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Coton de Tuléar

Quick facts

Coton de Tulear AKC Group: Non-Sporting
Height: Male: 10 - 12 inches, Female: 9 - 11 inches
Weight: Male: 9 - 13 pounds, Female: 8 - 11 pounds
Colors: White, black and white, or tri-color
AKC recognized in: 2014

The Coton de Tuléar has been a fixture in the island nation of Madagascar since the 15th century. Noone knows where they came from before that, though. Some popular beliefs have them coming aboard ships where they were used as ratters. Indeed, there are some that believe they were the sole survivors of a shipwreck.

Regardless of how they arrived in Madagascar, they quickly established themselves, becoming favorite pets of the royals and the wealthy households. This small, long haired dog has always been a companion dog, who not only listens intently when you talk to him, but will also try to answer you back with its unique grunts and growls.

The Coton stayed almost entirely on its island home until the early 1970s, when Dr. Robert Jay Russell found them and brought them to the United States. In fact, Dr. Robert Jay Russell coined the phrase "Royal Dog of Madagascar" then, a nickname that seems to have stuck. The French also got into the action in the '70s, officially importing them into Europe.


Coton de Tulear Summary
Affection five paws
Cold Tolerance three paws
Ease of Training four paws
Energy level three paws
Exercise Requirements two paws
Friendliness : Children four paws
Friendliness: Other Animals three paws
Friendliness: Other Pets four paws
Grooming Requirements three paws
Heat Tolerance three paws
Playfulness five paws
Protection Ability one paw
Watchdog Ability three paws

The Coton de Tulear forms a strong bond with her entire family. The worst thing in her world is to be alone, separated from her family. She is eager to please, making her easy to train, and responds well to praise and treats as a reward.

The female Coton is typically more independent than the male, and as such will typically rule over them. However, this pecking order search will typically stop there, and she will not challenge you as the leader of the pack.

The Coton loves to play. She seldom tires and clowns around and jumps to get your attention. They even spend a lot of time jumping around on their hind feet, again to get your attention. When they vocalize, it does not sound much like barking, but more like grunting or growling. Respond to her in kind, and she will love you talking back to her!

While the Coton makes a pretty good watch dog, alerting you to any strange noises, he does not offer much in the way of protection. In fact, the greatest risk to an intruder is that she licks him to death.


The average lifespan of the Coton de Tulear is 14 to 19 years.

While the Coton de Tulear is generally a healthy dog, it is susceptable to certain health problems. These problems include:

  • Hip Dysplasia - Where the thigh bone does not fit snugly into the hip joint. This can lead to severe lameness or arthritis. A dog diagnosed with hip dysplasia should never be bred, as this is an inherited condition.
  • Patellar Luxation - Sometimes called a trick knee, this condition causes the kneecap to pop out of place. This can be caused by obesity, but is typically a congenital defect that can be inherited.
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) - A group of diseases that progress over time and eventually cause blindness in your dog. The retina either stops developing early or the receptors start degenerating early in life. This is an inherited disorder.


The Coton de Tulear requires almost a daily brushing toremove dead hair and prevent tangling. However, this brushing is not hard to do and can easily be accomplished each evening while bonding with the Coton. Like the Poodle, they do not shed all over the place, since all the dead hair is caught up in their coat.

Cotons love to swim and play, which can give them most of their exercise needs. As active as they can be, they can still adapt to any situation, as long as they get their daily walk of at least a half hour.

Visitor Comments

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