Coton de Tulear

Breed History

Coton de Tulear trainnig

Coton de Tulear is a well-built small lap dog. Brilliant mind and a decent amount of energy makes this dog stand out from many lap dogs. Fluffy and soft coat is known to be a mutation from being on their island for many centuries.

Their name comes from where they come from, the seaport of Tulear. The Coton part of their name is due to their coat being like cotton. Put the two together and that’s how this dog name has come together.

Also known as the Royal Dog of Madagascar from foreigners.  Royalty of the Island Madagascar are the only people known to have this dog. Madagascar is an Island 250 miles east of the African continent.

Laws were passed to prevent anyone from owning them that were the common male or female on the Island. They also couldn’t leave the island for hundreds of years. Complete isolation and they were only breeding with each other on the Island for hundreds of years.

No one knows how these dogs got on the island. Legend has it a ship of imports didn’t make it to shore but the dogs swam from a boat crash, became a pack, and finally made it into royalties’ hands. Let’s just say this is a stretch at best.

First country to find this dog was French visitors who brought the dog back to Europe and spread to other countries soon after. Receiving registration very late are for these reasons.

They remain the countries national dog and has been for decades. Important dog to the country and they still shows impressive recognition after all this time.


In 2014, this was the year that they got registration from the American Kennel Club. Isolation on their homeland made it impossible to register them until the 1970’s and it took a few decades to receive this recognition in America.

Top 80 in popularity you can see that this dog is gaining traction quickly in the United States. Being a recent import, you can tell they may become one of the more popular dogs in the country.

Non-Sporting Group, Toy, or Companion are all the dog groups you will them in around the major kennel clubs. Here are the major Kennel Clubs and their breed standards for this dog.


Male Height: 10-11 inches

Female Height: 9-10 inches

Male Weight: 9-14 pounds

Female Weight: 8-13 pounds

Boys and girls are around the same size and this is normal for almost every small dog breed.

Litter Size

5 puppies are the average litter size for the Coton de Tulear. Breeders should be aware of the and prepare for the number of puppies that will arrive. Mothers don’t have any issue delivering the puppies without medical attention unless it is an emergency.


  • White
  • Black
  • Markings – gray, yellow, tri, white

Although the coat can have light shades of different colors on the coat the dog who’s whitest is the most desirable. Light tan, light brown, chestnut and dark brown are acceptable on the body but black is unacceptable.

Coton de Tulear Price

$2,000-$5,000 is the average price you can expect to pay for the Coton de Tulear. Prices vary depending on a wide range of factors including location, currency exchange, supply, demand, and quality of puppy.

Receiving a puppy from a reputable Kennel Club with both parents having papers will cost more for a few reasons. Authenticity of the dog that came from Madagascar without any cross breeding will increase and the dog’s lineage will be well known.

When you get a dog without papers it is because at some point one of the dogs in the bloodline was unable to receive papers and when both parents can’t get papers it is a sure sign that the quality of puppy will be lower.

Expect to pay a few hundred dollars for a puppy without any papers.


Beginning process of grooming should be an hour of exercise to get the dog to relax and remain calm throughout the grooming process. Helping the professional groomer or yourself tremendously with this small adjustment.

  1. Brushing
  2. Combing
  3. Bathing
  4. Ears
  5. Nails
  6. Professional Help

Brushing this dog needs to happen often and at least once per week. When we buy a brush, we need to get one that can reach the skin so you can give them a full, not partial, brushing.

Combing is an essential part of maintaining the coat. During shedding season this will help you remove excess hair while preventing the coat from getting tangled or matted.

Bathe the dog once a month. Something you should consider is doing this on a schedule because these dogs are inside dogs. There is little chance they will get dirty but still need a month wash.

Ears should be clean once per week. One area that can start to cost money if the dog develops ear infections on a reoccurring basis. Avoidable bill if you take a few seconds and dirt build up in the ears.

Nails should be trimmed in a natural way with exercise. If you don’t exercise your dog, which we don’t recommend, cut them with nail trimmers for dogs.

Professional help is a recommendation with this dog. Failure to keep up with grooming this type of coat can lead to a painful future grooming session.

Life Span

15-20 years is the lifespan of this dog. One of the longest lifespans you will ever see with any dog. Owning one of these dogs from 20 years old to 40 years old is a huge commitment. You should be aware and accept the lifespan of this dog and plan to own them the entire time.

A great candidate for an adoption even at an old age. They live for almost two decades so it is no surprise that you can adopt them at 8 years old and own them for another 8 years.

Health Issues

Eye exam – their kennel club thinks you should have a licensed professional look at your dog’s eyes at the age of 24 months at the latest. Glaucoma, cataracts, cherry eye and other issues all affect this dog at some stage in their life. While some conditions are not serious others can lead to partial or full blindness. Early treatment can help with some of the symptoms but not all of them.

Patellar Luxation – kneecaps are an issue for all toy breeds and this one is no exception. Partial or complete kneecap dislocation can prevent your dog from participation in daily exercise. Any limping or favoring of a leg should result in an immediate vet visit. If there is no discomfort with any leg get an x-ray at some point around 24 months.

Hip Dysplasia – hips are an area that can affect any dog, most notably a bigger breed. Whenever the hips and leg bone aren’t a perfect fit the dog will experience some pain from the bone rubbing up against bone. Dogs will not show enthusiasm when it comes to exercising and will stop in some instances. Taking them to the vet to get an x-ray will determine what condition they have and to what extent.

Breed Group

Coton de Tulear is a proud member of the Non-Sporting Group. Most of the dogs in this group are rare because they didn’t have any jobs. Other breeds work in the capacities of hunting, retrieving, guarding property, rescues and many other jobs.

These dogs don’t really have any jobs in their history. None of them have much in common and are thrown together in this list of miscellaneous dogs.

Here are some of the dogs in this breed group

Exercise Needs

Coton de Tulear needs a lot of exercise just like every dog needs a lot of exercise. If anybody tells you this dog needs little exercise, they don’t know what they’re talking about.

Breeds and dog sizes don’t determine how much exercise they will need. Only the dog can tell you how much exercise they need daily for fulfillment.

The behavior of the dog will tell you faster than anybody giving you a terrible guess about how much they need. When the dog is misbehavior conducting in behavior like excessive barking, digging, biting and nipping it is a clear sign they aren’t getting enough exercise every day.

Once these behaviors start developing you should start exercising the dog if you have not been exercising every day. Problems that persists means you need to add an additional session at nighttime.

What happens over time is that the boredom bad behavior starts to disappear.

Here is a basic guideline for an exercise program

Morning: Hour (run, walk, or treadmill)

Evening: 30 min (run, walk, or treadmill)

Different time periods will show you having to exercise different amounts of time. A younger dog will need to exercise much more and running them can help channel some of their youthful energy.

Adult dogs are not going to need too many runs because their recovery time will take longer, and the runs will be more effective. Balancing runs with walking will start to become a need at this stage.

Although older dogs need less exercise, they still need exercise. Walking them for 30 minutes will be all they need for two days before they some more. Keep the age and recovery ability in mind with exercising the dogs.


  1. Exercise program
  2. Commands
  3. Socialization
  4. Corrections

Every house is built on a solid foundation and no foundation is more solid than a daily exercise program. Having your dog listen to you for two hours per day will work wonders. The entire walk will be done on your pace, on whatever side you choose, and the dog will follow all commands while getting their physical and mental outlet. Starting with this first and putting the program in place from day one will change the dog and their behavior forever. Expect to spend most of your time in this area.

Commands are the most popular because they are easy and doesn’t require much time or effort. As a teenager I was able to teach my dog basic commands without any treats. Repetition will create the environment they need to not only learn but master the commands. You don’t need treats or toys, but you can use them if you want. Remember, these commands don’t change behavior and does nothing with a dog that is suffering from no exercise and over excitement.

Socializing can be done with friends and family. Tire the dog out before company comes over and before any other socializing for better results. For example, before you go to the dog park exercise the dog for a 45-minute run and 30 minutes on the treadmill and then take them to the park after exhausting them.

Corrections are a normal part of the dogs training program to teach them the rules. Verbal, on-leash, and by hand off leash are all ways to effectively teach the dog what not to do. Make sure the dog sits or lays after every correction.

Are Coton de Tulear Good Family Dogs?

Coton de Tulear are great family dogs getting along with the kids and other dogs. High intelligence makes them a highly trainable dog that is willing to listen to their owner.

They need an owner that is willing to exercise them every single day and enforce the rules consistently. Combine that with the dogs natural ability to learn quickly you will soon have a dog that will be on autopilot after enough effort is given to establish these training requirements.

Additional Resources