Coton De Tulear



Also known as the “Royal Dog of Madagascar,” the Coton de Tulear is a member of the Bichon family that came to the island of Madagascar several hundred years ago. At the time, the Bichon Tenerife — the Coton’s distant ancestor — was particularly popular with the women of Europe’s high society, who would commonly bring their dogs with them on long voyages across the sea. European sailors also kept Bichons aboard their ships to catch rats and other pests. As those ships reached places like South Africa’s Cape of Good Hope and the Indian Ocean, the Bichon Tenerife began to mate with other breeds on the Island of Reunion, located just 500 miles from Madagascar. The resulting breed was the Coton de Reunion, who’s fabled to have finally reached Madagascar’s Tulear port after being beached in a shipwreck. As legend has it, the sturdy dogs survived the wreck and swam ashore, giving rise to the modern-day Coton de Tulear after 400 years of natural selection, and a little selective breeding.

The adventurous Coton De Tulear quickly became a favorite of the Merina, Madagascar’s ruling indigenous tribe. They perceive the breed as a sign of nobility — hence the nickname “Royal Dog of Madagascar.” When French settlers came to the island in the 16th century, they too became enamored with the breed. Within the same decade, the Coton de Tulear was taken to both France and North America. Today, they’re a favourite all around the world.

The Coton de Tulear gets its name from its fluffy, cotton-like coat, and from Madagascar’s seaport city of Tulear (now known as Toliara), where the breed originated. 1.


Small, long-haired, companion dog with a white cotton textured coat, with round, dark eyes and a lively, intelligent expression. 2.


Bright and sweet-natured. Of a happy temperament, stable, very sociable with humans and with other dogs; it adapts perfectly to all ways of life. The temperament of the Coton de Tuléar is one of the main characteristics of the breed. 2.

The Coton is a playful, charming, affectionate, intelligent breed. Although generally quiet, it can become very vocal - grunting, barking, and making other noises when having fun. Cotons are known to have a habit of jumping up and walking on their hind legs to please people. Most Cotons love meeting new people and are very curious in new situations. 3.

Cotons are easy to train as they are very eager to please. Cotons love to swim, run, and play. They adapt well to any kind of living environment. A common trait of the Coton de Tulear behaviour is to come alive in the evening.3.

Coton fanciers describe them as 'witty' companions 'at times boisterous but never demanding' and 'naturally clownish and lighthearted,' who possess a 'remarkably gentle, sympathetic awareness.'


The Coton is in general a healthy breed. However, there are still some health issues as there are in all breeds. The most serious issues are heart problems, liver shunts, back (disc) problems, and eye problems. Luckily, these are still relatively uncommon in the breed. 3.

The average life span of a Coton de Tulear is 14 to 19 years. 4.


Coton de Tulears do form strong bonds with their owners and love spending time with them, and they can easily get anxious if they’re separated. They’re playful dogs who aren’t afraid to get silly for some praise and attention. They get along with anyone and everyone, whether it’s strangers, kids, or other pets like dogs and cats. 1.

Cotons are generally quiet dogs that usually only bark when something startles them. They’re a highly intelligent breed that’s easily trainable and they have loads of entertaining quirks that are sure to make you fall in love with them. 1.

The Coton has a coat that requires brushing and combing almost daily and bathing about once per week to maintain its beauty. Cotons love swimming; owners who have pools are recommended to let their Cotons play in the pool with supervision. Like poodles, they do not "shed", meaning they don't drop hair on furniture, carpeting, etc. They do lose hair; the texture of their coat causes the shed hair to be trapped in the coat. If not brushed and combed daily, the fur of this breed will mat up quickly and may require shaving. Cotons need a walk every day for exercise, but will appreciate a play session as often as possible, and have the endurance to go on a long hike. Cotons love to play with other dogs and they are great with kids. 3.

The Coton is a fairly active dog who requires a moderate amount of exercise. Daily walks with his human at a slow speed will keep him in good weight and condition. Chasing a tennis ball around his backyard can keep his mind active as well as his body. A bored and unhappy Coton can become destructive. He does best when provided with enough exercise, lots of attention from his owner, and plenty of interesting toys to keep him occupied. 5.


Height at withers

Males: 26-28 cm

Females: 23-25 cm


Males: From 4 kg to a maximum of 6 kg.

Females : From 3.5 kg to a maximum of 5 kg. 1.

In Conclusion

Now you know a little about the Coton De Tulear and have decided this is the dog for you, or you would like more information, please make contact with the breed club or your State controlling body for purebred dogs. They will be able to give you information about available puppies and also suggest dog shows where you can see the breed and speak to breeders. In this way you will gain a better perspective of the Coton De Tulear and its needs and whether this breed would suit your lifestyle.





  4. "About the Coton". USACTC, Inc

  5. American Kennel Club