Coton de Tulear: Wikis


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The Coton de Tuléar is a small breed of dog. It is named for the city of Tuléar in Madagascar and its cotton textured coat.

Coton de Tuléar

A happy Coton de Tuléar
Nicknames Coton, "Cotie"
Country of origin Madagascar
Patronage France [1]





Multiple registries with differing standards describe the Coton de Tuléar, but in general, it has very soft hair, comparable to a cotton ball, a prominent black nose, large expressive eyes (usually covered by bangs) and somewhat short puffy legs.

A Coton puppy with short haircut

Coat and color

The Coton de Tuléar has medium-length to long hair (about four to six inches), fluffy, cotton-like coat that is hair rather than fur[citation needed]. Since it is a non-shedding breed with low dander, it is hypoallergenic (like the poodle) and has no "doggie smell". The Coton de Tulear comes in a small variety of colors, white (common), white with light brown spots (uncommon), black and white uncommon), and black (rare).

This breed has little to no shedding [2] (see Moult).

The Fédération Cynologique Internationale standard specifies that the Coton's coat should be white but may also have lemon color on their ears and body, but the coat must be primarily white with no black hair allowed. The US-based Coton de Tulear Club of America allows for three different but equally favorable colorings: white, black-and-white and tri-color which includes "honeybear". White is described as nearly all white, sometimes with champagne coloring on the ears, face or back. Black-and-white is defined as pure white with prominent black patches on the head and body (no ratio of white-to-black is specified or favored). Tri-color is described as mostly white with some brown markings and dustings of black on the body and head. A honey bear tri-color has light brown with black tips which gradually fades to off white or lemon color. The tri-color loses the most color of any of the color varieties usually becoming mostly white with possibly some champagne markings and a dusting of black hairs on the ears and/or body.

The Coton de Tulear has a large dog personality much like the lab.The Coton de Tulear has a medim size bark, though they are very easy to train. They also can be great lap dogs and are the ideal companion,The Coton de Tulear makes a great family pet.


A Tall Coton

The international Fédération Cynologique Internationale standard gives the Coton's weight as from 4 to 6 kg (about 9 to 13 lb) for males and 3.5 to 5 kg (8 to 11 lb) for females. The Coton's height (including tolerance) is from 25 to 30 cm (about 10 to 12 inches) tall for males and from 22 to 27 cm (8½ to 10½ inches) for females. [1]

By contrast, the Coton de Tulear Club of America standard specifies the weight as no more than 18 lb (8 kg) with the average being between 11-15 pounds. The standard height is 9 to 13 inches (33 cm), except for the rare Tall Coton, which is 14 to 16 inches (43 cm) high.[citation needed]

The Tall Coton shows up in all three colors, and can be born to a litter with normal sized parents that carry the appropriate genes. These long-limbed dogs are exceptionally agile and graceful.[citation needed]

Detailed description

The nose is black in colour in the Coton de Tulear Club of America standard. However, the Fédération Cynologique Internationale standard, which does favor a black nose, states that brown is tolerable as well. A pink or partly pink nose is not accepted in either standard. The lips are tight and of the same colour as the nose, specifically black in the Coton de Tulear Club of America standard. The teeth are in a scissor bite or pincer bite. The eyes are round, dark in colour and wide set. The expression should be lively, intelligent, bright, and merry. The ears are triangular and set high. The leather of the ear should be thin. The neck is strong, without a dewlap and slightly arched.

The chest is well developed and reaches below the elbows. The feet are small and arched. The back should be strong and slightly arched. The pads of the feet are usually black. The body is of moderate length and should have a moderate tuck up. The loin is muscular and not too long. The hind legs are strong and straight. The hind feet similar to the front feet. the Dewclaws may be removed. The tail is low set and tapering, carried over the back when in motion or excited, relaxed otherwise.


The Coton is a playful, affectionate, intelligent breed. It becomes attached to people and as a result can have separation anxiety. It is a very vocal breed, grunting and making other noises when having fun. Some Cotons have a habit of jumping up and walking on their hind legs to please people. Some Cotons may exhibit shyness or cautiousness in new situations, especially around strangers, but this can usually be overcome with training. Most Cotons love meeting new people and are very curious in new situations. The dogs are very trainable with praise, instead of punishment. Cotons are great with kids and love to play.


The Coton has a long coat which needs a thorough grooming almost everyday, and a bath about once a month. Cotons, like Poodles, are hypoallergenic; they have hair (a lot like human hair), which makes them very popular and compatible with people who have allergies. Because they have hair rather than a coat of fur, they don't shed. Instead, they lose a small amount of hair. Cotons need a short walk every day for exercise, but will appreciate a play session as often as possible and have the endurance to go on a long hike.


The Coton is in general a healthy breed. However there are some health issues as there are in all breeds. The most serious of these would be heart problems, liver shunts, back (disc) problems or eye problems. Luckily, these are still relatively uncommon in the breed, but are becoming more so as irresponsible breeders in the US and Europe have discovered the breed.

The Coton de Tulear has much less disorders than many other breeds due to little inbreeding, the Coton is a fairly rare breed and was recognized by the AKC in the early 1970s.The fact that they are rarer breeds means the Coton de Tulear has faced very little inbreeding, the source of many canine health disorders.

Average life span 16 to 20 years.


The Coton de Tulear developed on the Island of Madagascar and is still the island's national dog. The Coton's ancestors were brought to Madagascar in the 16th and 17th centuries aboard pirate ships. Madagascar was a haven for pirates, and pirate graveyards can still be seen there. Pirates established the only democratic kingdom for themselves on St. Mary's Island, Madagascar and took Malagasy wives. Whether the dogs were brought along to control rats on the ships, as companions for long voyages, or were confiscated from other ships as booty no one knows. Tulear is a port now also known as Toliara. The Coton is of the Bichon dog type, linked most closely to the now-extinct Bichon Tenerife, and Tenerife Terrier. There have been many stories circulating about the history of the Coton in recent years. Most of them are untrue. The Coton de Tulear was never feral on Madagascar. It did not hunt wild boar or alligators, as its size, strength, and demeanor can disprove easily. It was a companion dog of the Merina (the ruling tribe) in Madagascar. It has very little prey drive, and is not a hunting dog.

The cottony coat may be the result of a single gene mutation. This small, friendly dog caught the fancy of the Malagasy royalty and they were the only people allowed to keep Cotons. When Dr. Robert Jay Russell discovered the breed in Madagascar in 1973 and brought the first ones to America, he coined the phrase the Royal Dog of Madagascar and the name stuck. They were also imported occasionally into France by returning French colonists but weren't officially imported to Europe until the 1970's.

A Coton de Tulear making the famous "French face"

The Coton de Tulear was first formally recognised as a breed by the Societe Centrale Canine (the French national kennel club) in 1970[3], and was accepted by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale, which published the breed standard in 1972.[4] The Coton de Tuléar is recognised internationally through the Fédération Cynologique Internationale, and is also recognised by major kennel clubs; The Kennel Club (UK) in the Toy Group, and the United Kennel Club (US) in the Companion Group, using standards based on the Fédération Cynologique Internationale standard. It is not recognised by the American Kennel Club, the New Zealand Kennel Club, or the Australian Kennel Union. It also may be recognised in the English-speaking world by any of the very large number of minor registries, clubs, and internet based dog registry businesses.

In the United States, another standard for the Coton de Tulear was developed based on the breed in Madagascar in 1974 by a biologist, Dr. Robert Jay Russell, and the Coton de Tulear Club of America was formed in 1976 by the same person. The American Kennel Club has offered Foundation Stock Service (their first step in breed recognition) to the Coton de Tulear since 1996, but the Coton de Tulear Club of America is opposed to American Kennel Club recognition for its breed. As a result many other the Coton de Tulear breed clubs have been formed, accepting one or both of the standards for the breed.[5] which started in 2001.

See also


External links


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