Coton is a French word that denotes the fabric cotton and thus this dog has a hair coat that is of cotton texture as opposed to the silky texture that most dog hair has. The dog is general viewed as one with a cotton and fluffy skin coat that is quite long, with the hair covering most of the body. The legs of the dog are lightly muscled, as it is mainly bred as an apartment dog which has minimal exposure to the outside. Yellow markings on the ears are also sought after trait.
The color coats of Coton de Tulear are numerous including white and black and other variations that are tri colored. Most show dogs will generally be of white color which is a highly valued trait. The height of the dog ranges between 10 – 12 inches while the weight range is between 12 – 15 pounds
The temperament of this dog in most ways is similar to those of the Bichon. Among these include being affectionate, sociable and a lively dog that is very loving. It loves to interact with children and is a great family dog. If you have other pets, it will not have a problem living with them, as it is well disciplined. As it is intelligent in nature, training takes very little time as it is willing to listen and please its owner. If looking for a small dog that can act as a watch dog, it is advisable to make use of the cotton as it does serve the purpose well, only barking when necessary. Proper leadership is important to ensure the Coton de Tulear does behave in the appropriate manner. It should learn from a very tender age that you are the pack leader and do not compromise on that. Daily exercise is important to meet the animals natural instincts and prevent from behavior problems.
The Coton de Tulear is a generally healthy dog and no documented health problems have so far been shown. It is however recommended that diet and exercise should go hand in hand t avoid the dog being overweight. Flea allergy is common among it and should be always be clean.
The cotton de Tulear is shown to lead a relatively long and natural life, with the average lifespan ranging between 14 – 16 years.
As the Coton has long and light textured hair, it is recommended that daily grooming is done to prevent the hair from matting The long, light-textured hair requires daily, careful grooming. Hair in the ear and between the toes should be clipped. An annual wash or two are sufficient if the dog is carefully groomed on a daily basis. Shedding is minimal.
Among the immediate relatives of the cotton include the French Bichon and Italian Bolognese which are thought to have been crossbred to get the Coton. It is said to be a native dog of Madagacar, being broght in by troops and sailors. The Coton de Tulear was officially recognized by the FCI in 1970.