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Your Pet, Our Passion.

Coton De Tulear

The Coton De Tulear is an attractive, intelligent little dog with a long white cottony coat. They are slightly longer than they are tall with dark pigmentation, giving them sparkling button nose and eyes and a very appealing expression.

  • Dog suitable for non-experienced owners
  • Basic training required
  • Enjoys gentle walks
  • Enjoys walking half an hour a day
  • Little toy dog
  • Minimum drool
  • Requires grooming daily
  • Hypoallergenic breed
  • Very vocal dog
  • Guard dog. Barks and alerts
  • Great with other pets
  • Great family dog

Key Facts

Lifespan: 14 – 16 years
Weight:  4 – 6kg 
Height:  22 – 30cm 
Colours:  White, shadings of light grey or fawn/apricot may be present on the ears
Size:  Small
UK Kennel Club Groups: Toy


Family-friendly: 5/5
Exercise needs: 3/5
Easy to train: 3/5
Tolerates being alone: 1/5
Likes other pets: 5/5
Energy level: 3/5
Grooming needs: 2/5
Shedding: 1/5
white fluffy dog standing outdoors


While their origins may lie in pest control on board trading ships, the Coton has enjoyed centuries as a companion dog, thriving on human company. They are still a very capable watchdog, joyfully alerting their human family to anything happening around them, and are intelligent and will enjoy fun training as well as snuggling on laps.

white fluffy dog sitting on the grass

History and Origins

Country of Origin: Madagascar

The ancestors of the Coton De Tulear arrived in the port of Tulear in the 17th Century, more than likely as the ship dogs and companions of sailors and traders. Though there are some romantic and almost certainly fictional tales involving pirates and shipwrecks, these little dogs were mixed with the local dogs, and the most attractive of them prized by nobility.

Rediscovered by European travellers in the middle of the 20th Century, the Coton eventually made their way to the US and the UK, gaining full recognition with the UK Kennel Club in 2004.

Health and Common Issues

The Coton De Tulear generally seems to be a healthy breed with few widely recognised breed specific health problems. Check with the breed club and the Kennel Club for up to date health information

Exercise Needs

Half an hour to an hour’s exercise will keep a Coton happy, ensuring that there are some games and training to exercise the brain as well as walks and running. As this is a long coated breed, time also needs to be dedicated to bathing, brushing and drying, particularly after muddy or wet walks.

Space Requirements

The Coton De Tulear is a small dog and does not require lavish housing. A secure garden, access to a variety of interesting walks and the space to bath and groom are necessary. This is a very adaptable little dog and as long as their exercise and training needs are met, can live happily in country, town or city.

Nutrition and Feeding

Toy dogs have a fast metabolism, meaning they burn energy at a high rate, although their small stomachs mean that they must eat little and often. Small-breed foods are specifically designed with appropriate levels of key nutrients and smaller kibble sizes to suit smaller mouths. This also encourages chewing and improves digestion.

Grooming Coton De Tulear

The Coton De Tulear are so called because of their single, cotton-like coat, which is about 8-9cm long. A daily brush through will keep it tangle-free. Pets are often trimmed, to make the coat less high-maintenance, but show dogs are kept in full-coat. Bathing may be required regularly, which can be done at home or via the services of a professional groomer. Check between paw pads and inside ears daily for grass seeds or other foreign bodies.

Training Coton De Tulear

This is a bright clever little dog who will enjoy training and should be well socialised and habituated to normal neighbourhood sights and sounds, or they are inclined to be noisy. While ideal as a companion, for the owner who wanted to do more, the Coton is more than capable of taking part in mini agility, heelwork to music or trick training competitions.

Best Family Dog Breeds

The Coton is a friendly, appealing little dog, and can make an excellent family dog with children old enough to understand that they are not a toy or plaything. Their care and exercise requirements are not time consuming to meet and they should fit well into most homes, though very busy, chaotic homes may find this feeds the Coton’s alert, vocal nature a little too much. 

While many dogs are traditionally thought of as being good with children, all dogs and children need to be taught to get on with and respect each other, and be safe together. Even so, dogs and young children should never be left alone together and adults should supervise all interactions between them.

did you know?

Did You Know?

  • The Coton was so popular and prized by the noble families of Tulear that they passed a law prohibiting the common people from owning them!
  • A popular celebrity dog for some time, Coton De Tulear’s have been owned by the likes of Catherine Zeta-Jones, Debra Messing, Barbara Streisand and Jane Fonda. 
  • They are quite a rare breed and have nearly become extinct at several points in history. 
  • Coton De Tulear’s are known as the Royal Dog of Madagascar. 
  • They’re thought to be ancestors of the Bichon Tenerife dog and are considered to be a Bichon type. 

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