Coton de Tulear
OVERVIEW OF THE COTON DE TULEAR
Also known as the Royal Dog of Madagascar, this happy-go-lucky dog boasts a soft, long white coat. The Coton de Tulear is a lighthearted companion dog who loves following its human as well as frolicking and clowning around.
They are small in size but have great charm. These little dogs stand between 9 and 11 inches tall and can weigh between 8 and 18 pounds. Their pet parents describe them as gentle, sympathetic, witty, and sometimes a little boisterous but never demanding. These people-pleasers are also known for walking on their hind legs to entertain their human family.
Originating in Madagascar, it is thought that the breed came from a group of small dogs that swam across the Malagasy channel after a shipwreck. This may be a clue to their love for swimming, running, and playing. Although they enjoy being active, they don’t require excessive activity. They enjoy meeting new people (and dogs), are curious, and good with kids. They adapt well to different living environments whether it be an apartment or a house with a yard.
If you’re thinking of welcoming a little royal Coton to your family, here’s everything you need to know to ensure your pet pal gets the best care possible.
COTON DE TULEAR FOOD AND HEALTH
The Coton de Tulear is a fairly healthy breed that is not particularly known for genetic health issues. As with all small breeds, they can develop hip and knee problems, spinal disease, and eye issues. Recommended health tests for your pup include patella evaluation, hip evaluation, cardiac exam, and ophthalmologist evaluation.
Cotons are prone to put on weight and don’t need large amounts of food. The quantity each pup needs will depend largely on their activity level, age, size, build, and metabolism.
The recommended daily amount for Cotons is three-fourth cups of good quality dog food divided into two meals. It’s best to feed them at set times rather than leaving food out all day. Very active pups will need a little more and can enjoy some low-calorie training snacks. Avoid table scraps as one sniff of a fatty burger can easily amount to their entire day’s food allowance.
Ensure that your pet pal is getting good quality nutrition, high in protein with a small number of good fats and limited carbs. This will keep your pet satisfied and healthy. The best types of foods to feed your dog are lean proteins such as chicken, turkey, and fresh fish. Sweet potatoes, carrots, and peas are good vegetable choices while raspberries and blueberries are healthy fruity snacks. Some pups also love bananas.
If your pet is picking up weight, you’ll need to cut down on the treats or portion sizes to ensure they remain healthy. When looking down at your pal, you should be able to see his waist. Place your hands on his back with your thumbs along his spine and your fingers spread downwards. Without pressing hard, you should be able to feel his ribs but not see them. If you can’t feel any ribs, it might be time for your pup to give up the extra snacks and get a little more exercise.
LEASHES AND COLLARS FOR YOUR COTON DE TULEAR
Cotons are naturally territorial and alert. Socializing them from an early age is recommended together with obedience training to ensure they enjoy going out with you and learn good manners.
Make training fun and entertaining to keep them interested. Like most dogs, they don’t respond well to negative training methods and experiences. Your pup will thrive in agility, obedience, and sporting activities. Cotons also make great therapy dogs.
When choosing between a harness and a collar for your pet pal, a harness is best for this small breed when walking, hiking or running. The pressure from the collar against your pup’s small neck can cause a lot of damage when they (or you) pull. Collars are therefore best used for ID tags.
A harness will fit around your pet’s chest and torso, which eliminates any pressure on the neck. You may want to consider which harness material and design type is going to cause the least tangles if you keep your Coton de Tulear with long locks.
Besides the variety of styles and fabrics, there are two main types of harnesses. A back-clip harness is the most common type. The harness has a D-ring on the center of the back so you can attach the leash. These tend to be more comfortable for dogs, especially for small breeds.
A front clip harness has the D-ring on the front of the chest. These are best for dogs who pull a lot, especially bigger breeds. If you opt for this type, choose a design with a Y-shape rather than a strap across the chest.
If you’re getting your puppy a collar or harness, be sure to check it regularly for a size upgrade as they grow.
BEST CRATES, BEDS, AND DOG HOUSES FOR COTON DE TULEAR
Cotons love playing, regardless of the weather. Come rain or shine, they’ll have no problem darting the outdoors with you, but they also need a comfortable spot indoors to rest and get some good sleep. The best bed for your pup will largely depend on their personal choice, personality, and climate. Some Cotons prefer a cool floor while others want to snuggle up next to a fireplace. You will, however, most likely not need an outdoor dog house.
A crate is a good choice for potty training. If you have a puppy, you may want to get a crate that will fit your pet as an adult to avoid having to upgrade later on. If you get a larger crate, block it off partly inside to create a smaller space that fits your pup. Remove the divider as they grow.
Getting a breathable cover or using a blanket over the crate will make it a cozy den. Ensure you have a small bed or blankets inside to create a comforting haven. When choosing a bed, make sure your pup fits inside the frame comfortably. A bed that has a removable cover or is machine washable and odor-resistant is always a good choice.
BEST TOYS FOR COTON DE TULEAR
Coton de Tulears need their daily walks to stay happy and healthy. Letting your pup get bored can lead to destructive behavior so make sure they get plenty of attention and a chance to play daily.
Cotons enjoy the outdoors so playing fetch in your backyard or the park is ideal for some bonding time. Balls of all kinds make a great toy for your pup. Squeaky, soft, rubbery or knobbly, as long as you’re there to play, they’ll be happy to fetch. Keep in mind that your dog is on the small side so an overly large ball won’t be very practical for them.
Since most Cotons enjoy water and swimming, a sprinkler mat can be a fun toy if you don’t have a pool. These mats have a non-slip center surface. The outer rim connects with a garden hose and squirts out fountains of water for your pup to play in.
Another toy that will keep your Coton entertained without needing too much input from you is a puzzle toy. These often have hidden treats inside. Once your pup completes the puzzle, they’ll get the treat reward on the inside. Determination to get to a treat can keep them busy for ages. Many puzzle toys have varying levels so they can advance when it gets too easy for them.
Get a plush toy for your pet to snuggle when you’re not around. Keeping a small soft toy in their crate can be helpful, especially when they’re still new to your home.
When your pet pal is still a puppy, it’s a good idea to stock up on some chew toys. This will prevent shoes and furniture from bearing the brunt of their itchy gums while teething. As they get older, teeth cleaning toys are also a good option to keep them chewing without the calories and simultaneously help maintain better dental care.
GROOMING INSIGHTS FOR COTON DE TULEAR OWNERS
With their gorgeous long white coats, Cotons require regular grooming. Brushing their coats daily can decrease the frequency of washing required.
Around the age of 8 to 12 months, Cotons lose their undercoat and develop their adult coat. This causes matting and requires a lot of upkeep. Some people trim their pup’s hair to keep management at this stage easier, however, having a Coton really is all about their beautiful coat.
Depending on your pup’s activity level and type of lifestyle, you’ll want to bathe them once monthly up to once weekly. Pat your bathed pup dry instead of rubbing them to prevent knots. Brush their coat once dry or while blow drying their hair.
The great thing about these dogs is that they don’t shed. If you don’t brush them daily, however, their fur will start to mat and later require shaving. When brushing your pup, brush gently all the way to the skin to ensure the bottom layers are also groomed. Spray conditioner while brushing to avoid breakage and keep things effortlessly tangle-free.
To prevent gum disease and other dental caries, brush your puppy’s teeth two to three times a week with a toothpaste specifically designed for dogs. Never use human toothpaste for your pup since it can be toxic to them.
Clipping nails and checking ears are also very important to prevent infections. Dogs have blood vessels in their nails, which makes clipping tricky. Get the help of a pet groomer for professional grooming if you are unsure how to keep their nails in check. Your vet will also be able to assist with instructions.
Most importantly, grooming needs to be a positive experience for your pup from a young age. Give them encouragement and rewards along the way.
BEST COTON DE TULEAR ACCESSORIES
There is no end to the range of exciting pet accessories you can get for your pet pal. There are, however, a few specific items we recommend you have for your Coton.
A dematting tool and slicker brush or pin brush are both recommended for keeping your pet’s coat in a silky soft condition. A slicker brush will help remove any dead undercoat hairs while they are young, whereas pin brushes are ideal for preventing snags and breakage for their adult coat. Where possible, go for an anti-static brush.
A dog car seat will allow your Coton to safely and comfortably enjoy a ride with you. A good dog car seat should have a non-slip base so that it doesn’t shift in the car. It should also have an adjustable seat belt that secures the seat in place around the headrest and the back of the seat. Some models have zips and flaps that can form a basket or box allowing your co-driver to curl up in the seat just as they would in their bed at home.
As mentioned earlier, a crate cover is a wonderful way to turn a boring crate into a comforting haven for your pup. They can help establish a bedtime routine and are usually machine washable. Some crate covers have a door flap that can be rolled down to enclose the crate while still allowing your pup easy access in and out.
If your pet pal loves going to the beach, a drying coat is a smart way to keep them wrapped up for the drive home so they don’t get the car sopping wet. A drying coat is a fitted towel that wraps around your pup just like a dog jacket.
One more accessory we highly recommend is a training pouch. This pouch is worn around your waist and has a few pockets to keep dog treats, poop bags, keys, a phone, and other small items you may need. The waistband also has a D-ring or O-ring on which to clip your puppy’s leash. Some training pouches have reflective strips which are great if you walk before sunrise or after sunset.
To learn more about small breeds like the Coton de Tulear, check out our breed hub page.