Coton De Tulear vs Bichon Frise: 5 Key Differences

Written by August Croft
Published: April 6, 2022
© Francisco Gomez Perpinan/Shutterstock.com
Share this post on:

Advertisement


When it comes to comparing toy dog breeds, are there any differences between the Coton De Tulear vs Bichon Frise? While both may appear similar upon first glance, there are more differences than you may expect. But what might those differences be, and how can you learn how to tell these two dog breeds apart?

In this article, we will compare and contrast the Coton De Tulear with the Bichon Frise so that you can fully understand both of these beautiful and soft dog breeds. We will go over the ancestry and behaviors of both of these breeds as well, including all of their similarities. Let’s get started!

Comparing Coton De Tulear vs Bichon Frise

Coton De Tulear vs Bichon Frise
The Bichon Frise is larger in both weight and height compared to the Coton De Tulear, though not by much.
Coton De TulearBichon Frise
Size9-11 inches tall; 8-15 pounds9.5-11.5 inches tall; 11-18 pounds
AppearanceGray, black, or white coat colors; distinct and soft textured coat that is incredibly soft. Floppy ears often appear longer due to hair placement.  Fluffy white coat similar to a poodle in texture; floppy ears, though they are difficult to see through fur around the face. Sturdy and strong legs.
AncestryUnknown when the breed first came about, but was brought to the United States from Madagascar in the 1970s; likely a dog used for hunting mice on shipsAn old breed originally bred in France and Spain. Used as a rodent hunting dog onboard ships, as a royal lap dog, and as a circus performer in later years
BehaviorEager to please and easy to train; an ideal small dog for families with young children. Sunny and loyal, they do best with positive reinforcement and consistencyIncredibly happy and excitable; prefers to get its exercise by following its owners around the house. Not a very good guard dog, given their friendly nature, and can be stubborn when training
Lifespan13-16 years12-15 years

Key Differences Between Coton De Tulear vs Bichon Frise

Coton De Tulear vs Bichon Frise
The fur colors of the Coton De Tulear include white, gray, and black, while the Bichon Frise coat only comes in white.

©BIGANDT.COM/Shutterstock.com

There are many key differences between a Coton De Tulear and a Bichon Frise. The Bichon Frise is larger in both weight and height compared to the Coton De Tulear, though not by much. Additionally, the fur colors of the Coton De Tulear include white, gray, and black, while the Bichon Frise coat only comes in white. Finally, the Coton De Tulear lives a slightly longer life than the Bichon Frise.

Let’s discuss all of these differences in more detail now!

Coton De Tulear vs Bichon Frise: Size

Coton De Tulear vs Bichon Frise
The Coton De Tulear lives a slightly longer life than the Bichon Frise.

©Eudyptula/Shutterstock.com

The Coton De Tulear and the Bichon Frise are similar enough in size and weight that it can be difficult to tell them apart upon first glance. However, the Bichon Frise is larger than the Coton De Tulear in both size and weight. Let’s look closer at those figures now.

The average Coton De Tulear reaches 9 to 11 inches tall, while the Bichon Frise grows slightly larger, at 9.5 to 11.5 inches tall. Additionally, the Bichon Frise frequently reaches anywhere from 11 to 18 pounds, while the Coton De Tulear weighs 8 to 15 pounds, depending on gender. However, these two dogs are both considered toy or small breeds, and their sizes often overlap.

Coton De Tulear vs Bichon Frise: Appearance

Coton De Tulear vs Bichon Frise
The average Coton De Tulear reaches 9 to 11 inches tall, while the Bichon Frise grows slightly larger, at 9.5 to 11.5 inches tall.

©Jeanette Dietl/Shutterstock.com

Unless you know what you are looking for, a Coton De Tulear can look extremely similar to a Bichon Frise. However, there are some differences to keep an eye out for. The Bichon Frise only comes in a poofy white coat, while the Coton De Tulear comes in white, black, and gray. Additionally, the hair of the Coton De Tulear is longer and wavy compared to the shorter and tightly curled fur of the Bichon Frise.

Both of these dogs have incredibly soft fur coats, which is partly what the Coton De Tulear is named after. You may also not notice the ears of either of these dogs, depending on how their coat is cut and styled. The ears of the Coton De Tulear are floppy and slightly longer compared to the floppy ears of the Bichon Frise.

Coton De Tulear vs Bichon Frise: Ancestry and Breeding

Coton De Tulear vs Bichon Frise
The hair of the Coton De Tulear is longer and wavy compared to the shorter and tightly curled fur of the Bichon Frise.

©Ieva Tvaronavicute/Shutterstock.com

There are some ancestral differences between the Coton De Tulear and the Bichon Frise. For example, the Bichon Frise is an older breed of dog compared to the Coton De Tulear. Brought to the United States from Madagascar, the Coton De Tulear became popular in the 1970s, while the Bichon Frise was an extremely popular lap dog among French and Spanish royalty.

Both of these toy dog breeds worked on ships, hunting rats and other pests. However, the Bichon Frise became useful to many different circus acts and performing, while the Coton De Tulear remained aboard ships. However, both of these dogs are ideal companion animals for a variety of homes.

Coton De Tulear vs Bichon Frise: Behavior

Coton De Tulear vs Bichon Frise
Brought to the United States from Madagascar, the Coton De Tulear became popular in the 1970s, while the Bichon Frise was an extremely popular lap dog among French and Spanish royalty.

©iStock.com/Melanie Long

The Bichon Frise and the Coton De Tulear have similar behaviors. They are both extremely happy and loyal dogs, but the Coton De Tulear is often easier to train than the Bichon Frise. While the Bichon Frise can exhibit some stubbornness while housebreaking, the Coton De Tulear can react negatively to aggression or negative emotions in the home.

Coton De Tulear vs Bichon Frise: Lifespan

Coton De Tulear vs Bichon Frise
While the Bichon Frise can exhibit some stubbornness while housebreaking, the Coton De Tulear can react negatively to aggression or negative emotions in the home.

©Svetography/Shutterstock.com

A final difference between Coton De Tulear dogs and Bichon Frises is their lifespans. The Coton De Tulear lives slightly longer than the Bichon Frise, though it all depends on the breeding and care of the individual dog. For example, the Bichon Frise lives an average of 12 to 15 years, while the Coton De Tulear lives 13-16 years.

Ready to discover the top 10 cutest dog breeds in the entire world?

How about the fastest dogs, the largest dogs and those that are -- quite frankly -- just the kindest dogs on the planet? Each day, AZ Animals sends out lists just like this to our thousands of email subscribers. And the best part? It's FREE. Join today by entering your email below.

What's the right dog for you?

Dogs are our best friends but which breed is your perfect match?

X-Small
Small
Medium
Large
Xtra-Large

If you have kids or existing dogs select:

Kids
Other Dogs

Should they be Hypoallergenic?

Yes
No
How important is health?
Which dog groups do you like?
How much exercise should your dog require?
What climate?
How much seperation anxiety?
How much yappiness/barking?

How much energy should they have?

The lower energy the better.
I want a cuddle buddy!
About average energy.
I want a dog that I have to chase after constantly!
All energy levels are great -- I just love dogs!
How much should they shed?
How trainable/obedient does the dog need to be?
How intelligent does the dog need to be?
How much chewing will allow?

The Featured Image

dog food for Maltese
Maltese bichon playing outdoors with a ball and running
© Francisco Gomez Perpinan/Shutterstock.com

Share this post on:
About the Author

I am a non-binary freelance writer working full-time in Oregon. Graduating Southern Oregon University with a BFA in Theatre and a specialization in creative writing, I have an invested interest in a variety of topics, particularly Pacific Northwest history. When I'm not writing personally or professionally, you can find me camping along the Oregon coast with my high school sweetheart and Chihuahua mix, or in my home kitchen, perfecting recipes in a gleaming cast iron skillet.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.