The Coton de Tulear was bred to be an affectionate dog breed that thrives on being fussed and handled. The Coton’s fluffy white coat, diminutive size and a demanding facial expression begs you to pick it up and allow it to nestle in your lap.
A well-proportioned Coton must always have a body that is longer then it is high at the withers. It’s slightly spherical skull is almost double the length of its muzzle. The Coton’s head is also slightly shorter than half the length of the body. When viewed from above its head has a triangular shape. On the tip of the Coton’s short straight muzzle lies a small black nose with wide nostrils. The Coton’s black lips fit tightly around the mouth, covering a set of well aligned teeth that are allowed to close into a scissor, pincer or inverted bite as long as there is no loss of contact. It is acceptable for this breed to be missing both the first premolar and the third molar. The eyes are dark, round and set wide apart and the dog’s pendulous ears are triangular and set high on the skull. Some grey or red-roan shading on the ear is acceptable.
The Coton’s well-muscled neck is slightly arched and is firmly attached to the rest of the body. The Coton’s back also has a slighty convex profile that starts at the withers and reaches its well-muscled loins. The loins give in to a short, well-muscled croup that comes at an oblique angle to the rest of the body. The Coton’s chest is also surprisingly deep, and its tummy should also be slightly tucked up.
The tail is set low and is either carried low while at rest, or held curved over its back when the dog is excited or active. When standing, all the limbs of the body should be straight and should meet the ground at a right angle. Even though the Coton’s limbs are relatively thin, they shouldn’t be weak. The Coton de Tulear’s stride should be energetic and flowning but isn’t required to cover much ground.