The National dog of Madagascar, the Coton De Tulear's ancestors are thought to have appeared on the island in the 16th and 17th centuries, brought aboard pirate ships that frequented the region. Believed to be the result of breeding between the Tenerife Terrier and the native Madagascan dog, the Coton De Tulear grew to such popularity that it was originally confined to ownership by the island's royalty. The breed was brought to America in 1973 and later officially appeared in Europe. Part of the 'Bichon' branch of canines, the Coton De Tulear's name derives in part from its cotton-like coat, and in part from the city of Tulear in Madagascar from where it originates.
A fluffy, compacted breed with soft, cotton-like hair as opposed to fur. The Coton De Tulear is recognisable for its textured coat, commonly appearing in colour variations of white with cream and yellow dappling, possessing dark eyes and a black nose. The ears are often described as 'champagne' coloured, adding to the distinctive appearance of the breed. Characteristically, the Coton De Tulear likes to walk on its hind legs, swim, becomes boisterous in the evenings and is adaptable to new situations and people.
Despite being discrepancies across gender, this breed typically weighs between 4-6 kg and has a long life expectancy of 14-18 years when shown appropriate care, with some living into their 20's. Often described as 'clownish,' the Coton De Tulear is notoriously adaptable, eager to learn, odorless and deeply companionable, making a great addition to any family environment or to a dedicated sole owner.
Despite generally being a healthy, long-lived breed, there are documented cases of the Coton De Tulear experiencing cardiac disease, eye disorders and liver insufficiency. The breed is not known to suffer from common genetic diseases. Due to the rarity of the Coton De Tulear, breed-specific illnesses are largely unknown.