Coton De Tulear

Coton De Tulear picture

All About The Coton de Tulear

The Coton de Tulear originates from Madagascar, they are a small white companion dog with fluffy cotton hair, hence the name Coton and the word Tulear is a port city on the southwestern coast of Madagascar. The Coton is a toy breed of dog that weighs 5-7kgs and is 10-12 inches tall. The history of the Coton de Tulear started in the 15th century. Ships were being sailed from France to the West Indies these journeys were long and tedious. To help the ladies on board the ships from getting bored and lonely they often sailed with little white spirited dogs thought to be the ancestors of the Bichon Frise. These little dogs were also used to rid the ships of unwanted mice and rats which would eat the sailors food. It is alleged that during a violent storm, one of these ships sank in the proximity of Madagascar, the ship has never been named and all people aboard the ship were thought to have perished. The little white dogs from the ship managed to swim to the southwestern coast of the island, the port of Tulear.

These dogs survived and began mating with the local terriers which were brought to the island with earlier settlers, the result of this relationship is the Coton de Tulear. The Cotons foraged for food and learned to protect themselves cunningly against larger predators in order to survive. They hunted wild boar in packs, and also crossed rivers using their intelligence. The rivers in Madagascar were infested with crocodiles, these reptiles patiently waited for the Cotons to attempt to cross the river and then attempted to eat them. For the Coton to swim accross the river would be sheer suicide, so the Cotons used a diversion to reach the opposite side of the river bank. The Cotons looked for the narrowest part of the river then two Cotons would run back to the widest part and begin to bark and make as much noise as possible to attract the crocodiles attention. This enabled the rest of the Coton pack to cross the river at the narrowest part in safety. Slowly the crocodiles began to climb the river bank in chase of the two Cotons and tried to eat them, but the sly little Cotons sprinted back to the narrowest part of the river and swam accross to join their pack.

Later the natives began to notice the intelligence of the Cotons and fell in love with them, they domesticated and trained them. As there were no bridges in Madagascar they trained the dogs to bark at the crocodiles so that people could also cross the rivers in safety. After a few hundred years the King and the Malagasy nobles began taking an interest in the Cotons, they loved the dogs ellegance, beauty and character. In fact the king of Madagascar made it law that only people of "royal blood" could own and raise them. If a peasant was caught owning a Coton he could be sentence to death. This law is what prompted the Coton de Tulear to become the royal dog of Madagascar, and has also been honoured on a Magagascar postage stamp.

The first Cotons known to be taken off the island were thought to be taken to France before the second world war. A french man allegedly helped the royalty of Madagascar and was paid Cotons, Then later the french colonists also became owners of Cotons and payed a great deal of money to buy and take this very rare breed to Europe in the 1970 for breeding. The coton was recognised by the French Kennel Club (FCI) as a rare and pure breed in the 1970's. To this day the Coton is still a rare and desireable breed and still cost a great deal of money. The Coton de Tulears are defect free with no known medical or hereditary health problems.

The Coton de Tulear is now solely used as a companion dog. These ellegant small white dogs have the most endearing personality and are unique from any other breed. Cotons look alittle like stuffed cuddly toys and have even been discribed as a miniture Old English Sheepdog. Don't be fooled by the Cotons looks, these small dogs are determined, untiring, and very willing to please. The Coton is devoted to its owner, and he will love you and your family as much or even more than you love him.

Cotons are calm sturdy dogs that enjoy the rough housing of children and other household pets. They are very slow to anger and make excellent companions for children and are always ready to play lots of games like chasing, ball games and even hide and seek. Infact Cotons will eagerly follow your children on many adventures. They love all weather and enjoy playing in the snow, having a dip in the paddling pool and will even follow the children through puddles and mud.

Coton de Tulears are willing to do just anything to please you all he asks in return is lots of love and cuddles. Cotons love to be with their owners at all times, they do not expect your attention constantly and are happy to sleep if you are busy just as long as they are near you. Within its family the Coton is a beautiful and spirited little dog. The Coton is extremely intelligent, alert, openly affectionate very easy to train, cuddly, and sensetive, this nonetheless robust hardy little dog is always ready to take you to a dog show, agility tournament, hiking or even just a ball game in the park. Cotons make excellent obedience dogs and require very little in the way of discipline, the worst punishment that you can do to a Coton is to ignore them as they thrive on human contact. Cotons keep a puppy-like joy through out their life. At home they are very playful and even clownish doing many party tricks, they are fond of walking on their hind legs, rolling over and even jumping onto a sofa landing in a sleeping position. They love to chase one another and grunt when they get excited. Cotons can run very fast, jump very high but are not overly active. If you require your Coton to do lots of walking it would be happy to walk all day, but if you are unable to go for long walks they are just as happy in the back garden.

This breed is healthy and vigorous and will adapt to anyones life style either living in the country or city. Cotons make an excellent choice of pet if you live in a small house, they are content to spend most of the day lounging around occasionally having a charge around. The Coton can definately fit into nearly everyones life style if you are willing to spend your time with them. Cotons are a bundle of joy and always brings lots of smiles and laughter to their families lives. No wonder they have earned the name the anti-stress dog.

One of the greatest pleasures about owning a Coton is when you come home they are always pleased to see you, it doesn't matter if you have been away for 10 minutes or even 3 hours they greet you with chortles, smiles and dancing, this is all because they adore and love you so much. Most Cotons are usually very quiet dogs whom seldom bark, although they will alert you if there is someone at the door. All Cotons are very cautious with strangers and it takes time to win their confidence.

The Coton de Tulear is a relatively easy breed to groom to keep its cotton like coat looking beautiful. The Coton sheds little of its hair and has no doggy dander or odour so this makes the breed a perfect choice for people with allergies. The Cotons hair is soft and should look wind blown and natural in appearance. The adult Cotons hair do not fall out all over your home, they stay in the coat waiting for you to groom the coat to remove them. Most adults whom have been spayed or neutered do not shed at all. The only times the Coton does shed alittle more is when the female is experiencing changes in her hormones due to being in season or pregnancy.

It is important that you groom your Coton every day for at least 15 minutes,to prevent cotters. Grooming daily should start from the first day that you get your puppy. Even though the puppy's hair is short and doesn't need grooming every day, when he becomes an adult, his coat will need daily grooming so introduce him to grooming early and make it a pleasurable experience for him. Grooming is an excellent way to bond with your Coton.

Cotons destined for the show ring are not permitted to get their coat cut in any fashion, infact the only part of the Coton allowed to be trimmed are their feet and pads. The colour is also very important when showing a Coton. Only Cotons who are born white with champagne ears or all white, can be shown. Many Cotons who have champagne colour in their coats have been known to look nearly pure white as the champagne fades when your Coton matures.

Coton De Tulear breed guide written by : Jo-Anne Hitchen (Cukoton)
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