Coton de Tulear

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Coton de Tulear

Coton de Tulear The Coton de Tulear is a small, active companion dog with a friendly personality. As the "Royal Dog of Madagascar," this breed is intelligent with a long cotton-candy type fluffy coat.

History and Origin

The Coton de Tulear is an uncommon, ancient breed that originated in Madagascar. The breed is thought to be a member of the bichon family, which originated in the Mediterranean. There are several theories as to how a descendent of a Mediterranean dog ended up in Madagascar. One theory is that the breed was aboard a ship from the Mediterranean that wrecked just off the coast of Madagascar several hundred years ago. Another theory is that the Coton de Tulear is a descendent of a dog that appeared at the pirate and slave ports of Madagascar around the 17th and 18th centuries. Regardless of the dog's true history, he is now considered the "Royal Dog of Madagascar."

During the development of the Coton de Tulear, the native hunting dog of Madagascar was added to the lineage. This added health and stamina to the little white dog. Only social climbing Malagasy and Frenchmen were allowed to own the Coton de Tulear. Coton refers to the cotton texture and color to the coat. Tulear refers to the city where the dog is most often found.

Since 1970 the Coton de Tulear has been a rare breed due to political and economic crises in Madagascar and now is threatened to extinction. Realizing the breed was headed for extinction, Dr. Jay Russell, a biologist studying the Madagascar Lemurs, sent breeding stock to the United States in 1974. As soon as the dogs arrived, a breeding program was established and the Coton de Tulear was accepted into the hearts and homes of Americans.

In 1976, the Coton de Tulear Club of America was formed. So far, the breed has not been recognized by the American Kennel Club.

Appearance and Size

The Coton de Tulear has a round head with dark brown expressive eyes. The nose is black and the ears droopy covered with long flowing hair. The Coton de Tulear has a small, square body with a tail carried straight or curved over the back with flowing hair. The coat is long and appears "wind tossed" with the texture of cotton. There are three variations of color in the coat: white with champagne color patches, black and white, and tri color which are mostly white with champagne patches and faint, irregular dusting of black hairs. The preferred color is white, like cotton.

The Coton de Tulear stands 10 to 12 inches at the shoulder and weighs 12 to 15 pounds.


The Coton de Tulear is a happy, little clown. The breed is alert, intelligent and rarely becomes angry.

Home and Family Relations

The Coton de Tulear is a dog bred to be a companion. He is an intelligent and loving family member. The Coton de Tulear loves to cuddle and snuggle up to his owner on the sofa. He also loves to play with children and other pets. They seldom bark but will sound an alarm if strangers approach the house.


The Coton de Tulear is the easiest to maintain of all the longhaired breeds. Regular brushing will be needed to keep the coat untangled and clean. Trimming is not recommended. The goal is to have a dog that looks like a fluff of cotton candy.


The Coton de Tulear should be socialized early and be taught to follow basic obedience commands.

Special Care

The Coton de Tulear does not require much special care. He is an easy going and low maintenance breed.

Common Diseases and Disorders

In general, the Coton de Tulear is a healthy dog with few medical concerns. The life span of the Coton de Tulear is 13 to 14 years.

We realize that each dog is unique and may display other characteristics. This profile provides generally accepted breed information only.

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