May 21, 2019

Breed Profile: Coton de Tulear

With a name like Coton de Tulear you would expect a dog as fancy as their name, and they are! Favored by the royals and wealthy upper-class of Madagascar, Coton de Tulears, or “Cotons”, have been living lives of luxury in France and Madagascar since the 16th century. They are known as the “Royal Dog of Madagascar,” but don’t let their aristocratic roots fool you—Cotons are a happy and playful breed of dog without airs, who love nothing more than spending a fun day with the family (wealthy or not).

Physical Traits

Size & Weight: Cotons typically stand between 10-12 inches tall, making them small dogs. They should weigh between 12-15 pounds. Male Cotons are typically larger than females.

Coat & Color: The Coton’s coat is their most distinctive characteristic, and is where their name derives from. They have medium to long, flowing coats that are actually hair, rather than fur, that is very soft and fluffy, like cotton. Cotons can be white (sometimes with tan markings), white and black, or tricolored.

Life Expectancy: 14-16 years


Cotons are happy dogs that are full of energy, with witty, lighthearted personalities. They are known for their expressive “joie de vivre” faces, which always seem to be smiling. Highly intelligent dogs, they love learning new commands and tricks. Cotons are not always clowns though—they also have a serious side, and possess a striking sensitivity and awareness to those around them, often expressing this with unique vocalizations. They develop strong attachments to their home and family, making them surprisingly great watchdogs. Because they get along with everyone, human or animal, Cotons make great family pets.

Something to Bark About: Cotons are full of tricks and entertaining behaviors—one of their trademark traits is to jump and walk on their hind legs. Perhaps they learned this from the court jesters during their time with the Madagascan royals?


  • Because they have hair instead of fur, Cotons have little to no shedding and are considered hypoallergenic.
  • Cotons do well with apartment living, as they are fairly active indoors.
  • Cotons love people and other animals, and do well when meeting new people.


  • Grooming is a daily task when it comes to Cotons. Their hair mats easily, and needs to be carefully brushed every day.
  • Cotons can be a little stubborn without proper training and leadership.
  • Because Cotons are still a fairly rare breed, it’s unlikely that you will find one through a rescue organization or shelter. Cotons can be expensive when purchased from a breeder, reaching up to $3000 per dog.

Want to welcome a jovial Coton de Tulear into your home? Try finding one at one of your local small dog rescue groups at

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