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Coton de Tulear

 Photo of Coton de Tulear
Photo: Wikipedia

Coton de Tulear Books

Group: Toy - Breed Standard


The Coton de Tuléar is the official dog of Madagascar where, in the past, only royalty and the upper-class could own one. The Coton's ancestors were thought to have been brought to Madagascar in the 16th century by sailors from Spain and Portugal and is named after the port city of Tuléar which is currently known as Toliara. The Coton is believed to be related to the Bichon family of dogs, perhaps linked most closely to the Bichon Tenerife. The now-extinct Tenerife was introduced to the Islands of Mauritius and Reunion by sailors in the 16th and 17th centuries. The breed then acquired its cottony coat which is thought to be the result of a single gene mutation. Known then as the Coton de Reunion, they became the companions of pirates, merchants, and noblemen in travel. This small, friendly dog caught the fancy of the Merina royalty, and was bred into what is known today as the Coton de Tuléar.


Height: 25-32 cms (10-12½ ins).

The Coton de Tuléar has a medium-length, fluffy, cotton-like coat that is hair rather than fur. The Coton's coat should be white but may also have lemon coloured, light brown, or grey markings on their ears. The skull is slightly rounded and wider than it is long. The muzzle is straight and shorter than the skull. The nose is black in colour. The teeth are in a scissor bite or pincer bite. The eyes are round, dark in colour and wide set. The expression should be lively, intelligent, bright, and merry. The ears are triangular and set high. The leather of the ear should be thin. The neck is strong, without a dewlap and slightly arched. The chest is well developed and reaches below the elbows. The feet are small and arched. The back should be strong and slightly arched. The pads of the feet are usually black. The body is of moderate lengh and should have a moderate tuck up. The loin is muscular and not too long. The hind legs are strong and straight. The hind feet similar to the front feet. The Dewclaws may be removed. The tail is low set and tapering, carried over the back when in motion or excited, relaxed otherwise.


The Coton is a playful, affectionate, intelligent breed. It loves people and as a result can have separation anxiety. It loves life and is enthusiastic and lively. It is a very vocal breed, grunting and making other noises when having fun. It has a habit of walking on its hind legs to please people. The Coton often exhibits shyness or cautiousness in new situations, especially around strangers, but this can be overcome with training. It is very trainable as long as it is trained with praise rather than punishment as it lives to please its people.

Breed Health

The Coton is in general a healthy breed and currently known to be long-lived and healthy, normally living between 14 and 18 years.


They need a short walk every day for exercise, but will appreciate a play session as often as possible and has the endurance to go on a long hike.


See our books on training

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Last link added: 16 Jan, 2006