Coton De Tulear History, Caring, Feeding, Health and Training

Coton De Tulear Dogs Tulears are considered small breed dogs with long hair instead of fur these good-natured dogs are a fabulous breed that is lively, intelligent and easy to train, this is partly because they adore and wish to please their humans. Coton de Tulear personalities will vary, but on average, they tend to be friendly, energetic, loyal, affectionate, good with kids, pets, humans, and are sturdier than you would think by viewing them. Cotons possess good endurance and physical abilities for performing tricks, dog sports or accompany you while jogging.

Besides the daily hair grooming they don’t require a lot of other work. Their personality makes them great therapy dogs and highly adaptable to different living situations. This happy dog is sure to benefit any individual or family and keep you all regularly smiling. The accepted colors are all white, white with some yellow, black and white, and tricolor. As puppies, their hair is darker but as their adult coats grow in most of the yellow and darker hairs will become white or all white depending upon the coat type.

Surprisingly this friendly dog can become a good watchdog and adapts well to their families and living styles making them a great fit for the apartment, farm, or inner city flat dweller.




Coton De Tulear about to Roll Over at

Nobody is certain how this breed arrived in Madagascar, which is touted as the breeds origin and namesake stemming from the Bay of Tulear located in Madagascar. The name Coton de Tulear means “Cotton of Tulear,” named for their fluffy white coat.

They are of the Bichon type that spread around the world as ships explored the world trying to discover and bring home riches to their home countries. Naturally, some of these dogs were left behind or gifted to the locals to improve relations, but it remains a mystery how they became the Royal dog of Madagascar. In Madagascar, they have been traced back in history to an estimated three-hundred years.

The Coton de Tulear was officially recognized by the AKC in 2014, and in 2016 is ranked 88th popular breed in the AKC registry.



Health | Coton De Tulear


Like humans, dogs have the potential to develop ailments and diseases. Many of these ailments and diseases vary in type and prevalence, from breed to breed. Consider this fact when picking out your new puppy, and beware of any breeder that makes a claim that the puppies of their particular breed are “100% healthy.” A reputable and honest breeder should know and share any health related issues that the breed you are purchasing or inquiring about might have, or that could potentially surface.

The possible health issues of the Coton de Tulear include cardiac, patellar luxation, and hip or elbow dysplasia, but in general, they are vigorous and long lived dogs. This is always good news for owners because this keeps veterinary bills to a minimum and allows for less concern.

Prior to acquiring your dog of choice, I recommend reading about canine health related issues and common breed specific ailments. By familiarizing yourself with the signs and symptoms of a potential disease or sickness, you will be empowered to be the first line of defense in support of your dog’s health and wellbeing. By completing routine physical examinations of your dog, frequent fecal inspections, as well as recognizing any gastrointestinal problems, all helps to assure optimal health of your companion. By observing and understanding your dog’s healthy behaviors and regular patterns, you will easily be able to identify when your dog is not feeling well, and to deduce if medical attention is needed.

In your position and role as alpha, you are responsible for providing the best possible care for your dog, assuring his or her wellbeing and comfort. Do not hesitate to consult your veterinarian if you observe your dog displaying peculiar behaviors or showing any signs of discomfort. It is very important to maintain your dog’s scheduled exams, mandatory check up’s and vaccination appointments. Uphold this duty, so that your dog can enjoy the vitality of good health that he or she deserves, and is entitled to.

Long daily walks are recommended for maintaining a healthy dog, regardless of the breed. Walks can be opportunities to practice leash training, socialization, and aid to the over-all mental and physical well being of your dog.

Besides long daily walks, Coton de Tulear’s require minimal amounts of varied types of exercise, whether this is achieved through play, games or sport. Remember that until your puppy is a year old he should not be forced to run long distances or jump from heights. This allows their bones and ligaments to mature and strengthen, and then you can begin to increase their exercise times. You will find that Coton’s often have great endurance.

Remember that loneliness and boredom are enemies of the Coton De Tulear. I advise that you always provide your new puppy with plenty of toys to keep boredom at bay and to reduce the chance of potential destructive negative behaviors from overtaking their naturally sweet disposition.


Feeding | Your Coton de Tulear


Coton De Tulear

Coton De Tulear Running in the Grass

Age, weight, and activity levels are a few of the factors that can change the food requirements of your Coton. Once you have determined the appropriate amount to provide, feed an accurately measured portion, at regular times, to help maintain their optimal weight. If you wish to feed your dog a raw food diet or a mix, please do your research and consult your veterinarian prior to any adjustments to their meals.

Be sure to keep plenty of fresh, clean water available for your dog, and it is considered a good hygienic practice to clean your dog’s bowl after each feeding. Not allowing your dog to become overweight is one of the best ways to fight ill health; too many owners overfeed and under exercise their canine pets.

More in “Nutrition”Dog Nutrition Guide

Proactive Measures for Coton De Tulear Puppy Selection

If you want to buy a Coton de Tulear puppy, be sure to find a reputable Coton de Tulear breeder who will provide proof of health clearances for both of the puppy’s parents. Health clearances are official documents that prove a dog has been tested for, and cleared of any, or all breed specific conditions, however a clearance does not guarantee against acquired diseases or congenital abnormalities. Remember, even under the best breeding practices and proactive care measures, puppies can still develop diseases.

For the Coton de Tulear breed, you should expect to see a health clearance from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) for congenital cardiac exam, patellar luxation, and hip dysplasia as well as a clearance from the Canine Eye Registry Foundation (CERF), certifying that the eyes are healthy. Optional exams are to check the thyroid, von Willebrands’s disease and elbow issues. You can also confirm health clearances by checking the OFA web site. For more information, refer to the club website, breeder, or veterinarian. Consult the CHIC database for other tests and their schedules.

The Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA maintains an open registry with evaluations of hips, elbows, eyes, thyroid, cardio, and additional canine health issues. They also provide clear definitions of the test categories to help you understand the grading system. PennHIP ( is another registry that tests and evaluates dog’s hips.


The American Kennel Club (AKC) conducts large canine research studies on diseases that affect purebred dogs. Their health program is under the direction of the Canine Health Foundation (CHF), and is in partnership with OFA, and additionally does breed testing and provides a centralized canine health database called, the Canine Health Information Center (CHIC).


The results of these tests are maintained in a registry, and dogs that have completed all of the required exams, including testing of the hips, elbows, and eyes, receive a CHIC number. Along with the breed-testing program, there is the CHIC DNA Repository. CHIC is trying to gather and store breed DNA samples for canine disease research. The goal is to facilitate future research aimed at reducing the incidence of inherited diseases in dogs. You can search the database to find out if a specific dog has information listed about it. More information about CHIC is available here:


To be accepted into the CHIC database, breeders must agree to have all test results published. This enables the reader to see both good and bad results of the testing. Obtaining a CHIC number does not imply that the dog received good or passing evaluation scores. The CHIC registration also does not signify as proof of the absence of disease, and all information must be read and evaluated. CHIC allows the information collected to be readily available to anyone with an inquiry.


Care | Coton De Tulear

You are responsible for the welfare of your new puppy or dog. Please treat him or her with respect and love, and this will be reciprocated tenfold. Dogs have been human companions for thousands of years, and they are living beings complete with feelings, emotions and the need for attachment. Before bringing home a new dog or puppy, please determine if you are capable and willing to provide all the needs that your new family member requires.


From the time you bring your pup home, positive training is a great start to introducing your new pack member to your household. You should be aware and sensitive to the fact that dogs have an amazing capacity for memory and recollection of those experiences. With this in mind, please refrain from harsh training tactics that may intimidate your puppy and that potentially can negatively affect personality or demeanor. When you train your new puppy, provide the respect deserved, and utilize all available positive reinforcements. The result of your positive, proactive training methods and behavior modifications will be that your dog’s abilities, traits, and characteristics that are buried within the genetic profile will shine. I am an advocate for beginning with rewards based clicker training, followed by vocal and physical cues for your young dog to learn to become obedient to commands.


Coton De Tulear Training



Knowing what you want to train your Coton to do is as important as training your dog. You can begin training almost immediately, at around six weeks of age. A puppy is a blank slate and does not know any rules, therefore it is a wise idea to make a list and have an understanding of how you would like your puppy to behave.

What are the household rules and proper dog etiquette? As he grows, the same principle applies and you may adjust training from the basics to more specialized behaviors, such as making your dog a good travel, hiking, agility, hunting, or simply a companion dog. Know what conditions and circumstances you plan to expose your dog or puppy to outside of the household and strategize to be prepared for those encounters by slowly introducing your dog to those situations.

You should find your Coton willing to learn and remain focused upon you during training sessions. They have innate drive to please their masters and therefore usually learn and retain commands quickly. Furthermore, they can be trained for agility, therapy dogs and other sports. In most cases, they are considered easy to train and quickly become housetrained.

To begin training, establish your alpha position from the moment you bring your new dog or puppy home. This is done through attention, providing, scheduling, socializing, love, and using the alpha attitude. Leading as the alpha means that you are always consistent, calm, cool, and collected while enforcing rules and making corrections using a firm but fair attitude. The alpha always acts as though he or she knows that they are in charge.

To maintain your place in the family hierarchy, your new little furry friend must know that it is unacceptable to be aggressive towards other humans and animals, thus proper socialization early on will assist in thwarting this type of aggressive behavior. Expose them to your household’s inhabitants, environment, routine, and rules of conduct.

Leading as the alpha assists in the act of working together with your dog towards the goal of understanding the rules of conduct and obedience. Your dog will be at ease when the rules are understood. Training should be an enjoyable bonding time between you and your dog.

The best time to begin training your puppy the basics is at around six weeks to eight weeks of age. Once your puppy realizes that you control schedules, toys, mealtimes and all the things he or she cherishes, he or she will respect you.

A positive step has been made when your puppy begins to follow you around the house. This means that he or she is bonding to you. Remember that all family members are above your dog in ranking, and it should remain that way. Leading as the alpha assists you both in working together towards the goal of understanding the rules of conduct and obedience. Your dog will be at ease when the rules are understood. Implement a schedule for feeding,  elimination, walks and play.

Remain in control of toys and play time so that your Coton understands that you control all good things. This is important, because if your puppy doesn’t have this structure early in life, he or she will grow up thinking that they can do as they wish. No matter how wonderful and easygoing your little Coton seems now, most likely that will change with age.

Gradually begin socializing your puppy from the time you bring him or her home. Proper early socialization that continues throughout your puppy’s lifetime will provide you with a well-adjusted dog that is able to handle almost any situation in a calm manner. Early, thorough, and continual socialization is important for your Coton de Tulear. You do not want your dog being territorial and wary of strangers, so it is important to expose them early to a variety of situations, animals, people, and places.

Socialization benefits you and your dog by providing you both with peace of mind. With good socialization, you can expose your Coton de Tulear to different situations with the assurance that he or she will look to you for guidance in rules of etiquette for the indoor and outdoor world. Socialization is the foundation for all well-adjusted dogs throughout their lifetimes.

Training a dog does not suggest that your dog is supposed to only obey one master, or alpha, they must learn to obey all commands given to them by the entire family and friend circle. In essence, when you are training, and learning to be a trainer, you also need to teach other family members and friends the correct way to issue these commands. This consistency works wonders for increasing the effectiveness of training.

An effective incentive is to make everything you do seem fun. Always refrain from forcing your puppy to do anything they do not want to do. Highly prized treats are usually a great incentive to do something, and you will find that a fun, pleasant, friendly, happy, vocal tone combined with the treats will be ample reward for good behaviors and command compliance. Begin training all new commands indoors. This includes silencing all of your audio-visual devices that act as distractions to dog’s sensitive ears.

Training should always be an enjoyable bonding time between you and your dog. Remember that all dogs are different, and that there is no set time limit for when your dog should learn, understand, and properly obey commands. Always have fun during training, remembering to keep your training sessions short, and stop if either of you are tired or distracted. I always suggest beginning training new tricks or commands in an area of least distraction. I promote starting with rewards based clicker training and ending with vocal and or physical cues for your dog to follow.

If you notice any negative behavioral issues, and are not quite sure if you are offering your dog proper socialization and necessary training, do not hesitate to enter your puppy into a puppy kindergarten class to assist you with training and socialization. Behavioral issues do not have to be present to enroll your dog into a puppy kindergarten; this assistance will benefit the both of you. Properly research the available classes so that their approach matches your own. The time to enroll your puppy is usually around eight to ten weeks of age, and after their first round of shots, although some kindergarten classes will not accept puppies until they are three to four months of age.

Reward good behaviors, but do not reward for being cute, sweet, loveable, or huggable. If you wish to reward your dog, always reward after you issue a command and your dog obeys the command. During your training sessions, be sure to mix it up, add a variety of toys and treats, and do not forget to have fun. Remember to provide them with ample daily exercise to keep them fit, healthy, and to keep behavioral problems away. Provide consistent structure, firm authority, rule enforcement, love and affection, and you will have one heck of a dog for you and your family.

Remember that there is no set time limit defining when your dog should learn, retain, and then obey commands. Use short training sessions and be aware that if either of you are tired, it is recommended that you stop and try again later. If something does not seem quite right with your dog, in any way, have him checked out by a veterinarian.


Crate training has positive benefits, and provides a safe place for your dog to nap, or simply to be alone. In addition, crate training at a young age will help your dog accept confinement if he ever needs to be transported, boarded or hospitalized.


Appropriate, early, and ongoing socialization will help you and your Coton throughout his or her lifetime. Expose your new puppy or dog to a wide variety of situations, people, and other animals. This helps to prevent shyness, aggressiveness, possessiveness, and many other potential behavioral problems, meanwhile supporting the bond between the two of you. Remember never leave young children unsupervised around dogs or puppies. Also, be aware that situations of aggression may happen no matter how loving, gentle, and well trained a dog may be.
A routine care program is essential for any dog, and should always include basic hygienic practices. For the optimal health of your pet, scheduled care should include the care of the coat, nails and teeth. It is important to get instruction from your veterinarian for the proper cleaning method of the outer and inner ear. Brushing your Coton’s coat daily and a bath a few of times per year, is usually plenty to keep their coat in good condition. They shed minimally but frequent brushing benefits the splendor of their coat, controls matting and is an opportunity to practice handling, inspect for ticks, fleas and rashes.


Coton de Tulear Factoids


Country of Origin: Madagascar
Other Names: N/A
Nicknames: Coton
Group: Companion, Non-sporting, Toy
Purpose: Companion

Size: Small
Height: 9 – 11 inches (23 – 28cm)
Weight: 8 – 15 pounds (3.6 – 6.8kg)
Lifespan: 14-16 years
Litter Sizes: 4-6
Colors: White, white and black, and tricolor, but sometimes the white has some yellowing.
Coat: Fluffy long coat that has lightly textured hair that requires daily grooming. They require only the occasional bath a couple of times per year.
Shedding: Light shedders, almost none.
Odor: Little to none.
Apartment: Yes
Temperament: Gentle, loving, loyal, and friendly, making them excellent family pets.
Exercise: Daily long walks plus additional exercise through play or sport.
Training: Easy with the proper dedication and firm but fair rule enforcement, because they are eager to please and learn quickly.


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Coton de Tulear Rescue Services


Coton de Tulear s are often acquired without any clear understanding of what goes into owning one, and these dogs regularly end up in the care of rescue groups, and are badly in need of adoption or fostering.


Before adopting a Coton de Tulear, please be certain that you have the time and means to care for a dog. If you have the facilities and ability, please rescue a dog and enjoy the rewarding experience that it offers both of you.
If you are interested in adopting a Coton, a rescue group is a good place to start. I have listed a few below


Shelters and Rescue in the USA

American Shelters by State
American Coton Club Rescue
Coton Rescue – US


Shelters and Rescue in the UK

United Kingdom Kennel Club – Services and Rescue


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 Coton de Tulear_Tongue out,, By Cvf-ps (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
 Coton de Tulear_long hair walking,, By CamilleVila (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
 Coton de Tulear_down on grass, Wikimedia Commons,, By CamilleVila (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons


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