Small, long-haired companion dog with white cotton-like fur and expressive, intelligent, round dark eyes.


There are different stories about Coton's origins. The first records of Cotons in Madagascar are probably from the end of the 1500s.

It's said that the little white dogs either accompanied ladies on long sea voyages or were used as ratters on ships. It's also claimed that the dogs were beached on Madagascar after being the sole survivors of a shipwreck and crossed with local terrier varieties. Some also say that pirates brought them from the ships

However they arrived, they soon established themselves there. Some of the dogs became pets in the royal court and wealthy Madagascar households, while others were street urchins. 

The Coton de Tulear was also used to warn about dangerous animals, as Crocodiles, and it had advantage of its intelligence, fast and eagerness. Cotons was used to divert the Crocodiles when the cattle were to cross some of the many rivers in Madagascar. The cotons would bark and run along the shore, attracting the attention of the crocodiles while the cattle walked safely over farther up where the river was narrowest. When all the animals were safe, the Cotons ran in full leap and swam across the river, before the crocodiles were able to see what had happened. 

It wasn't until sometime in the 1970s, however, that a Frenchman visiting the island brought some Cotons back to France and worked to establish them as a breed. In 1979 there were approximately 33 Cotons, and the breed became popular and spread to the rest of the world. 

Cotons are still living in Madagascar and are their National Dog.


Coton has many nicknames - The anti depression dog, The little clown, The little white devil.

The happy and boisterous Coton is a people-pleaser, who wants nothing more than to spend time with humans. Cotons are fantastic family dogs and forms strong bonds with family members.

They are smart and easy to train, responding well to praise, play, and food rewards. They'll play the clown for attention, which they loves. Cotons may bark once or twice if the doorbell rings or they see something interesting, but they don't generally bark just for the fun of it. Guests and intruders alike run the risk of being licked to death.

The breed is easily learned and is therefore well suited for obedience and agility 

Due to their special angles in their legs, they have a unique way of walking. They also have a curved back line, similar to a Bedlington terrier. 


The coat has a cotton-like texture, hence the name coton de tulear which means cotton from Tulear, which is a port city in Madagascar. 

A Coton should have naturally long fur and should not be cut if you plan to show. Although Coton is born in different color varieties that can be bleached over time they should as adults give the impression of being a white dog. The colors which some coton is born with indicate a hint of papillon, and some years ago we could also see raised ears.

A Coton does not shed and therefor require weekly or daily brushing to remove loose coat and avoid matts. Using a spray conditioner as you brush will keep hair breakage to a minimum. The breed has no undercoat and Cotons are referred to be an allergy-friendly breed. 

Remember to bath your Coton minimum once a month or every 10-14 days if you plan to keep the coat in show condition. Use good products intended for dogs. A clean coton coat is much easier to maintain and require less brushing. 

Nor do they have the distinctive "dog smell" even when wet.

Allergy-friendly breed

Cotons often recommended for people with allergies due to less shed, no undercoat and almost no dandruff. It's always wise to meet and spend time with a number of different Cotons before deciding you can actually live with one. 

Take a look at this short documentary created by Animal Planet about our breed: