Coton de Tulear

Home > Dog Breeds > Coton de Tulear
8-11 lbs
Coton, Cotie

Coton de Tulear dogs are known for their kind and playful personalities, along with their beautiful, fluffy long white coats. These little dogs originate from Madagascar and are related to the Bichon Frise, the Maltese and the Havanese. They are sweet and love their family, and also get along with children and other animals. They get very attached to their owners and do not do well with being left alone for long periods of time. However, they will be happier with another pet companion for the times that they have to be at home on their own. They are small and smart, and will adapt well to any loving household. Whether they are living in an apartment or a ranch house, the Coton de Tulear will be happy, as long as they get enough love and exercise. Their wonderful signature coats will require some maintenance, like a regular brushing schedule to ensure that there are no tangles. Like all other canines, the Coton de Tulear will need regular nail clipping and dental care. Overall, these furry friends have low shedding, drooling and smell levels, and are also hypoallergenic.

Date of Origin
Bichon Frise, Maltese, Havanese

Coton de Tulear Health

Average Size
Height: 10-12 inches Weight: 9-13 lbs
Height: 8-11 inches Weight: 8-11 lbs
Major Concerns
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy
  • Hip Dysplasia
Minor Concerns
  • Patellar Luxation
  • Allergies
Occasional Tests
  • X-Rays
  • Eye Examination
  • Physical Examination
  • Allergy Tests

Coton de Tulear Breed History

An estimated several hundred years ago the Coton de Tulear was found in Madagascar, although how they got there is still a mystery with several different stories. It is assumed that these small white pooches were brought to this island for entertainment and as companion pets for ladies who went on long sea voyages, or brought along as ratters on the ships. It is said that these dogs arrived on Madagascar when they were the only survivors of a shipwreck. These small dogs managed to swim to the shore of Tulear, which is how they got part of their name. They then adapted to life on the island, living either on the streets and scavenging, surviving by eating the native small wild boar on Madagascar, or as pets in wealthy households. They were given the name of “the Royal dog of Madagascar”. These early years spent scavenging on the island is said to be what has given them their intelligence, alertness and adaptability that the modern day Coton de Tulear still possess. Living on the tropical island is also thought to have influenced the development of their cottony coat. It was in the 1970s that the Coton de Tulear became a breed when they were discovered by a Frenchman visiting the island. Some of them then accompanied him back to France. They made their appearance in North America at around the same time period. The sweet small dogs have now become a known breed around the world, but can still be found in their native land. 

Coton de Tulear Breed Appearance

These adorable dogs are known for their fluffy, cottony white fur. They have a coat that is naturally long and thick, usually snow white but can sometimes be shaded with light grays or red roan, mostly found around the ears. As a puppy the Coton de Tulear can be all white or may have spots on their head, body and ears that can be a rusty color, brown, gray, yellow or black. As they age, these spots will eventually disappear or fade into a medium to pale grey or champagne color. They have a small but sturdy build and a happy-go-lucky facial expression that fits perfectly with their wonderful personality. These dogs have lovely dark eyes that are rounded in shape, and a body that is slightly longer than it is tall. The Coton de Tulear has a topline that arches slightly above the loin and a tail that is naturally held low, with a small upward hook at the end.

Coton de Tulear Breed Maintenance

The Coton de Tulear are small and family oriented, so they are best suited to the indoor life where they can be safe, warm and loved with their family. Due to their small size and good temperament, these dogs can make good pets for people who are living in apartments or small homes, although any loving home will do. They can sometimes like to wander off, so homes where they will be left alone outdoors should have a fenced yard. Some people have trouble house training these dogs, but they are intelligent and as long as they have frequent ventures outside, a regular schedule and some praise when they potty in the right spot, your little companion shouldn’t have too much difficulty figuring it out. Crate-training might also help with the potty training problems. Coton de Tulear love pleasing their family, and with some positive reinforcement, you can teach them anything. They enjoy exercise and playtime, but do not require excessive daily activity, as they will adapt to their owner’s energy levels. These little dogs are known to enjoy obedience and agility training. To keep their coat fluffy and tangle free, brush them using an uncoated metal pin brush two or three times each week. Smaller, fine toothed combs used on the face will keep your dog looking stylish. Use a comb and hair elastic to keep the hair around their face back into a cute little top knot if it seems to get in the way of their eyesight. Trimming their coat and fur around the face can help minimize the grooming needs. Brush especially behind the ears, elbows and legs. A spray conditioner while grooming is optional but can minimize the hair breakage. The more frequent grooming sessions are, the less often your Coton de Tulear will need to be bathed. However, if they happen to get dirty, they may need to be bathed monthly or every week or two. Whitening shampoos can keep them looking white as snow and using a blow dryer while brushing them will make them fluffy and cottony. To dry them off, pat gently with a towel. Avoid rubbing with a towel because it can create knots in their fur. Additional grooming will be needed at around 15 months of age since their adult coat will be growing in. Like all other canines, Coton de Tulear dogs will also need their teeth and nails taken care of regularly. Teeth should be brushed two or three times each week, although daily is best. Trim the nails as need, most likely once or twice in a month.

Coton de Tulear Breed Activity Requirements