Coton de Tulear Dog Breed – A Sweet and Intelligent Companion

Coton de Tulear Puppies

Coton de Tulear Dog Breed at a Glance


The Coton de Tulear dog breed, also known simply as Cotie and Coton is a small dog breed that originated in Tulear, Madagascar. This small dog is ideal for new owners and families with children, as it is playful, affectionate, and energetic. As a bonus, the Coton is easy to train and enjoys pleasing its owner. Its name comes from its place of origin, but also from its soft, cotton-like coat that doesn’t shed much! At the time of this posting, the Coton was ranked the 80th most popular dog breed according to the American Kennel Club.

Breed Group: Non-sporting, toy

Coton de Tulear Puppies


HISTORY of the Coton de Tulear Dog Breed

Origin: Madagascar (Southeast coast of Africa)

It is believed that the Cotons were used as ratters on ships and may have been survivors of a shipwreck, which brought them to this island. They quickly established themselves as pets of wealthy Madagascar families and even of the Royals. In fact, these dogs became known as the Royal Dog of Madagascar, and are Madagascar’s national dog today. Cotons made their way to France and North America in the 1970s.


The personality of the Cotie is one described as playful, social, and affectionate. Its expression is always bright, happy, and lively. It is an intelligent dog that’s typically quiet, but when having fun, it is known to bark and grunt. Cotons are also known to become quite active in the evening. In addition to being great with kids, they are also well-behaved with other dogs and are cat-friendly. They have a low hunting drive and a moderate impulse to wander, so do keep them on a leash when out and about. Cotons are also known to be mouthy, but this can be corrected with chewtoy training.

The Coton is a sensitive dog that does not respond well to reprimanding, so training should be firm but gentle. It responds well to food and praise rewards. This amiable dog is good with everyone of every age, including strangers, but doesn’t fare well with being left alone for too long as it is a people dog.

These dogs crave companionship and don’t want to be separated from their loved ones.

Physical Characteristics of the Coton

Soft, medium-to-long hair covers this small dog, much like a cotton ball and is closely related to the Maltese and the Bichon Frise. Its coat contrasts against its black nose and round, wide-set eyes, and its tail curls over on its back. They can have either scissor or pincer bites concerning their teeth. Cotons have high-set, thin triangular ears, and a slightly arched strong neck. Its pads are generally black. Its adult coat comes in between the age of 9 and 14 months

The common colors of the Coton de Tulear are white, black and white, or tricolor. Its fade gene can completely alter its color from puppyhood to adulthood, with many dark colors fading to white.

The Coton de Tulear weighs between 8 and 13 pounds and stands between 8.5 and 12.5 inches tall, depending on gender.

Coton de Tulear Dog Breed

Shedding is minimal with the Cotie, and it is considered a hypoallergenic dog with low dander, which is perfect for those with allergies. It has a low tendency to drool, so it’s a perfect dog breed for owners who don’t want to increase their cleaning efforts.

HEALTH and CARE of the Coton de Tulear Dog Breed

Life Expectancy 

The life expectancy of the Coton is between 14 and 16 years, which is a much longer lifespan than the average for small dog breeds.

Common Health Concerns

Each dog breed is susceptible to certain health issues. In general, the Coton de Tulear is a healthy breed but may be at risk for developing the following:

  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Arthritis
  • Luxating Patellas
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy (blindness)

CARE of Cotons

Cotons can live virtually anywhere and in any home, from a single family to apartment living. However, they do need some exercise in the form of a daily walk, as well as a play session, like a game of fetch. They excel in obedience and agility. They can tolerate any weather, but they must live indoors.

For some owners, they may find housebreaking the Coton a challenge, but these tips can help: crate training, and potty training puppies as early as possible. Remember to praise and offer rewards when he does what’s expected of him.

Dog breeds


Feed your dog a high-quality dog food to ensure health and longevity. Divide 1/2 to 1 cup of kibble into two servings, although a more active dog may require more than the one living a more sedentary lifestyle.


The Coton de Tulear is a high maintenance dog requiring daily brushing (or at the very least about four times weekly) to avoid mats and tangles from forming using a pin brush. Focus on the areas such as behind the ears, elbows, and leg, where most matting occurs. For many, this task can be challenging, but shorter hairstyles can simplify grooming. On the upside, the Coton, with the occasional bath and regular brushing doesn’t have the usual dog smell. Regular checking of their ears is required to prevent wax and debris buildup that could lead to an infection.

The Coton de Tulear dog breed was officially recognized by the AKC in 2014.