Coton de Tulear


Cotons de Tulear are charming lapdogs and little comedians who will bring loads of love and laughter into your life.

Breed Snapshot

Life Expectancy:
15 to 19 years


Maintenance Level:


Shed Level:


IntelligentEager To PleaseCharming
Coat Color:

Best For

Coton de Tulear dogs are best for stay-at-home and less active parents who can spend ample time with their pups as well as families with children and other pets. Homes with a fenced yard are a plus. First-time pet parents will do well with Coties, too.

Coton de Tulear Traits

What makes the Coton de Tulear a Coton de Tulear? Let's find out how they stack up.

Coton de Tulear Temperament

Cotons du Tulear are happy, easy-going and lovable, with a talent for charming the pants off people. They were bred to be your canine BFFs, and they take that job seriously—it may, in fact, be the only thing they do take seriously. With their comedic sense of timing, good humor and the way they try to “talk” to you with their human-like vocalizations, Coties will keep your loneliness at bay and bring sunshine to even your gloomiest days.

Although they’re not yappy like some small dogs, Coties will bark to let you know someone’s at the door or in the yard. But don’t expect them to make good watchdogs unless you prefer your burglars to be greeted with kisses. Cotons are way more bark than bite, and once they’ve told you company’s arrived, they’ll rush to be the first to welcome the newcomers with sweet, slobbery greetings.

These bubbly extroverts love meeting new people and also get along well with other dogs and cats. If you can’t be home most of the day or take your Cotie with you when you leave, a pet sibling will soothe their loneliness and help prevent separation anxiety. Cotons de Tulear get along great with kids of all ages, which make them terrific family dogs.

Cotons’ eagerness to please makes them obedient and easy to train. They also do well in agility and conformation (dog show) sports. But while they have a lot of energy to burn, they’re not hyper, and it doesn’t take much to tire them out. They’re really happiest just keeping you company and following you around all day. Sure, your therapist might accuse them of being co-dependent, but you’ll be too charmed to care.

How to Care for a Coton de Tulear

Cotons de Tulear require moderate care in terms of their exercise needs and are generally easy to train, yet they are pretty high maintenance when it comes to grooming. But all the time you’ll spend brushing your Cotie will strengthen your bond with them, and their positive attitudes will make it a joyful experience for you both. Besides, it’s not just that they’re good sports about grooming; they’re also a breeze to care for in every other way.

Coton de Tulear Health

Cotons de Tulear have a life expectancy of 15 to 19 years. They’re not known to have any genetic health predispositions, but they may be susceptible to some conditions common to small breeds. It’s good to know what those potential health issues are in advance, so you can keep your pup healthy for longer.

  • Patellar Luxation: This condition causes the kneecap to move out of place. Mild cases are barely noticeable, but it can lead to knee pain over time and may eventually require pain management or, in severe cases, corrective surgery.
  • Obesity: Too much weight can be hard on the joints and also lead to obesity-related illnesses like diabetes and heart disease. Giving your Cotie enough exercise and being careful not to overfeed them will prevent this condition.
  • Dental Disease: The Coton’s smaller mouth crowds the teeth and places them at higher risk for periodontal diseases and tooth decay. Regular toothbrushing (at least two or three times a week), dental chews and annual visits to your vet for dental cleanings are a must to keep their teeth and gums healthy.

Coton de Tulear History

The Coton de Tulear breed is named for two things—their cottony coat and the seaport town of Tulear in Madagascar from whence they came (their name literally translates to Cotton of Tulear). The Cotons of this island nation off the southeastern coast of Africa weren’t just any old lapdog. They were the royal dog of Madagascar, their ownership restricted to the noble and ruling class.

Not a lot is known about the origin of these little dogs or how they came to be on this island in the middle of the Indian Ocean. One popular theory is that some small, white dogs—possibly Maltese—survived a shipwreck and swam ashore where they lived in the wild and mated with local dogs. The island’s elites fell in love with their fluffy offspring and began to breed them intentionally. For centuries they managed to keep these dogs their own little secret, until the 1960s when French tourists discovered the pups and brought these little dogs to Europe.

Their popularity exploded on the continent with breeders and dog fanciers alike, and in the ’70s they made their way across the pond to North America. The official parent club, the United States of America Coton de Tulear Club, was formed in 1993. Even so, it wasn’t until 2014 that the American Kennel Club first registered Coties in the Non-Sporting group (for all dogs who don’t neatly fit into one of the other categories).

You no longer have to be royalty to become a Coton parent, and you can find reputable Cotie breeders on the AKC website. The cost of a Coton de Tulear puppy runs the royal price of around $2,000 to $3,000. For that, you typically get a pedigreed pup who’s had vaccinations and health screenings. You can also check with Coton de Tulear rescue organizations for Cotons of all ages in need of good homes or keep an eye out for this breed at your local animal shelter.


Are Cotons de Tulear hypoallergenic?

Yes, Cotons de Tulear are considered hypoallergenic, just like their close relations, the Bichon Frise and the Maltese. This is because they have coats of fine hair that don’t shed much. Of course, there’s no such thing as a truly hypoallergenic breed, but Cotons will be easier for mild allergy sufferers to live with than breeds who tend to shed more.

How do you pronounce Coton de Tulear?

This French name is pronounced KO-tone duh TOO-lay-are. Coton is French for “cotton,” and “Tulear” is the name of a small seaside port in Madagascar.

How long do Cotons de Tulear live?

Cotons tend to be long-lived. The typical lifespan of a healthy Coton de Tulear is 15 to 19 years.

How big do Cotons de Tulear get?

Male Cotons get up to 10 or 11 inches at the shoulder and weigh 9 to 15 pounds. Females reach 9 or 10 inches tall and weigh 8 to 13 pounds.

What are the most common Coton de Tulear mixes?

The most popular Coton de Tulear mixes are:

  • Coton de Tulear-Poodle mix (Cotondoodle, Cotonpoo, Poo-ton)
  • Coton de Tulear-Maltese mix (Cotonese)
  • Coton de Tulear-Havanese mix (Havaton)
  • Coton de Tulear-Chihuahua mix (Coton de Tulear Chihuahua)
  • Coton de Tulear-Yorkie mix (Yorkie-ton)

Top Takeaways

Cotons de Tulear are bright, bubbly comedians who live to make their humans as happy as they are. They need a pet parent who can keep them company and give them lots of attention, including daily brushing and exercise, and who doesn’t mind being the center of their pup’s universe. They thrive as part of a big family—the more the merrier—and at times having a Coton is more like having a kid than having a dog. They sometimes seem to forget they’re not human, and when you find yourself having two-way conversations with your talkative Coton, don’t be surprised if you forget, too.

Expert input provided by veterinarian Travis McDermott, DVM, who writes at My Pet Needs That, and certified dog trainer Justine Romano, owner of Just Incredible Cotons and Past President of the United States Coton De Tulear Club.

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Leave a tip about Coton de Tulears

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Tips from Coton de Tulear Parents

  1. I just rescued a 10yr old female Coton. She has many issues. Has been sleeping under a bed for 3yr. food, water, pee pee pad. Not here. She has free roam of the house. She was a show dog yrs ago. They clipped her vocal cords. She can’t bark. She had CCL surgery and her right front elbow juts out. She acts lost. You have to get her attention before you touch her. She jumps at unannounced touch. She was afraid of outside. She is now understanding outside is where you pee and poop. She walks in circles. We love her and will give her the best live. We have adopted/rescued 8 Maltese in the past 38yr. This is our first Coton de Tulear.

    1. What a lucky girl to have found you after such a difficult early life. Thank you for bringing such beautiful energy to the word. She seems like a smart one, picking things up quickly!

  2. I have been blessed with a beautiful female coton. A friend rescued her from a terrible place. They made her sleep outside and we’re going to actually shoot this beautiful soul if someone didn’t take her they didn’t want her. My friend rescued her told these people give me. The dog your not going to harm her he would find her a home. After that many people wanted her but he was holding out for the right person. Apparently that was me I wasn’t looking for a dog I had recently been severely injured so I was stuck in bed a lot.. he brought her to me and it was awesome. She was my companion from that day forward. As I was stuck in bed for nearly 3 years of a very painful recovery, she didn’t mind at all being my snuggle buddy and best friend my only company while my husband was at work and everyone else was busy doing there daily lives. She has been by my side. This dog is such a love and a doll. Love’s to sleep and snuggle. She is definitely my little angel. At 3 years old she came here so we’ll mannered . Pottys outside and the gentlest kindest dog I have ever met. The coton is pure love and I know I got very lucky to have one dropped in my lap. Great dog for people that can’t do much. Food water and lots n lots of love is all a coton really requires. I can’t say enough about this breed so I’ll stop here. I LOVE MY COTON

    1. I am so happy to hear of your wonderful experience. My Cotie came to me a day short of being euthanized. She is 13 weeks old. Her back legs don’t function properly so her owners were not interested in putting in the work. I have never had a dog before and am a senior.
      He is an absolute delight. So smart, affectionate and frisky. He gets around really well although he can’t be walked. He has mastered toileting on pads without a care. Amazing. I exercise him three times a day by playing fetch and assorted games. He is fierce and hops around like crazy. I am working on “stay” and he is picking it up. Positive reinforcement and praise is so effective. I put his legs in lukewarm water daily and he splashes around. His movement is much improved, I hope due to the exercise. He is confident and full of humor. I can’t believe my good fortune.
      I hope you are feeling better and that your Cotie is lapping up the love.