Coton de Tulear Dog Breed: Pictures, Colors, Bark, Characteristics, and Diet

Coton de Tulear or simply “Coton” is a purebred, small long-haired dog named for the city of Tuléar in Madagascar.

They were companion dogs of the native Malagasy and Merina tribal nobles and eventually became known as the Royal Dog of Madagascar.

A Coton de Tulear in a flower field
The beautiful Coton de Tulear

Because of the French tourists, Cotons were brought to France, where they were introduced and established as a breed.

While these dogs became popular for their extraordinary connection to humans, they are now fairly rare, and it’s being revived from extinction. 

Coton de Tulear is known for its fluffy white coats, similar to a cotton ball.

They are most often white, but Coton puppies can be born with brown, yellow, or black spots, which can fade into a lighter gray or champagne color as it reaches adulthood.

Though Cotons are tiny dogs with a height of between 9 and 11 inches and weight from 8 to 13 lbs, they have a big heart and many personalities.

Cotons de Tulear are playful companions who enjoy playing with their humans. They are energetic and cheerful, making them great family pets.

Generally, Cotons are a healthy breed as they can live from 14 to 16 years.

But as with all small breeds, they are prone to luxating patellas. This condition occurs when the dog’s patella (kneecap) moves out of its normal location.

To keep your Coton in good shape, you should give him a diet consisting of biologically appropriate proteins, healthy fats, fiber, and carbohydrates specifically designed for small dogs.

They also need at least 30-40 minutes of exercise per day, including walks and playtimes.

Interested in getting a Cotton de Tulear? Get to know more about them by reading below!

What is a Coton de Tulear?

A Coton de Tulear walking outdoors
A cute Coton de Tulear starting its day in a positive mood – Image source

Coton de Tulear is a small long-haired dog known for its cheerful and happy-go-lucky personality.

With their soft white bodies and cute face, it’s undoubtful that almost everybody adores them.

They are the official dog of Madagascar and are also known as the Royal Dog of Madagascar.

Why are They Called Coton de Tulear Dogs?

Coton de Tulear’s name came because of their cotton-like coat, which is very evident.

Aside from their physical appearance, their name also came from where they originated, Tulear, now Toliara, in Madagascar, Africa.

Their French name was the one that had been used.

Where Did the Cotons de Tulear Come From?

Coton’s name comes from the French word for cotton and “Tulear”, from the seaport city of Tulear (known today as Toliara), Madagascar, where this breed originated.

They were known to be the companions of tribe nobles in Malagasy and Merina.

When Did the Cotons de Tulear Originate?

A Coton de Tulear lying down on the grass
A Coton de Tulear outdoors

It is undetermined when the Cotons started to exist. What is known in theories is that they were used as lapdogs of the nobles or as ladies’ companions during long sea voyages.

It was only between the 1960s and 1970s when a Frenchman brought Cotons to France, where they were introduced and established as a breed. 

How Many Cotons de Tuléar are There in the World?

Unfortunately, because of the unregistered Cotons, no specific numbers are available to show their population.

However, in their native land, they are known to be rare and in danger of extinction. In the list of popular dogs by AKC in 2021, Coton de Tulear remains in 83rd place. 

What are the Characteristics of Coton de Tuléar Dogs?

A Coton de Tulear walking outdoors
Leo, a Coton de Tulear, goes on a walk – Image source

Coton de Tulear is a very jolly dog. As companion dogs, they try their best to please people by being playful.

To learn more about them, here are some of their distinguishing characteristics:

  • Sociable: Coton de Tulear dogs are very friendly towards people. They are very devoted pets to their owners.
  • Smart: If you want a dog that can easily absorb trick lessons and are very game to show these tricks off to people, Cotons are perfect for you. They are brilliant dogs that are comparatively easy to train.
  • Affectionate: The cute physique of Coton de Tulear comes with their attractive personalities toward their families, too. They like to be the center of attention and gladly accept a kiss or a hug anytime.
  • Clingy: Cotons are very affectionate and dependent on their family members to the point that they become anxious when left alone. These dogs often get sad when they do not see a familiar face.

For more detailed information about the temperament of Coton de Tulear, refer to the table below:

Coton de Tulear Characteristics Rating
Relation with Family 5
Good with Children 5
Friendly with Strangers 5
Friendly with Other Dogs 5
Easy to Train 4
Energy Level 3
Barking Level 2
Mental Stimulation Needs 3

What Does a Coton de Tulear Look Like?

A Coton de Tulear standing outdoors
Meet Romy, a fabulous Coton de Tulear – Image source

Coton de Tulear is a small, white-coated dog. Their heads are tiny and triangular when seen from above.

They have round eyes, which are usually dark-colored, and ears that are floppy may either be coated with white or may also appear with some gray or light tan fur.

Their bodies are long and covered with long hair as well.

How big is the Coton de Tulear?

Coton de Tulear dogs are considered a small breed, and males are slightly bigger and heavier than females.

Male Cotons have a height of around 10 to 11 inches (25.4 to 27.9 cm), while females are about 9 to 10 inches (22.9 to 25.4 cm).

The former weighs approximately 9 to 15 lbs (4.1 to 6.8 kg), while the latter weighs 8 to 13 lbs (3.6 to 5.9 kg).

For a simplified comparison of the physical attributes between male and female Coton de Tulear, take a look at the table below:

Coton de Tulear 
Physical Features
Male Female
Height 10 to 11 inches
(25.4 to 27.9 cm)
9 to 10 inches
(22.9 to 25.4 cm)
Weight 9 to 15 lbs
(4.1 to 6.8 kg)
8 to 13 lbs
(3.6 to 5.9 kg)

How long does a Coton de Tulear dog grow?

There is a little difference in the height of male and female Coton de Tulear. Like other purebred dogs, it is observable that males tend to grow taller than females. 

Males have a size of around 10 to 11 inches (25.4 to 27.9 cm), while females are around 9 to 10 inches (22.9 to 25.4 cm). Any Coton who exceeds or below the standard is disqualified.

They will reach their full adult size once they reach between 10 to 12 months old.

What is the average weight of Coton de Tulear dogs?

Like their height, males also dominate females in the weight category. The former weighs around 9 to 15 lbs (4.1 to 6.8 kg), while the latter weighs 8 to 13 lbs (3.6 to 5.9 kg).

It is crucial to observe their weight as it may affect their overall health.

What is the Average Life Expectancy of Coton de Tuléar?

The Coton de Tulear may be one of the small dogs with the most extended lives. They can live from 14 to 16 years, as long as they are kept healthy. 

They are generally healthy compared to other dogs prone to many diseases.

However, some of their primary health issues include luxating patellas, hip dysplasia, and Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA).

What Coat Type Do Cotons de Tuléar Have?

A Coton de Tulear puppy lying down on the grass
A lovely Coton de Tulear pup – Image source

While some people argue that Cotons only have a single coat, most people consider them double-coated dogs.

While it is said that puppies tend to lose their double coat as they reach adulthood, there is no official information about them. 

What is the Coton de Tulear dog’s coat like?

The coat of Coton de Tulear is a long, white, and cotton-like coat. It is also dense and can be slightly wavy.

As you can tell, they have a very fluffy coat, making them more huggable. 

How long is the Coton de Tulear’s coat?

Coton de Tulear dogs have long coats that can grow up to 4 inches (10 cm) in length upon reaching their adult bodies. 

What’s the coat density of the Cotons de Tulear?

Coton de Tulear’s coat is dense. Because of its density and length, tangling and matting can be common problems. Regularly brushing their hair can prevent this.

Moreover, the density of their hair makes them more susceptible to heat. Hence, it is better to keep them indoors than outdoors.

Do Cotons de Tuléar shed much?

Coton de Tulear dogs do not shed a lot. Despite having dense and long hair, they can be considered not-so-high maintenance.

It is required to brush their coat only 3 to 4 times a week to prevent matting and tangling of their hair. Moreover, some consider them hypoallergenic dogs.

Can Coton de Tuléar Dogs Live in Hot Weather?

A Coton de Tulear puppy sticking its tongue out
A Coton de Tulear pup showing its cutest side – Image source

Cotons don’t do well in hot weather due to their dense coat, which can make them quite heat-sensitive.

For this reason, it’s important to keep Cotons indoors during the summer months or in an environment with a temperature of 55 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit (13 to 18 degrees Celsius).

If you live in a warm climate, having your Coton groomed short for the summer is also a good idea.

Taking these precautions can help ensure that your dog stays cool and comfortable all summer long.

Do Cotons de Tuléar Love Water?

Surprisingly, Coton de Tulear dogs are good swimmers. Probably it is in their nature since they came from an island. Despite their small size, they are very agile and hardy. 

What Colors are Cotons de Tuléar?

A Coton de Tulear on a dog carrier
A well-behaved Coton de Tulear – Image source

Coton de Tulear dogs are mainly white in color. As we can infer from their name, they are white as cotton, and Coton dogs with other base colors than white should be disqualified.

However, some markings are recognized by dog clubs.

What Markings Do Cotons de Tuléar Have?

Gray and yellow colors are AKC’s acceptable markings for Coton de Tulear dogs. Gray markings are often seen on their ears, while the yellow markings are noticeable on their bodies.

Even though these markings are recognized, Coton dogs shouldn’t have such markings.

Are Cotons de Tuléar Good Family Dogs?

Two Coton de Tulear dogs sitting on a chair
Meet Nabi and Bonnie, two adorable Coton de Tulear dogs – Image source

Coton de Tulear dogs are one of the best family dogs. If you are looking for a cute, loyal, and affectionate companion dog, they are the one for you.

They are very intelligent and would gladly perform tricks in front of you. They are very amicable with children too.

They can blend into whatever kind of family you have: be it with children or for single people who just want to have a pet.

They are clingy dogs that would wish to their owner’s attention most of the time. 

For detailed information about Coton de Tulear’s temperament, you might want to check the table below:

Coton de Tulear’s Temperament Rating
Adaptability 4
Friendliness 5
Mouthiness 3
Playfulness 4
Family-Oriented 5
Stranger Tolerance 5

Are Cotons de Tuléar good with other dogs?

Coton de Tulear dogs are companion dogs, so they prefer to be with people. However, they can get along with other dogs, too, especially if such other dogs grew up with them.

These dogs like the company of other pets.

How does a Coton de Tuléar get along with young children?

Cotons will be gentle to little children as long as they know how to play with them. They love it more when playing with older children who are soft.

Since Coton de Tulear are small dogs, they are prone to injuries when handled by clumsy children who might accidentally knock them over. Parental supervision is advised. 

Can Cotons de Tuléar Adapt Easily?

A Coton de Tulear with a moon-shaped pillow
Santiago, a Coton de Tulear, likes his moon-shaped pillow very much – Image source

Coton de Tulear dogs quickly adapt to any type of family. As they are happy-go-lucky, they can be easily pleased with food or toys. Just give them quality playtime, and they will be okay. 

Looking for a suitable environment for Cotons to live in will not be a problem as well because they can fit almost everywhere, from apartments to houses with yards.

If you try to make them feel comfortable, they can adjust briefly.

Are Coton de Tulear Dogs Aggressive?

Generally, a well-trained Coton de Tulear will not get aggressive unless they feel the need to do so. However, there are reports that some of these dogs might get aggressive. 

One reason for it is that they lack proper socialization. Although cute, it is best never to approach a Coton without its owner’s permission.

Are Cotons de Tuléar Dangerous?

With their size, fluffy body, and friendly disposition, we can consider Coton dogs non-dangerous.

While they might get a little aggressive when they feel threatened or scared, they won’t do anything worse than barking.

They do not attack and thus should not be strictly avoided.

Do Coton de Tulear Dogs Bite?

Coton de Tulear dogs are not that mouthy. However, puppies might tend to nip or chew things when their teeth are growing. They also have a relatively weak bite force below 200 PSI.

Are Coton de Tulear Dogs Protective?

A Coton de Tulear sitting with another dog
Meet Charlie, a Coton de Tulear who protects everyone he loves – Image source

It’s known that Coton de Tulear dogs are generally protective of their family. However, they are not the best guard dogs you can use to guard your property or family.

Because of their small stature, they may not be the best for the role.

Are Cotons de Tuléar Affectionate?

If there is one characteristic that Coton de Tulear can be proud of is their affection for their owners. These dogs are indeed one of the sweetest and most caring dogs.

They are compassionate about their person’s needs and can empathize with them. They are the type to give and receive hugs and kisses. 

Are Cotons de Tuléar Loyal?

Cotons are genuinely loyal. From their development to the present, they have been serving as companion dogs to people.

And it can be gleaned from this that it’s in their nature, and it has been nurtured, the loyalty they have for humans. They are a people pleaser, and it shows in their attitude.

Do Cotons de Tuléar Like to Cuddle?

A Coton de Tulear lying down on a couch
A Coton de Tulear who’s always ready for cuddle time – Image source

Coton de Tulear dogs are happy-go-lucky dogs.

So if their owners decide to raincheck their outdoor activity for that day, these dogs would gladly stay inside and just cuddle with their owners.

These dogs are very sweet to their family.

Does the Coton de Tulear Love Freedom?

Coton de Tulear dogs are very clingy and dependent on their owners. They are not the type of dogs who want to do things independently.

Being companion dogs, they would wish to have the constant presence of their owners in whatever they do.

Are Coton de Tulear Dogs Easy to Train?

A Coton de Tulear walking at a park
Lomi, a Coton de Tulear, trains in the afternoon – Image source

Intelligent and eager to please, Cotons de Tulear are easy to train. They do well with training that focuses on positive methods and responds poorly to harsh ones.

Also, when they get bored, they might find it challenging to respond during sessions. Hence, keep your training exciting and positive.

Overall, these dogs need gentle training. Watch this video to learn how you can train them effectively.

How Smart is the Coton de Tulear?

Coton de Tulear are intelligent dogs. Although they are bred specifically as companion and lap dogs, they are very smart and can absorb training well.

In the ranking of the most intelligent dog breeds, Cotons are in 60th place, which is not very bad. 

Can Coton de Tulear dogs be used as working dogs?

Unfortunately, because of their physical stature, Coton de Tulear dogs are not advisable to be used as working dogs.

Unlike other dogs who are fairly bigger than them, they do not have the strength.

On the other hand, while they are bred as companion dogs, they can also make good therapy dogs.

Do Coton de Tulear Dogs Bark a Lot?

Coton de Tulear dogs are not excessive barkers. However, they are very vocal with their family.

They quickly bark when they sense or hear something new or unusual, such as an animal passing by your house. 

How does a Coton de Tulear bark?

As expected from their size, they have high-pitch barks and howls. Sometimes, this type of bark can irritate the ears, especially those that are very sensitive.

Hence, we strongly encourage training them to behave and bark appropriately.

Are Cotons de Tuléar Active?

A smiling Coton de Tulear running outdoors
A joyful Coton de Tulear running

Coton de Tulear dogs are active dogs. They like to spend most of their energy just playing with people.

Because they are people-pleasers, they love to show off their tricks and jump and act like a clown in front of people.

When it comes to exercise, they only need 30 to 40 minutes per day as they are naturally active already.

How Fast Can a Coton de Tulear Run?

Cotons de Tulear are hardy dogs and are relatively sporty as they engage in agility. However, because of their short legs, they cannot run fast or long distances.

The fastest record by AKC for this breed is 22.73 mph (36.6 kph), while the slowest is 9.64 mph (15.5 kph).

Are Cotons de Tuléar Playful?

Coton dogs are playful. Wanting the attention of their owners is a reason for this playfulness, aside, of course, from their friendliness.

Be it a mentally stimulating game or fetching a ball inside the house, these dogs are prepared for it.

Does the Coton de Tulear Drool a Lot?

Coton de Tulear dogs do not drool a lot. Compared to other breeds prone to drooling, these breeds are easier to take care of in that aspect.

But drooling can still be triggered by other factors like excitement or hungriness. If you are conscious of the cleanliness of your house, these dogs might be the right ones for you.

What Does the Family Life of Coton de Tulear Dogs Like?

Two fluffy Coton de Tulear dogs sitting with each other
Two sweet Coton de Tulear dogs – Image source

As stated before, Coton de Tulear dogs develop a close bond with their family to the point that they sometimes become clingy.

They even get separation anxiety when left alone for long periods.

Hence, it is advisable not to leave them alone or get another pet that could be their friend.

These dogs are very devoted to their owners. That is why they try to please their family and comfort them during rough times.

It is definitely worth keeping them because their empathy is super comforting.

What is the Average Cost of a Coton de Tulear Puppy?

Because they are a rare breed, the average cost of a Coton de Tulear puppy might be a bit pricier than other puppies.

They cost around $2,000 to $3,000 depending on their lineage and other factors such as sex and health condition if they have one.

What Kind of Food Should Cotons de Tuléar Eat?

Cotons de Tuléar are relatively small dogs, so their nutritional needs differ from those of larger breeds.

Cotons should generally eat a diet high in protein and moderate in fat. This will help them to maintain a healthy weight and muscle mass. 

Additionally, Cotons de Tuléar need plenty of exercise, so their food should also be high in calories to help them keep up their energy levels. 

What are the Best Dog Foods for Cotons de Tuléar?

A Coton de Tulear with food
Romy, the Coton de Tulear, got some strawberries on his birthday – Image source

Small dogs like Coton de Tulear only need 0.7 to 0.75 cups of high-quality dog food a day, which can be divided into two meals.

Dog food plays an essential role in your dog’s health. It is vital to give them the best, and we can help you with that.

Check out these dog food for your puppy and adult Coton:

For Coton de Tulear Puppy:

For adult Coton de Tulear:

What Other Dog Breeds Look Like the Coton de Tulear?

A smiling Bichon Frise lying down outdoors
A smiley Bichon Frise

Coton de Tulear dogs are often compared to small dogs with white fur. Because they are rare, people find it hard to classify them as Coton de Tulear at first glance.

Take a look at these other breeds which may look like or have some similarities with Cotons:

Charming, Rare, and Happy-Go-Lucky Coton de Tulear, Perfect for Almost Everybody

Coton de Tulear might be considered one of the best lap dogs.

Because of their cute furry faces and happy-go-lucky personality, everybody in the family would surely want to pet this dog.

What makes them more adorable is their people-pleaser attitude.

They are very sociable to humans and kids. They are very considerate when they play or do activities. Moreover, they are also friendly to dogs and other animals.

Since they are smart, you won’t have too much trouble training them, as they learn tricks quickly.

But owning Cotons also has its responsibility as they require a lot of attention. They are friendly and clingy to their people. They develop anxiety when they are left alone. 

They are comparable to babies, with many needs and depend on their parents.

So we better take care of our Cotons and provide them with their needs. Treat them like a real charming baby.

Do you have a Coton de Tulear dog? What do you love most about them? Let us know in the comments!

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