Coton De Tulear

Coton De Tulear Image courtesy of JacLou

Welcome to our article on the delightful Coton De Tulear! If you’re looking for a small, fluffy, and affectionate companion, then this breed might just be the perfect fit for you. In this article, we will explore the history, characteristics, temperament, and health of the Coton De Tulear, along with some notable dogs from this breed. So, let’s dive in and discover everything you need to know about these adorable furry friends. Whether you’re a prospective owner or simply curious about this charming breed, you’re in for a treat!

History and Origins of the Breed

The Coton De Tulear has a fascinating history that dates back centuries. This breed originated on the island of Madagascar, which is located off the east coast of Africa. The exact origins of the Coton De Tulear are somewhat mysterious, with several theories surrounding its development.

One theory suggests that the breed was brought to Madagascar by shipwrecked sailors, who had small white dogs on board. These dogs then mingled with the local dog population, resulting in the development of the Coton De Tulear.

Another theory suggests that the Coton De Tulear shares common ancestry with the Bichon Frise and the Maltese. It is believed that these small white companion dogs were brought to Madagascar by French settlers and eventually crossed with local island dogs, resulting in the Coton De Tulear we know today.

The breed’s name, “Coton De Tulear,” is derived from two elements. “Coton” refers to the breed’s cotton-like coat, which is soft, fluffy, and resembles the texture of cotton. “Tulear” is a port city in Madagascar where the breed was commonly found.

Throughout history, the Coton De Tulear was cherished by the Malagasy nobility, who considered them to be a symbol of wealth and prestige. They were often given as gifts to visiting dignitaries and were highly prized for their beauty, charm, and companionship.

In the 1970s, the breed caught the attention of a Frenchman named Dr. Robert Jay Russell, who was visiting Madagascar. Driven by his love for the breed, he established the first Coton De Tulear breed club and worked to preserve and promote the breed’s unique qualities.

Today, the Coton De Tulear has gained popularity worldwide as a beloved companion dog. Its charming personality, adorable appearance, and hypoallergenic coat make it a sought-after breed for both families and individuals alike. Let’s now explore the size and appearance characteristics of this delightful breed.

Size and Appearance Characteristics

The Coton De Tulear is a small to medium-sized dog breed, known for its adorable and fluffy appearance. Here are the size and appearance characteristics of this breed:


  • The average height of a Coton De Tulear is between 9 to 12 inches (23 to 30 cm) at the shoulder.
  • The weight of a Coton De Tulear typically ranges from 9 to 15 pounds (4 to 7 kg).

Body Structure:

  • The Coton De Tulear has a sturdy and well-balanced body structure.
  • Their body is slightly longer than their height, giving them a rectangular shape.
  • The chest is deep and the back is straight.
  • The breed has a well-developed musculature, which gives them an agile and athletic appearance.

Coat and Color:

  • The most distinctive feature of the Coton De Tulear is their long, soft, and cotton-like coat.
  • Their coat is dense, fluffy, and gives them a cloud-like appearance.
  • The breed has a double coat, with a soft and dense undercoat and a longer, slightly coarse outer coat.
  • The coat comes in various shades of white, with some dogs having slight shades of gray or light tan markings on their ears or body.

Head and Face:

  • The head of a Coton De Tulear is proportionate to their body size.
  • They have a slightly rounded skull and a well-defined stop.
  • The breed has a moderately long muzzle with a black or brown nose.
  • Their expressive eyes are round and dark, giving them an alert and intelligent expression.
  • Coton De Tulears have drop ears that are set high on the head and covered with long hair.

Tail and Feet:

  • The breed has a plumed tail that is carried high and curls over the back.
  • Their tail is covered with long, flowing hair, adding to their overall elegance.
  • Coton De Tulears have small, round feet with well-arched toes.

The Coton De Tulear’s size and appearance make them utterly charming and irresistible. However, there’s more to this breed than just their looks. In the next section, we’ll delve into their life expectancy and what factors can influence it.


Coton De Tulear Image courtesy of chica_de_tulear


Life Expectancy

The life expectancy of a Coton De Tulear can vary depending on various factors, including genetics, overall health, diet, exercise, and the quality of care they receive. On average, the Coton De Tulear has a relatively long lifespan compared to other dog breeds.

The typical life expectancy of a Coton De Tulear is around 14 to 16 years. However, it is not uncommon for some individuals to live well into their late teens or even early twenties with proper care and attention.

It’s important to note that while genetics play a significant role in a dog’s lifespan, other factors such as diet, exercise, and healthcare also contribute to their overall health and longevity. Providing a nutritious diet, regular exercise, proper grooming, and routine veterinary care are essential for ensuring a Coton De Tulear’s well-being and maximizing their lifespan.

Additionally, responsible breeding practices and selecting a puppy from a reputable breeder who prioritizes health and genetic testing can also contribute to a longer and healthier life for your Coton De Tulear.

Now that we have discussed the life expectancy of the breed, let’s move on to explore their temperament and what makes them such delightful companions.


The Coton De Tulear is renowned for its delightful temperament, making it a beloved companion for individuals and families alike. Here are the key characteristics that define the temperament of this breed:

Affectionate and Loving:

Coton De Tulears are incredibly affectionate and thrive on human companionship. They form strong bonds with their owners and are known to be loving and devoted to their families. They enjoy snuggling, cuddling, and being showered with affection.

Sociable and Friendly:

This breed is naturally sociable and gets along well with people of all ages, including children. They have a friendly and outgoing nature, which makes them excellent family pets. Coton De Tulears are generally amiable with strangers and tend to be accepting of other animals if properly introduced.

Playful and Energetic:

Despite their small size, Coton De Tulears are full of energy and love to play. They enjoy interactive games, fetching toys, and participating in activities that provide mental and physical stimulation. Regular play sessions are essential to keep them mentally engaged and prevent any pent-up energy.

Intelligent and Trainable:

Coton De Tulears are intelligent dogs that respond well to positive reinforcement training methods. They are eager to please their owners and are quick learners. With consistent training and socialization, they can excel in obedience and agility activities.

Alert and Watchful:

Though they have a friendly nature, Coton De Tulears possess a keen sense of alertness. They make excellent watchdogs and will notify their owners of any approaching strangers or potential threats. However, they are not typically excessive barkers.


Coton De Tulears are known for their adaptability and can thrive in various living situations. Whether you live in an apartment or a house with a yard, they can adjust well as long as they receive adequate exercise, mental stimulation, and time with their family.

Understanding the temperament of the Coton De Tulear is crucial for anyone considering this breed as a pet. Their affectionate and sociable nature, coupled with their intelligence and adaptability, make them a joy to have as part of the family. In the next section, we’ll explore their trainability and adaptability in more detail.

Trainability and Adaptability

Coton De Tulears are generally highly trainable and adaptable dogs. Their intelligence, willingness to please, and social nature make them quick learners. Here are some key points to consider regarding their trainability and adaptability:


  • Coton De Tulears respond well to positive reinforcement training methods, such as praise, rewards, and treats.
  • They are sensitive dogs, so harsh training techniques or excessive discipline can be counterproductive and may lead to fear or anxiety.
  • Consistency, patience, and positive reinforcement are key to successfully training a Coton De Tulear.
  • Early socialization is important to expose them to various people, animals, and environments, which helps them develop into well-rounded and confident individuals.

Obedience Training:

  • Coton De Tulears are generally eager to please, which makes them relatively easy to train in basic obedience commands.
  • They can learn commands such as sit, stay, down, and come with consistency and positive reinforcement.
  • Training sessions should be kept short and engaging to hold their attention and prevent boredom.


  • Coton De Tulears are known for their intelligence and can be successfully housebroken with consistent training and a regular routine.
  • Crate training or using designated potty areas can be effective methods for housebreaking.


  • Coton De Tulears are adaptable dogs that can adjust well to various living situations.
  • They can thrive in apartments, houses, or even rural settings as long as their physical and mental exercise needs are met.
  • They are generally not overly demanding in terms of space and can be content with indoor play and regular walks.
  • However, it’s important to note that they are companion dogs and thrive on human interaction. They may not do well if left alone for long periods.


  • Coton De Tulears have a natural inclination to bark, which can be managed through consistent training and positive reinforcement.
  • Early training and socialization can help them understand when it is appropriate to bark and when it is not.

With their trainable nature and adaptability, Coton De Tulears can make wonderful companions for individuals and families of all kinds. Providing them with the right training, socialization, and care is crucial for their overall well-being and happiness. In the next section, we’ll delve into their exercise requirements and energy levels.


Coton De Tulear Image courtesy of JacLou


Exercise Requirements and Energy Level

The Coton De Tulear may be small in size, but they have a moderate energy level and require regular exercise to stay happy and healthy. Here’s what you need to know about their exercise requirements and energy levels:

Exercise Requirements:

  • Coton De Tulears typically require around 30 to 45 minutes of exercise per day.
  • Engaging in activities that provide both mental and physical stimulation is important for this breed.
  • Daily walks, playtime, and interactive games can help fulfill their exercise needs.
  • They also enjoy participating in low-impact activities such as agility training or obedience classes.

Mental Stimulation:

  • Besides physical exercise, Coton De Tulears thrive on mental stimulation.
  • Puzzle toys, interactive feeding toys, and training sessions can keep their minds engaged.
  • Teaching them new tricks or engaging in scent work activities can also help fulfill their mental needs.

Energy Level:

  • While Coton De Tulears have a moderate energy level, they can adapt well to the activity level of their owners.
  • They are generally content with indoor play and daily walks, but they may also enjoy a romp in a secure, fenced yard.
  • It’s important to note that Coton De Tulears are companion dogs and prefer to be with their owners rather than being left alone for long periods.

Exercise Considerations:

  • Although they have exercise needs, Coton De Tulears are not high-energy dogs that require intense workouts.
  • They are small and delicate, so it’s important to avoid excessive jumping or strenuous activities that could put too much stress on their joints.
  • Overexercise should also be avoided, especially in extreme weather conditions, as they are prone to overheating.

By providing regular exercise and mental stimulation, you can ensure that your Coton De Tulear remains physically and mentally fit. Additionally, it is important to establish a consistent exercise routine to help prevent behavioral issues that may arise from pent-up energy. In the next section, we’ll explore the grooming requirements of the Coton De Tulear.

Grooming Requirements

The Coton De Tulear has a beautiful, long, and fluffy coat that requires regular grooming to keep it looking its best. Here are the grooming requirements for this breed:

Coat Care:

  • The Coton De Tulear has a double coat consisting of a soft, dense undercoat and a longer, slightly coarse outer coat.
  • Regular brushing is necessary to prevent mats, tangles, and the accumulation of dirt and debris.
  • Aim to brush your Coton De Tulear’s coat at least two to three times a week, or even more frequently if their coat is longer.
  • Use a slicker brush or a combination of a slicker brush and a wide-toothed comb to gently remove any tangles or mats.


  • Bathing your Coton De Tulear should be done as needed, typically every four to six weeks, or when they become dirty or smelly.
  • Use a mild, dog-specific shampoo and conditioner to maintain the quality of their coat.
  • It’s important to thoroughly rinse out all the shampoo and conditioner to avoid any skin irritation.

Ear Care:

  • Coton De Tulears have drop ears that are prone to wax buildup, moisture, and potential infections.
  • Regularly check and clean their ears using a veterinarian-recommended ear cleaning solution and cotton balls.
  • Be gentle and avoid inserting anything deep into the ear canal to prevent injury.

Dental Care:

  • Dental hygiene is crucial for the overall health of your Coton De Tulear.
  • Regularly brush their teeth with a dog-specific toothbrush and toothpaste to prevent tartar buildup and maintain good oral health.
  • Providing dental chews or toys can also help promote dental hygiene.

Nail Care:

  • Trim your Coton De Tulear’s nails regularly to prevent overgrowth and discomfort.
  • Use a dog-specific nail clipper and be cautious not to cut too close to the quick, which is the sensitive area within the nail.

Eye Care:

  • Coton De Tulears have round, expressive eyes that require regular cleaning to prevent tear staining and eye discharge.
  • Gently wipe around their eyes using a clean, damp cloth or a veterinarian-recommended eye cleaning solution.

Professional Grooming:

  • Many Coton De Tulear owners opt to have their dogs professionally groomed every four to eight weeks.
  • Professional groomers can trim their coat, clean their ears, trim their nails, and provide a thorough overall grooming session.

By maintaining a consistent grooming routine, you can keep your Coton De Tulear’s coat healthy, prevent any skin issues, and ensure they always look their best. Now, let’s move on to the next section where we will discuss the health issues that can affect the Coton De Tulear breed.


Coton De Tulear Image courtesy of chica_de_tulear


Health Issues

While the Coton De Tulear is generally a healthy breed, like all dogs, they may be prone to certain health issues. It’s important for potential owners to be aware of these conditions and take appropriate measures to ensure the well-being of their furry companions. Here are some common health issues that can affect the Coton De Tulear:

Luxating Patella:

  • Luxating patella, also known as a dislocated kneecap, is a condition where the kneecap moves out of its normal position.
  • This condition can cause lameness, pain, and difficulty in walking.
  • Regular veterinary check-ups can help detect this condition early, and in severe cases, surgical intervention may be required.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA):

  • PRA is a group of genetic eye disorders that cause progressive degeneration of the retina, leading to vision loss and eventual blindness.
  • Regular eye examinations by a veterinary ophthalmologist can help diagnose PRA in its early stages.
  • Genetic testing of breeding dogs can help reduce the prevalence of PRA within the breed.

Hip Dysplasia:

  • Hip dysplasia is a common skeletal condition where the hip joint does not develop properly, leading to joint instability and potentially painful arthritis.
  • Regular exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, and responsible breeding practices can help minimize the risk of hip dysplasia.


  • Coton De Tulears can be prone to allergies, which can manifest as skin irritations, itching, and ear infections.
  • Identifying and avoiding potential allergens, such as certain foods or environmental factors, can help manage allergies.
  • In severe cases, veterinary intervention may be required to provide appropriate allergy treatments.

Dental Issues:

  • Small breeds like the Coton De Tulear can be prone to dental problems, including tooth decay, gum disease, and tooth loss.
  • Regular dental care, including brushing their teeth, providing dental chews, and regular veterinary dental cleanings, can help maintain good oral health.

It’s important to note that not all Coton De Tulears will experience these health issues, and responsible breeders strive to produce healthy puppies through genetic testing and proper breeding practices. Regular veterinary check-ups, a balanced diet, exercise, and maintaining a clean and safe environment can go a long way in ensuring the overall health and well-being of your Coton De Tulear. In the next section, we’ll explore some comparable breeds to the Coton De Tulear.

Comparable Breeds

If you’re interested in the Coton De Tulear breed, you may also find these comparable breeds appealing. While each breed has its own unique characteristics, they share some similarities with the Coton De Tulear in terms of size, appearance, or temperament. Here are a few breeds that you might consider:

Bichon Frise:

  • The Bichon Frise is a small, fluffy, and affectionate breed known for its cheerful and playful nature.
  • Like the Coton De Tulear, they have a hypoallergenic coat and are suitable for individuals with allergies.
  • Bichon Frises are also sociable, friendly, and great companions for families and individuals alike.


  • The Maltese is a small, elegant breed known for its long, silky white coat.
  • They share a similar history as the Coton De Tulear, with possible common ancestry from Mediterranean companion dogs.
  • Maltese dogs are affectionate, gentle, and make wonderful lap dogs and family pets.


  • The Havanese is another small breed with a beautiful, silky coat that comes in various colors.
  • They are known for their friendly and outgoing nature, making them excellent companions for families and individuals.
  • Havanese dogs are also intelligent, trainable, and enjoy participating in various activities such as agility and obedience.

Shih Tzu:

  • The Shih Tzu is a small breed with a distinctive long, flowing coat and a friendly, outgoing personality.
  • They are known for their affectionate and loyal nature, making them great companions for families.
  • Shih Tzus are also adaptable and can thrive in various living situations.

While these breeds share some similarities with the Coton De Tulear, it’s important to research and interact with each breed to determine which one aligns best with your lifestyle, preferences, and requirements. Whether you choose a Coton De Tulear or one of these comparable breeds, you’re sure to find a loving and loyal companion. In the final section, we’ll highlight some notable dogs from the Coton De Tulear breed.

Notable Dogs from This Breed

The Coton De Tulear breed has produced some notable dogs that have made a mark in various fields. Here are a few examples of notable dogs from the Coton De Tulear breed:


  • Rocky, a Coton De Tulear, gained fame as a therapy dog who brought comfort and joy to patients in hospitals and nursing homes. His gentle nature and ability to connect with people made him a beloved companion to those in need.


  • Luna, a Coton De Tulear, became an Instagram sensation with her adorable looks and charming personality. She amassed a large following, spreading smiles and happiness to her online fans with her playful antics and delightful photos.


  • Max, a Coton De Tulear, showcased his intelligence and agility by excelling in various dog sports, including obedience and agility competitions. His athleticism and trainability made him a top performer in his field.


  • Daisy, a Coton De Tulear, gained recognition as a top show dog, winning numerous titles and accolades in conformation events. Her impeccable structure, movement, and temperament showcased the breed’s best qualities in the show ring.

These notable dogs from the Coton De Tulear breed exemplify the breed’s versatility, charm, and ability to make a positive impact on people’s lives. Whether as therapy dogs, social media stars, or top competitors, they have showcased the breed’s unique qualities and brought joy to many.

In conclusion, the Coton De Tulear is a wonderful breed with a rich history, delightful temperament, and striking appearance. Their affectionate nature, trainability, and adaptability make them excellent companions for individuals and families alike. With proper care, grooming, and attention to their health needs, a Coton De Tulear can bring years of love and happiness into your life.

The exact origins of the Coton De Tulear are somewhat mysterious, with several theories surrounding its development.

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