Coton de Tulear

The Coton de Tulear is the quintessential happy-go-lucky lovable companion dog

Pronunciation – kaTAWN de 2-LEE-are – it’s French for the cotton dog from the port of Tulear on the island of Madagascar. It’s kind of a froufrou name for such an outgoing, friendly, down-to earth, romp -n-rolling dog; but that is my perception of the breed. More on that later.


The breed has been living on the island of Madagascar (sounds like a good name for a movie) for a long, long time.  They are known as “The Royal Dog of Madagascar”, and have been featured on the Country’s postage stamps. The breed was brought to the US in the 1970’s. Luckily for the breed, it has remained relatively unknown to mankind; thus it is a very healthy breed, relatively undamaged by unethical inbreeding.


Cotons have an abundance of personality! They are sometimes described as ‘clownish’. Most can stand on their hind legs; sometimes for a surprisingly long time! They also will tilt their head when you are talking to them; like they really understand you! I have noticed this endearing trait in all our Cotons. They will quietly shadow you where ever you go. Often, you don’t even know they have followed you. They love to be with people, and they generally get along well with other pets!

The Coton is a low-maintenance pet who is happy as long as he/she is near you. They are typically an easy, good travel companion. Occasionally, one may experience car sickness early on but will outgrow it in time. Our Cotons have not ever been car sick, but we know of one other Coton who was (she outgrew it).

“Zoomies” are a well-known Coton characteristic. They “zoom” around the yard/house running, weaving around obstacles and occasionally throwing in a joyful leap, either alone or in chase with their friends. All our Cotons do Zoomies. They have so much fun doing it and are so cute! In our first litter, Mezcal was the first puppy to try to run, and the first to do some zoomies!



Really truly intelligent dogs.

Have you read somewhere that they are hard to potty train? Ridiculous! They are the easiest dogs to potty train. Read my blog about it.

They learn FAST! They understand you, they want to please, they love to learn and they respond enthusiastically to positive reinforcement!

The Coton is a highly trainable pet and can be a good fit for owners of all experience levels, largely because of their intelligence and eagerness to please. Many Cotons excel at obedience classes and/or agility training.  They are quick to learn the family routines, and they really like their routines. They are adaptable, yet they don’t always initialally appreciate change.

Our Cotons are all crate trained and they took very little effort to train. After a short time they start to signal when they are ready for bed by putting themselves in their crate.

Cotons are lively companions with a happy disposition and great intelligence. This is largely why many dog owners who were not formerly fans of ‘small dogs’ find the Cotons’ optimism to be highly infectious.

The Coton de Tulear has a big dog personality inside its little package.



The Coton de Tulear is not a froufrou, delicate little dog. They are small, but mighty! They don’t need to sit on a satin pillow eating caviar. While they do embrace quiet, relaxed, resting time, they also LOVE to get out and be DOGS! They can keep up with nearly anything you want to do. They can be molded to become the dog you want them to be; your true companion.



Cotons can have color! The original dogs brought from Madagascar had color – 3 different colors. If anyone tells you differently, they are just incorrect. White, white with champagne or amber markings, black and white, or tricolor. It’s genetics. Your Coton puppy is not a mix just because he has color! All the colors are beautiful. Remember when I said the Europeans ‘fiddled’ with the dogs? Well, it seems to be mostly the European style breeders that insist the breed must be all white. Simply not so. Ah, another controversy for the quintessentially happy, beautiful dog.

Cotons have a color dilution gene that causes their coat to lighten over time. Do not be surprised that your adult Coton is much lighter than your puppy Coton was. Just take a lot of pictures and enjoy!



The Cotons do not comprehend why there is so much controversy surrounding their breed. They just want to love and be loved. They desire to be with the people they love and to be companions to the people they love.

You must understand that every dog club or registry was started by people to keep records. That was the purpose. Certainly started by people with good intentions, but difficulties arise. Clubs and registries start believing their purpose is to create rules and regulations to control other people. Some people break away and start another club/registry. Others break away and start even another club/registry. New clubs and registries can be created again and again.

Keep it in perspective – the clubs/registries original intent was to keep records. Any one of them can do that. The question as to what club/registry a person uses for their dogs is simply a matter of the person’s time and social constraints. One is not better than another. Certainly, you must know that the AKC does not in any way establish the quality of any dog. If it did, we wouldn’t have so many compromised breeds that are in no way representative of the breed characteristics of even 20 years ago, or 30 years ago; poodles, cockers, german shepherds, labs, goldens, – many breeds come to mind that are not what they used to be. Clubs and Registries keep records. That’s their job. any one of them can do that job.

While there is uncertainty about how exactly Cotons came to be, and there is controversy among  so many different clubs and registries, it’s the dogs that truly matter. We choose to avoid the controversy of the many competing clubs, and to focus on the dogs using our combined many years of animal knowledge and experience. That’s why we are using America’s Pet Registry Inc. to keep the records and register our dogs.