6 Facts About the Coton de Tulear

coton de tulear puppy in grass

The Coton de Tulear is a small dog breed that is a loving, playful companion. In addition to their fantastic personality, they are also popular for their low-shedding coats. Here are a few more facts about the Coton de Tulear:

1. They Originated in Madagascar

The Coton de Tulear originated in Madagascar. They are actually named after a busy port city there and are the national dog of the country. They are also sometimes called a Coton or a Cotie are formally the Royal Dog of Madagascar.

The Coton can be traced back several hundreds of years and are part of a group of small white dog breeds that originated from islands in the region. Having Bichon Tenerife Dogs as an ancestor makes the Coton a relative of the Maltese and the Bichon Frise.

During the 1970s, the Coton de Tulear gained popularity throughout both Europe and the United States. They were a popular family dog across the board, but gained a reputation for living a luxurious life among the upper classes.

2. The Coton de Tulear is a Quintessential Companion

There are theories that the Coton de Tulear was used as a rat dog on ships in the area. But, they don’t have a high prey drive and don’t seem to have a hunting instinct, so it’s not considered likely that they were bred for this use.

Most likely, they were bred specifically to be a companion dog. Their low-shedding, soft, and silky coat is perfect for cuddling and they thrive on attention from their families. They love nothing more than to spend time with their favorite humans.

These little dogs are also known for having a fantastic temperament and an open and friendly personality. They get along well with children, other dogs, other pets, strangers, and anyone else they happen to meet. They love attention and will often perform cute and comedic acts to get it.

3. The Coton is a Rare Breed

Outside of Madagascar and surrounding areas, the Coton de Tulear is a rarer breed. Only Malagasy royalty, members of the ruling Merina tribe, was allowed to have them when they were first bred.

Not only does this support that they were originally bred as companions, but it is also one of the reasons they are a rarer breed in the rest of the world and why the breed has come close to extinction several times throughout history.

It took until the 1970s for this breed to be introduced to the United States. Their arrival is credited to Dr. Robert Jay Russell who visited Madagascar in 1973, fell in love with the Coton, and brought some dogs back to the U.S. with him. He is also credited with referring to them as the Royal Dog of Madagascar.

In the same decade, a Frenchman visited Madagascar and brought some dogs back to France. In addition to working to establish the breed in France, this occurrence is credited with bringing the breed to mainland Europe.

4. Even the Coton de Tulear Coat is Unusual

The Coton de Tulear is known for the cotton-like texture of their coat. Since “Coton” means cotton in French, their coat texture is even one of the reasons for their name. But, their coat is unusual. Some genetic and historical studies show evidence that their unusual coat can be traced back to a single genetic mutation from when they were first bred as a companion for Malagasy royals.

5. They Can be Prone to Developing Separation Anxiety

Because these small dogs bond so closely with their families and love nothing more than to be around them, they can be prone to developing separation anxiety. It is much harder to stop a dog from experiencing separation anxiety once they have it than it is to prevent it from happening in the first place.

So, you do want to include plenty of socialization and training around some alone time to help keep your Coton from developing full-blown separation anxiety. They will never enjoy being left alone, but you can at least keep them from becoming destructive or overly anxious if you need to leave them alone for a little bit to run errands or do something without them.

6. A Coton de Tulear Will Often Match Your Energy Level

Although these small dogs tend to sit at a more moderate energy level, they will often range below or above that to match your energy level. You definitely don’t want them to become a couch potato or become too hyperactive, so it’s important to find a balance.

They may love to relax and cuddle with you, but they are not dogs that live a sedentary life. So, you want to make sure you go on a few walks and play with them to make sure they get enough activity every day.

If you live a more active lifestyle, your Coton will likely try to keep up with you. This usually isn’t a problem for many activities, but they are small dogs and can get tired easily. Because they want to be around you so much, they can overexert themselves, and potentially overheat, trying to keep up with you.

Because of this, you do want to keep an eye on them and be prepared to take breaks or carry them if they get tired. For an active Coton owner, it’s not a bad idea to invest in some sort of dog carrier. This is a useful outdoor product for dogs and will be a big help if you are out on a hike or a jog and you need to carry your Coton de Tulear for a bit.

These are just a few facts about the Coton de Tulear. If you think this could be the right dog breed for you, learn more about them, and then check out the available Coton de Tulear puppies. You could end up finding your new best friend!