The Coton de Tuler is a pure breed that originated in Madagascar more than three centuries ago. This rare dog is said to be very intelligent and gentle. The breed got its name because of its long, cotton-like hair and from the port city in Madagascar called Tulear where the dogs came from. It comes in three color varieties: white often with champagne-colored patches; black and white and tri-color. The average height of the breed is 9.5 to 13 inches and average weight is approximately 14 pounds. 
The Coton is a member of the Bichon family and is closely related to the Bichon Tenerife and Tenerife Terrier. These small and friendly dogs were the favorite pets of the Malagasy royalty and they were the only people allowed to own the dogs back then. In 1973, Dr. Robert Jay Russel discovered the breed and brought some to the United States calling them the Royal Dogs of Madagascar. In 1974, Madagascar released a stamp with the image of the Coton officially affirming its status as the country’s royal dog. 
Friendly, gentle, affectionate and alert, the Coton is a typical Bichon-type dog. This is a sociable breed that gets along very well with children and other animals. It gets extremely attached to its owner and will always follow the human around. The Coton is full of surprises and its most popular trick is to jump and walk on its hind legs. This dog learn very quickly but can be stubborn without proper leadership. 
The breed’s average life span is 14 to 19 years and is prone to developing heart problems, liver shunts and back problems. The Coton almost went extinct a few decades ago due to its small gene pool. Thankfully, fans of the breed was able to save it from extinction but it is still rare today. Cotons are rather expensive and prices can reach $1,800.00-$3,500 per dog.