The Coton de Tulear is a Bichon-type of dog that is related to the French Bichons and the Italian Bolognese. It was first developed on the large island of Madagascar (located off the southeast coast of Africa in the Indian Ocean).

coton de tulear portrait

The Coton’s ancestors were possibly brought to Madagascar in the 16th and 17th centuries aboard pirate ships.

This dog is considered to be Madagascar’s national dog. According to some experts, these dogs accompanied ladies on long sea voyages and were used as ratters on ships.

Some of these dogs became pets in the royal court as well as in wealthy Madagascar households, but a few were seen just roaming along the streets.

coton de tulear playing

In the early 1970s, a Frenchman visiting the island transported some Cotons back to France and established them as a breed. Cotons were brought to North America during the same decade.Dr. Robert Jay Russell formed the Coton de Tulear Club of America in 1976.

The American Kennel Club has offered Foundation Stock Service to the Coton de Tulear in 1996, but Russell’s club didn’t accept the  AKC’s recognition. However, the breed was recognized by the FCI in 1970.

Traits and Behavior

Cheerful and playful with their owners, no doubt these dogs are perfect as pet dogs. They are fond to be cuddled with and placed on the owner’s laps. They easily get the attention of people.

coton de tulear walking

The Coton de Tulears are also sturdy, intelligent such that they easily obey instructions and can perform specific tasks or tricks.

It is also in their nature to be outgoing.

Therefore, there’s a need for them to do outdoor activities like walking, running or playing around. Their small size is not a deterring factor for them to respond to a command.

They can be good companions for travel or on vacations. They also are adaptive to environments that allow them the ease and comfort of being considered as pet dogs.

Their small stature is perfect for small places like in an apartment or condominium living since they don’t necessarily need a big space to be playful and do their usual stuff.

With proper training, they can be relied on as good companions and pets for children and the elderly.

Pet Care and Diseases

coton de tulear sitting

Occasional trimming is necessary for the Coton de Tulear.  A regular bath, cleaning of the ears to check for infection or mucous plugs to prevent bulging of the tympanic membrane is also important.

This dog is also a shredder so it is obligatory to comb or brush using a firm bristled brush regularly.

For its exercise regime, frequent long walks at least every two to three days must be conducted so as not to invite unwarranted, behavior problems.

Their food intake must be monitored and managed as they are delicate pets and can easily fall into serious health problems due to poor nutritional intake. Hypoglycemia is a common health problem of this dog.


coton de tulear tongue out

The adult Coton De Tulear stands between 10-12 inches tall and weigh around 10-15 lbs. This dog has a prominent black nose and large expressive eyes that can be covered by bangs. It also has short legs. The Coton de Tulear’s tail should curl over its back like some other dog breeds.

In general, the Coton de Tulear has very soft, fluffy hair that feels like a cotton ball when touched. White is the most desirable color for the Coton de Tulear although the most common color is a brown on white which fades to a light coffee cream on white when the dog matures. Other colors are white & black and tri-colored.

General Information

Their life expectancy ranges from 14-20 years. The average litter size is approximately 5 puppies. Other names include Coton or ‘Cotie’.

Breed Club

Visit these dog club websites dedicated to Coton de Tulear. Click this link: http://www.cotonclub.com