The Coton De Tulear, which was developed in Madagascar, is a member of the Bichon group of breeds.
The Bichons are a loosely related group - all descending from a common ancestor. The exact family tree is not fully known.
The word Bichon is of French origin and shares an etymology with the word bitch.
The breeds are all in the non-sporting group and were bred as companion dogs. They vary in appearance but all have large dark eyes, a short snout and drop ears. They are predominantly white, their tails curl over their backs and are generally considered to be low shedders
They share an ancestry with the Poodle.
Origins Of The Coton De TulEar
The Coton De Tulear Is the national dog of Madagascar. It is thought that a dog of the Bichon type was brought to Madagascar from Tenerife. That dog was mated with a local dog and the modern Coton De Tulear was developed from the offspring of that union.
They were named after the town of Tulear. This town is now the port of Tolliara.
Some were brought home to France by returning colonists. However, they were not officially imported into France until the 1970s. They were accepted as a breed by the French Kennel Club in 1972.
Other dogs well taken to the United States in 1974 and they were fully recognised as a breed by the American Kennel Club in 2014.
The The Coton De Tulear is a small dog with a white cotton-like coat and droopy ears. The coat is more like hair than fur.
The males are between 10 and 11 inches high and the females are between 9 and 10 inches. Males weigh between 9 and 15 pounds and females between 8 and 13 pounds. The height should be around two thirds of the length as measured from the point of the shoulder to the to the point of the buttock.
The eyes are roundish and dark brown or black. The rims of the eyelids should be completely pigmented black.
They are generally white but sometimes have a shading of gray on the ears and/or a shading of tan on the body.
The tail is normally down with an upturned tip on the end.
They have a sturdy appearance.
They are an adaptable dog which is easy to train. They are eager to please their owners. They fit well into any situation and are happy to meet new people or other dogs.
They enjoy any kind of activity including running, swimming and playing.
They are known for their strange vocalizations when playing.
They seem to be more lively in the evenings.
They are easier to house-train than other members of the Bichon group.
They have done well in agility sports and nose work.
Coton De Tulear Health
The Coton is generally healthy and long lived. The average life span is between 14 and 19 years. They have a very low incidence of genetic health issues. Ethical breeders are working hard to keep them as problem-free as possible.
They are a rare breed which means they are quite expensive and have a small gene pool.
There is a fear that unscrupulous breeders may try to exploit the high prices and not screen dogs sufficiently to prevent problems in the future.
They can suffer from some of the problems common to all small breeds and there are some health checks which are recommended before purchase. These include an examination by an ophthalmologist and a hip and patella evaluation.
Grooming And Care
To maintain the dogs beautiful coat in top condition it will need daily brushing. The comb and brush must penetrate to the skin to avoid the hair in this area matting. If this matting becomes too serious, the dog will need to be shaved.
All dogs with droopy ears need a weekly ear examination. Remove excess wax and debris and keep an eye out for infection.
Regularly brush the teeth.
The Coton De Tulear is a reasonably active dog which should have a daily walk. Playing tug or chasing a ball will exercise his mind and body. This avoids boredom. Bored dogs can become destructive.
Have a store of interesting toys which you can rotate to keep him interested.
All dogs should be socialized and given obedience training from a young age.
Use positive reinforcement techniques and avoid punishment and scolding.
Coton De Tulears As Pets
These dogs make fantastic pets. They are ready to take part in any adventure. They are excellent companions and good with and family members and other pets.