Our journey started with us raising animals in 1990 on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. We acquired a few Bennett Wallabies, which then led us to raising Eastern Gray Kangaroos. Laney (our youngest daughter who was almost 6), had been asking for a puppy. We finally decided it was now time to look into finding the perfect breed of dog for our family. I had read an article about Cotons in a rare breed magazine; of course the author lived in Belgium. After much research, we were able to locate Suzanne Lavigne in Quebec. Suzanne was acquiring two Coton boys from Europe but was only keep one. The tri-boy from Domaine De Luniray kennels was now available. It was Feb. 1997 and of course a severe snow storm was in a full force. Philip (my husband) and I drove to Quebec to pick up our magnificent little boy – Merveilleux Du Domaine De Luniray “aka Bobby”. On the trip home, this fur ball captured our hearts. The moment we made it back to Maryland, I contacted Suzanne to place us on her list for a little show girl; Naya who we picked up that following September. Our lines are extremely varied: USA, France, Canada, Belgium, Italy, Sweden and our latest addition from Slovakia (all of which are from Multi-Champion European lines). We are thriving to only add bloodlines that will carry on the wonderful traits and attributes of this wonderful breed.
Our name “Lake Jem” stands for the area outside of Mount Dora, FL (located-just 20 miles north of Orlando) where we started breeding these wonderful babies. We are very proud and blessed to have raised so many babies throughout the years. The majority of our offspring has gone to wonderful companion homes; with limited numbers being placed as show/breeding. The ones who have been shown have done quite well. Lois Boylan acquired both Sir Oliver of Lake Jem and Petey of Lake Jem; both blessed to have been adopted by such a loving mommy. Lois had Oliver shown to become Mulit-CH Sir Oliver of Lake Jem; we are so proud of their achievements! Bev and Len Smith purchased Myalinda of Lake Jem. Mya was from our first litter to be born between Bobby and Naya (also parents to Sir Oliver, Petey, and Casey). It wasn’t long before Myalinda acquired the title of Multi-Champion and became the #1 female Coton in both ARBA and USACTC for year 2000; quite a remarkable accomplishment since Bev and Len really never wanted to show. We are proud to be a Code of Ethics breeder with North American Coton Association. Our puppies are registered either with UKC or AKC.
The hardest thing about being a smaller Coton breeder is letting them be adopted (we would love to keep them all) but on the other hand one of the greatest benefits is giving someone else the experience of loving such an incredible little creature (we only raise Cotons). We have been so fortunate to have met so many marvelous people who have become friends which share the same passion for this special breed. I am so appreciative to everyone for letting me use their wonderful pictures of our babies; my site truly would have not been the same without them.
Our Coton puppies are throughly examined and vaccinateed by a licensed State of Florida veterinarian and come with an official Florida State health certificate. Our babies come with a 1 year health guarantee; which is stated in our adoption contract. Because we want the breed to remain as pure and wonderful as it is, all of our companions come with a spay/neuter contract; we do not wish to see them become “Designer Bred Dogs.” We breed for health and temperament foremost. All of our breeders have gone through DNA testing for DM, NCA, and CMR2 as well as CERF their eyes. We also OFA the patellas and hearts of our breeders plus OFA hips and elbows on our studs. We health screen and do further testing when new Coton related diseases become known. Our puppies carry our kennel name “of Lake Jem.” We specialize in raising healthy Coton de Tulear puppies that are family socialized and lovingly nurtured. We take the extra time and care it takes to raise wonderful loving babies.
The only negative thing I can say about the breed is that they are ADDICTING-you just can’t own one.
Anyone who has been fortunate to own one of these little dogs truly knows how wonderful they are. The majority of what you read about the breed is true but do take information that sounds to good to be true with a grain of salt. Be very careful when acquiring these precious babies; there are so many puppy mills that have unfortunately been breeding them. Always try to visit and see both sire and dam if possible. Ask many, many questions and go with your gut instincts.
Our jouney hasn’t ended. We will be adding a new home near Nashville, TN in the Spring of 2023. At that time we most likely will become snow birds traveling back and forth with our Coton gang.
Please reach out if I can be of assistance in either location.