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 natural long, white, dry, profuse, cotton-like coat, rounded lively dark eyes, black on white joie de vivre expressive smile and witty personality. The breed is somewhat longer than tall. The topline is very slightly arched over the loin with a happily carried tail curved over the back on the move. At rest, the tail is down with an upward hook at the tip revealing the distinguishing outline of the Coton de Tulear.
The head is short and triangular in shape when seen from above. The length of the head (nose to occiput) in relationship to the length of the body (point of shoulder to point of buttock) is 2 to 5. Expression - The expression is lively, intelligent, inquisitive, alert and happy. The Cotons joy of life is displayed in their expression. Eyes - The eyes are rather rounded, dark brown or black in color, lively, set wide apart with the inner corners and the outer corners on the same level. The rims of the eyelids are completely pigmented in black. Severe Fault - An overly large or bulging eye is a severe fault as is an almond shaped, obliquely set eye. Disqualifications - Eye/s of any color other than brown or black. Total lack of pigment on the eye rim(s).
Neck, Topline, Body
The neck is slightly arched, of moderate length, blends smoothly into the shoulders and is in balance with the height and length of the dog. Topline - The withers are only slightly pronounced. The topline runs smoothly from the withers to the loin. Beginning over the loin, is a graceful natural arch, not too accentuated, that carries through over the croup. The arch is continuous without flatness, resulting in a low tail set. Fault - A dip behind shoulder blades or a steep or flat croup is to be penalized. Severe Fault - A wheel back or flat back are to be severely penalized. Body - The body is longer than high. The height measured at the withers is two-thirds the length as measured from point of shoulder to point of buttocks. This proportion creates a rectangular outline. Chest - The chest is long, well-developed and well-let down to elbow level.
Shoulders - The shoulder is muscular. Shoulder Blades - The shoulder blades are laid back to somewhat near a 30 degree angle off the vertical. Upper Arm - The length of the upper arm corresponds approximately to that of the shoulder blade. The upper arm extends well back so that the elbow is placed directly below the top of the shoulder blade when viewed from the side and structurally the elbows are held close to the body. The scapula- humeral angle is about 120 degrees. Legs - The front legs are upright. The lower arms are vertical and parallel. They are well-muscled with good bone. The length of the lower arm corresponds approximately to that of the upper arm.
Angulation - The pelvis is sloped at approximately 30 degrees off the horizontal. The pelvis meets the femur at an angle of about 80 degrees. The angle of femur to lower thigh is about 120 degrees. Legs - The hind legs are muscular from hip to hock. Upper and Second Thigh - The upper thigh and lower thigh are approximately equal in length. Hock Joint - The hock joint is dry and well defined. The height of the hock joint when measured to the ground is slightly less than the length of the lower thigh.
This is one of the main characteristics of the breed from which its very name derives. The coat is very soft and supple, with the texture of cotton. It is never hard or rough. The coat is dense, profuse and can be very slightly wavy. A puppy coat is much softer in texture than an adult coat. Severe Fault -Atypical hair or hair that is tightly curled, wooly or silky. Skin - The skin is fine and stretched tight all over the body. Although of pink color, it can be pigmented.