Coton De Tulear History

The Coton de Tulear developed on the Island of Madagascar and is still the island's national dog. The Coton's ancestors were brought to Madagascar in the 16th and 17th century on pirate ships. Madagascar was a haven for pirates and pirate graveyards can still be seen there. Pirates established the only democratic kingdom for themselves on St. Mary's Island, Madagascar and took Malagasy wives. Whether the dogs were brought along to control rats on the ships, as companions for long voyages or were confiscated from other ships as booty, no one knows. Tulear is a port which is now also known as Toliara. The Coton is of the Bichon dog type, linked most closely to the now-extinct Bichon Tenerife and Tenerife Terrier. There have been many stories circulating about the history of the Coton in recent years. Most of them are untrue. The Coton de Tulear was never feral on Madagascar. It did not hunt wild boar or alligators. It was a companion dog of the Merina (the ruling tribe) in Madagascar. It has very little prey drive and is not a hunting dog.

The cottony coat may be the result of a single gene mutation. This small, friendly dog caught the fancy of the Malagasy royalty and they were the only people allowed to keep Cotons. When Dr. Robert Jay Russell discovered the breed in Madagascar in 1973 and brought the first ones to America, he coined the phrase the Royal Dog of Madagascar and the name stuck. They were also imported occasionally into France by returning French colonists but weren't officially imported to Europe until the 1970's.

The Coton de Tulear was first formally recognised as a breed by the Societe Centrale Canine (the French national kennel club) in 1970, and was accepted by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale, which published the breed standard in 1972.The Coton de Tuléar is recognised internationally through the Fédération Cynologique Internationale, and is also recognised by major kennel clubs; The Kennel Club (UK) in the Toy Group, the Canadian Kennel Club in the Toy Group, and the United Kennel Club (US) in the Companion Group, using standards based on the Fédération Cynologique Internationale standard. It is not recognised by the American Kennel Club, the New Zealand Kennel Club, or the Australian Kennel Union. It also may be recognised in the English-speaking world by any of the very large number of minor registries, clubs, and internet based dog registry businesses.

In the United States, another standard for the Coton de Tulear was developed based on the breed in Madagascar in 1974 by a biologist, Dr. Robert Jay Russell, and the Coton de Tulear Club of America was formed in 1976 by the same person. The American Kennel Club has offered Foundation Stock Service (their first step in breed recognition) to the Coton de Tulear since 1996, but the Coton de Tulear Club of America is opposed to American Kennel Club recognition for its breed. As a result many other the Coton de Tulear breed clubs have been formed, accepting one or both of the standards for the breed. which started in 2001.

The Coton is a playful, affectionate, intelligent breed. It loves people and as a result can have Separation anxiety. It loves life and is enthusiastic and lively. It is a very vocal breed, grunting and making other noises when having fun. Some Cotons have a habit of walking on their hind legs to please people. Some Cotons may exhibit shyness or cautiousness in new situations, especially around strangers, but this can be overcome with training. Most Cotons love meeting new people and are very curious in new situations. The dogs are very trainable with praise, instead of punishment, as they thrive to please people.They are great with other dogs.

The Coton has a long coat which needs a thorough grooming everyday, and a bath about once a month. Cotons like Poodles are Hypoallergenic so they have hair a lot like human hair). Because they have hair, they don't shed. Instead, they lose a small amount of hair. Cotons need a short walk every day for exercise, but will appreciate a play session as often as possible and have the endurance to go on a long hike.

The Coton is in general a healthy breed. Some dogs have had stomach issues. Being fairly rare, it has not been overbred or bred in Puppy Farms and as a result there are no genetic diseases that are prevalent in the breed. Some Coton fanciers are worried that, due to inbreeding practices common in other breeds that have become popular in the US, this may change. However, they are currently known to be long-lived and healthy, normally living between 14 and 18 years.




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