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Coton de Tulear: Friendly, Fluffy And Fabulous

Coton de Tulear: Friendly, Fluffy And Fabulous

The Coton de Tulear dog breed is sweet and affectionate, with a clownish demeanor, and is always up for a good time. This intelligent tiny dog with a cottony coat is linked to the Bichon Frise and the Maltese and originated in Madagascar.

These dogs were once declared the Royal dog of Madagascar and it was absolutely forbidden for regular folks to own a Coton. Thank God those days are now over!

Cotons, as they’re known, are affectionate, versatile dogs who get along with just about everybody. This applies to both children and other dogs! They may live in apartments or in larger homes as long as they are not left alone for lengthy periods of time.

These low-maintenance canines can even flourish in the hands of inexperienced dog owners. There isn’t a better breed to bring to your family if you’re searching for a lovely, intelligent, and happy dog!

This little, longhaired, cottony-coated dog was never raised to do anything other than be a friend. And he excels at it. When talked to, he cocks his head intently and will even attempt to respond.

Because of their sensitive demeanor and patience with youngsters, these active, happy-go-lucky creatures are ready to snuggle and make ideal family dogs. The official dog of Madagascar is known for being smart, hilarious, and outspoken. They just enjoy entertaining others. They’ll fool about to acquire the attention they want.

Cotons are as near to hypoallergenic as you can get, are non-shedding, and have little dander, making them a great choice for allergy sufferers. However, because there is no such thing as a genuinely hypoallergenic dog, spend time with a breed to observe how your allergies respond before taking a puppy home.

Coton de Tulear dog breed overview

The Coton de Tulear gets its name not just from his cotton-like coat, but also from the coastal city of Tulear (now known as Toliara), which is located on the African island country of Madagascar. He looks like a cross between a Bichon Frise and a Maltese, but he has his own personality.

One of Coton’s defining qualities is his coat. It’s long, silky, and thick, with a fluffy, cottony feel that’s hard to explain. It’s normally four inches long by the time it reaches adulthood.

The coat is white, with a few light gray or red-roan (a blend of white and fawn hairs) splotches on the ears. Puppies are born with yellow, brown, red, or black patches on the head, ears, and occasionally the body. As pups get older, these spots go away, leaving regions that are light to medium champagne or gray in color.

Female Cotons are 8.5 to 11 inches tall and weigh 8 to 11 pounds, while males reach 10 to 12.5 inches tall and weigh 9 to 13 pounds.

His soft, shaggy white coat may appear difficult to maintain at first, but as the adult coat has grown in, dirt is readily removed by brushing. Brushing your Coton three or four times a week, as well as showering as needed, will keep it clean.

Main traits

The Coton’s intellect, friendliness, and easy-care coat are praised by fans. He’s a keen observer who rapidly picks up on routines and adjusts to his owner’s requirements. While you’re working, he sleeps with one eye open so he can track you if you leave the room. He has a reputation for being a good and adaptable traveler, maybe as a result of his maritime days, when he accompanied ladies on lengthy voyages by ship.

When it’s time for a game of fetch, the Coton will get his favorite toy and bring it to you. He enjoys going for walks, but he does not require a lot of exercise. As long as he gets lots of human interaction, he may easily satisfy his demand for activity by playing indoors or in a fenced yard. He succeeds in exercises like obedience and agility because of his eagerness to please.

The well-adjusted Coton is friendly to everyone. When the doorbell rings, the Coton may bark once and then follow you to the door to welcome your visitor gently. A housebreaker’s only danger is getting licked to death.

He enjoys utilizing his own specific languages of distinctive vocalizations, such as grunts and growls, to “speak” to his humans. When you respond to him, he’ll be ecstatic.

The Coton wants to make you happy, so whatever makes you happy makes him happy – as long as it doesn’t mean being separated from you. If you’re a stay-at-home parent, empty-nester, or retiree with plenty of time to spend with a canine best friend and love bringing him places, this breed is for you.

Coton de Tulear History

The large island of Madagascar, off the southeast coast of Africa in the Indian Ocean, is home to many unusual creatures, but one of them has become a beloved export around the world: the soft and shaggy Coton de Tulear, a member of the Bichon family who most likely arrived in Madagascar hundreds of years ago.

The small white dogs were reported to either accompany ladies on lengthy sea trips or serve as ratters aboard ships. The dogs were also said to have been beached in Madagascar after being the only survivors of a shipwreck. Regardless of how they came, they quickly made themselves at home. Some of the canines were kept as pets by the royal court and rich Madagascar families, while others were abandoned on the streets.

It’s difficult to determine the actual truth regarding the creation of this charming little species. What is clear is that Madagascar’s ruling class was so infatuated with Cotons that they created laws forbidding non-ruling class members from having one. Because these exquisite puppies were hidden away, the breed survived in isolation for generations, only becoming known to the rest of the world in the 1960s after being found by French tourists.

It wasn’t until the 1970s that a Frenchman visiting the island brought back some Cotons and tried to establish them as a breed. During the same decade, Cotons were introduced to North America.

Although the Coton de Tulear is still found in his homeland, his pleasant nature has gained him worldwide popularity, even in the United States.

The American Kennel Club has yet to acknowledge him, but he is registered with the Foundation Stock Service (FSS) of the AKC, as well as the United Kennel Club and Europe’s Federation Cynologique Internationale (FCI).


Coton is a people-pleaser who loves nothing more than spending time with his humans. He builds close relationships with his family and dislikes being apart from them.

He’s quick to learn and responds well to praise, play, and food rewards. For attention, he’ll play the clown, which he enjoys. Cotons may bark once or twice if the doorbell rings or if they notice something fascinating, but they rarely bark for the sake of barking. Intruders and guests alike are at risk of being licked to death.

Cotons de Tulear are soft dogs in almost every way, from their cuddly, childish demeanor to their coats. Although these dogs are extremely loyal and dedicated to their owners, they might be reticent and wary around strangers if they have not been properly socialized. Introduce him to other pets and humans as soon as possible to ensure a smooth transition to maturity.

Even though the little coton isn’t much of a guard dog, he’ll bark at everything that goes by his house, including a squirrel. While he’ll bark at passing wildlife, Cotons aren’t constant barkers, especially if they’ve been well trained. They may, however, be talkers.

Cotons, like other dogs, benefit from early socialization, which includes exposure to a variety of people, sights, noises, and activities. Socialization ensures that your Coton puppy develops into a well-adjusted, happy adult dog.

Do Coton de Tulears make good family dogs?

Cotons get along well with children provided the children get along well with them. They’re lively and fun-loving enough to be playmates for older children who treat them with respect, but they’ll learn to hide from clumsy younger children who may pat them too hard or kick or walk on them by accident.

Always educate youngsters how to approach and touch dogs, and monitor any interactions between dogs and small children to avoid biting or ear or tail tugging on either party’s side.

Teach your youngster to never approach a sleeping or eating dog, or to attempt to take the dog’s food. Any dog, no matter how friendly, should never be left alone with a youngster.

Cotons like human companionship, although they get along with other Cotons, dogs of other breeds, and cats as well. A Coton will appreciate the company of another animal if his folks aren’t there all of the time.


This dog breed has a long life expectancy, with most dogs surviving to be between 14 and 19 years old. Some have even lived to be 20 years old! They are extraordinarily healthy, with fewer than 5% suffering from hereditary diseases. As they age, Coton de Tulears develop the normal diseases, such as joint and eye difficulties. They are also susceptible to allergens, which can cause dry, itchy skin.

Most common health problems

Hip Dysplasia

Canine hip dysplasia occurs when the hip joint becomes unstable as a result of both developmental and environmental factors. Dogs are prone to this bone and joint disorder. The femur does not meet the pelvic bone appropriately, causing the bones to wear out prematurely.

Later in life, your dog may develop arthritis, which can be excruciatingly painful. This ailment shows itself as a peculiar walk, shaky posture, or limping, all of which are plainly seen in your beautiful pup. To preserve your dog’s quality of life, discuss care with your veterinarian as soon as possible.

Patellar luxation

Patellar luxation, or the dislocation of the kneecap, is common in these dogs. The kneecap usually sits in front of the hind leg’s joint and is maintained in place by ligaments. It moves around in a groove when the dog walks, protecting the joint but allowing the dog to move freely.

This little bone can dislocate and slip out of the groove in certain dogs. So it’s causing it to “float” freely about the knee. If left untreated, this can lead to major complications. It’s possible that the bone will be forced up against another bone, causing damage. Ligaments are frequently injured when the kneecap moves around incorrectly.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy

Progressive retinal atrophy is an eye ailment that might have a negative impact on the quality of life of your dog. This usually happens later in life as a result of retinal degeneration. Retinal dysplasia is the name for the early-onset type, which is observed in puppies. This is when the retinal cells do not mature properly.

The dog becomes partially or completely blind in both cases. While the disease isn’t unpleasant, it can have a significant influence on your dog’s quality of life. Consult your veterinarian about your dog’s alternatives, as well as what to do if he becomes blind.


Allergies to pollen, mold, and dust cause people to sneeze. Instead of sneezing, allergies in dogs produce itching. Atopy is a name used to describe a common skin allergy in these puppies. The feet, tummy, skin wrinkles, and ears are the most commonly affected locations. Symptoms normally emerge between the ages of one and three, and they can get worse as time goes on. Licking the paws, stroking the face, and recurring ear infections are the most prevalent allergy symptoms. The good news is that these diseases can be treated in a number of different ways.


That’s right, you read that correctly. Canines, too, can develop epilepsy and seizures. The frequency of a seizure and epilepsy differs significantly. Epilepsy is diagnosed if the seizures persist.


Hypoglycemia is a condition in which blood sugar levels are abnormally low, and it is more frequent than you might believe. Glucose is a sugar produced by the digestion of food that can be present in our bodies.

Hypoglycemia is most commonly caused by a puppy’s poor diet and lack of food. While a puppy needs to move around more, such as when exercising or walking, he or she requires more glucose to function.

Because glucose fuels the body for energy, a young puppy with hypoglycemia will be tired. The puppy will become weak and lethargic without the energy-giving glucose. In severe situations, the puppy may have a seizure and, in the worst-case scenario, become comatose and die.

Living Requirements

It’s an amazing pleasure to live with a Coton. The breed’s joyful, loving personality and devotion are unmistakable features. Cotons are devoted to you and thrive on your attention, yet they can also occupy themselves and are satisfied just to be around you.

Cotons are naturally lively and lead a busy lifestyle. They thrive in a fenced yard, even if it’s a little one, where they can run around and play. A coton can live happily in an apartment if he has enough of opportunities to come outside and explore the environment on a leash. A 30-minute stroll on the streets once or twice a day is a terrific approach to give your otherwise sedentary dog a workout.

Because a coton de Tulear is likely to get along with almost all of the people and pets in your home, they make an excellent family dog—as long as someone is constantly around. The coton de Coton de Coton de Coton de Coton de Coton de Coton de Coton de Coton de Coton de Coton de Coton de Coton de Coton de Coton de Cot If that’s the case, your cute coton is likely to express his unhappiness by chewing. As a result, the coton is a great companion for stay-at-home moms, elders, and empty nesters.

The Coton is a sturdy breed that likes playing in all weather conditions, including snow and rain. However, he should always reside with his family indoors (as should all dogs).

He may live in a variety of settings, from apartments to ranch houses, but if he has a yard, it should be gated so he doesn’t walk off — or be kidnapped by someone who admires him as much as you do.


3/4 cup of high-quality dog food split into two meals per day is the recommended daily intake.

The amount of food your adult dog consumes is determined by its size, age, build, metabolism, and degree of activity. Dogs, like people, are unique individuals that require different amounts of food. It practically goes without saying that a dog that is very active will require more than a dog that is sedentary.

The quality of dog food you purchase also matters; the better the dog food, the more it will nourish your dog and the less you will need to shake into his bowl.

Dog food prepared from high-quality components should be fed to your coton. Because cotons have the propensity to gain an excessive amount of weight, diet and activity monitoring is an important element of management. Your veterinarian can advise you on how much and how often to feed your coton.


Cotons only shed once a year, usually in the spring. They’re frequently recommended for allergy sufferers, but it’s always a good idea to meet and spend time with a variety of Cotons before determining whether or not you can live with one.

Brush the coat three or four times a week using an uncoated metal pin brush to prevent matted fur. Particular attention should be paid to the areas behind the ears, the knees, and the elbows. Hair breakage can be reduced by brushing with a spray conditioner.

Brushing him more regularly will reduce the amount of time you have to wash him. A fine-toothed metal comb and a smaller face comb will also keep your Coton looking crisp. Make a nice topknot with a coated hair elastic if you want to see his eyes. For easy grooming, maintain his coat in a short puppy clip.

Your Coton may need to be bathed weekly, every two weeks, or once a month, depending on how dirty he gets. To maintain your Coton looking his best, you should use a whitening shampoo when washing him. Instead of wiping him dry with a towel after a wash, pat him moist. This will prevent his coat from knotting. Then, when you blow him dry, brush the coat out.

Dental hygiene and nail care are two more grooming requirements. Brush your Coton’s teeth at least twice or three times a week to get rid of tartar and germs. Every day is even better.

As needed, trim his nails once or twice a month. The nails are too long if you can hear them clicking on the floor. Short nails keep your Coton’s feet looking good and won’t scrape your legs when he leaps up to meet you.

Are they hypoallergenic?

Coton de Tulears are hypoallergenic and belong to a breed of dog that sheds very little or none at all. Hypoallergenic dogs are those that are less prone to induce allergies in those who are sensitive to dog hair. The fact is that a 100% hypoallergenic dog does not exist. Proteins discovered in dog dander and saliva trigger allergic reactions in humans. These hypoallergenic dogs still have these proteins, but because they do not sweat as much as other breeds, they are less likely to create difficulties because they do not leave as much dander behind.

Coton de Tulears are also little dogs, which make bathing and grooming much easier than larger breeds. They are less likely to cause allergies in people as a result of this combination.


Cotons respond well to moderate, positive reinforcement-based teaching. They can have a stubborn streak, which usually manifests itself during toilet training. Housebreaking the Coton de Tulear can be a stressful and time-consuming task for some, but with gentle reinforcement and patience over a few weeks, it can be done. Positive crate training is also a viable option.

Verbal praise and tasty snacks can help train the people-pleasing Coton. They’re typically easy to learn and teach.

Some people find housetraining the Coton challenging, but with a regular routine, frequent excursions to do his business, and praise when he potties in the appropriate location, a Coton may pick it up fast.

Crate training can teach him to wait until he’s brought outside to potty and keep him out of trouble while you’re not there to oversee him.

Training is highly received by Cotons, especially when it is presented in a favorable light. Praise him, play with him, give him goodies, and tell him what a good job he’s done. Keep in mind that his main purpose is to make you happy.

Where can you get a Coton de Tulear to buy or adopt?

In the United States, Cotons are a middle-of-the-road breed. The Coton de Tulear is ranked 80th out of 189 breeds in the American Kennel Club, with 1 being the most popular and 189 being the least popular. The Coton isn’t difficult to locate, but three of his relatives, the Bichon Frise, Havanese, and Maltese, are more popular.

Adopting From Dog Rescue Organizations

You might be able to discover a Coton de Tulear through a Dog Rescue organization. Cotons, on the other hand, are given to rescue groups in smaller numbers than Bichons or Maltese. Because the breed isn’t very tough to live with, less people abandon it.

Adopting From Public Animal Shelters and Humane Societies

A Coton de Tulear would be unusual to discover at an animal shelter. Small fluffy white dogs may be mislabeled as Cotons, but unless the dog has registration documents, the odds are it isn’t a Coton.

Buying From a Dog Breeder

A show breeder will breed their dogs to fit a specific standard of appearance for the dog show ring, so you may get a Coton de Tulear from them. You should get a Coton puppy from a reliable Coton de Tulear breeder to ensure a healthy dog. Coton de Tulear puppies normally cost between $2,000 and $3,000 from a good breeder because to their rarity.

Never purchase a Coton from a puppy mill, pet store, or breeder that does not offer health checks or warranties. Look for a trustworthy breeder that screens her breeding dogs for genetic problems that might be passed on to the puppies, breeds for sound temperaments, and has agreed to the breed club’s code of ethics.

Are they rare?

The Coton de Tulear is a unique breed that has been threatened with extinction multiple times over its existence. While the breed is Madagascar’s official dog, economic and political difficulties may cause the species to become extinct in its homeland. Fortunately, there are numerous Coton breeders all over the world, so the dog is not in danger of going extinct.

The Coton de Tulear’s ancestor, the Coton de Reunion, fell extinct with the building of the Suez canal in 1869, which reduced Reunion’s trade prominence. Extinction is a normal part of life, but unsustainable human actions have wiped off some breeds, including the dodo, quagga, and woolly mammoth.

Things to consider before buying a Coton de Tulear

1. Grooming. Taking care of their coat is a big job. Cotons need to be brushed and combed on a weekly basis, as well as clipped and trimmed every few months. Otherwise, their coat will continue to grow and get matted.  Consider keeping your Coton’s coat short to reduce the amount of brushing and combing required.

2. Housebreaking problems. The Coton de Tulear is related to the Bichon Frise, Maltese, and Havanese, all of which take a lengthy time to housebreak. Crate training must be done on a regular basis. A doggie door is sometimes required so that the dog may go outside anytime he needs to.

3. Socialization. Aggression and/or fearfulness have been observed by some breeders and owners of Cotons. This might be a hereditary feature, necessitating extreme caution when selecting a Coton breeder, or it could be the consequence of poor socialization. The Coton has a reputation for being wary of strangers. So, if you don’t socialize enough, or if you do it incorrectly, their inherent caution may turn into shyness or suspicion. 

4. Separation anxiety. The Coton de Tulear, more than most other breeds, requires a lot of attention and does not appreciate being left alone for more than a few hours. He’ll probably bark or chew things up to convey his dissatisfaction.

5. Barking. The Coton de Tulear, like other little dogs, is eager to yelp when he hears or sees anything new. You must build the proper relationship between you and your Coton, where you are the leader and he is the follower, to avoid him from acquiring a chronic barking habit. To put it another way, you should train your Coton to respect you so that when you say “No,” he will stop what he’s doing. 

Final words on the Coton de Tulear

Coton de Tulear are cheerful, friendly dogs who like spending time with small children and make excellent family dogs. This affectionate breed is an excellent alternative for those with pet allergies who want a hypoallergenic dog or puppy that doesn’t shed.

Cotons are people-oriented and will want to garner as much attention as possible. They are so gregarious that they do not do well when left alone for extended periods of time. “Not doing well” refers to their boredom and discontent, which they try to express by barking and destructive chewing.

This breed creates a close attachment with his family and might be cautious towards strangers, yet being calm and friendly with everyone (people and other pets). Because there is a risk of excessive caution/timidity, socialization is essential for developing a confident, outgoing temper.

If you’re always on the go but still desire the companionship that only a coton can provide, these dogs are great travel companions and are delighted to join their owners on holidays and travels.

Cotons de Tulear are typically healthy canines who live for 14–17 years on average. A llergies, which can develop to bacterial infections, and ear difficulties if not cleansed correctly, are the most common health issues.

My name is Katy and I am 27. I love to travel and you would be surprised how good I am at karaoke. 🙂 Passionate dog lover and a "mother" to a beautiful toy puddle named Zara. I work as a volunteer in a local shelter and I am a veterinary assistant helping our four-legged friends every day.