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Coton de Tulear

Coton de Tulear

The Coton de Tulear is a smaller breed with a cotton-like coat and lovable personality. They come from Madagascar, where they have been everything from pets of the royal family to free-ranging street dogs. They’re known as the “Royal Dog of Madagascar” and have been honored as such on a postage stamp.

About this Breed

The Coton de Tulear is a small breed with a big history. These charming companion dogs originated in Madagascar, where they’re often found today both as loving pets and as free-ranging street or village dogs. The Coton belongs to the Bichon family (along with breeds like the Bichon Frise and Maltese), descended from a breed called the Bichon Tenerife. The Tenerife likely interbred with a type of Malagasy dog known as the Coton de Reunion, which is now extinct, as well as the Morondava Hunting Dog and various terriers.

Historically, the Coton de Tulear was owned exclusively by the ruling tribal monarchy—the Merina. It was lemur biologist Dr. Robert Jay Russell who brought the first Cotons to America in 1974. Their descendants quickly captured the hearts of everyone they met.

This breed earned its name from its cotton-like coat, which comes in many colors—the most common being white and piebald (black and white markings) . Cotons tend to fade in color as they grow, so even a Coton with black markings could end up white or grey as an adult. Some kennel clubs only allow Cotons with no colored spots or minimal markings. Because some show lines are being selected for white coloring, it’s more common to see piebald in Malagasy Coton lines. Size can also vary by population and line, though Cotons should be on the smaller side. Occasionally, a “tall Coton” is produced—these are purebred Cotons who didn’t inherit the genetic variant for short legs.

Because the Coton was bred for companionship for many years, they want to spend as much time with their humans as possible. These are wonderful, loving family dogs who will amuse everyone with their clownish antics. Cotons especially like sitting on the edge of a couch to look out the window and announce visitors. Like many companion breeds, they can be prone to separation anxiety. Some Cotons may be very vocal, so training is important to curb that behavior early if it’s undesirable. Cotons are generally good with children and other dogs. It’s common for owners to have multiple Cotons as companions for each other.

Height

Male: 10-12.5in

Female: 8.5-11in

Weight

Male: 9-13lb

Female: 8-11lb

Fun Fact

Some versions of this breed’s history allude to a shipwreck off the port city of Tulear (now Toliara). While the sailors perished, their little white dogs were able to swim to shore. According to the story, these dogs bred with native Malagasy dogs to give rise to the Coton de Tulear we know today. While no one knows if this story is accurate, it is true that merchants transported small companion dogs like the Coton.

Most Closely Related Breeds

Favorite Names

For Males

  1. Charlie
  2. Max
  3. Bandit
  4. George
  5. Jasper
  6. Louie
  7. Buddy
  8. Albert
  9. Jack
  10. Nico

For Females

  1. Lucy
  2. Pink Girl
  3. Daisy
  4. Winnie
  5. Molly
  6. Lily
  7. Bella
  8. Ally
  9. Gracie
  10. Alika Tia Danza Tango

Common Locations

  1. California, United States
  2. Arizona, United States
  3. Florida, United States
  4. New Jersey, United States
  5. Illinois, United States
  6. Georgia, United States
  7. Texas, United States
  8. New York, United States
  9. Indiana, United States
  10. Antananarivo Province, Madagascar

Coton de Tulears on Embark

Explore some Embark dogs that share Coton de Tulear ancestry.

  • Winham’s Cowboy Cody of Cowgirl Cotons

    Winham’s Cowboy Cody of Cowgirl Cotons

    Purebred

    Georgie Michael

    Georgie Michael

    Purebred

    Winham’s “DollyBelle” of Rocky Mountain Cotons

    Winham’s “DollyBelle” of Rocky Mountain Cotons

    Purebred

    Bernie

    Bernie

    Purebred

  • Button

    Button

    Purebred

    Riding a Sweet Wind of Columbia Gorge Cotons

    Riding a Sweet Wind of Columbia Gorge Cotons

    Purebred

    Gorge

    Gorge's Handsome Diesel of Coco Cotons

    Purebred

    Cloe

    Cloe

    Purebred

  • Burberry

    Burberry

    Purebred

    Bandit

    Bandit

    Purebred

    Christofland

    Christofland's Airforce One

    Purebred

    Kit

    Kit

    Purebred

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