||Coton de Tulear's (pronounced co-tawn-day-two-lee-are)
are a rare breed originating in Madagascar. The Coton earned
it's name from it's cotton-like coat and from the port city, Tulear,
They are companion dogs and are extremely devoted to their families.
Cotons are small, weighing
13 pounds. They are typically all white, but can also be black and
white, or tri-colored. Cotons make terrific lap dogs,
and are great at cuddling. Their overwhelming
desire is to please their humans which gives them their devoted nature.
For this reason, I would not recommend
a Coton as an appropriate breed for a family that is away from home
most of the time.
The exception would be if there are other pets in the family to keep
A Coton's coat is
hair, not fur, and fairly easy to groom although it does require
frequent brushing. The coat stops growing at about four to six inches
in length, and
so theoretically your dog may never need a hair-cut. However, a short
cut is nice during the summer months, or if you are too busy for
daily grooming. Brushing usually takes between 15 minutes to an hour
upon how often you do it, and the thickness of your dog's coat. Because
the coat is hair and not fur, there is the added benefit of very little
or no doggy odor from your pet. You can also bathe them less frequently
than a normal dog. And, many people
they are not allergic to Cotons
when they are to other breeds with fur. One of the most fabulous
characteristics of a Coton's coat is that they shed very little. I rarely
if ever find dog hair in my house. Even though a Coton has a long coat,
under no circumstances should a Coton become an outdoor dog, they
are not suited
Personality and Appearance
are very intelligent dogs and are easy to train. They have
round, expressive black eyes, and clownish personalities. Their lips
and nose are black, and they have a medium-length muzzle.
Since they are a rare breed, there
reported problems with health
that plague many pure-bred dogs. Cotons are known for their wonderful
temperament, with humans and other animals, although they can become
territorial, like any other dog. They do bark at people coming to the
calm down on command. The key is that any breed can develop
bad habits in certain circumstance without proper guidance, but an intelligent
owner can easily train their dog or puppy to adapt well to their particular
living conditions. I mention this here because people have all sorts
of unreasonable expectations for their pets. I know of one woman in my
neighborhood who has taken three mixed-breed dogs to the pound because "they
barked." In my opinion, Cotons are the perfect dog, but they still
are a dog, and one shouldn't have unreasonable expectations.
Cotons are somewhat expensive. But, I am a firm
believer that you get what you pay for. They are well known for
their fabulous characteristics and at times can be hard to find
as they are rare. An important thing to remember is that your
be an integral part of your family for 16-19 years.
live very long lives, and since health problems are not
typical, the price is justifiable. In effect, you can not put a
price on the joy you will receive from your Coton and the many
or she will add to your family. Buying
a cheap Coton from an disreputable breeder could very well cost you
more in the long run if health issues arise.
There are several different breed clubs that you can belong to upon
acceptance of your Coton. Most of the breed
clubs offer a combination of newsletters, magazines, and chat groups
are interesting and informative, and much of the information is
free online. Carolina Coton puppies carry certified pedigrees from
the United States of
Inc. (USACTC) and the American Kennel Club's Foundation Stock Service
which is their registry for rare breed dogs.You can also belong
to the UKC after registration with the AKC, unless their registration
procedure changes. I would be happy to mail you a copy of our dogs'
pedigrees, but I will not post them online for fear of someone
The following is a copy of the history of the Coton
de Tulear that I wrote for the AKC's web site. I revised it only
slightly to update it:
The history of the Coton de Tulear is poorly documented. But,
the most popular belief is that they are descendants of dogs who
survived an ancient shipwreck near the Madagascar coast. Madagascar
is the world’s fourth largest island, and lies in the Indian
Ocean off the coast of Africa. The little white dogs who are believed
to have swum ashore to the port of Tulear were
Coton de Reunions; a breed that is now extinct. The dogs settled
on the island and bred with the local terriers resulting in what
During the 17th century, the Merina, who were the ruling tribal
monarchy in Madagascar closely controlled the breed. They forbid
both coastal tribesmen and non-noblemen from owning the dog. The
Coton became known as the “Royal Dog of Madagascar.” Later,
conquering French colonists adopted the dog as well, and only those
persons in the top echelon of society were allowed to own a Coton
de Tulear. Political and economic crises in Madagascar now threaten
the dog with extinction in its own native land.
Another version is that Cotons walked ashore on gangplanks
in Saint Augustin’s Bay near Tulear during the pirate and slave
trading days. Cotons are rumored to have been regular cargo between Reunion
and Madagascar, along with other exotica.
The Coton was honored on a Madagascar postage stamp in1974. Also in 1974, Dr.
Robert Jay Russell, a biologist studying Madagascar’s lemurs, sent Coton
breeding stock to America. Three years later they were introduced in Europe.
The dogs were enthusiastically received, and are quickly becoming one of the
fastest growing rare breeds in America and Europe.
There is a really good book that was published in Italy but also written
in English by the Eli De Luca, the breeder of our dog Bébé.
Our dogs are pictured on pages 59 and 126. Here is the link: Coton's
World. There are also two other books about Cotons,
please contact me privately for updated links.