About Breed

The COTON DE TULEAR is a happy-go-lucky, charming and bright breed of dog with a sweetly expressive face.  They are small sociable dogs that are robust and sturdy for their size.


The name is pronounced “coe-TAWN-day-two-LEE-are” which means “Cotton of Tulear”. Tulear is the city in Madagascar where they are from.  Although still rare in the US, and just officially recognized by the American Kennel Club in 2014, it is well known as the “Royal Dog of Madagascar” and is the Official Dog of the country. It is believed that the ancestors of the Coton de Tulear were brought to Madagascar on pirate ships in the 17th century. Nicknamed “Cotons”, they are immensely charming companion dogs with non-allergenic hair (not fur) that feels as soft as cotton.   


The Coton is characterized by a natural long, cotton-like coat, rounded lively dark eyes, finely featured black lips, “joie de vivre” (joy of living) expressive smile, and a witty personality.

Cotons are happy dogs that thrive on human companionship. With good socialization, they get along well with other dogs, cats and children. They are extremely sturdy and versatile and excel in all types of dog activities, including as therapy dogs. As always, puppy kindergarten and obedience training are recommended.

French roll & other hairstyles: For a sampling of popular hair styling cuts for Cotons, and to bring a smile to your face, search Coton de Tulear images on the internet.


There is some variability in the standards between the French standard set in 1971  by the Federation Cynologique Internationale (FCI) which requires an all-white toy-sized dog, the American Kennel Club (AKC) standard set in 2014 which includes more color varieties for dogs not more than 13 pounds, and the Coton de Tulear Club of America (CTCA) standard set by professional biologists in 1976 which promotes a weight of less than 18 pounds, and the original three color varieties (white, black and white, and tri-color) to avoid over-breeding and to preserve essential color-producing genes that may be responsible for the Coton’s calm, laid-back demeanor. Cotons in the Avenues more closely aligns with the CTCA standard without warranting conformity.


Since our Coton puppies are varied in color,  we have given them an  “AKC Limited Registration.” They are perfectly suited as home companion dogs and are not raised for breeding. New owners should arrange for neutering according to  early-age veterinary guidelines shortly after their puppy has gotten settled in its new home. Under the limited registration as non-breeding dogs, the puppies may not be entered in a “breed competition” in an AKC licensed or member dog show. Generally, Coton show dogs must be all-white. However, your Coton de Tulear puppy is a purebred Coton through and through, and may still be entered in any other AKC licensed or member event . . . and should provide you with years of happy companionship. Viva la Cotons!