Coton De Tulear.jpg
Breed Group Group 12: Companion and Toy Breeds
Sub-group 12-C: European and African Breeds
Origin Country Madagascar
Weight Males: 0-0 pounds. Females: 0-0 pounds.
Height Males: 0-0 inches. Females: 0-0 inches.
Other Name(s) Coton Du Tulear
Breed Type Pure
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Coton de Tulear

Breed Group Group 12: Companion and Toy Breeds
Sub-group 12-C: European and African Breeds
Origin Country Madagascar
Weight Males: 0-0 pounds. Females: 0-0 pounds.
Height Males: 0-0 inches. Females: 0-0 inches.
Other Name(s) Coton Du Tulear
Breed Type Pure
click here for FULL BREED STANDARD

Origins

Like other dogs in the Bichon family, the Coton de Tulear is a descendant of ancient dogs of the Bichon family. Bichon is the Middle French word for “small long-haired lapdog.” The exact origin of this merry breed remains a mystery, but it is believed that ancestors of today’s Cotons were brought to the island of Madagascar in the 16th century by pirates. Once there, the small dogs mixed with the island dogs, producing a uniquely coated little canine. They are named for the port formerly known as Tulear, now called Toliara, and they are the national dog of Madagascar. Their small size, endearing charm, and luxurious looks were favored by the Merina royal family of the Malagasy people.

While still considered a rare breed, the Coton de Tulear is known today throughout the world for his sociable nature, gentle and even temperament, and affectionate charm.

Breed Characteristics

Head: Somewhat mesaticephalic skull-type, moderate in size, and in proportion to the rest of the body. When viewed from the top and felt in profile, the head is wedge shaped. From the front, the skull is sufficiently broad and somewhat arched. The superciliary arches are somewhat developed, occiput slightly perceptible, and zygomatic arches well-developed, giving width to the face. A slight median furrow running from the stop and disappearing toward the occiput may be perceptible. The head is clean-cut without excess skin or wrinkle.
Eyes: Moderately large in size, open oval to somewhat round in shape, and dark brown in color. The eye rims are well-fitted and well-pigmented. The eyes are never bulging. There should be sufficient bone in the surrounding orbital sockets to protect the eyes.
Ears: Medium in size, set high on the skull, and attached approximately level with or above the eyes. They are triangular in shape and hanging with tips close to the cheeks. The ears are never long, overly large, or broken.
Muzzle: The muzzle is full, broad, and tapering slightly toward the nose. The plane, or bridge of the muzzle, is straight. Upper and lower jaws are equal in length, have good bone substance, appearing strong and well-developed, never appearing snipy or weak. The chin is strong but not protruding.
Nose: The nose is well-pigmented and black or dark brown. The nostrils are well-opened.
Neck: Moderate length allows for proud head carriage, strongly-muscled with a slight arch. The neck tapers smoothly from the deeper and broader body toward the head. The neck is clean-cut, without excess skin, throatiness, or dewlap.
Chest: Deep, broad, but never wider than deep. The brisket extends to the point of the elbows. The forechest is well-developed.
Body: Compact, solid, and good substance. The body is never racy or refined. Width at forequarters is approximately equal to the width at the hindquarters.
Feet: Oval to round, compact, with well-arched toes and tough pads.
Tail: Set somewhat low on the croup, thick at the base and tapering toward the tip. Carried in accordance with the dog’s mood and energy level, usually carried up over the back in a straight or curled fashion, but never tucked. Tail is of a medium length, with the tip of the last vertebrae extending to the hock joints, or just below, when held down.
Movement: Effortless, energetic, efficient, and merry. The characteristics of healthy structure are evident: when moving away, the forelegs and rear pasterns should remain parallel to one another. When viewing movement from the front, the forelegs should remain parallel, with elbows and paws neither moving in nor out. From the rear, the back pads should be visible when the rear legs are extended. As speed increases, the forelimbs and hindlimbs will converge to the center line of gravity. From the side, the topline should remain firm and level. Good reach of movement in the front allows the forepaw to extend out in a line with the nose. The width between the forefeet when extended should be approximately equal to the width between the hindfeet when extended, indicating balance, good reach, and good drive. Dogs that exhibit any sign of breathing or locomotive difficulty shall be disqualified from the show ring.
Temperament: Affectionate, sociable, and gentle, these little dogs are the ideal companion for all walks of life. Their larger size makes them more durable than many other Bichons for rowdy children, of which they are especially fond. They also get along well with other dogs and animals. They are extremely devoted and bond strongly to their people and families. Although they are known to be a bit stubborn, they can easily be persuaded in training using positive reinforcement and patience. They are also great watchdogs, alerting their people to any strange happenings.
Any unprovoked aggressive or fearful behavior toward people is incorrect for this breed.
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Breed Standard

BREED GROUP 12: Companion and Toy Breeds

Proportions: Continental Kennel Club recognizes two size varieties of the Coton de Tulear: the standard Coton de Tulear and the tall Coton de Tulear.
Standard Coton de Tulear: Somewhat rectangular in proportion, with length of the body, measured from the point of the forechest to the point of the rump, being greater than the height at the withers. The ideal body height at the withers is approximately 2/3rds the body length (measured from the point of the shoulder to the point of the rump). The body is well-put together, with sturdy substance, and medium bone. Although rectangular in proportion, the Coton de Tulear must never appear low-set or dwarfed.
Tall Coton de Tulear: Somewhat more square in proportion than the standard Coton. The length of the body, measured from the point of the forechest to the point of the rump, being almost equal to or only slightly greater than the height at the withers. The ideal body height to length ratio is between 10:9 and 10:8. The body is well-put together, with sturdy substance and medium bone.

Head

General Appearance: Somewhat mesaticephalic skull-type, moderate in size, and in proportion to the rest of the body. When viewed from the top and felt in profile, the head is wedge shaped. From the front, the skull is sufficiently broad and somewhat arched. The superciliary arches are somewhat developed, occiput slightly perceptible, and zygomatic arches well-developed, giving width to the face. A slight median furrow running from the stop and disappearing toward the occiput may be perceptible. The head is clean-cut without excess skin or wrinkle.
Expression: Lively, joyful, gentle, friendly, and eager.
Stop: The stop may range from slight to definite.
Skull: The ideal muzzle-to-skull ratio is 5:9, or 1:2, with the topskull being somewhat longer than the muzzle.
The ideal muzzle-to-skull axis is parallel.
Muzzle: The muzzle is full, broad, and tapering slightly toward the nose. The plane, or bridge of the muzzle, is straight. Upper and lower jaws are equal in length, have good bone substance, appearing strong and well-developed, never appearing snipy or weak. The chin is strong but not protruding.
Lips or Flews: Lips are well-pigmented, clean, and fit tightly over the teeth and jaws.
Nose: The nose is well-pigmented and black or dark brown. The nostrils are well-opened.
Cheeks: Some padding of the cheek is present. The cheeks should not appear chiseled or coarse.
Dentition and Bite: Forty-two strong, clean, white teeth. Bite may be level, scissor, or reverse-scissor. Contact must be made between the top and bottom incisors. Missing or broken teeth as a result of routine work is not to be penalized.
Eyes: Moderately large in size, open oval to somewhat round in shape, and dark brown in color. The eye rims are well-fitted and well-pigmented. The eyes are never bulging. There should be sufficient bone in the surrounding orbital sockets to protect the eyes.
Ears: Medium in size, set high on the skull, and attached approximately level with or above the eyes. They are triangular in shape and hanging with tips close to the cheeks. The ears are never long, overly large, or broken.

Body and Tail

General Description: Compact, solid, and good substance. The body is never racy or refined. Width at forequarters is approximately equal to the width at the hindquarters.
Neck: Moderate length allows for proud head carriage, strongly-muscled with a slight arch. The neck tapers smoothly from the deeper and broader body toward the head. The neck is clean-cut, without excess skin, throatiness, or dewlap.
Chest: Deep, broad, but never wider than deep. The brisket extends to the point of the elbows. The forechest is well-developed.
Topline: The Coton de Tulear’s topline is a distinct characteristic of the breed. It may be level from slightly pronounced withers to croup, or to the lumbar (loin) region. The loin may be level and straight, or slightly (almost imperceptibly) arched (not roached). The back is broad, strongly muscled, and straight, yet supple. The loin is taut and may be flat and level, or slightly arched, yet supportive. A roach or swayed topline, or high croup, is incorrect.
Croup: Gently sloped. Never steep due to excessively arched lumbar region.
Underline: Slightly tucked up, or the underline may run parallel to the topline. The underline is taut and firm, without any indication of sagging or excess weight.
Ribs: Long, well-sprung, well-laid-back, oval-shaped, never barrel-chested or slab-sided.
Tail: Set somewhat low on the croup, thick at the base and tapering toward the tip. Carried in accordance with the dog’s mood and energy level, usually carried up over the back in a straight or curled fashion, but never tucked. Tail is of a medium length, with the tip of the last vertebrae extending to the hock joints, or just below, when held down.

Forequarters and Hindquarters

Forequarters: Forequarters are always in balance with the hindquarters. Forequarters are well-angulated with well-laid-back shoulder blades. Shoulder blades are approximately equal in length to the upper arm and forearm.
Standard Coton: Shoulder blades are of a moderate length, being neither overly long, nor dwarfed.
Tall Coton: Shoulder blades are somewhat long in length in comparison to the standard Coton.
Elbows: Elbows are close to the body. The point of the elbows is approximately half the dog’s height at the withers.
Forelegs: Frontal View: Straight, of good muscle, moderate bone, and parallel to one another.
Side View: The forelimbs appear straight with strong pasterns.
Standard Coton: Forelegs are of a moderate length, being neither elongated nor especially dwarfed.
Tall Coton: Forelegs are rather long in length, giving the total outline a more squared, rather than rectangular appearance.
Pasterns: Never weak or broken.
Hindquarters: Upper thigh and lower thigh are equal in length, strong, sturdy, of moderate bone, and well-muscled.
Rear View: When viewed from the rear, the rear pasterns are parallel to one another.
Side View: Good angulation will allow the rear toes to align with the point of the rump or within one to two paw-lengths behind the point of the rump, with the rear pasterns remaining perpendicular to the ground and parallel to one another.
Stifle Joint: Well-angulated with a good bend to well-let-down rear pasterns.
Angulations: : Angulation of hindquarters is always in balance with angulation of forequarters.
Feet: Oval to round, compact, with well-arched toes and tough pads.

Coat

Skin: Well-fitted, yet supple. The skin should never obstruct the outline of the dog.
Coat Type: Moderately long (approximately 6.5 inches) but not flowing or touching the ground. The single coat is abundant, long, soft, supple, dense, and cottony in texture, with or without slight wave. The coat should never appear or feel silky, wooly, or curly. A double coat is incorrect. A beard, moustache, and longer hair on the chest, legs, underline, and tail are evident. The coat should be kept in as natural a state as possible, well-brushed, yet never overly groomed, clipped, or scissored. Light trimming is permissible in the ears and around the feet and tail vent. The hair in the face may be pulled up into a topknot or lightly trimmed to allow the Coton to see.
Coat Color or Pattern: Standard Coat Variety: White: Pure white; white with light shadings of cream, biscuit, champagne, tan, orange, red, or grey highlights on the ears or back.
Colored Headed White: Solid white with prominent patches of color on the head, including;
Black, gray, cream, tan, biscuit, champagne, tan, orange, red, or tri-colored (black or gray with tan).
Parti-colors: Predominantly white with prominent patches of color throughout the body. Colors may range from black, gray, cream, biscuit, champagne, tan, orange, red, or tri-colored (black or gray with tan).
Pied Colors: Predominantly colored (black pied, gray pied, cream pied, biscuit pied, champagne pied, tan pied, orange pied, red pied, tri-color pied) with patches of white throughout the body.
Non-Standard Coat Color Variety: Solid coat colors in the following coat colors;
Black, gray, cream, tan, biscuit, champagne, tan, orange, red, or tri-colored (black or gray with tan). With or without minimal amounts of white on the toes, chest, and chin.

Movement

Effortless, energetic, efficient, and merry. The characteristics of healthy structure are evident: when moving away, the forelegs and rear pasterns should remain parallel to one another. When viewing movement from the front, the forelegs should remain parallel, with elbows and paws neither moving in nor out. From the rear, the back pads should be visible when the rear legs are extended. As speed increases, the forelimbs and hindlimbs will converge to the center line of gravity. From the side, the topline should remain firm and level. Good reach of movement in the front allows the forepaw to extend out in a line with the nose. The width between the forefeet when extended should be approximately equal to the width between the hindfeet when extended, indicating balance, good reach, and good drive. Dogs that exhibit any sign of breathing or locomotive difficulty shall be disqualified from the show ring.

Temperament

Affectionate, sociable, and gentle, these little dogs are the ideal companion for all walks of life. Their larger size makes them more durable than many other Bichons for rowdy children, of which they are especially fond. They also get along well with other dogs and animals. They are extremely devoted and bond strongly to their people and families. Although they are known to be a bit stubborn, they can easily be persuaded in training using positive reinforcement and patience. They are also great watchdogs, alerting their people to any strange happenings. Any unprovoked aggressive or fearful behavior toward people is incorrect for this breed.

Faults

All dogs should be in proper healthy condition, free from disease or defect. Any departure from this description is considered a fault. Unless altered, all male dogs should have two fully descended testicles.