Everything to know about the Coton De Tulear – and why it's so loved

Are you the lucky owner of a Coton de Tuléar - commonly known as a cotton dog? Or are you just curious about this dog breed? Then you should read on as we share interesting and fun facts about this little fluff ball.

Did you know, for example, that the Coton de Tuléar is one of the most googled dog breeds? It has achieved almost celebrity status in a relatively short time, partly due to its cute appearance and typical hypoallergenic qualities. However, be aware of what people actually mean when they say a dog is "hypoallergenic."

A funny misconception is that cotton dogs are "just" small dogs with soft, white fur. However, the Coton de Tuléar is a specific breed in itself.

So let's dive into all the fun information about the Coton de Tuléar - follow along!


The Coton de Tuléar comes with a long and fascinating history. However, there is no hundred percent certainty about where and when it originated, but there have been many theories about the origins of this small dog. It is said to have a variety of ancestors, including other well-known and small dog breeds such as the Maltese, Papillon, and Bichon Havanese.

Let's start with the name - Coton de Tuléar - which actually means "cotton from Tuléar." That's also why it is typically called a cotton dog. Tuléar was the former name of the city Toliara, which is still a city in Madagascar. The tale goes that cotton dogs landed in the city because a ship stranded on the neighboring island of Réunion in the 15th century. In Tuléar, cotton dogs were typically used as farm dogs. Some sources suggest they were also used for hunting back then, but the Coton de Tuléar was not bred for hunting and probably didn't catch much more than a few rats in its time.


cotton dog

There are many fun facts about the little white fluff ball. Maybe there are even some that you haven't thought about before. Here are the six most interesting facts:

  1. The Coton de Tuléar has several funny nicknames. In France, they often refer to the Coton de Tuléar as an "anti-stress dog" because of its friendly nature.

  2. The dog's cotton-like coat is unique and is the result of a genetic mutation.

  3. In Madagascar, the Coton de Tuléar has appeared on their postage stamps in the past, and you can still find stamps with the Coton de Tuléar today. It is clear that the Coton de Tuléar has played a significant role in Madagascar. This matches its other nickname, "the Royal Dog of Madagascar."

  4. Several famous individuals have owned a Coton de Tuléar throughout history, including Barbra Streisand, Jane Fonda, and Catherine Zeta-Jones.

  5. In the vast majority of cases, the Coton de Tuléar is almost entirely pure white. However, it can also come in multi-colored and black varieties, but it is one of the dog breeds that is considered "purest" when it comes to their white color.

  6. Although you may not immediately think of the Coton de Tuléar as a swimmer, they are actually excellent swimmers and typically enjoy a dip in the water. Read about our drying coats for all water-loving dogs here.


The Coton de Tuléar is not just a favorite among many people, including possibly yourself.


There are many good reasons to love the Coton de Tuléar. You might relate to the following reasons if you are a proud owner of this breed.

cute white dog cotton de tulear

A dog that sticks with you through thick and thin

One of the biggest reasons we love the Coton de Tuléar is that it is incredibly sociable. This doesn't just mean that it likes to be around people. It means that it will stick to you like velcro and follow you wherever you go. A companion that will walk in your footsteps, whether you're at home, in the forest, or on a walk. So if you desire an extremely sociable dog, the Coton de Tuléar should definitely be on your radar.

It doesn't just follow you, but your entire family. This also makes it a true family dog that you can rely on to always be there for you and your family. That's why it's also a dog that gets along well with children. Despite its small size, it is sturdy enough to play and romp around with the kids. However, as with all dog breeds, it's important to teach children to treat the dog with respect and care.

This also means that the dog requires a lot of social contact to thrive. It's important to give it enough attention.

An extremely cute dog breed

There's no doubt that a Coton de Tuléar is one of the cutest things out there. Throughout its life, it retains its puppy-like appearance. A Coton de Tuléar puppy is simply adorable, and while other dog breeds may quickly outgrow their puppy looks, the Coton de Tuléar retains its charm. Its cute button eyes continue to send pleading looks that are impossible to resist.

An allergy-friendly dog breed

Do you also get watery eyes when you're around dogs? (Not just because of their cuteness, but also because of your allergies). The Coton de Tuléar has no undercoat and can be considered allergy-friendly. Because it has no undercoat, it sheds and flakes very little. However, it depends on the individual dog and your own allergies, so you can't be 100% certain of not having an allergic reaction. But as a starting point, the Coton de Tuléar is a good option for dog owners with allergies.

A long average lifespan

The worst nightmare for a dog owner is only getting to live with their dog for a few years. If you want a dog with a relatively long lifespan, the Coton de Tuléar is the one to go for. Many people ask: How long do Coton de Tuléar dogs live? And the answer may surprise some. Their lifespan is actually higher than that of most dog breeds – the average age can be up to 14-16 years. That gives you many good years to enjoy the company of your dog. It doesn't get much better than that.

The Coton de Tuléar is good at agility

Even though you might not expect it, the Coton de Tuléar is surprisingly good at agility training. That means training with various obstacles. Moreover, they generally love anything that involves play and activities. So don't let the dog's small stature deceive you. It loves being active – especially with its owners.

If you want to start agility training with your Coton de Tuléar, it is recommended that you wait until the dog is no longer a puppy. It's important for all its muscles and joints to be fully developed before you begin serious agility training.

A nearly odorless dog

Another advantage of the Coton de Tuléar is that it hardly has any odor. Dogs can sometimes have a slight smell – yes, wet dog – but not the Coton de Tuléar. Even though the dog typically has a very long coat and even when it's wet, it rarely smells significantly compared to other dogs.

Coton de Tuléar: the class clown

In terms of personality, the Coton de Tuléar might be a bit like the class clown. It's always happy and exuberant and will do anything to make you smile. They are very playful and have an incredible zest for life that easily rubs off on others.

The dog that can adapt to (almost) anything

One of the Coton de Tuléar's best qualities is its ability to adapt to most situations, homes, and people. It can live in apartments and houses alike and can adjust to most environments and personalities. This makes it easy to handle, regardless of your lifestyle, as long as you give it enough attention.

The same goes for activity level. Your Coton de Tuléar can easily adapt to your activity level. It loves both entertaining itself while you do other things and cuddling with you on the couch, while also being able to go on longer walks or even join you on hikes. It is eager to please its owners and will do almost anything to be with you.


running cotton dog

There are several things you should be aware of when it comes to your Coton de Tuléar. One of them is coat care, which can be demanding compared to other dog breeds.


The fluffy fur is not only beautiful to look at and soft to touch, but it also requires a lot of work – and as a Coton de Tuléar owner, you're probably well aware of that. The Coton de Tuléar requires regular brushing and coat care to keep it soft and smooth.

It's a good idea to brush its hair once a day if possible. When brushing the dog, it's important to do it thoroughly to reach the depths of the coat. There are several areas on the dog that require extra attention when brushing, such as the neck, groin, and shoulders, as the coat tends to get tangled more in these areas.

Your Coton de Tuléar also needs regular grooming to maintain a healthy and soft coat. Both grooming and regular brushing can help prevent tangled fur and knots, which can accumulate and cause discomfort for the dog. It can also lead to skin problems. Therefore, there are many reasons to allocate some time for coat care if you have a Coton de Tuléar.

There is no specific short-haired and long-haired Coton de Tuléar – although you may have thought so if you encountered one on the street. It's simply the grooming that determines whether it's short-haired or long-haired. If you want to ensure that the coat is easy to maintain, you have the option to give it a teddy bear clip, where the hair is no longer than 5 cm. But it's entirely up to you whether you want to keep the dog short-haired or long-haired.


If you have a Coton de Tuléar, you're probably well aware that this breed can be a bit of a barker. It can bark relatively often, although usually with small barks. However, you can prevent this with proper training. It's something to consider if you live in an apartment with your Coton de Tuléar.


Because the Coton de Tuléar seeks so much social contact, it can quickly feel abandoned. It's one of its great advantages, but it can also be a disadvantage if you're rarely at home. Therefore, make sure that your dog is not left alone for too long at a time. It can lead to it becoming extremely unhappy and may start barking or urinating indoors. It thrives best when it's with people it feels comfortable with. So, whenever possible, take the dog with you. To learn how to train your dog to be home alone read our step-by-step guide here.


If we gather all this information about the Coton de Tuléar, there's no doubt that it's a charming, little dog. A dog that will follow you like a shadow and always be there for you. A dog with the softest coat and the sweetest temperament. So, if you're already an owner of a Coton de Tuléar or considering becoming one, there's only one thing to say – you won't regret it.

However, as with all other types of dogs, it's crucial that you get your Coton de Tuléar puppy from a safe and approved breeder, so you can be sure that everything is as it should be. Make sure to gather as much information as possible about the dog and its background. It will bring you the happiest little bundle of fur.

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