest!

Just a bit of a warning on Australian Cavaliers. A good friend of mine purchased two dogs from two different breeders - excellent breeders - at high cost, with the parents having all relevant tests. One is two now, one is four, and both have developed luxating patellas in both legs that require costly surgery. frown Even with a good breeder it can be a gamble with the Cavalier. There are just so many issues with them that aren't getting better.

Member Since
Barked: Thu Apr 5, '12 4:48am PST 
You both make really good points, both of which suggest getting a dog locally is the better choice. The Coton breeder seems excellent but won't be breeding until the fall - it is hard to wait so long! The cavalier would be available in a few months. Hips of parents were tested but you are right so many other things can go wrong,unfortunately.

Cost-wise I've found Australian dogs less expensive than the U.S., and certainly Hawaii. Breeders here are likely needing to pass on their ship costs, so I don't blame them for their pricing.

We will be seeing some Cavs, Havanese and a Coton over the next few days. If it's the Coton we will have to find a way to distract ourselves from thinking about dogs for a while...

Edited by author Thu Apr 5, '12 4:52am PST

Princesse- Lily CGN

I am RoyalChi!
Barked: Thu Apr 5, '12 2:34pm PST 
I agree with what was said about the Cavalierscry I don't know much about the Coton and tried to look it up on digitaldog.com ( excellent breed sitesmile ) but my computer is being touchynaughty I have pretty much decided that if I went for a reputable breeder tiny dog, it would be the Havanese. Shedding and barking are issues in this house ( not my issueslaugh out loud; hubby's) and everything I have read seems like they might be a really good fit for us. Non shedding, not too barky , intelligent and friendly. I * think * from what I am remember reading about the Coton's they may be a little more reserved than the Havanese. Not sure though. I do remember their coat can be quite the thing to deal withthinking

http://www.cotonnerie.com/display-en-04.html#caracteris tiques
I may have to rethink Coton's myselfwink

Edited by author Thu Apr 5, '12 2:47pm PST

Princesse- Lily CGN

I am RoyalChi!
Barked: Thu Apr 5, '12 2:53pm PST 
Some info on the Havanesesmile


Member Since
Barked: Mon May 28, '12 7:19pm PST 
what did you decide?

Member Since
Barked: Tue Jan 22, '13 8:49pm PST 
I hope you have found a new friend by now. If not I highly recommend Havanese. See Havanese in Paradise web site who are Hawaii breeders. My puppy from them is not a barker, barely sheds, and is brilliant! Very smart. Check them out. I'm glad I did 2 years ago.