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October 26, 2013

Meet the Breed: The Coton de Tulear

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Overview:

  • Height: 10"- 12”
  • Weight: 12-15 pounds
  • Historical function: Companion
  • Modern function: Companion
  • AKC classification: Non-sporting group

Physical Characteristics:

The Coton de Tulear is most recognized by their very soft hair (as opposed to fur) which is similar to a cotton ball. This is where their name comes from (coton is French for cotton.) The have a prominent black nose, large expressive eyes (often covered by bangs) and somewhat short legs. The Coton's tail curls over its back. Colors come in white, white and black, and tri-colored. White is preferred by show breeders. The may have champagne markings on the ears. 

History of the Breed:

The Coton de Tulear, pronounced "coe-TAWN day TULE-ee-r," is somewhat shrouded as to how they ended up on the island of Madagascar. The Coton de Tulear earned its name from its unique, cotton-like hair, and for a port city in Madagascar, Tulear. The bichon-type dog was probably imported with French soldiers or the administrators and their families that followed. Some have thought they were the result of small dogs that survived a shipwreck off the coast and interbred with local dogs hunting dogs which gave the breed extra health and tenacity. It has also been suggested that they were imported by pirate ships with the dogs either being aboard ships for rodent control or booty. However the little dog became established on the island, it became the royal dog of Madagascar and continues to be the country's official dog.

Temperament:

The Coton de Tulear is known to be very friendly, gentle, affectionate and bright. Cotons are very sociable creatures that get along well with children, other dogs and cats. This is a dog that tries its best to please. The Coton is a good watchdog. They have a tendency to walk on their hind legs. They are clownish, fun and playful. The Coton learns quickly, but can be a little bit stubborn without the proper leadership. They are intelligent and eager to work.

  • Best suited for: Almost any family, including those with allergies. Does well in any climate but is an indoor dog.
  • Preferred living conditions: This dog was bred for companionship, therefore, as long as they are with you, they are happy. 

Care and Health:

  • Grooming requirements: Easier to care for than most long-haired breeds but still needs a daily brush to prevent matting. Bathe twice yearly. 
  • Exercise needs: Daily walk and playtime.
  • Life expectancy: 14-20 years.
  • Health concerns: Generally healthy but hip dysplasia has been seen. 

Breed Club Links: Coton de Tulear Club of America

BaxterBoo.com Perfect Pairings: Millers Forge Vista Shedding Slicker Brushes

Have any stories about a Coton de Tulear? Please share!

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

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