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Home > Dogs > Dog Breeds > Coton de Tulear Dog Breed Guide: Info, Pictures, Care & More!

Coton de Tulear Dog Breed Guide: Info, Pictures, Care & More!

Coton de Tulear

The Coton de Tulear is a charming small breed with a big personality, but they lack the name recognition to match. Originally bred for and by royalty in Madagascar, Cotons were officially recognized by the American Kennel Club in 2014, which is not that long ago. Once a status symbol for nobility, these fluffy balls of love and enthusiasm are named for their appearance; “coton” is French for cotton, and their coats are undeniably cotton ball!

Height: 9–12 inches
Weight: 7–13 pounds
Lifespan: 14–16 years
Colors: White, back, tricolor, lemon, and white
Suitable for: Apartment living, families of all sizes
Temperament: Vocal, active, loving, happy-go-lucky

These dogs make fabulous companion animals for a variety of lifestyles. But only you can decide if the Coton de Tulear is for you. Let’s get the details on this adorable ball of fluff so you can make the best decision.

Coton de Tulear Characteristics

High-energy dogs will need a lot of mental and physical stimulation to stay happy and healthy, while low-energy dogs require minimal physical activity. It’s important when choosing a dog to make sure their energy levels match your lifestyle or vice versa.
Easy-to-train dogs are more skilled at learning prompts and actions quickly with minimal training. Dogs that are harder to train will require a bit more patience and practice.
Some dog breeds are prone to certain genetic health problems, and some more than others. This doesn’t mean that every dog will have these issues, but they have an increased risk, so it’s important to understand and prepare for any additional needs they may require.
Some breeds, due to their size or their breeds potential genetic health issues, have shorter lifespans than others. Proper exercise, nutrition, and hygiene also play an important role in the lifespan of your pet.
Some dog breeds are more social than others, both towards humans and other dogs. More social dogs have a tendency to run up to strangers for pets and scratches, while less social dogs shy away and are more cautious, even potentially aggressive. No matter the breed, it’s important to socialize your dog and expose them to lots of different situations.


Coton de Tulear Puppies

puppies coton de tulear_JacLou DL_Pixabay
Image Credit: JacLou DL, Pixabay

Given the rarity of this breed, you will most likely buy a Coton de Tulear puppy from a licensed breeder, and you can expect to find high prices. Currently, a Coton de Tulear puppy ranges from $1,500 to $3,500 and more for show dog pedigree.

When visiting the breeding facilities, all puppies should be vibrant and healthy with no genetically disposed health conditions. They should have clean, tidy living spaces with clear eyes and shiny coats. Information should be available for both parents so you can gauge temperament and health. Many breeders will require puppy deposits or contracts. These forms ensure that you are serious about the purchase so you can secure the pup you want. Contracts might require you to return the dog to the breeder if you ever find yourself in need of rehoming.

While Coton de Tulears are relatively uncommon dogs, you might get lucky and find one at a local shelter or breed-specific rescue. These dogs might have health-related issues that require treatment, but all vet care will be completed before you adopt.

Temperament & Intelligence of the Coton de Tulear

Coton De Tulear
Image Credit: Chica de Tulear, Pixabay

You will be smitten with the personality of your Coton de Tulear. Unlike some small dogs, this breed is fun-loving and excitable without any aggression or attitude. They are the life of the party and love to be the center of attention.

Since they are so ready for action, they can sometimes be overwhelming, but they never show any negative traits and respond very well to training. With guidance, they can learn to curb their enthusiasm and channel their activity.

These dogs never meet a stranger. If you are looking for a guard dog, this definitely isn’t the right choice for you. They might warn you of newcomers with their very vocal tendencies, but they will meet the door with tails wagging.

Are These Dogs Good for Families? 👪

The Coton de Tulear is an ideal pick for families of all sizes. They are chipper and excitable, loving to play and romp around. However, they also have their calm moments, making them perfect lounging buddies around the house.

Coton de Tulears are excellent first dogs for small children. This breed has a special affection for kids, being both ready to play and protective of their brothers and sisters. They are among the best small dog breeds you can get when you have or plan to have a growing family.

Since they are so attached to owners, they make fantastic pets for older adults, too. They will happily hang by your side, accompanying you wherever you go. But they are just as content to be at home with you as long as they get a daily walk or have space to run outside to expel energy.

Because of their compact size, they work well in most apartment situations. But because they can be pretty vocal, it might disrupt your neighbors when they get on a roll. Though you can’t break the behavior altogether, with proper training, you can teach them manners.

As with anything, early socialization is vital. Expose your Coton to as many new situations and people as you can for a well-rounded dog.

Does This Breed Get Along with Other Pets?

Coton de Tulears generally do very well with other pets in the home. They acclimate well and aren’t afraid to make new friends. Because of their small size, they will make terrific cuddle buddies for the family cat and a giant breed dog.

Because they are so outgoing, you have to protect them in certain situations. They might not understand if another dog isn’t in the mood to play, which might cause some friction.

With smaller cage pets, it’s best to separate your Coton from them entirely. Even though these dogs don’t have an exceptionally high prey drive, they could get too excited or play too rough with smaller pets.


Things to Know When Owning a Coton de Tulear:

Food & Diet Requirements 🦴

Coton de Tulears can be picky eaters, so you might have to spark their appetite with a little wet food on top of dry kibble. These dogs require high-quality, protein-rich meals to feed their muscles and soften their coat.

Always feed your Coton de Tulear the appropriate quantity depending on their weight and life stage. Your vet can help you determine the right diet, making sure to meet all necessary food profiles.

Cotons might be messy eaters because of their long beards. If you find sloppy messes at every meal, use floor mats and non-slip bowls. Always clean your dog’s beard, making sure it’s free of any food particles or leftovers.

Exercise 🐕

Coton de Tulears are boisterous little dogs who will never turn down a walk. In fact, as soon as you grab the leash, they are jumping with excitement. They love new adventures outdoors, exploring new sights, and sniffing out new smells.

Cotons need at least 30 minutes of exercise per day to stay happy and healthy. You can take them out on the lead, play a long game of fetch, or let them burn off steam in a fenced-in yard.

Since these dogs are small, they can easily squeeze their bodies through small spaces. Make sure any enclosure is escape-proof with all necessary reinforcements.

Training 🎾

Cotons are incredibly responsive to training, ready to please their owners at every turn—your approval matters to them above all else. They are attentive, receptive, and eager to learn new concepts.

Barking is a natural response in some dogs. It is a means of language so they can speak about whatever might be going on around them. Since these dogs have heavy vocal tendencies, you can work to channel the behavior.

However, inhumane tactics, like shock collars or debarking surgery, shouldn’t be an option. These dogs respond well to positive reinforcement, like treat training.

They will have little to no issues learning simple commands, like “sit,” “stay,” and “roll over.” Potty training might be a bit of a challenge initially, and it’s never a good idea to use puppy pads for long. It might encourage your pup to pee in the house and might be hard to stop.

Grooming ✂️

Now for the fun part—as you can see, the Coton de Tulear sports a super fun coat. They have long, puffy locks that are slightly coarse and haywire.

They need frequent grooming at a professional every 4-6 weeks. At home, they require daily brushing to prevent mats and tangles.

Unlike the usual 4-6-week bathing regimen for regular dogs, Cotons need frequent bathing—roughly every 3 weeks.

After baths, you can follow up with routine teeth brushing, nail trimming, and ear cleaning to keep them clean and fresh.

Health and Conditions 🏥

Coton de Tulears are relatively healthy, with only a few health concerns to mention. Regular vet check-ups are crucial, especially in their first year of life. They will need vaccinations and care to keep them healthy and resistant to illness.

Always take your dog for their annual vet visits so you can keep a close eye on developing health issues. Emergencies are always possible, so set aside funds for vet care when it warrants.

Minor Conditions
  • Allergies
  • Skin conditions
Serious Conditions
  • Heart Disease
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Hip Dysplasia

Male vs. Female

Both genders are amazing creatures—and your decision to buy shouldn’t necessarily count on whether they are a boy or girl. However, you might already have a dog that can’t be with one gender or the other. So, is there any real difference between them in terms of action or personality?

Both boys and girls are very amiable and agreeable dogs. However, females are more social with family, and males are more open to strangers. It isn’t that females don’t appreciate the company—they might just take a few more minutes to warm up than their male counterparts.

If your Coton reaches sexual maturity without being neutered, males might exhibit marking behavior. The best thing to curb this behavior is to get them fixed before they reach this stage.

Males might be slower to mature than females, staying in the puppy stage longer than a female.

Though these traits are common between them, it doesn’t mean that it’s a rule. Each Coton de Tulear has its personality that is unique to its spirit.


3 Little-Known Facts About the Coton de Tulear

1. Coton de Tulears are known as the royal dog of Madagascar.

2. Coton de Tulears are excellent swimmers.

3. Coton de Tulears are almost always pure white.

coton de tulear dog sitting outdoor
Image By: Lunja, Shutterstock


Final Thoughts

Coton de Tulears fit into almost any living situation. These dogs are strictly companion animals, though. They were bred for this purpose without any special abilities as far as hunting, tracking, guarding, or working is concerned.

However, if you’re looking for a shadow, you have certainly found the right dog. Make sure to pick a reputable breeder if you plan to buy a puppy, as health should be top-notch. Don’t forget to look at local shelters to see if a Coton de Tulear needs to find a forever home.

See Also:

Featured Image Credit: Pixabay

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