Legends abound of the little dogs that survived shipwrecks and swam ashore the island of Madagascar. Although the stories paint a fun picture of this devoted breed, odds are more likely the ancestors of the Coton de Tulear were carried ashore by seamen (and maybe a pirate or two). Named after the island’s port city of Tulear and its cotton-like hair, the Coton breed was indeed established on the island many centuries ago. Originally restricted to ownership by royalty, the breed became known as the Royal Dog of Madagascar, and today remains Madagascar’s national dog.
Bred as a companion, the Coton de Tulear takes his job seriously. He adores his family and prefers spending every waking -- as well as sleeping -- moment with them. At home, a Coton might bark to tell you a new person is arriving, but that’s probably the extent of his guard dog persona. Sweet and playful, the Coton loves his family – and most of the neighbors, too.
Lively and energetic as well as affectionate, the Coton will romp and cuddle. The breed is typically good with other animals (socialization is always recommended) and usually patient with well-manned children. The Coton is also relatively easy to train, if he isn’t too busy making friends at puppy school.
The Coton de Tulear
Should I get a Coton de Tulear?
Terrific for a person who:
Needs to tire a dog out with exercise in a small space.
Enjoys a dog who can creatively chat, howl, bark, or sing.
Wants a sturdy dog who’s small enough to carry.
Think twice if you’re a person who:
Knows the dog will have to tolerate hours of separation.
Will gasp if your dog kisses newcomers on first meeting.
Expects a guard dog nature in a pint-sized package.
Coton de Tulear Grooming
The Coton de Tulear is a minimal shedder. Regular brushing is beneficial to avoid tangles and mats in his cottony coat. The coat is long, dry, oil- and dander-free, and has no doggie odor, so it is a good choice for allergy sufferers. If you have allergies, spend time with adult Cotons before getting a puppy to assess how you react to them.
The Coton de Tulear Standard Look
A small dog with dark eyes, long lashes, and lots of charm, the Coton de Tulear has a winning smile. The ideal Coton stands 9 to 11 inches tall at the shoulder and weighs 8 to 15 pounds (males are slightly larger than females). The Coton should be pure white, although minimal shading of light gray or tan is sometime seen.
Possible Coton de Tulear Health Concerns
No known concerns specific to the breed..