Grooming Your Coton de Tulear

Grooming your companion

 The Coton de Tulear is relatively easy breed to groom and keep its Coton like coat looking beautiful. The Coton sheds minimally and has no doggy dander so is an excellent choice for people with allergies. The Coton’s hair is soft and should look wind-blown and natural in appearance. Cotons usually enter the world predominantly white with champagne, cream, brown or sometimes black usually on the ears, these spots of colour usually disappear or fade leaving the dog nearly pure white by adulthood.

 Now you have brought your puppy Coton home. Its time to brush him, between the ages of 8 weeks - 8 months his coat hair is short and soft, it will not take you very long to groom him. It is important to groom your puppy everyday for 15 minutes to get the puppy used to being groomed and handled causing a lot less trouble for you and your dog later in his life.  At seven to eight months the puppy coat will start to fall out as the adolescent coat is emerging, changing its puppy coat into an adolescent coat, which is not yet as heavy or long as his adult coat will be. The adolescent coat can be quite a difficult coat to maintain, it tends to mat very easily. This is the time that you will need to start your daily grooming without fail to prevent mats and cotters forming. If you have being grooming your puppy everyday since you got him, he will be used to being groomed by now and you will not have any problems with him. He will get his adult coat at around fifteen months.  Keep up the grooming every day for 15 minutes and you will find that your Coton has a cotter free coat which looks elegant and beautiful.

 The adult Coton’s hair do not fall out all over your house, they stay in the coat waiting for you to groom the coat to remove them. Most adults whom have been spayed or neutered do not shed at all, you will get the odd one or two. The only times the Coton sheds its hair is when the female is experiencing changes in her hormones due to a season or pregnancy, and then shedding is only minimal.

Coton de Tulear’s destined for the show ring in the UK are not permitted to get their coat trimmed in any fashion, in fact the only part of the Coton allowed to be trimmed are their feet and pads. Owners who have their Coton’s as companions only, tend to sport the puppy cut which means that their coats are shorter and easier to maintain.

Using the correct grooming equipment is essential and will help save a lot of time and make your Coton’s coat looks wonderful.


Combs: a combination of half fine & half medium comb known as a poodle comb. A Flea comb to help remove sleep from the eyes and food or dirt from the facial area, A finishing comb to check your Coton is mat free.

Brushes: Pin head brushes and slicker brushes help remove mats & dead hair.

Toe nail clippers:

Scissors: Blunt edge to trim hair around feet and also bull nose scissors to trim the hair between pads

Grooming Table ( Not essential): You can buy one but you can also use a rigid surface topped with a rubber backed bath mat so your Coton does not slip. Using a table helps prevent your back from hurting, when you are grooming your Coton.


Ear care powder and ear wash available from your veterinarian

Toothpaste available from your veterinarian

Eye cleanser to keep around the eye area clean, (NEVER PUT INTO THE EYE) I use Cukoton Powder which I make myself it reduces tear stains and prevents new stains forming, I use Cukoton powder around the mouth area too. Here is a before and after picture of the same Coton de Tulear

          Before                                                                                                               After using Cukoton Powder

Detangle & conditioner spray helps to prevent tangles after bathing and hair breakage

Bathing equipment:

Rubber mat for your bath to stop your pet from slipping

Sponge or wash cloth

Cotton wool to put into his ears so that water doesn't get in

add a drop of mineral oil into your Cotons eyes to help guard against soap irritation

Conditioning Shampoo

Bath towels for body and hand towel for face

Hair dryer

Mats & Cotters

If you do encounter badly matted hair you must separate the mat from the coat either using your fingers or using a wide toothed comb. Gently work the mat from side to side trying to free some of the hair into smaller sections, this causing less damage to the coat. Avoid hair breakage as much as possible by using the spray on conditioners and detanglers. If this does not work saturate the mat in the detangle product, leaving it on for 20-30 minutes, then go through the above procedure once again.

If you brush your Coton daily for 15 minutes you will prevent mats from forming, thus keeping his coat in top condition.

Using brushes & combs.

By now your dog is used to been groomed, because you have been brushing him since the first day that you got him. Now he has his adult coat, it is important to brush him thoroughly to prevent any cotters.

Start grooming by brushing your dogs facial hair with the large toothed comb. On the head, start under the chin and then all around the facial area. Work down the ears. Then comb him down his chest, lay him on his side grooming all down his left side then do the same with the right hand side. Make sure that you always brush to the skin. It is easier to brush the coat in sections

To brush the legs, start at the toes and work up the thigh in layers towards the shoulder. Check the inside of the front legs as this area mats very quickly. Now its time to brush his back legs still using the large tooth comb. When you have finished grooming him all over with the large comb it is now time to use the fine side of the comb. Follow the procedure the same as above always grooming in sections brushing to the skin. By now combing or brushing will be very easy. Once you have been through the coat all over with both combs its time to use the flea comb on your Coton’s face. Gently groom his muzzle making sure that all dirt and food is removed. Be very careful when cleaning his eyes with the flea comb, as not to come into contact with the eye, just the hair near his tear ducts. Each time you use the flea comb clean it before going onto next side.

Eye care

Eye care is very important and needs to be done every day, it is important to remove any mucous or dirt using a flea comb, so that you’re Coton will not rub their eyes and this will also prevent any staining around the tear ducts. Use your flea comb to remove any mucous then use eye wipes to cleanse the eyes.

If your Coton has redness, weepy eyes or swelling you will need to consult you veterinarian immediately for medical advice.

If your Coton has eye stains there are a number of cleaning products on the market to help reduce the colour of the stains. Eye stains can be caused by a number of reasons eye infections, over

producing tear ducts, inverted eyelid, or simply not been cleaned daily. The cleaning products work

best if you use them every day on the affected areas.

 Ear care

Always check your Cotons ears weekly. If you see any hair growing inside the ear canal you must remove it immediately. By using a small amount of ear powder, available from your vet in each ear will help you to get a grip on the hairs to be removed easier. Very gently using your thumb and index

finger pull a few hairs out at a time until the ear canal is clear. To clean the outer ear dip a cotton wool ball into a canine ear solution and carefully clean outer area. You may also use ear wipes as they work very well.


If you see your Coton constantly scratching his ears or shaking his head and there is brown smelly discharge present take your Coton to your vets and he will give you ear drops and show you how to use them correctly. It is always safer to consult your vet if you are unsure about any health aspect involving your pet.

 Teeth care

To keep your Coton’s teeth in pristine condition, it is important to brush them twice weekly, but preferably every day if possible. It is necessary to use canine toothpaste available from your vet. You can either use a tooth brush, or finger gauze pad. It is easier if you have been brushing your Cotons teeth since he was a puppy.

 Bathing your Coton

Bathing your Coton is up to you, depending on if you show your Coton, where you live or where you walk you pet. Most Coton owners bath their dogs every three to four weeks. It can be done more often if you require it but always remember it must be done properly every time.

Before bathing your Coton must have his hair thoroughly groomed removing all matting and dead hairs. Never bath you’re Coton with mats in his hair as these mats will join with other coat hairs causing an even bigger mat.

Bathing: Place your Coton onto the rubber mat. Wet his hair thoroughly except for his head. Apply the shampoo and work it into lather. Rub his coat all over his back making sure that his entire coat is fully lathered. Always wash him under his belly and the insides of all of his legs. Always leave your Coton’s head until last as not very many dogs like having their faces washed. Wet the head using a sponge then apply the shampoo making sure that none of the shampoo goes near his eyes. Rinse your dog well, and then give him a second shampooing if he needs it. It is extremely important to rinse out every bit of shampoo, a good way to check that all the shampoo has been rinsed out is to rinse until the water turns clear, as leaving shampoo in your dogs coat can lead to skin problems and a dull coat.

During bathing never let your dog stand in water always use a shower head and leave the plug out of the bath. While your Coton is in the bath waiting to get dried use the detangler and conditioning spray then start to dry your pet.

Drying: Squeeze all the water from his coat and towel dry him. Place him on your grooming table and use another towel to blot more of the water out. Let him have a good shake and then remove the cotton wool from his ears. Stand your pet or lay him on one side if you prefer and begin drying him with the cold -medium heat of a hair dryer. Always dry his roots first then carry on through the rest of his coat. Use a hair slide to set locks of hair up right to dry the root first, because Cotons have such a long coat this will stop the ends of the coat from becoming over-dryed and ruined.  I never groom him until all of his hair is dry. You can use your fingers to gently lift the hair as you are blow drying to help give his coat extra body. Once the coat is fully dry then you can brush and groom your Coton. Always finish grooming him by using the flea comb around his facial area. Finally give your Coton a treat and cuddle for being so well behaved.

Most Pet stores will have available most of the grooming equipment and products needed to grooming your Coton de Tulear.