Breed Type: Companion
Country of Origin:
Size:  Small
Also known as:  Cotie
Males: Height: 25-30 cm Weight: 5½ -7 kg
Females: Height: 25-30 cm Weight: 5½ -7 kg
Exercise Requirements:  Prefers active but can tolerate low
Care Requirements: Moderate to High
Lifespan: 14-16 Years
Best Suited as:  A highly adaptable family pet

The Coton De Tulear is a small, fluffy breed of dog that can resemble of puff of cotton – hence its name including “coton” which is French for cotton. They have a beautiful coat of hair that requires daily brushing. Temperamentally, the Cotons are extremely sociable and quite adaptable to various lifestyles and living arrangements. They prefer a lot of playtime and fun exercise but do tolerate a lower exercise environment as is found with apartment living as long as they can experience consistent playtime indoors. Highly intelligent and approval seeking, they love to come up with techniques to do anything their family might want them to do. Cotons are a very friendly breed that gets along well with children and other pets in the family, but are also very attached and protective of their “pack” so can work well as a watch/alert dog. The Coton De Tulear are overflowing with personality and a desire to please if at all possible. A more entertaining trait of the Cotons are their skills at easily walking on their hind legs and making incredible jumps. They also have very expressive and playful faces brimming with life.

Coton De Tulears are pretty dogs with a long, beautiful coat of hair when it is maintained properly. They are primarily white in colour but can come with some black markings or even some tricoloured markings but completely white is preferred in the purebred world. Sometimes Cotons also have a few slightly yellow markings on the hair around their ears.  They are small dogs weighing around 5½ to 7 kg. on average for both male and female. Both genders are around 25-30 cm. in height. Bone structure and body size is fairly hidden beneath its long-haired coat, but underneath all that fur is a build that is thin but strong.

The temperament of the Coton De Tulears is easy to enjoy as they are quite friendly, eager to please, and also very gentle. An alert air about them clearly is a mark of their intelligence and their interest in the world around them. They are extremely affectionate and develop strong attachments to family wanting to be with them every moment possible. Cotons learn quickly, but with slight tendencies for stubbornness – especially if they are not led properly and don’t have complete clarity as to who the leader of the home pack is. If you establish that authority early on with them, they tend more towards an attitude of wanting to please instead of wanting to be the boss. While Cotons have high intelligence and are very personable and gentle, they are a breed that needs to know who’s boss in the home and will happily submit once that is established.

The Coton De Tulear is a breed originating in Madagascar and related to the French Bichon breed as well as the Italian Bolognese breed. Cotons are believed to have been imported to Madagascar by French military officers or the administrative workers that followed them. The Coton De Tulear were fairly unknown until they became familiar in Europe and America just in the last couple of decades. Before that, Cotons were the special favourites of the wealthy in Madagascar for centuries…at least a thousand years ago or so. They are still a rather rare breed currently and usually owned by wealthier classes of people.

Care and Grooming:

As mentioned previously, Cotons have extensive brushing and combing needs with their long top coat of fine, silky hair. This is not only to remove tangles each day before they become matted, but also for the need to remove dead hair as they shed very little if at all. They tend to grow excessive hair in between the pads on their feet that needs to be regularly trimmed as does any extra hair growing inside the ear. One good thing about the frequent brushing and comb-outs that Cotons need keeps them from needing a bath any more often than once or twice a year.


The smallness of the Coton De Tulear makes it fairly easy to meet health needs of exercise each day as active play time indoors can make up for a lack of outdoor exercise availability. In general the Cotons are a healthy breed but do have some health problem tendencies as does every breed. The Coton De Tulear are more prone to heart, liver, spinal, or eye problems, but for the most part, these traits have been bred out of them through the years and are fairly uncommon.

Suitability as a Pet:
The Coton De Tulear breed is excellent for apartment living as they do not have to have large areas to run and play in or extensive and long daily walks as long as they get plenty of playtimes indoors. They are also a good choice for anyone suffering from allergies because they shed so very little and the daily combing required keeps pollen and dust from building up on their coat. Their affectionate personality and social nature is even more ideal for anyone without much human companionship available. Their quick wit and desire to please can do a lot to alleviate loneliness of their owners. Cotons also love to swim and since they don’t shed in the traditional sense, they are wonderful dogs to enjoy a backyard pool with although like with any other small creature around water, they do need to be supervised for their own safety.

As long as the chain of authority within the home of the Cotons is established early on, training of this breed is not too difficult because they are so highly intelligent with a deep-seated need to please their owners. But if authority isn’t firmly entrenched as to who the leader of the pack within the home is, they can become rather stubborn and rebellious and will begin to exhibit undesirable traits of believing they are in charge and can do whatever they want regardless of their small size. Their intelligence makes it very easy for them to learn quickly, but can also make it a challenge to stay one-step ahead of them when their playful nature appears.

Coton de Tulear Organisations in Australia
No club information listed

Coton de Tulear Organisations in the UK
North American Coton Association | Coton de Tulear Dogs

Coton de Tulear Organisations in the US
Coton de Tulear Club of America
American Coton Club – Coton de Tulear Rescue

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