The Coton de Tulear

Why Buy From a CTCA Breeder?

Feather, Kandi, Tucker, Pelli & Bella

    The Coton de Tulear, pronounced "coe-TAWN d' too-lay-ARRR," means "cotton of Tulear." The Coton is a rare, ancient pure-breed that originated on the Island of Madagascar more than three centuries ago. The Coton was exclusively the dog of Royal Malagasy nobles, but now this exceptional, elegant companion is available to a select few outside that legendary land.

    The Coton de Tulear earned its name from its unique, cotton-like hair, and for the port city of Tulear on the southwest coast of 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.

    Cotons are very intelligent, most fairly easy to toilet train, and uncommonly gentle and laid back. They get along well with children and most pets. Please note that the behavior of any given dog is based upon the dog's heredity and its environment.  Poor early socialization can lead to problems for any dog of any breed.  And please recognize that you, as the new owner, will be the next step in this puppy's socialization and training. 

The Coton stands between about 9.5 and 13-inches tall at the withers (shoulders).  A Coton is little more than two feet long and weighs between 9 and 18 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 elongated and somewhat flat.

    There are three handsome color varieties: White (often with champagne color patches); Black-and-white; and Tri-color. A Tri-color adult is mostly white with champagne patches and a faint, irregular "dusting" of black hairs. Black & White Cotons usually retain their beautiful color throughout their lives, although the jet-black color sometimes will turn gray with maturity.

    The extremely rare TALL Coton de Tulear is a historically ancient part of the Malagasy Coton de Tulear pure breed dog.  Tall Malagasy Cotons have been produced in litters of Standard sized Cotons in Madagascar, North America and Europe. The Malagasy natives and French colonists reported Tall Cotons in litters on the island more than 40 years ago. Virtually every known bloodline can produce a Tall Coton. Tall Cotons are long-legged and graceful, much like a very small sight hound (albeit Malagasy Cotons are not hunters and lack a prey drive). Tall Cotons have all the many excellent traits this breed is known for; many owners claim that these Cotons are even gentler than the standard Coton.  Back in 1996, the Coton de Tulear Club of America (the CTCA) and some of its Code of Ethics Breeders created a serious scientific experimental breeding protocol in an attempt to understand the genetics of Coton tallness.  As of yet, there has not been a Standard written for the Tall Coton.  Tall Cotons are exceptionally rare, but more are being produced every year.

    Cotons are hearty dogs and, with climate adjustment, will frolic in desert heat and winter snow. However, the Coton is strictly an indoor dog. The breed is extremely healthy, long-lived, and, 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 a few known genetic defects. The CTCA has studied, catalogued and published them for many years. Through the CTCA's program of genetic triage and information sharing as well as restrictions on inbreeding -- the ONLY such restrictions in any Coton club -- the CTCA has maintained genetic defects in low frequency in the CTCA population. This is sound population health management found nowhere else. For hundreds of pages of details about Coton health and genetics, please refer to the CTCA's 1,100-page breed handbook, "The Official Coton de Tulear Book, 2nd Edition" ( ).

    Without a doubt the most outstanding characteristic of the Coton de Tulear is its behavior. The Coton is a "companion dog."   It is unusually intelligent, and studies its human family with great care. The Coton is an alert, lively companion, and it is very slow to anger. Most Cotons do bark and some bark more than others, acting 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. A Coton may cock its head attentively when spoken to, smile, and stand or walk on its hind legs to please its human family. Malagasy Cotons are easily trained and quickly becomes a family member and retains a puppy-like joy throughout its long life.

    Beginning with Cotons imported from Europe in 1995, a few highly aggressive Cotons were reported. The CTCA closed its registry to European imports shortly after this to protect the CTCA registry from idiopathic puppy aggression, hip displaysia, juvenile cataracts and Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) that was showing up in the European lines of Cotons because of outcrossing, mongrelization and miscegenation of that particular population of Coton de Tulears.

    Also, some Cotons may not do well with very small children, but will prove wonderful companions.  Note:  ALL dogs of ANY breed can be territorial and protective, so ALL dogs should be socialized as a pup and trained as a juvenile. In general, a Coton de Tulear may be slightly reserved and probably will bark at the approach of strangers, but they are characteristically unaggressive and laid-back.  Malagasy Cotons typically make wonderful companions for children.

Kandi and Bella

Simba II of Albemarle
CTCA# 1608

Mela of Kolosky Cotons at 10 months from 11-16-07 Litter

Website Builder