Coton de Tulear: Dog Breed Profile

Country of origin: Madagascar
Shoulder height: 23 – 28 cm
Weight: 3.5 – 6 kg
Age: 14 – 16 years
Colour: white with gray or fawn
Use: companion dog, companion dog

The Coton de Tulear is a small white dog with a thick, cotton-like coat. His attitude is – apart from grooming – uncomplicated: he learns quickly, is socially acceptable, and adapts easily to every situation in life.

Origin and history

The Coton de Tulear is a small dog thought to be descended from bichons that came to Madagascar with sailors. As early as the 17th century, he was a popular companion and lap dog for the nobility of Tuléar, a port city in southwest Madagascar. After the end of the colonial period, the French brought it back to France and continued to breed it there. International recognition as a separate breed did not come until 1970. Until recently, this dog breed was virtually unknown in Europe and the USA. Today the Coton de Tulear is a very popular and common companion dog.


The Coton de Tulear is a small dog with long, white, cotton-like textured hair ( Coton = French for cotton) and dark, round eyes with a lively expression. It has a high set, triangular lop ears that are barely visible in the fluffy coat, and a low set hanging tail.

The most important breed characteristic of the Coton de Tulear is – as the name suggests – the soft, very supple, cotton-like coat. It is very dense, smooth to slightly wavy, and has no undercoat. The basic color of the fur is white – gray or fawn-colored markings – mainly on the ears – can occur.


The Coton de Tulear is a very happy, even-tempered little fellow. It is sociable with other dogs and all people, always happy and active, and neither nervous nor hectic. However, he is alert and also likes to bark.

The little Coton de Tulear is very personable. It likes to learn and learns quickly, rarely goes off on its own, gets along well with other dogs, and is therefore a fairly uncomplicated companion who is also a pleasure for a beginner. In addition, it is very adaptable. It feels just as comfortable in a lively family in the country as in a one-person household in the city. The Coton de Tulear’s coat does not shed but requires a lot of maintenance because the characteristic cotton-like coat becomes matted easily. It needs to be brushed carefully every day.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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