Coton De Tulear

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Key Breed Facts
Breed Characteristics
Intelligence / Trainability
Children and Other Pets
Caring for a Coton De Tulear
Average Cost to keep/care for a Coton De Tulear

Key Breed Facts

Popularity #81 out of 238 Dog Breeds.

The Coton De Tulear breed is also commonly known by the names Coton, Cotie.
14 - 16 years
Pedigree Breed ?
Yes - KC Recognised in the Toy Group
Males 25 - 30 cm
Females 25 - 30 cm at the withers
Males 6 kg
Females 5 kg
Health Tests Available
No Health Tests Currently Recommended
Average Price (More Info)
£1,227 for KC Registered
£921 for Non KC Registered

Breed Characteristics


The Coton de Tulear is a charming little white dog that hails from Madagascar where they are often referred to as the Royal Dogs of Madagascar. They were first recognised as a breed in their own right by The Kennel Club in 1990 although they have been around for centuries and in particular on the island of Tula. They are known to be loyal, affectionate and intelligent dogs that over recent times have gained popularity both here in the UK and elsewhere in the world not only because the Coton de Tulear is such a charming dog, but also because they don't shed.


Known as the Royal Dog of Madagascar, the Coton de Tulear has been around for centuries are were often found on the island of Tula way back in the 16th century. It is thought these little white dogs were taken to the islands of Madagascar by trading ships and pirates who sailed the seas during that period of history. The Cotie’s job aboard trading ships was to control vermin, but they were traded for other items and goods found in Madagascar and as such, these little white dogs remained behind once the trading ships had left the islands.

Coties soon became a popular choice with the island’s noble classes and were referred to as the Royal Dogs of Madagascar for this reason. They were given the name "Coton" thanks to their soft, fluffy white coats that resembles cotton and is similar to the touch. No dogs were allowed to leave Madagascar right up until the 1970's and then only very few select people were permitted to take a Coton de Tulear off the island with them.

Today, the Coton de Tulear is becoming more well known outside of their native Madagascar which includes here in the UK, although anyone wishing to share a home with one of these charming little white dogs would need to register their interest with a breeder because so few pedigree puppies are bred every year. 


Height at the withers: Males 25 - 30 cm, Females 25 - 30 cm

Average weight: Males 6 kg, Females 5 kg

The Coton de Tulear is a charming little dog that resembles a Bichon Frise with their pure white, fluffy coats. They have large, round, dark and extremely expressive eyes which adds to their endearing appearance. They have quite short forefaces and a very slightly convex skull with a slight stop and lovely black nose. Their ears are set high and are slender and pendulous being well covered with lots of long, fine hair. The Cotie has a strong jaw with a perfect scissor bite where their upper teeth neatly overlap their lower ones with tight black lips.

Their necks are moderately long and slightly arched with dogs having well laid back shoulders and nice, straight front legs. Their bodies are quite compact with a good depth to the brisket and bellies are moderately tucked up. There is a slight rise over their loin and back legs are well muscled and strong. A Cotie's feet are on the small size, round and tight with dogs having black pads. Tails are very well feathered and set low, they taper to the tip and when dogs are at rest they carry it low although the tip is always slightly raised. When alert, the Cotie carries their tail higher and level to their back.

When it comes to their coat, the Coton de Tulear boasts having a pure white coat that's slightly wavy and it feels like cotton to the touch, hence the breed's name. Accepted breed colours are as follows:

  • White
  • White and brown
  • White and grey
  • White and lemon
  • White and tan


The Coton de Tulear is an active yet placid, intelligent little dog that loves nothing more than to be kept busy playing interactive games. They form strong bonds with their families and are always ready, eager and willing to please which in short, means in the right environment and with the right handling, they are easy to train and are quick to learn new things. However, there is a downside to this which is the Coton de Tulear is quick to pick up "bad" behaviours too.

They are very “people oriented” which means they do not like to be left on their own and as such they make great family pets and companions in households where at least one person stays at home when everyone else is out of the house which in short means these little dogs always have company in the home with them. They love being around water and are remarkably strong swimmers which means care has to be taken when walking a Cotie anywhere near any sort of dangerous watercourse, just in case they decide to jump in.

The Coton de Tulear is quite a sensitive little dog by nature and does not like being in a noisy environment. They also tend to be a little wary and aloof around people they don't know, but rarely would one of these little dogs show any sort of aggressive behaviour towards a stranger, preferring to keep their distance and bark until they get to know someone.

They are a great choice for first time owners, although anyone wishing to share a home with one of these charming little white dogs needs to understand they are high maintenance when it comes to keeping their coats tidy and in good condition.

Intelligence / Trainability

The Coton de Tulear is an intelligent little dog and one that is always willing and eager to please an owner. As such, in the right hands they are very quick to learn new things. However, because they are a little sensitive by nature, they do not respond well to any sort of harsh correction or heavy handed training methods which could just result in them becoming shy and retiring. They do answer well to positive reinforcement when they training is consistent and always fair so these little dogs understand what is expected of them.

They adore playing interactive games which is a great way of teaching a dog to do new tricks especially when they are still young. Playtime can involve training which is an important part of a puppy’s initial education and something that Coties thoroughly enjoy.

Children and Other Pets

The Coton de Tulear is known to be very good around children of all ages and enjoys playing interactive games with them which is just one of the reasons why they make such good family pets. With this said, it's always best to keep an eye on children when they are around dogs to make sure things stay calm and that nobody gets scared or hurt albeit by accident.

These little dogs generally get on well with other dogs too, especially if they have been well socialised from a young enough age. They are known to be good around small pets and animals which includes cats which is unusual for such a small dog. However, a Coton de Tulear may decide to chase off a neighbour's cat if the mood takes them, just for the fun of it.

For further advice please read our article on Keeping Children Safe around Dogs.

Coton De Tulear Health

The average life expectancy of a Coton de Tulear is between 14 and 16 years when properly cared for and fed an appropriate good quality diet to suit their ages.

Like so many other breeds, the Cotie is known to suffer from a few hereditary health issues which are worth knowing about if you are planning share your home with one of these active and good looking dogs. The conditions that seem to affect the breed the most include the following:

Caring for a Coton De Tulear

As with any other breed, Coties need to be groomed on a regular basis to make sure their coats and skin are kept in top condition. They also need to be given regular daily exercise to ensure they remain fit and healthy. On top of this, dogs need to be fed good quality food that meets all their nutritional needs throughout their lives.


The Coton de Tulear is high maintenance when it comes to keeping their coats tidy and in good condition. Although they are considered to be non-shedding dogs, they still need to be brushed on a regular basis to prevent any tangles and matts from forming. Ideally a daily brush is needed to keep their coats and skin in good condition. However, they should be taken to be professionally groomed several times a year which makes it that much easier to keep things tidy in between visits to a grooming parlour.

Their coat is more cotton-like in texture which is why knots and tangles form more easily in a dog's coat and although they do not shed, it's the dander that could trigger an allergic reaction in anyone who is sensitive to dogs which is something to bear in mind if anyone in a household suffers from any kind of allergy that’s connected to dogs.

It's also important to check a dog's ears on a regular basis and to clean them when necessary. If too much wax is allowed to build up in a dog's ears, it can lead to a painful infection which can be hard to clear up. In short, prevention is often easier than cure when it comes to ear infections.


The Coton de Tulear is an active, intelligent little dog and as such they need to be given the right amount of daily exercise and mental stimulation for them to be truly happy, well-rounded and obedient dogs. Ideally, they need to be given at least 30 minutes exercise a day, and more if possible because they love being out and about doing something.

A shorter walk in the morning would be fine, but a longer more interesting one in the afternoon is a must. These dogs also like to be able to roam around a back garden as often as possible so they can really let off steam. However, the fencing has to be extremely secure to keep these active little dogs in because if they find a weakness in the fence, they will soon escape out and get into all sorts of trouble.

With this said, Cotie puppies should not be over exercised because their joints and bones are still growing and too much pressure on them could result in causing a dog a few problems later on in their lives. They should not be allowed to jump up or off furniture nor should they be allowed to run up and down the stairs for this very reason.


If you get a Coton de Tulear puppy from a breeder, they would give you a feeding schedule and it's important to stick to the same routine, feeding the same puppy food to avoid any tummy upsets. You can change a puppy's diet, but this needs to be done very gradually always making sure they don't develop any digestive upsets and if they do, it's best to put them back on their original diet and to discuss things with the vet before attempting to change it again.

Older dogs are not known to be fussy or finicky eaters, but this does not mean you can feed them a lower quality diet. It's best to feed a mature dog twice a day, once in the morning and then again in the evening, making sure it's good quality food that meets all their nutritional requirements. It's also important that dogs be given the right amount of exercise so they burn off any excess calories or they might gain too much weight which can lead to all sorts of health issues. Obesity can shorten a dog's life by several years so it's important to keep an eye on their waistline from the word go.

Average Cost to keep/care for a Coton De Tulear

If you are looking to buy a Coton de Tulear, you would have to register your interest with breeders because there are very few puppies bred and registered with The Kennel Club every year. You would also need to pay anything upwards of £1000 for a well-bred pedigree puppy. The cost of insuring a male 3-year-old Coton de Tulear in northern England would be £19.20 a month for basic cover but for a lifetime policy, this would set you back £41.22 a month (quote as of June 2016). When insurance companies calculate a pet's premium, they factor in several things which includes where you live in the UK and a dog's age and whether or not they have been neutered or spayed.

When it comes to food costs, you need to buy the best quality food whether wet or dry, to feed your dog throughout their lives making sure it suits the different stages of their lives. This would set you back between £20 - £30 a month. On top of all of this, you would need to factor in veterinary costs if you want to share your home with a Cotie and this includes their initial vaccinations, their annual boosters, the cost of neutering or spaying your dog when the time is right and their yearly health checks, all of which quickly adds up to over £800 a year.

As a rough guide, the average cost to keep and care for a Coton de Tulear would be between £50 to £80 a month depending on the level of insurance cover you opt to buy for your dog, but this does not include the initial cost of buying a pedigree puppy.

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