Also Known as:
Coton, Cotie

Origin: Madagascar

Type: Pure Breed

Height: 10 to 12 inches

Weight: 12 to 15 pounds

Life Expectancy: 14 to 16 years


The Coton de Tulear is generally a happy dog, extremely sturdy and versatile, you will see them excel in any activity you engage them with whether it be mental or physical. On the flip side, they are heavily dependent on human companionship. It is also important to engage them early in Puppy kindergarten and obedience training.

On a good day, they can get along well with cats, dogs, and even children especially when they have been well socialized.


The name “Coton” is the French word for cotton. This word basically describes the main physical attribute of the dog breed. This being it coat which has a very cotton-like look and feel, the coat is more fluffy than silky in nature with a long topcoat.

A small dog by nature, this fluffy cotton-like hair covers their entire body, including their thin, lightly-muscled forelegs. They come in black or white colors and sometimes white with tri-colors. The white color seems to be the preferred choice by most people and breeders.




Because of their smallish nature, the average Coton de Tulear doesn't need a big amount of food to be satisfied. 3/4 of a cup of high-quality dog food per day is more than enough to keep them going. You decide the number of times to feed them daily, but twice a day is usually a good norm to follow, just make sure the food contains high-quality protein. Also be watchful, keeping in mind their dog's age, activity levels, and sex. Liaise with your vet doctor if you are not sure of how to approach the feeding.
Funny enough, with all the cotton-like fluffy coating that the Cotton de Tulear has, they are not known to shed their hair all over their immediate environment, what happens to them is that even though they shed hair, it is trapped in their fluffy coating. Leaving this situation like this would lead to their hair matting which is definitely not what you want. Brushing their hair daily is a grooming requirement. It is also expected that the Coton de Tulear receives a bath multiple times in a year (e.g twice a month or more). There is also the need to maintain healthy dental hygiene and proper grooming of their ears and nails. Last note, clipping their hair is not advisable as the hair provides some protections naturally which when lost opens them up to health issues.
A very intelligent dog by nature, the Coton de Tulear is very easy to train especially if they understand that doing whatever is requested would result in their owner's approval of them. This is where their characteristic of depending on human companionship comes into play. If they believe they are part of your pack, they would go the extra length to follow whatever training is given, if not, then they would appear stubborn in training. With the Coton de Tulear, a praise-based approach has been known to be effective than any other method applied. Again this goes back to their dependency on human companionship.
These dogs are very adaptable to the situation they find themselves and so if you are the type that can muster up time for just daily walks, your Cotton de Tulear will probably adapt to it. Bearing this in mind, the Coton de Tulear naturally loves to play and is not water-shy. They can keep a good pace with their masters on horsebacks going for a few miles and are very good at dog sports like agility programs and can go on hiking expeditions without tiring. So with these possibilities, the options of what type of exercise to give them are not limited to daily walks.
The Coton de Tulear is a generally healthy dog, but as with all dog breeds, the Coton de Tulear is susceptible to a few health conditions. These health conditions are: Hip dysplasia: generally understood to the layman as weakness in the dog's hip joint. This condition is usually hereditary. Knowing this, responsible dog breeders would not breed such a dog. The good news as at modern times is that this condition can be managed properly especially when detected early. Be on the lookout for signs like weakness, discomfort, or lameness, and contact your vet doctor for proper treatment and management. Luxating patellas: This condition is common in small breeds. What happens here is that the knee slips out of place especially when they are still young. The best way to manage this is to make sure your dog doesn't over-stress itself when exercising or training.


The name Coton de Tulear was gotten from the name of a seaport town in Tulear, Madagascar. These dogs were once the preferred dogs and status of nobility in Madagascar. In fact, the elites and aristocrats in that society were so enamored with this dog that they even passed a law that the Coton de Tulear could not be owned by a commoner.

Madagascar as an island is located 250 miles off the southeastern coast of Africa and even though it is regarded as an African nation, its main occupants are people of Indonesian origin.

In the 17th century, the French invaded this tiny island and took over not just most of its workings but adopted their way of being, they too were enamored with this dog and used it as a status symbol. They even went a bit further instigating that the breed could not be exported out of the country.

Be it as it may, there are tales of the breed being smuggled out of the island and one famous story of a ship containing this breed meeting its demise at sea leaving the dogs to swim some distance to the main African coasts from where they started a new life. All this has not been substantiated.

Come the 1900s, Madagascar gains its independence, More freedom of activities tourism, and interaction with other countries increased. With this opening, the free exportation of the Coton de Tulear dog breed began. The export was so good that by 1992, the number of this dog breed was significantly reduced in this island nation.

It wasn’t till the 1960’s that this breed started spreading into Europe and 1974 into America, before then the export had taken strong roots in France. Be it as it may, the Europeans and Americans took a liking to the dog.

The dog was officially accepted into the American Kennel Club in 2014 and has become one of the popular exotic dogs ever since.