Coton De Tulear

Last updated June 2018

A breed standard is the guideline which describes the ideal characteristics, temperament and appearance including the correct colour of a breed and ensures that the breed is fit for function. Absolute soundness is essential. Breeders and judges should at all times be careful to avoid obvious conditions or exaggerations which would be detrimental in any way to the health, welfare or soundness of this breed.

From time to time certain conditions or exaggerations may be considered to have the potential to affect dogs in some breeds adversely, and judges and breeders are requested to refer to the Breed Watch information related to this breed for details of any such current issues. If a feature or quality is desirable it should only be present in the right measure. However, if a dog possesses a feature, characteristic or colour described as highly undesirable, it must not be rewarded in the show ring.

General appearance

Small dog of white appearance with dark pigmentation. Slightly longer than high. Long coat of distinctive cotton texture.


Lively, intelligent, adaptable and agile.


Loyal, friendly and good natured.

Head and skull

Triangular viewed from above. Skull, viewed from the front, slightly rounded, rather wide in relation to length. Slight stop, slight frontal groove. Ratio of muzzle length to skull length 5:9. Muzzle straight with definite underjaw. Nose black with open nostrils.


Round, dark and expressive. Spaced well apart. Black eye rims.


High set slightly above the level of the eyes, pendulous, slender, well covered with fine long hair.


Jaws strong, with a perfect, regular and complete scissor bite, i.e. upper teeth closely overlapping lower teeth and set square to the jaws. Full dentition desirable. Lips black.


Well muscled, slightly arched, tight skinned. Of moderate length and in balance with height and length.


Shoulders well laid back. Shoulder, upper arm and forearm of approximately equal lengths. Viewed from the front, forelegs straight. Well boned.


A distinctive feature of the breed, the topline rises slightly to a well-muscled loin and falls away gently over the croup to a low set tail. Ratio of height at withers to length from point of shoulder to point of buttock, 2:3. Forechest well developed. Brisket let down to elbow. Well-sprung ribs, moderate tuck up.


Well-muscled legs, parallel when viewed from behind. Moderate angulation.


Small, round and tight. Black pads.


Well feathered, low set, tapering and curved. At rest, carried below the hock with tip slightly raised. On the move, carried in a gentle curve above the back, with point towards the nape, withers, back or loin, in line with the spine. In dogs with abundant coat, the tip may touch the dorsal region but should not rest on the back.


Smart, free and smooth. True fore and aft with topline retained on the move. Never high stepping.


Of unique cotton texture without woolly undercoat. The coat is full and supple, standing away from the body. Can be slightly wavy, not heavy, curly, coarse or silky. Never trimmed except to tidy feet. Coat texture is more important than length.


Predominantly white, a few slight shadings of light grey or fawn/apricot permitted on the ears. On the other parts of the body such shadings can be tolerated if they do not alter the general appearance of the white coat. Younger dogs may have higher levels of colour.


Dogs 25-30 cms (9¾ - 11¾ ins); bitches 22-27 cms (8¾ - 10½ ins).


Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog and on the dog’s ability to perform its traditional work.


Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.

*Note for prospective puppy buyers

Size – The Kennel Club breed standard is a guide and description of the ideal for the breed; the size as described does not imply that a dog will match the measurements given (height or weight). A dog might be larger or smaller than the size measurements stated in the breed standard.