The Coton de Tulear (pronounced coTAWN day TWO-lee-ARE) is an extremely rare, ancient, purebred dog from the island of Madagascar, now called the Malagasy Republic. The Coton stands between about 9.5 and 13-inches (24 to 33 cm) tall at the withers (shoulders). A standard Coton is little more than two feet in length (0.6 m), and weighs between 9 and 18 pounds (8.2 kg). They average about 14 pounds. They have dark, engaging eyes, black lips, and a medium-length muzzle tipped with a black nose. Their heads are not rounded, but are elongate and somewhat flat. A happy, alert companion, they quickly bond with their masters, and are quite content to sleep on your feet or snuggle in your lap.
Probably the most outstanding characteristic of the Coton de Tulear is its behavior. The Coton is a "companion dog," bred for the pure delight of its loving attention to its human family. It is very intelligent, and studies its human family with great care. The Coton is an alert, lively companion, but it is slow to anger. Most Cotons bark seldom, although some will act as alarm clocks and guard dogs. A Coton usually snuggles in the lap or rests close-by like a small, elegant, mohair rug.
Cotons are calm, sturdy dogs, most of whom enjoy the well-intentioned rough-housing of children. Cotons enjoy most household pets including other dogs and cats and can stand or walk on their hind legs to please their human family. Cotons are easily trained and quickly become family members that retain a puppy-like joy throughout their long life.
Cotons are hearty dogs and, with acclimation, frolic in desert heat and winter snow. However, the Coton is strictly an indoor dog. The breed is extremely healthy and long-lived. In the North American population of Cotons, they live about 16 years (15.7 years on average); the oldest survived for almost 19 years. This breed, like any dog breed, has known genetic defects. The mCTCA has studied, catalogued and published them for many years. Through their program of genetic triage and information sharing as well as their restrictions on inbreeding -- the ONLY such restrictions in any Coton club -- they have maintained genetic defects in low frequency in our population. This is sound population health management found nowhere else.
The Coton de Tulear earned its name from its unique, cotton-like hair, and for Tulear, a port city in Madagascar. Its dry, wind-tossed coat is probably the easiest to maintain of any long-haired breed, but it still requires regular grooming. The hair is about four-to-six inches long, dries quickly when wet, and requires relatively little brushing. It sheds very little, and rarely bothers people who suffer from chronic allergies. The coat should NOT be shiny, nor should it touch the ground from the chest or abdominal region.
There are three handsome color varieties:
White, often with champagne color patches.
Tri-Color; a newborn Tri-Color has very pronounced patches of color which fade as it grows older. Adults become mostly white with gray or champagne patches and a faint, irregular "dusting" of black or brown hairs.
Black and White Cotons retain their beautiful color throughout their lives.
These are excerpts from the mCTCA website. We chose to list them here because these are some of the most common questions people have and we wanted them to be readily available to people looking into this breed.