According to, the American Kennel Club, the Coton de Tulear (KO-Tone Dih TOO-Lay-ARE) is a small, charming dog. The Coton is known as the official dog of Madagascar and is often reffered to as "the royal dog of Madagascar." They stand between 9 and 11 inches high and weigh anywhere from 8 to 13 pounds. Cotons are known for their flowing white coat that is as soft as cotton. Their primary job is to provide amusement, comfort, and companionship.
The Coton de Tulear, is named for the seaport town of Tulear, where they were once the preferred lapdog of the nobles of Madagascar. The island nation lies 250 miles off the southeastern coast of Africa, but the population is primarily related not to African peoples but rather to those of Indonesia. Because of a bond with France that resulted from former colonial rule, Madagascar developed strong links with the French-speaking nations of western Africa.
The island’s aristocrats were jealous guardians of their fluffy little comedians, even passing laws that prohibited Coton ownership to commoners. “They were also extremely reluctant to allow any of their pets to leave the island,” a canine historian wrote, “with the result that these dogs remained isolated from the rest of the world and were breeding true for centuries.”
The Coton de Tulear’s AKC breed standard begins with a tantalizing assertion: “In Madagascar, the Coton de Tulear survived in packs in the wilderness, later to become a companion dog of the native Malagasy and Merina tribal nobles.” The standard stops short of explaining how these delightful lapdogs wound up fending for themselves on an isolated island. There are fanciful tales of a shipwreck off Madagascar and how a cargo of little white dogs swam ashore to safety, formed a feral pack, and mated with local dogs to create the Coton. (It’s a wonderful story, and it might even be true. It is known that in the ancient world small white companion dogs, such as the Maltese, were luxury items avidly bartered by seafaring merchants around the Mediterranean and North Africa.)
The Coton lived in its splendid isolation until the 1960s, when French tourists discovered the breed. It was an immediate hit in Europe, where generations of selective breeding further refined the breed into the Coton we now know. The AKC registered its first Coton de Tulear in 2014.
The Coton de Tulear, also known as the “Royal Dog of Madagascar”, is a hardy, sturdy small white companion dog. The Coton is characterized by a natural long, white, cotton-like coat, round dark eyes, black nose and lips, and a witty personality. The breed tends to be longer than they are tall. At rest, the tail is down with an upward hook at the tip revealing the distinguishing outline of the Coton de Tulear.
Picture and inormation acquired from the American Kennel Club.