Coton is the French word for Cotton. Like the name suggests the most conspicuous feature of the Coton De Tulear is its coat, which is cottony or fluffy rather than silky. It has a long topcoat. The fluffy hair covers the thin, lightly-muscled forelegs. Colors come in white & black and white and tri-colored. (White is preferred by show breeders.) Some have slightly yellowish markings on the ears.
This is a typical bichon-type dog. Very friendly, gentle, affectionate, and alert. Cotons are very sociable dogs that get along well with children, other dogs and animals. Very attached to its home and master – wanting always to be in their presence and trying its best to please. The Coton makes a great watchdog. Full of tricks and surprises to fulfill his master’s every wish. One of their most endearing traits is a tendency to jump and walk on their hind legs. Their teasing expressions enhance any home willing to spend a few moments a day in the necessary play and grooming routines. The Coton learns quite quickly, but can be a little bit stubborn without the proper leadership. They are intelligent and eager to work. Make sure you are this dog’s firm, confident, consistent pack leader to avoid Small Dog Syndrome, human induced behavior problems. Always remember, dogs are canines, not humans. Be sure to meet their natural instincts as animals.
Height: 10-12 inches (25-30 cm.)
Weight: 12-15 pounds (5.5-7 kg.)
The Coton is good for apartment life. They are fairly active indoors and will do okay without a yard.
Cotons like to swim and play. They enjoy wide open spaces and can follow their masters on horseback for many miles. They do well in various areas of dog sports such as agility skills trials and catch. As active as they are, they will adapt well to the family’s situation, so long as they are taken for a daily walk.
About 14-16 years.
The long, light-textured hair requires daily, careful grooming. The dead hair should be brushed and combed out. Excess hair between the pads of the feet and in the inner ears should be removed. They do not need a bath more than once or twice a year which will be adequate to keep them clean. The coat should not be scissored. Cotons sheds little to no hair. This breed is good for allergy sufferers.
The Coton is a bichon-type related to the French Bichons and the Italian Bolognese. It is even possible in some cases that native dogs of other types were crossbred. It most likely arrived in Madagascar with French troops, or with the administrators who followed. The breed was virtually unknown until it was reintroduced to Europe and America in the last 20 years. For centuries, the Coton was a favored companion of the wealthy residents of Tulear, in southern Madagascar, where it continued to breed to type. A dog with similar origins was popular on the French Island of Reunion, off the east coast of Madagascar, but became extinct. The original bichon-type extended back possibly one thousand years ago or more. Although still rare, it has enjoyed considerable popularity with the Madagascar upper-class for some years and is becoming increasingly popular in the United States. The breed was recognized by the FCI in 1970. The Coton is the “Official Dog of Madagascar,” and a tri-color Coton was honored on a postage stamp in 1974.
Gun Dog, Companion Group
CKC, FCI, NKC, APRI, ACR, DRA