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Coton De Tulear


Coton De Tulear Facts

  • Group
  • Other Breed Classes
  • Affiliations
  • AKC, UKC
  • Height
  • 8.5" - 12.5"
  • Weight
  • 8-12 lbs.
  • Lifespan
  • 14 years | Add yours

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  • Exercise Requirement
  • Low - This breed requires little daily activity
  • Training Requirement
  • Difficult to Train
  • Grooming Requirement
  • Moderate
  • Colors
    • White
    • Tri-color (white/tan/black)
    • Black / White
  • Breed Characteristics
    • Adapted to city living
    • Good with children
    • Should sleep indoors

True Cost Of Ownership

Alternate Names

Royal dog of Madagascar


This breed originated in Madagascar.

Date Of Origin

The breed developed in the 16th century.


Much like its cousin the Bichon, the Coton de Tulear was a companion dog to sailors and pirates. The Coton de Tulear developed on the Island of Madagascar and is still the island's national dog. The Coton's ancestors were brought to Madagascar in the 16th and 17th centuries aboard pirate ships. Madagascar was a haven for pirates, and pirate graveyards can still be seen there. Pirates established the only democratic kingdom for themselves on St. Mary's Island, Madagascar and took Malagasy wives. Whether the dogs were brought along to control rats on the ships, as companions for long voyages, or were confiscated from other ships as booty no one knows. Tulear is a port now also known as Toliara. The Coton is of the Bichon dog type, linked most closely to the now-extinct Bichon Tenerife, and Tenerife Terrier. There have been many stories circulating about the history of the Coton in recent years. Most of them are untrue. The Coton de Tulear was never feral on Madagascar. It did not hunt wild boar or alligators, as its size, strength, and demeanor can disprove easily. It was a companion dog of the Merina (the ruling tribe) in Madagascar. It has very little prey drive, and is not a hunting dog.

The cottony coat may be the result of a single gene mutation. This small, friendly dog caught the fancy of the Malagasy royalty and they were the only people allowed to keep Cotons. When Dr. Robert Jay Russell discovered the breed in Madagascar in 1973 and brought the first ones to America, he coined the phrase the Royal Dog of Madagascar and the name stuck. They were also imported occasionally into France by returning French colonists but weren't officially imported to Europe until the 1970's.


The coton is a small, well muscled dog. It has dark, round eyes and a large, black nose. There are triangular, drop ears, and a medium length, low-set tail. It has a medium length, soft, dense, cotton like coat, for which it was named (coton is french for cotton).


The coton is a cheerful, agreeable dog that gets along with almost everyone but is especially bonded with its family. It is friendly with children, strangers and other animals. It is playful and sometimes even clownish.


It is a companion dog that loves wide open spaced, enjoys swimming, and can follow its master on horseback for many miles.

Health Concerns

eye problems, kidney disease, thyroid problems.

Additional Information

This dog requires daily brushing and consistent grooming.

Show Sources & Contributors +


The Howell Book Of Dogs

Publisher: Wiley Publishing Inc, 2007

Website: http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/

Author: Liz Palika

Dog Bible

Publisher: BowTie Press, 2005

Website: http://www.bowtiepress.com/bowtie/

Authors: Kristin Meuh-Roe, Jarelle S. Stein

Simon & Schusters Guide to Dogs

Publisher: Simon & Schuster inc, 1980

Website: http://www.simonandschuster.com

Author: Elizabeth Meriwether Schuler

The New Encyclopedia of the Dog

Publisher: Dorling Kindersley Publishing, 2000

Website: http://www.dk.com

Author: Bruce Fogle

The All Breed Dog Grooming Guide

Publisher: Aaronco, 2002

Website: http://www.aaroncopet.com

Author: Sam Kohl


Publisher: WikiMedia Foundation, On Going

Website: http://en.wikipedia.org/

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