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Coton de tulear

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Cute, soft and incredibly friendly, the Coton de Tulear is certainly a people dog but will get on well with other dogs too. Small and fluffy yet sturdy, this adorable breed is surprisingly intelligent and adaptable. The Coton de Tulear is in so many ways the perfect pet but does need company and can pick up bad habits.

Which breed group is the Coton de Tulear in?

Breed group: Toy

Coton de Tulear breed history

Also known as the Royal Dog of Madagascar, the Coton de Tulear is a historic breed that was found in Madagascar as early as the 16th century. It is likely that these diminutive dogs were taken to the island nation by traders or pirates. They would have been kept aboard ships to control vermin but then traded for goods. The country’s nobility became incredibly fond of their Coties which were named for their soft white coats and the seaport of Tulear.

It was forbidden to take the Coton de Tulear out of Madagascar until the 1970s. A small number of people were then permitted to remove the dogs for breeding. They were recognised by the Kennel Club in 1990 and have become popular pets around the world.

Coton de Tulear breed characteristics

Probably related to the bichon frise and Maltese, this little dog oozes charm and boasts a fluffy coat which is incredibly soft to the touch. Those large round eyes contribute to the memorable and cute look as does the short face of this loveable character. Pendulous ears are covered in long hair and this dog possesses a compact body. The tail is feathered and carried low when the dog is at rest but higher when the Cotie is on the move. The coat can be white or white with tan, lemon, grey or light brown.

Friendly and devoted to humans, the Coton de Tulear is playful and adaptable. Notable for its desire to please people, it is a wonderful companion dog.

  • Lifespan: 14-16 years
  • Height: up to 30cm
  • Weight: up to 6kg
  • Small
  • Soft and fluffy coat
  • White or white with darker shades
  • Feathered tail
  • Large eyes
  • Intelligent
  • Loyal
  • Easy to train
  • Adaptable
  • Can live anywhere
  • Good with dogs and children

Health issues with the Coton de Tulear

The conditions that most frequently impact this breed are:

  • Alabama Rot
  • Canine multifocal retinopathy (CMR)
  • Bandera´s neonatal ataxia
  • Primary Hyperoxaluria type 1 (PH 1)
  • Von Willebrand's disease (VMD - Type 1)
  • Cataracts
  • Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA)
  • Luxating patella

What is the Coton de Tulear bred for?

It is thought that these dogs were originally bred to control vermin on trading and pirate ships. They were traded for goods in Madagascar and became pets of the nobility before being exported for breeding. In the UK and America, they are bred as companion dogs.

What sort of owners does the Coton de Tulear suit?

Surprisingly intelligent and very loyal, Coton de Tulears are easy to train and playful. They are sturdy, adaptable and extremely sociable. This makes them excellent choices for both first-time owners and the elderly. They are happy living pretty much anywhere and get on with both children and other dogs. They don’t like being left on their own and so suit households where at least one person is around all of the time. They can be shy if not properly socialised and require regular grooming.

Coton de Tulears are calm and flexible travelers, probably due to their seafaring origins. They have a strong urge to please and they love everyone. It’s impossible not to adore these smart, characterful and loving little canines.


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