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Coton de Tulear

Coton de Tulear

No Additional Pictures
Breed Organization
United States of America Coton de Tulear Club
Madagascar Coton de Tulear Club of America - Non Affiliated with AKC
Native Country
Other Names
Life Expectancy
Approximately 12-17 Years
Litter Size
Average 3-6 Puppies
Breed Group
Miscellaneous Class - AKC
Breed Appearance
Multiple registries with differing standards describe the Coton de Tulear, but in general, it has very soft hair (as opposed to fur), comparable to a cotton ball, a prominent black nose, large expressive eyes (usually covered by bangs) and somewhat short legs. The Coton de Tulear's tail should curl over its back like some other dog breeds

Breed Description
Head: Short, triangular when viewed from the top. Domed skull. Stop not very pronounced. Straight nosebridge. Thin lips. Black or dark reddish-tan nose.
Ears: Set on high, pendulous, thin, triangular. Covered with white or colored hair (yellow spots, a combination of yellow and black, or a few black hairs).
Eyes: Round, dark, widely spaced.
Body: Long. Muscular neck without dewlap. Well-developed chest. Loin very slightly arched, well-muscled. Standing low to the ground. Very slightly arched, well-muscled back. Rounded, broad croup.
Tail: Set on low, approximately 18 cm long, thick at the base, thin at the tip. At rest hanging below the hock with the tip raised.
Hair: Approximately 8 cm long, thin, slightly wavy, cottony.
Coat: White. Some yellow spots, particularly on the ears, are allowed.
Size: Dog: 25 to 32 cm. Bitch: 22 to 28 cm.
Weight: Dog: 4 to 6 kg. Bitch: 3.5 to 5 kg.

It is believed that the Tenerife dog was brought to Madagascar and mated with a dog of the island, creating an unexpected result. The Coton's ancestors were possibly brought to Madagascar in the 16th and 17th centuries aboard pirate ships. Madagascar was a haven for pirates, and pirate graveyards can still be seen there. Pirates established a base on St. Mary's Island, Madagascar and some of them 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 now also known as Toliara. The Coton is of the Bichon dog type, linked most closely to the 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, as its size, strength, and demeanor can disprove easily. 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.

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 Russell. The American Kennel Club has offered Foundation Stock Service 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 Coton de Tulear breed clubs have been formed, accepting one or both of the standards for the breed.

The stout, hardy, very lively Coton de Tul´┐Żar likes to swim. In Madagascar, he was used as a terrier, watchdog, and to eliminate pests. He is restless, rambunctious, and strong-willed but very affectionate and devoted to his owner. He may be aggressive towards other dogs and barks often. He needs firm, early training.

No genetic defects. Other health concerns include eye problems, kidney disease and thyroid disease.

He can adapt to apartment life. This athlete needs long walks and hates being left alone. He requires daily dematting, brushing, and combing, as well as regular baths and grooming three or four times a year.


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