About Coton de Tulear Breed

Written by on April 16, 2013 in About Cotons de Tulear

puppy coton de tulearThe Coton de Tulear originates from Madagascar, which is located in the Indian  Ocean, southeast from the coast of Africa.  Tulear is a port city on the southwestern  coast of Madagascar.

Historically, the Coton’s arrival to Madagascar  dates approximately to the 15th century.  Ships frequently passed by Madagascar and  sea voyages were often long and boring, and the sailors’ quality of life was  very poor.  To offset these hardships and  the loneliness of the ladies also traveling on these ships, little spirited  dogs accompanied them and helped rid the ship of mice.

Some say these little dogs were the distant  cousins of the Bichon Frise, while others hypothesize about the mixture of  several European breeds:  miscellaneous  Bichons with Papillion (where the colors of the Coton would come from) and  Belington Terrier (because of the arch of the back).

In those days, the French, Dutch, Portuguese  and English landed on the island.  The  described dog could effectively be a mixture of several breeds which at the  time accompanied the sailors on the India route.  But let us not forget that in the Middle Ages  the Arabic, the Indians and Indonesians also approached the island and may have  brought their native dogs with them on their journey.

coton de tulear puppySo many questions which certainly will remain  unanswered.  The legend goes on to  portray that a ship sank off the Madagascar  coast near the Port   of Tulear.  No one knows the name of the ship or its  flag, but all the sailors perished and little dogs on the ship survived and  swam ashore and settled on the island.   Eventually these little dogs bred with the local terriers and  VOILA!!  A Coton de Tulear is born!

The locals fell in love with these little  dogs, domesticated them and then offered them as gifts to the King and Merino  nobles.  Due to their charming personalities,  and adorable appearance, the Coton soon became a favorite of Kings and nobles.

For many years, only people of the ruling  caste were allowed  to own a Coton, hence  “The Royal Dog of Madagascar”.  Around the turn of the century, French  colonials also fell under the spell of the Coton.  Upon their return to their native country, they  raised the Cotons as pets.  The breed has  only be recognized internationally since 1971.

Historical information obtained from the USACTC and Coton’s  World, a book by Eli de Luca.



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