The Coton de Tulear is a breed of small dog. It is renowned for its fluffy white coat that resembles cotton. The breed is the national dog of Madagascar and is heavily associated with the Merina people, who are Madagascan royalty.
The Coton de Tulear was developed on the island of Madagascar during the 16th and 17th centuries. The phrase literally translates from French as "Cotton of Tulear," named after Tulear (now Toliara), a city on the island. The breed's ancestral stock includes native feral dogs and various breeds that were imported to the island by visiting pirates and settlers. The Coton de Tulear's appearance is similar to that of the Bichon Frise or Maltese breeds. All of these breeds are lap dogs with thick, soft coats.