The Amazing Coton de Tulear
Learn And You May Want One!

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Coton de Tulear
Weight: 12 — 16 lbs
Height: 12” — 15”
AKC Not rated yet
Lifespan: 13—16 yrs
Group: Non Sporting
Origin: France

Dog Breed Info - Coton de Tulear

A Coton named "Luc" who is the joy of Gale
who sent us the photo. Here Luc is smiling at YOU!

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Breed Overview

NOTE: The Coton da Tulear was entered into the American Kennel Club’s Foundation Stock Service (FSS) in 1996 and is not yet part of the annual show ring.

The name is pronounced koTAWN / day / two-LEE are.

The Coton is allowed to compete in the AKC competition events such as agility, obedience, tracking and rally.

Origin: Madagascar. Original function: Companion dog. Today: Companion dog. Colors: White and black, white and tri-colored. White is preferred.

This is a fascinating little dog. The name, “Coton” in French means “cotton.:” This breed has a long outer coat that is like a fluff of cotton candy. These dogs spent hundreds of years in the port city of Tulear in southern Madagascar and have only been known to the outside world for the past 20 years or so. The Coton is the official dog of Madagascar.

The origin is not clear but it is believed the Coton de Tulear comes from the French Bichon. It is thought they came from the Mediterranean and were shipwrecked off the coast of Madagascar where they continued to live and thrive for hundreds of years, especially among the upper class. This breed, which is scarce, has gained some popularity in the States.


The Coton de Tulear enjoys learning and is fairly easy to train but can be stubborn at times.. Use clicker training and positive reinforcement as they are a bit stubborn and don’t to well with harsh criticism. Use the Cesar Millan method too, as that is another excellent way of training these dogs. They do well in agility and obedience training.

Crate Training

Want to crate train your Coton? It's easy and if you're interested, take a look and you'll see what to do. Crate training your dog will save many headaches and problems.

Potty Training

The Coton de Tulear puppy isn’t too hard to house train, potty train, toilet train, housebreak or whatever you want to call it. They learn pretty fast. If you have a puppy, decide if you want to crate or paper potty train it. For the best results, we have a page at Crate vs Paper Potty Training which will help you decide and from there you can get all the information you need to get the job done. Always praise the pup profusely when she goes potty in the RIGHT PLACE so she knows she has done a good thing.

If you have an older dog, take the dog outside every two hours until she gets the idea which door leads to her potty area. Older dogs catch on to the potty or housebreaking pretty fast once they are shown what to do.

Here's Luc again, and this time he is
listening intently to what his human mom is telling him!

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The Coton de Tulear is an outgoing, friendly, fun-loving little dog that is affectionate and playful. They do well with children, seniors and everyone in the house. They want to be included in all family activities and can act a bit silly and goofy by any standards. It’s all in fun. The breed is devoted and highly loyal to it’s family and tries hard to please, as long as it has strong but kind leadership to follow. All small dogs have the same problem of wanting to dominate so it’s important that the Coton understand she is the “follower” and not the leader of the family. This is a moderate energy dog, gentle but alert and quite inquisitive. They love to swim, take walks in the park, cuddle and play games of fetch with a small ball. This is essentially a Bichon-inspired dog. The Coton does well with agility and tricks so keep the training going.

It is important that the Coton de Tulear be well socialized as a puppy, starting at around 4 or 5 weeks and continued on. It is equally as important that the eventual owner of the dog be a kind, gentle but dominant leader so the dog knows s/he is to follow and remain submissive. This will affect training and everything in general about your relationship with the dog.

With that accomplished, you will have one of the BEST all ‘round house pets you can find anywhere. This is one terrific little dog, companion and sociable playmate for the kids.

In short, this is a loyal, affectionate, intelligent, playful, happy and eager-to-please, easy=going small dog that fits well into the home and was bred to be a companion and nothing else except maybe a clown at times. If you want a small dog, get this one!

If you happen to get a Coton with a separation anxiety problem, that can be dealt with by investing a few hours of work on your part and some "tough love."

Friendly Toward Other Dogs

An easy going breed that mixes well with most dogs.

Friendly Toward Other Pets

Okay with other house pets such as dogs, cats and small rodent type animals. Even a rabbit might work out. It’s especially good if the Coton is raised with the other house pets!

Friendly Toward Strangers

Generally accepting of strangers once they have been introduced and mingled with the family. A total stranger might be barked at upon arrival, as the Coton is a watch dog.


Very playful. Lots of energy and lives to have fun.


Very affectionate. Loves to snuggle and cuddle. A natural lapdog.

Good with children?

Yes. Loves to play and romp with kids, especially older, well mannered children that have been taught how to act around a small dog. Very young kids (under 6 years old) should be closely supervised as they often don’t realize they are hurting or aggravating the dog.

Good with Seniors over 65?

Yes, the Coton de Tulear is an excellent choice for senior for the senior. They are playful, easy to care for, affectionate, loyal and devoted, ,good watchdogs and love to cuddle and snuggle. Just what the senior needs. Several walks a day will take care of the exercise. This little dog can even jog.

Living environment

Apartment, flat, condo, farm or ranch all good. The Coton de Tulear needs to be kept in a fenced area as they are easily stolen because they are so friendly and cute. A yard is not necessary, but nice if you have one.

The Coton needs to be an indoor dog and craves family contact. This is a dog that wants to be doing anything the family is doing.

Energy level

Moderate energy. Can jog along with you or nap on your lap.

Exercise needs, daily

One or two quiet daily walks will suffice. The Coton de Tulear may want to chase a ball in the yard or park.

The Coton LOVES to swim so if you are near water or have a pool, let her test the water.


Very good little watchdog. Will announce anyone approaching the house or apartment.

Guard dog

No really. Too friendly. Not aggressive enough to be a guard dog.


Sheds none to very little. Good dog for allergy sufferers.


Brush regularly with a medium bristle brush.

Brush or comb DAILY. Keep the long outer coat fluffy and like cotton candy. Don’t use scissors. The dog is supposed to look like a powder puff. Bathe every other week or monthly, as needed. Each dog is different. Use ONLY canine approved shampoo.

Coton de Tulear READING

There is only 1 book in print for the Coton. It's a comprehensive hard-cover document for anyone interested in or who owns one of these neat little dogs. All about the Coton.Coton De Tulear (Kennel Club Dog Breed Series)

This book will teach your Coton new "fun" things to do and stimulate her brain and give her exercise too.101 Dog Tricks: Step by Step Activities to Engage, Challenge, and Bond with Your Dog

Coton de Tulear Breeders

In the event you decide to go looking for Coton dwe Tulear puppies, be SURE to find reputable breeders that really know what they are doing. Be sure the puppy has been VERY well socialized and started in obedience training. We don't offer a breeder referral page on this site, but if you check the web, there are plenty out there.
Coton de Tulear Breeders with puppies for sale.

Coton de Tulear Rescue

In the event you are seriously considering the adoption of an older dog and are looking for a Coton de Tulear Rescue group in your area, here is a link that might help:
Petfinder - Coton de Tulear Rescue As I write this, Petfinder is showing only 12 dogs available to adopt in the USA. That might be enough, but in case you want more selection, go online and search for Coton de Tulear Rescue or Clubs or kennels. This is a VERY rare breed. If you do find one to adopt, try to locate any dog health records and save for possible future reference.


Want more good information about the Coton de Tulear? Please visit our friends at For Coton de Tulear Dog Fanciers and you'll find a world of information from owners of this wonderful breed!


Dog Health Issues For The Coton de Tulear
Below: The dog illness / illnesses or medical problems listed for the Coton by various vets.

This is basically a healthy breed. These are the dog illness and medical problems this breed is prone to that have been listed by various veterinarians at different times over the past decade or so and some pertain to puppies and very young dogs that a breeder would deal with.

While the Coton de Tulear is a very healthy breed, there are several health possibilities to look for or be aware of. These are identified below:

  • Skin allergies common to the Bichon-type breeds such as:

    Atopic dermatitis's—Atopy. Hereditary. Shows at 1 to 3 years age. Skin allergy triggered by dust mites, pollen, poor quality foods and other garbage we put into the dog’s environment. Many breeds are prone to this. The dog will lick, rub, chew and scratch the infected areas. Allergens can also come from fleas, bacteria and yeast infections. See your vet. There are many treatments ranging from medicines, antihistamines, diets, bathing, cleansing the house of dust mites and so on.

    Any excess itching, scratching, redness or odd patches on the skin or hair loss should be checked by the vet.

  • Eye problems - Have eyes checked by a vet annually to detect any oncoming problems. Possible:

    Cataracts - A hazy or cloudy vision problem that worsens with time and if not corrected can lead to eventual total blindness.

    Entropion—Eye irritation caused by the eyelids and lashes rolling inward. The problem is usually inherited and found in young, adult dogs. It can come from an eyelid spasm. Affected eyes will be held partially shut and tear excessively. Both eyes will usually be affected the same. Treatment for the condition requires eye surgery.

  • Patellar luxation—Limping, Hind Leg Held Up, Can’t straighten back leg, weak legs. Caused by an unusually shallow spot on the femur, weak ligaments and misalignment of tendons and muscles that align the knee joint and allow the knee cap (patella) to float sideways in and out of position. This can be caused by injury or be present at birth and can affect both rear legs. It’s most common in small dogs like the English Cocker Spaniel, Bichon's and possibly the Coton de Tulear. If your dog has trouble straightening the leg, is limping, lame or is walking on three legs and holding one hind leg up, look for patellar luxation. Several of my dogs have had the problem and all I’ve done is reach down, massage the knee a little until they drop their leg, and we’re good to go for another 3 or 4 months. Severe cases require surgery for a fully lame leg.

Other health problems could occur with your Coton de Tulear. If you notice any problems with your dog, take it to the vet immediately. This website is for general information only and is not intended to, in any way, be a medical guide.


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