MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (WBOY) — Meet “Tanzait of the Sweetest Coton,” or just T-Pup to his friends. The nine-month-old T-Pup is originally from Poland – “Tanzait” is the Polish word for tanzanite, a type of gemstone, and “The Sweetest Coton” is the name of the kennel he came from.

Morgantown dog T-Pup at the National Dog Show (Courtesy Adrianne Dering)

T-Pup is a Coton de Tulear. Coton is french for cotton, and Tulear is a port on the island of Madagascar which is where this particular breed originated.

His owner and handler Adrianne Dering has been training and showing Coton de Tulears for 15 years now, and explained to 12 News that the breed developed naturally on the island.

“The French call them the anti-depressant dog, they’re just lovely family companions. They are a big dog in small dog’s clothing, they’re not hyper or crazy or insane as far as temperament is concerned, they’re very laid back and easy-going and happy-go-lucky,” Dering said.

This year’s National Dog Show was T-Pup’s first-ever competition and he still managed to walk away with three awards!

  • Winners Dog – The best male dog in the ring of his breed who is not yet a champion.
  • Best of Winners – He beat all non-champion Cotons of both sexes.
  • Best of Breed Owner Handled – The best dog in the ring not handled by a paid professional.

I think giving a dog a job and a purpose, just like human beings, makes them happy in life. When they know their going to a dog show, when they put that show leash on, my dogs get excited to spend some time with me doing something that’s a job.

Adrianne Dering, T-Pup’s owner and handler

Dering says she got into dog training because of the Coton de Tulear specifically, but also trains Biewer Terriers as well. Show dogs are trained from a young age to walk at a steady gate beside the handler, but also to not be afraid of being touched by strangers or of being high up on the examination table.

“Sometimes they think they’re at home and they want to just run and play with the other dogs. I think the most distracting when training a dog for a show versus training it at home is, when you’re at home you’re not following behind another dog of the same breed that they usually play with.”

If you want to tune in to The National Dog Show and watch T-Pup strut his stuff, you can watch it on WBOY NBC at noon on Thanksgiving Day.