Coton De Tulear - Breed and Grooming Tips

The Coton de Tulear, also known as the "Royal Dog of Madagascar", is a hardy, sturdy small white companion dog. The Coton de Tulear is characterized by a long, white, dry, profuse, cotton-like coat, rounded lively dark eyes, black on white joie de vivre expressive smile and witty personality.

Right Breed for You?

The Coton De Tulear’s sole purpose is a loving companion.  His loving and demeanor and trusting nature makes him a wonderful house pet.  The long, luxurious coat does require consistent brushing and maintenance.


Source: American Kennel Club –


Bathing and General Grooming

The Coton De Tulear does require routine bathing and brushing. This happy, affectionate toy breed has a profuse coat which needs to be bathed as frequently as every week up to no longer than every 3 weeks.  Frequency of baths depends on the amount of coat and the lifestyle of your Coton De Tulear.  One hallmark of the breed is his profuse, luxurious  coat. The care and maintenance of the coat sets the foundation for maintaining healthy skin and coat.  Regular baths promote coat growth.  A dirty coat will mat and tangle much easier than a clean coat.  When the coat is dirty and breaks, the hair shaft becomes rough and eventually breaks down, which will lead to further damage of the coat.  Therefore, keeping the coat clean and healthy is of utmost importance in order to maintain the luxurious coat.

This is one of the few breeds that should be brushed out before the bath.  Never brush a dry coat. Always use a hydrating spray before you brush to keep the coat from breaking and becoming brittle.  This pre-brush will allow the coat to separate and divide making certain that the skin can breathe.  If there are mats, use a detangler and break the mat up before the bath.  Saturate the mat with detangler and gently pull the mat apart with your fingers.  Be certain to put some reverse pressure toward to skin so it does not tear.  Once you have sectioned off the mat, use your gentle slicker brush and work the mat out in small sections.  It may be necessary to use more detangler to help the mat break apart.  Then, using the end of the comb, gently comb the sectioned area until the comb glides through.  Then move on to the next small section of the mat.  This can be time consuming.  Do not rush the process as you want to be gentle and make sure the dog is comfortable. Once the mats have been removed, it is time for the bath.

There is an art to bathing a Coton while minimizing tangling.   After the coat is wet, apply the shampoo by squeezing it through the coat in a downward motion.  In order to get the coat squeaky clean, continue to move the shampoo down the coat.  Thoroughly shampooing the coat will contribute to building a healthy, strong, and manageable coat. The same technique is used when conditioning the coat.  It is important to condition the Coton’s coat in order to nourish and hydrate each individual strand of hair. Make sure you thoroughly rinse the coat.  It is a good idea to slightly cool the water temperature down for the final rinse to ensure the coat is completely free of any product. Rinse an extra time to make sure the water is free from any suds and all product has been removed from the coat.

Once the bath is finished, blot the coat with a towel and squeeze excessive water from the ears, legs, and the long furnishings.  Always use a downward motion to remove the excess rather than a circular motion in order to keep the coat from further tangling.

It is best to line dry the dog using a fluff or stand dryer. Systematically line dry the entire coat right down to the skin. Make sure the dog is completely dry in the area you are working on before you move onto the next section.  Once the Coton is completely dry, make sure the coat is tangle free.  Double check your brush out by using a metal comb.  It should glide freely through the coat all the way down to the skin.  If you missed a mat or tangle before the bath, this is the time to find it and remove it.

Recommended Products:

Coconut Oil & Silk Shampoo:  A luxurious shampoo that is chocked full of nutrients and silk proteins while adding elasticity to the coat to prevent breakage.

Flea and Tick Shampoo:  Kills fleas and ticks while cleaning and conditioning your pet’s skin and coat.  Leaves a fresh and clean fragrance.  Safe for puppies over 12 weeks.  Keep out of eyes.

Luxury Remoisturizer:  A luxurious conditioner to provide the coat with an abundance of hydration leaving the coat full of luster and shine. Improves the coat’s elasticity while transforming the coat into glowing, healthy strands of hair. This can also be diluted 50:1 to use as a detangler.

Aloe Silk! Hair Restore: Replenishes and mends the coat while working overtime to reduce breakage and increase elasticity.

Finishing the Dog: Tools and Finish Grooming

The coat should be free of mats and tangles.  The coat on this affectionate little dog should be profuse and luminous, while moving freely with the dog.  Lightly neaten the entire outline of the dog, removing any stray hairs that interrupt the flow of the dog.  Make sure not to over trim.  Finish with a light mist of hydrating spray.

If you are unable to keep up with the profuse coat with weekly bathing and brushing, by all means choose to have your Coton groomed into a shorter trim.  A puppy or modern trim still needs routine maintenance with bath and brush outs every 2 to 3 weeks.  This type of trim might be more suitable for you and your dog’s lifestyle.

Recommended Products:

Detangling & Dematting Spray: Take the drama out of combing and dematting with this spray.

Aloe Hydrating Spray:  Formulated to provide extreme hydration allowing the skin’s healthy oils to permeate the skin adding luxurious shine to the coat.  The inner filet of the Aloe plant allows the skin to maintain perfect hydration. 

High Sheen Finishing Spray: To add that extra shimmer to the finish.  It will also help manage any fly away hair.

General Health Care

Prep work is the foundation of all grooming.  Prep work includes ear cleaning, nail trimming, trimming the pads, anal glands, and proper dental hygiene.  Mastering these skills sets the professional pet stylist apart from the rest.  Prep work should be done before every bathing and grooming appointment.  All dogs need to have their ears checked and cleaned on a regular basis.  Some need to have the hair plucked from the ear canal. This allows the ear to have proper air circulation.  It is not necessary to remove all of the hair in the ear, as some serves as a barrier to foreign debris.  It is imperative that you are properly trained to pull ear hair before attempting this endeavor.  Proper nail care is also very important.  Long, unsightly nails are uncomfortable for the dog, as well as anyone they might jump on.  Long nails also compromise the shape of the foot.  Trimming the pads of the foot helps give the dog good traction on different surfaces, and can minimize the amount of dirt the dog tracks into the house.  It also affords the opportunity to treat and condition the paws from cracks and abrasions.  Anal glands should also be checked and expressed if they are full.  Some caring pet owners prefer to have the anal glands done by their veterinarian. Good dental hygiene is essential for a healthy pet as well.

Recommended Products:

Ear Care: This ear cleaner has a blend of oils to remove dirt, debris, and wax.

Ear Powder:  A must for removing the hair from the ear canal.  It will reduce slippage, while reducing odor, and contributing to drying out the ear canal.

Paw Balm: Use weekly to keep paws pliable and soft.  Paw Balm will aid in the prevention of pads to dry out and crack.

3 in 1 Healing Cream:  If your pet gets a wound, this cream promotes cell regeneration and healing.  It is formulated with Bitrex to discourage licking and chewing.

Tear Stain Aloe Wipes:  These wipes help remove odor and drainage while revitalizing the hair.  May be used as a facial wipe to clean the mouth area and face to restore freshness.

Nutritional Care

In order to maintain healthy skin and coat as well as overall health, it is important to provide good nutrition to your dog through a well-balanced diet, vitamins, and healthy treats.


Recommended Products:

Icelandic Salmon Oil:  Enhances the skin and coat while simultaneously supporting the immune system and joint health.

 Frequently Asked Questions

1/  What products do I need if I just purchased a Coton puppy?

Puppy Shampoo

Luxury Remoisturizing Conditioner

Facial Cleanser

Aloe Hydrating Spray

Ear Care Aloe Wipes

Tear Stain Aloe Wipes

2/ Do they require a lot of grooming?

Coton’s do require routine grooming.  As a young dog, it is imperative that you get the dog used to regular grooming.  A full brush out 2 to 3 times a week is best with baths every 1 to 2 weeks.  Never brush a dry coat, always lightly mist with a hydrating spray.  If a Coton is kept in a shorter trim, weekly brush outs are still preferred. Routine baths ranging between 1 to 3 weeks is desirable.   This is a breed that requires their caring owner to stay on top of routine maintenance.

3/  What is a common problem in the Coton De Tulear?

Every breed of dog has its own set of health concerns. Fortunately, the list is relatively short for Coton’s.  Heart disease and hypothyroidism are concerns in the breed.  A more common issue is allergies that cause itchy skin which can lead to pyoderma, a bacterial skin infection. The most common orthopedic disease is luxating patella ( loose knees).

4/ Does the Coton’s shed or cause allergies?

This is a breed that is good for allergy sufferers.  They shed very little which makes them a good candidate for people with allergies.  It is always a good idea to spend some time around the breed to make sure you do not have any reaction before bringing a Coton into your home.

5/ Are Coton De Tulear’s good with children?

The Coton is an excellent family companion, however, like all small breeds, it is up to the adults in the family to make certain the children treat the dog in a humane manner and that the children are taught how to properly hold and carry the dogs.

6/ What if I have a show dog?

Whether you have a show dog or a companion quality dog, the same basic care is given regarding nutrition, socialization, and hygiene.  A major difference is the method of grooming that is required and the conditioning for the show ring.  The Coton’s profuse and luxurious show coat can sometimes be overwhelming to maintain.  It is quite helpful if your breeder can help mentor you and lead you in the right direction upon entering the wonderful world of showing dogs.  A great place to start is with the national breed club like the United States of America Coton De Tulear Club,

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