10 Things You Didn’t Know About the Coton de Tulear

The Coton de Tulear is a small breed of dog that originates from Madagascar. It is recognized by its soft and its cute appearance. They have a prominent black nose and large eyes. This is a relatively rare breed of dog, so it is one that people know little about. Here are ten interesting facts about the Coton de Tulear.

1. Its Name Has a Meaning

This breed was given its name partly because of its appearance and partly because of the location from which it originates. ‘Coton’ refers to the breed’s cotton-like coat and ‘Tulear’ because this is the city of its origin in Madagascar. Its name is commonly shortened to Coton or Cotie.

2. They Are the Ancestors of the Bichon Tenerife Dog

It is believed that Coton de Tulears are the ancestors of the Bichon Tenerife Dog. Bichon Tenerife Dogs were brought to Madagascar on pirate ships during the 16th and 17th century. One bred with a dog from Madagascar and the results were unexpected. For this reason, the Coton de Tulear is a Bichon-type dog.

3. It is Known as the Royal Dog of Madagascar

When the Coton de Tulear was first bred, only the Malagasy royalty was allowed to keep them. In 1973, Dr. Robert Jay Russell visited Madagascar and fell in love with the breed and became the first to introduce the Coton de Tulear to the United States. Due to their connection with the royal family of Madagascar, he referred to them as the Royal Dog of Madagascar and this is a name that has stuck.

4. There Are Three Official Colors

The most common coloring of a Coton de Tulears is white and white versions of the dog often have champagne coloring around their ears. However, there are three color variations according to breed standards. The other two color variations are black and white and tricolor.

5. Their Coat is the Result of a Genetic Mutation

The cotton-like texture of the Coton de Tulear’s coat is very unusual and unlike the coats of most other breeds of dog. Studies show that the coat may be the result of a single gene mutation when the breed was first developed.

6. They Are Not Registered with the American Kennel Club

The first organization to officially recognize this breed was the French National Kennel Club in 1970. Two years later, it was accepted by the FCI and then later, The Kennel Club of the United Kingdom and the United Kennel Club. However, it is not registered with the American Kennel Club, the Australian Kennel Union, or the New Zealand Kennel Club. Breeders in the United States were opposed to recognition from the American Kennel Club. However, it is listed in the Foundation Stock Service of the American Kennel Club.

7. Grooming is Important to This Breed

The Coton de Tulear has a thick coat that requires plenty of grooming. They shed their undercoat and the hair then gets trapped below the longer hairs. Grooming will remove this hair from the coat. If the hair is not removed, it sticks together and can result in the necessity of having the dog shaved.

8. They Are Very Playful

One of the personality traits associated with this dog is their playfulness and this is often a reason why people would want to own a Coton de Tulear. They love playing games, interacting with their owners, walking, and swimming. It is not unusual for this breed to become more playful at night. They are also playful with children and other dogs.

9. They Are a Rare Breed

The Coton de Tulear is a very rare breed and has faced extinction at several points in its history. Unfortunately, this has led to irresponsible breeding in an attempt to increase numbers. In turn, this has led to a high incidence of mutations in the breed.

10. They Are Prone to Several Health Conditions

Generally, the Coton de Tulear is a healthy dog and can live for between 14 and 19 years. However, they are prone to several health conditions. These include back problems, liver shunts, eye problems, and heart disease. These conditions are becoming more common and this is partially due to the small breeding pool which increases the risk of mutations in the breed.


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