Height: Male: 25 to 30 cm; Female: 22 to 27 cm
Weight: Male: 4 to 6 kg; Female: 3.5 to 5 kg
Coat Type: Fluffy, cotton-like coat
Coton de Tulear is one of the toy group breed of dogs. The national breed of Madagascar Island, the dog is famous for its cotton textured coat. The dog has derived its name from the city of Tuléar in Madagascar and its cotton textured coat. Coton de Tulear is a fun loving breed that gets along well with humans. The dog loves to swim and play. It enjoys wide open space to run around and can follow its master on horseback for miles together. Coton de Tulears are good in various areas of dog sports like the agility skills, trials and catch. They are an active and intelligent breed of dog who can adapt well to a family situation, if socialized properly.
The Coton de Tulear, a descendant of the island of Madagascar, is the island’s national dog even today. The ancestors of this breed were brought to the island by the pirates in the 16th and the 17th century. However, it is still not clear as to why they were brought along. While some speculate the reason as to control the rats on the ship, there are others who believe that the dogs were brought as a companion for long voyages. Yet still others think that the dogs were just impounded from other ships as pillage. The Coton de Tulear is the Bichon type of dog and is linked closely to the now extinct Bichon Tenerife and the Tenerife terrier. This breed of dog was not ferine on Madagascar. The dogs never caused any harm to the wild boars or the alligators because their size, strength and behavior opposed this kind of an action.
Coton was basically a companion dog and was not used for the purpose of hunting. This small, friendly and fancy dog caught the attention of the Malagasy royalty, making Coton a royal breed. It was Dr. Robert Jay Russell, who discovered the breed in the island and brought the dogs to America in the year 1973. The breed also got imported to France occasionally. However, it was not until the 1970s that the breed was recognized and officially imported to Europe. The Coton de Tulear was first formally recognized by the Societe Centrale Canine in 1970 and was accepted by the Federation Cynologique Internationale, which published the breed standard in the year 1972. The breed is now internationally recognized by many clubs, like the Kennel Club U.K. which has tagged the breed under the ‘Toy Group’ category and the United Kennel Club which has marked Coton de Tulear in the ‘Companion Group’.
The name of the breed suggests and describes the most appealing feature of Coton de Tulear, i.e. the cotton coat. The breed has a cottony or fluffy coat, rather than the usual silky coat type, with a long top-coat. The fluffy hair of the breed covers the thin, lightly-muscled forelegs. The dogs come in white and black and at time in three different colors. They have a prominent black nose, large expressive eyes, with yellowish spots at times on their nose.
Coton de Tulear is a playful, friendly, affectionate and an intelligent breed of dog. The breed gets closely attached to people, which at times can prove out to be negative, causing separation anxiety in them. The breed of dog loves to make grunting and other weird noises when in a playful mood. These canines also have a habit of jumping up and walking on their hind legs. Some of them can even portray shy character and can react cautiously when exposed to new situations, especially around strangers. This shy character of the dog can be, however, trounced with training. The breed is easy to train, with continuous praises. They can’t take punishments or scolding from their owners. The breed gets along well with kids and loves to play with them.
The Coton is, in general, a healthy breed of dog, but can be attacked by common diseases similar to other breeds. The most serious problems that can affect this particular breed are heart problem, liver shunts, back problems or eye problems.
The Coton de Tulear is a high maintenance breed, because of its light textured, long hair. The dogs require daily brushing. The dead hair should be brushed and combed out regularly. The excess of hair between the pads of the feet and in the inner years should be trimmed out regularly. They don’t require a bath more than once or twice in a year, which is sufficient to keep the canines clean. You should not scissor down their coat. These dogs make the best companion for allergy sufferers.