Coton de Tulear is a small toy dog breed that weighs 12–15 pounds and stands 25–30 centimetres. This clownish and happy-go-lucky dog has a soft, cotton-like coat that comes in white, black, and tricolour. The Coton can live as long as sixteen years if cared for properly. Its origins are not clear, but one thing is for sure, this dog breed came to Madagascar Island and was bred with local terrier-type dogs. The United Kennel Club recognised the Coton de Tulear breed in 1970.
Are you looking for a Coton de Tulear? Here is a brief background of this adorable toy dog with a coat as soft as cotton.
Stories about how the Coton de Tulear came to Madagascar Island are quite unclear. Some theories claim that the original breed (Coton de Reunions) swam to the shores of Madagascar after a shipwreck, whilst others suggest that the breed was deliberately brought to Madagascar and bred with local terrier-type dogs to develop today's Coton de Tulear.
This dog breed was heavily guarded by the Merina tribe in Madagascar in the seventeenth century, meaning no Coton was to be removed from the island. Later on, Coton de Tulear was seen with nobles and French royalty. How this was possible is unknown, but it is assumed that few select people were permitted to leave the island with a Coton de Tulear.
The breed was accepted and recognised in 1970 by the United Kennel Club. The Coton de Tulear is a rare breed and remains to be in limited numbers up to this day.
Appearance and Grooming
Being a small dog in the Toy Group, the Coton de Tulear weighs 12–15 pounds and stands 25–30 centimetres. Its distinctly long and cotton-like fluffy coat is the obvious reason for its French name, Coton. The Coton de Tulear has soft hair (not fur) that is comparable to a cotton ball, a distinguished black nose, large and round expressive eyes, and a short face. It closely resembles the bichon frise and Maltese.
To further emphasise its distinguishing feature, the Coton de Tulear has a coat that is thick and soft and is described to be of fluffy and cottony in texture. The coat comes in three accepted colours: white, black and white, and tricolour. The coat may have a few shadings, from light grey to red roan on the ears. The Coton sheds minimally and is highly recommended for people with allergies as its soft and cotton-like fur is hypoallergenic. Make sure to remove matted hair through daily brushing and combing. The challenge in grooming a Coton de Tulear comes with its doggie smell, which can be removed with a proper bath and grooming. You may bathe a Coton weekly or every two weeks, depending on how dirty and smelly it gets.
Aside from keeping its coat's pristine look, do not forget other aspects of grooming. Brush the teeth of a Coton at least twice or thrice a week to remove tartar and build-up of bacteria. Of course, nothing beats daily brushing if manageable. Its nails must also be trimmed at least twice a month. Ears must be cleaned to avoid infection, which is characterised by redness and tenderness. If you notice any certain abnormalities, don't hesitate to consult your veterinarian.
Temperament and Intelligence
The Coton de Tulear is what you describe as a happy-go-lucky dog breed. It is playful, and whilst generally quiet, it can often be vocal (grunting and barking) when having fun. Those videos you see of small white dogs jumping and walking on their hind legs are most likely a Coton. This dog breed is a people-pleaser, which makes training a breeze. The Coton is also curious and will welcome any new people you introduce, so getting a Coton to be a guard dog may be a mistake. The Coton is specifically bred to be a companion dog, which it is exceptionally good at doing.
The Coton enjoys being around children and loves playing interactive games. This makes it an ideal pet for families with young children. However, it is best to supervise playtime to make sure neither the children nor the dog gets hurt by accident. When it comes to interaction with other pets, there is no need to worry. The Coton is a social butterfly and is known to enjoy the company of cats, which is unusual for a small dog.
Nutrition and Feeding
A typical serving for an adult Coton de Tulear is 3/4 cup of premium dog food daily. Make sure that you don't serve it in one large meal. It is recommended to feed the dog twice a day (morning and evening) to avoid bloating.
The following are the typical daily calorie needs of an adult Coton weighing 13 pounds:
- Senior and less active: up to 425 calories daily
- Typical adult: up to 480 calories daily
- Physically active/working dog: up to 530 calories daily
One thing to remember in feeding a Coton puppy is to choose food that is grain-free and high in protein such as lamb, chicken, turkey, beef, or bison. Avoid food with cheap fillers, artificial flavours, and sweeteners.
Health and Exercise
The Coton de Tulear has a lifespan of fourteen to sixteen years given the proper care. As with any breed, the Coton is also predisposed to some health conditions. These health conditions include joint problems, spine issues, Legg-Calve-Perthes disease, urinary infections, urinary stones, diabetes, and Bandera's syndrome.
The Coton is an active and intelligent dog, and like all dogs, it must be given adequate exercise daily. It needs at least thirty minutes of exercise per day and will be more than happy to be outside and play. This little fluffy dog, when off-lead, can be quite the escape artist, so make sure that your back garden is securely fenced.
Cost of Ownership
Getting a Coton de Tulear in the UK is challenging as you may have to go on a waiting list. It is a rare breed and only a few puppies are bred and registered with the Kennel Club each year. A well-bred pedigree puppy will cost at least £1,000. To make sure it stays healthy you need to feed it high-quality food that can cost £20–£30 monthly. You would also need to buy it some treats and basic dog accessories and equipment such as a lead, collar, bed, bowls, and toys. The initial cost for these things can go up to £200 or more if it is from a reputable breeder.
Just like other animals, your dog may suddenly fall ill or get into an accident. To offset some bills, it is recommended that you get a pet insurance. For a one-year old male Coton de Tulear puppy, the premium for a basic cover can cost a minimum of £13 per month. You may need to pay more if you want a lifetime cover or additional benefits for your dog.
Veterinary consultation is another expense that you may to factor in. The estimated annual fee for routine checks, vaccinations, annual booster, and spaying or neutering is £800. On average, the cost to care for a Coton de Tulear puppy is £50- £80 per month depending on the pet insurance cover and premium you choose.
Coton De Tulear Breed Highlights
- The Coton de Tulear is a small toy dog bred for companionship.
- The Coton is the social butterfly of the dog world; it is friends with everyone.
- It has a cotton-like coat that is hypoallergenic.
- The Coton is a happy-go-lucky dog and loves to bark when it’s having fun.
- It is a people pleaser, so it is easy to train.
- The Coton can live up to sixteen years with proper care.
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