Dog Breed

Coton de Tulear

Fits in your backpackLong-livedMischievous
Primary image of Coton de Tulear dog breed
Full Name
Coton de Tulear
Alternate Names
Coton, Cotton dog, Royal Dog of Madagascar
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Life Span
13 - 16 years
9 - 15 pounds

This small ball of fur, or should we say it more precisely - "cotton" from what they got their name, will bring life, joy, and happiness to any home. They are here to clown around and make you laugh while keeping you safe. They may not be the most adequate guard dogs due to their size, but they are loyal and will always be by your side.

Interestingly enough, the Coton de Tulear did not originate from France as many imagine because of its name, but from Madagascar. There are some indications that they may have been used as ratting dogs, to keep away rats and other rodents on long sea voyages, but they were also used for simple companionship. They were a common dog companion to royalty, and it is easy to see why- they are proud, like to cuddle, and almost have a human nature to them.

Bred For
Accompanying ladies on long sea voyages, ratters onboard ship.
Family Considerations
Child Friendly

Is the Coton de Tulear good with children? Nearly all dogs enjoy playing with small children, but some can play too rough, or be a bit careless. In some cases dogs can get jealous of small children, or try and "herd" them due to their natural instincts.

Stranger Friendly

Is the Coton de Tulear friendly with strangers? Getting a dog that is friendly with people really depends on what your lifestyle is. Dogs who are more cautious with strangers oftentimes make good guard dogs, which can be a great fit for some owners. If you are social, live in the city, or frequently have guests over, you may want to consider getting a stranger friendly dog.

Dog Friendly

Is the Coton de Tulear friendly with other dogs? Of course this is particularly important if you already have another dog at home. However, it's an important factor to consider as well if you plan on frequently going to the dog park. Otherwise, even a dog who is not automatically friendly with other dogs can be an excellent fit, as they can still be affectionate with their human family.

Likes to Cuddle

Does the Coton de Tulear like to cuddle? All dogs want love, but they have different boundaries when it comes to physical affection. If you plan on frequently having a dog on your lap or pushed up against you, then you should consider whether this breed enjoys that.


Does the Coton de Tulear like to play? All puppies are playful, but as adults certain dogs are more playful. If you have children, or otherwise want to keep your dog active with plenty of play, there are plenty of options of breeds who will be happy to play all day.

Service Dog Ability

Does the Coton de Tulear make a good service dog? When looking to train a service dog it's important to consider how they were historically bred, and if their personality makes a good fit. A service dog must be smart, patient, and obsessed with pleasing their owner. Working dogs are a good fits since service dog 'work' gives them a feeling of accomplishment from doing a job.

Overall Ease of Breed
Ease for Novice

Is the Coton de Tulear good for first time owners? Dogs that are good for first time owners are ones who are easy to train, and are eager to please their owner. Very large dogs, or dogs with very high energy may also not be the best for first time owners since it adds a layer of complexity.

Training Potential

How well can the Coton de Tulear be trained? This rating is about the training potential of the Coton de Tulear. Dogs with high training potential oftentimes are good service dogs, police dogs, and dog show competition dogs. This does not necessarily mean they are the easiest to train, since many will be very intelligent and demanding.

Amount of Shedding

Does the Coton de Tulear shed a lot?

Ease of Grooming

Is the Coton de Tulear easy to groom?

Exercise Need

Does the Coton de Tulear need a lot of exercise?


How smart is the Coton de Tulear?

Amount of Barking

How much does the Coton de Tulear bark? Does the Coton de Tulear bark too much? It depends on your lifestyle, and where you live. Dogs use barking to communicate, keep guard, and alert. A strong bark can be a good characteristic for guard dogs, or flock guardian dogs who need to be vocal.In apartment living you should consider getting a dog who is less vocal.

Guard Dog Ability

Is the Coton de Tulear a good guard dog?

Tolerates Being Alone

Is the Coton de Tulear good at staying alone? Is the Coton de Tulear independent?

Home and Environment Considerations
Good for Apartment Living

Is the Coton de Tulear a good apartment dog? Can the Coton de Tulear live in an apartment without becoming frustrated or destructive? Typically people immediately consider the size of the dog, but energy level and historical habitat are also factors.


How big is the Coton de Tulear?

Tolerates Heat

How much does the Coton de Tulear tolerate hot weather? When is it too hot for a Coton de Tulear?

Tolerates Cold

How much does the Coton de Tulear tolerate cold weather? When is it too cold for a Coton de Tulear?

Potential to Run Away

Does the Coton de Tulear try to run away? Some dogs have natural wanderlust and are escape artists... they will do everything to get out and explore.

Physical Characteristics
General Health

Is the Coton de Tulear a healthy dog? The general health of a Coton de Tulear should be measured not just by how many years they live, but how often they have health issues during their lives. It is important to know which health conditions your breed is prone to- hip problems, eye problems, bloating, and arthritis are all common dog health problems.

Energy Level

How energetic is the Coton de Tulear? Is the Coton de Tulear too energetic for your lifestyle?

Amount of Drooling

How much does the Coton de Tulear drool?

Prey Drive

Does the Coton de Tulear have a large prey drive? Does the Coton de Tulear like to chase birds, cats, and other small animals? Prey drive can be bothersome at the park, but really an issue at home if you have small animals, since this comes as a natural instinct for dogs with high prey drive, to chase cats, birds, etc.


Is the Coton de Tulear atheltic? Is the Coton de Tulear fast and strong?

Breed Variations

  • Image for the White variation for dog breed


  • Image for the Tricolor variation for dog breed


  • Image for the Black and White variation for dog breed

    Black and White

The Coton de Tulear is a purebred dog that belongs to the Bichon sub group, which falls under the larger Non-Sporting dog breed group.
Non-Sporting group: The Non-Sporting group of dogs is probably the most diverse in the sense that it has a variety of dogs, and they were not all bred for one specific purpose. Each breed in the non-sporting group is unique! They have been primarily bred as house pets, and because of that make excellent additions to the family. Exercise is still important for them, but the typical non-sporting dog does not have the energy of of a sporting or working group dog.
Bichon sub-group: Bichons are typically small white dogs that were previously known as Barbichon dogs. Bichon's are a very ancient dog breed, and originate from Spain, presumably from the Canary Islands. It wasn't until the 13th century that they started being associated with royalty... a reputation that still holds today! Bichons need to be frequently groomed, but the result will be an absolutely royal looking dog. Bichons have a hypoallergenic coat, which is smooth to the touch, making them even more of a perfect lap dog. Bichons are adaptable and friendly with children and dogs. They are focused and proud, so can make decent guard dogs. They are the ideal city dogs because of their size, confidence, and swag. On top of all of this, the Bichon can be trained fairly easily, making them an excellent option for first time dog owners.

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