BBS Breed Spotlight: Coton de Tulear

A walking cotton puff, literally. The French word for cotton paired with the town in Madagascar where the dog originates, Tulear, gives you the name of the living cotton puff—the Coton de Tulear. Read more about this adorable little bright and cheery puff on the Breed Spotlight!

History & Background: A native of Madagascar, the Coton de Tulear is thought to the be descendant of the Coton de Reunion. This dog was said to have gotten Madagascar by swimming to shore from a shipwreck. The modern Coton was the offspring of the Coton de Reunion breeding with local terriers on the island. In the 17th century, a tribal monarchy called the Merina, controlled the lives of these dogs because they were seen as so special in the eyes of the island people. Coastal tribesmen and non-noblemen were forbidden to own the Coton and the dog quickly became known as the “Royal Dog of Madagascar.” When the French came to colonize the island, they kept the same elitist rules for the Coton. When hard times came to Madagascar in the 1970s, Dr. Robert Jay Russell, a biologist studying lemurs on the island, sent Cotons back to America. Since, Cotons have been gaining in popularity even though they are still seen as a rare breed. In 1996, the AKC recognized the Coton de Tulear in their Foundation Stock Service breeds.

Height: 10 to 12 inches

Weight: 12 to 15 pounds

Coat: The characteristic that gave the Coton its name is its coat. Soft and supple, this dog’s hair has the feel of cotton. The medium-to-long coat is thick and abundant, and can sometimes have a slight wave. Cotons don’t shed very much and are considered hypoallergenic.

Color: Coton’s are most commonly white, but can also have tan markings or be black and white or tricolor. Colored Coton’s usually keep their entire coloring, but a white and tan Coton’s coat will fade.  This dog has a black nose and dark brown eyes.

Appearance: This small breed dog always has the expression of joviality and intelligence as shown in their small dark eyes. Even though this dog is small, it’s sturdy and far from fragile. The Coton has a triangular head, ears and muzzle. The back is long and straight. When the Coton is alert, the tail is held on top of the back, but when relaxed the tail is held down with the tip pointing up.

Temperament: Cotons don’t know their small dogs. They’ve got quite a large personality. They love to play, are highly affectionate and intelligent. These dogs are eager to please and do very well in training. Cotons like to stand and walk on their back legs to please their masters. Cotons are great in new situations, love meeting new people and interact well with children of all ages. This dog doesn’t bark much unless alarmed or when in play. And they do love to play and swim, even. Daily walks are a great exercise for this dog.

Health & Grooming: This breed can suffer from heart, eye, back and liver problems. Coton’s live from 14 to 20 years.

Grooming a Coton requires daily attention. A quick brushing each day will help in overall grooming. Excess hair in ears and between pads should be removed. This dog shouldn’t need more than one or two baths a year. Because the Coton sheds very little, this breed is suggested for allergy sufferers.

Product Suggestions: The West Paw Jive is the perfect fetch toy for the hard playing Coton de Tulear. This ball is eco-friendly and tough! It bounces and floats, keeping your dog entertained for hours on end.

Beef Liver BonBons are the perfect size for your Coton! This morsel of goodness contains no preservatives, hormones, additives, or artificial flavors and make great training treats!

Do you own or know a Coton de Tulear? Tell us your favorite Coton story in the comments section!


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