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Cotonese (Coton de Tulear & Maltese Mix): Info, Pictures, Traits

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By Emma Braby

Cotonese (Coton de Tulear & Maltese Mix)

Height: 8 – 10 inches
Weight: 7 – 13 pounds
Lifespan: 14 – 17 years
Colors: White, cream, biscuit
Suitable for: Families with children, those who have plenty of time to give, multi-pet household, those with slight allergies
Temperament: Sweet, happy-go-lucky, affectionate, comical, needy

The Cotonese is the canine concoction of the Maltese and the lesser-known Coton de Tulear. The Maltese have long been favored by aristocrats dating back to 3,500 B.C. The Coton de Tulear’s history is shrouded in mystery because they were a closely guarded secret of the Madagascan people.

One theory about the Coton de Tulear’s origins suggests that they are related to the Maltese. But whatever his history, the Maltese and the Coton de Tulear are very similar in their appearance and personality. Together they have created an equally similar pooch, the Cotonese. Being the best of both worlds, the Cotonese is an excellent option for those owners who cannot decide between his two parents.

He is an energetic ball of white fluff that is eager to please his master. He is a friendly little pooch who is full of love, adoration, and fun entertainment. Always wanting to be by your side, if you are seeking a funny little ground-cloud doggo, the Cotonese fits the bill.

Join us on our Cotonese discovery to see if you are a match made in doggy heaven.

Divider 1Cotonese Puppies


Before you buy the Cotonese puppy, you must remember that he is a Maltese Coton de Tulear mixed breed that could inherit the personality and appearance of either parent. Thankfully, because his parents are so similar, you won’t be left wondering too much about what he might turn out like.

His Maltese parent is described as gentle, playful, and charming, and the Coton de Tulear is described as charming, bright, and happy-go-lucky. So the Cotonese will be a mixture of these delightful characteristics.

The Cotonese is a small-sized pup, but don’t let his small stature fool you. He is very energetic for a little pooch and will keep you on your toes for sure. Don’t expect a sedentary lap dog, because you won’t find one in the Cotonese. You will need to match his energy and keep him entertained.

Otherwise, he will become naughty and mischievous, looking for other ways to catch your attention. Although he is small, he can get into a lot of mischief and get himself, and you, into trouble. You have been warned!

But, if you can keep up with him, he is a happy-go-lucky pooch who will bring sunshine to the dullest of days. He craves human company and will need to be placed with a family who can spend most, if not all, of their time with him.

He is happy to travel with you, to work, to the stores, or on vacation, and he is an adaptable pooch. He could also fit in your handbag or rucksack, so there really is no excuse not to take him everywhere that you go.

If you cannot guarantee the Cotonese the company, he is not the breed for you. This is his most significant demand, and if you leave him for more than a few hours, he will become super anxious. If you are sure that you can guarantee him this, you are in for a fantastic doggy partnership.

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3 Little-Known Facts About the Cotonese

1. The Cotonese is a canine clown.

The Cotonese is a comical hybrid because both of his parents are known to be funny little dogs. He will provide hours and hours of entertainment, and he gets real enjoyment from making everyone laugh. When everyone is tired from their hard days’ work, he is still raring to go jesting around. His Coton de Tulear parent is famous for performing and standing on his back legs too.

2. The Cotonese is a top-notch agility courser.

If you are seeking an agile performing pooch, the Cotonese is your guy. His love for fun, bundles of energy, and quick-moving body make him the perfect candidate for doggy agility classes or competitions.

3. The Cotonese’s coat feels like cotton.

He is not called the Cotonese for nothing; his coat is as soft as cotton candy. It needs daily grooming to ensure that it doesn’t matt, but he is a pleasure to stroke and groom. Grooming will also strengthen your bond with him.

Parent Breeds of the Cotonese
Image Credit: (L) pablo11, Shutterstock | (R) Jumpstory

Divider 3Temperament & Intelligence of the Cotonese 🧠

This pooch is an easy-going dog who loves everyone, and everything that life has to offer. He will greet you with the widest grin in the morning, and set you up for a good day ahead. He loves to snuggle on the sofa or your lap at the end of a full day of playtime. Everything that you do, he will want to do with you. This guy is going to be your partner in crime for the next 14 to 17 years.

He is also very sociable with other humans outside of the family unit. Eager to be everyone’s best friend, your extended family and guests will love coming to visit you.

He can be a little bit yappy if you allow him to be, but nipping this in the bud when he is a puppy should prevent him from developing ‘little dog syndrome’. Generally, he is a well-mannered dog if trained correctly, unlike many other small breeds. He is less demanding and diva-like compared to his Maltese parent, and this is one of the Cotonese’s appeals.

He is a very intelligent dog, and because he is always on the go, he will be happiest when his mind is stimulated. On top of his daily exercise, he needs a lot of playtime during the day. It would be wise for you to invest in a basket full of toys for him to entertain himself with. Especially for those times when you need to be a grown-up adult and get jobs done.

Are These Dogs Good for Families? 🏡

Yes, the Cotonese is an excellent dog for most families. He is tolerant of younger children who can get a little overzealous with their handling of him. But, you should be mindful that smaller children have been known to mishandle smaller dogs who they treat like teddy bears. This is a personal choice dependant on your own circumstances and children, but one to think about seriously.

He is suited to apartment living, large country homes, and anything in between. Just as long as he is allowed to go wherever you go, he is happy. He will not appreciate ‘no dogs on the sofa’ rules. He would enjoy access to an outdoor space. But as long as you exercise him and stimulate his mind throughout the day with training and playtime, he could survive in a home without it.

Does This Breed Get Along with Other Pets? 🐶 😽

The Cotonese is a well-mannered dog who wants to be everyone’s friend. He will get along with other household pets, be that dogs, cats, and any other pet that you might have. He will also probably try to play with the local cats that enter his yard, entertaining them with his tricks.

This is, of course, all dependant on whether he is socialized well as a puppy, and not allowed to get away with unruly ‘little dog’ behaviors.

Divider 4Things to Know When Owning a Cotonese

Despite being an easy-going pooch, the Cotonese has a few day-to-day requirements that you need to take note of. Without these, he will not be the happy dog that everyone knows and loves.

Food & Diet Requirements 🦴

The Cotonese will eat around 2 cups of kibble every day. This might sound like a lot for a little pooch, but he needs a lot of energy to fuel his day. He will do well on a high-quality kibble that provides a well-balanced diet.

He will also need a kibble that is specifically designed for small breed dogs. Simply because his mouth is smaller and he’ll struggle to eat normal-sized kibble. Dried kibble will also help to break down the build-up of plaque because smaller breeds are known to suffer from periodontal diseases.

The MSD Veterinary Manual suggests that all puppies should eat a minimum protein content of 22%, and adults should eat 18%. Looking for kibbles that are rich in omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, such as salmon and flaxseed, will keep his skin nourished and cotton coat looking healthy.

Small breed dogs are also at risk of suffering from hypoglycemia, also known as low blood sugar. Therefore the Cotonese should eat little and often, and 3 meals a day will keep his blood sugar levels topped up.

Exercise 🐕

The Cotonese will need around 45 minutes of exercise every day to keep healthy and stimulated. Ideally, this needs to be outside of the home environment to invigorate his mind. As a very intelligent dog, his exercise routine should be mixed up to keep him interested. Taking him to the local doggy park to make new buddies will be a big hit.

The extra playtime that he will enjoy should be on top of his 45 minutes of daily exercise. He will also enjoy challenging training sessions or brain games that will keep his little mind ticking. Treat-filled puzzle toys are a fantastic way to test his mind, and he will happily entertain himself for hours with one of these.

He is much more energetic than his Maltese parent. This is one of the many reasons why some more active families opt for the Cotonese over the Maltese.

Training 🦮

The Cotonese needs early socialization so that he grows into the easy-going and well-mannered pooch that he should be. Remember, never allow him to get away with naughty behaviors just because he is small.

Being so intelligent and eager to please, he is a doggy dream to train. As a result, first-time dog owners will find him an uncomplicated introduction to the world of dog training. Positive reinforcement training is the way to go. With a treat or two and plenty of verbal praise, he will come on leaps and bounds in no time.

Crate training is advised with this guy, simply because of how anxious he can become when left alone for too long. Make sure it is the right size for his small body. Otherwise, he will be able to slip out of it with no effort at all. He will come to love his small safe haven, and you will be grateful for it too knowing that he cannot get up to mischief hen you are out of the house.

Grooming ✂️

The Cotonese has a long and luscious coat that is usually wispy, rather than silky, like his Maltese parent. This makes it prone to matting, so you will need to groom him every day. It takes a lot of grooming to get it to a glorious shiny state, but he is likely to love the attention.

Both of his parents are listed as hypoallergenic dog breeds, so this makes the Cotonese pup one too. This is excellent news if you are a family who has slight dog allergies but loves dogs – because he is much easier to tolerate. This is another one of his appeals for those dog lovers who aren’t a fan of excess dog hair.

Be sure to brush his teeth regularly with specially designed doggy toothpaste. This is another way to keep his compact mouth healthy and delay nasty periodontal diseases. Bathing him more frequently compared to other dogs is essential with his coat; look to do so once every 4 to 6 weeks, depending on how dirty he gets.

Health Conditions ❤️

The Cotonese is a healthy dog who enjoys a very long lifespan of 14 to 17 years. Being a mixed breed, he can inherit the health concerns that affect both of his parents, so be sure to take a note of the following:

Minor Conditions
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Hydrocephalus
  • Shaker dog syndrome
  • Portosystemic shunt
  • Periodontal diseases
Serious Conditions
  • Patella luxation
  • Cardiac conditions

Male vs Female

A dog’s personality is shaped more by training rather than gender. However, many Cotonese owners suggest that male Cotonese are likely to be more energetic and boisterous. If you are looking for an extra bouncy Cotonese, be sure to see the pups with their littermates. This can often tell you what their personality is likely to be like when they are older.

The only real difference is that male Cotonese’s are typically larger compared to females. But being such a small breed anyway, this isn’t likely to be a significant deal-breaker for most families.

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So, there you have it, the Cotonese in all his fluffy cotton candy splendor. He is more energetic than his Maltese parent, which is great for those families who like small dogs but want a bit more enthusiasm and fun. He will entertain you and your whole family for hours on end, and he is a happy canine to have around.

Unlike many other dog breeds, there isn’t a lot of must-haves when it comes to the Cotonese. As long as you can give him company, energy, and love, he is an adaptable pooch who can slot into most family homes.

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Featured Image: Gusztav Bartfai, Shutterstock

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