Saturday, November 14, 2009

Lost Coton de Tulear in British Columbia

Please read and send to anyone who may help or lives in
 the area. New Mama runs away and is lost. Please help!
Coton de Tulear Mama runs off and is lost in British Columbia
Newspaper article
Her babies need her and her parents are devastated after taking off during a walk.

Friday, November 13, 2009

To AKC or Not?

The USACTC has announced the desire to take the Coton de Tulear to the AKC. The ACC is against the action as we would like the Coton to remain a rare breed.
There is a group online who are discussing the pro's and con's to the breed going AKC. If you would like to join the discussion or just lurk, here is the link:
AKC or Not Group
There will be a formal petition later for all Coton breeders and owners to voice their opinion whether they will support the AKC if the Coton if the USACTC or any other club is successful in their bid for the AKC.
Please stay tuned for new information as it becomes available.

Monday, November 9, 2009

The Coton de Tulear Cotton Coat


HAIR : This is one of the main characteristics of the breed from which its very name derives. Very soft and supple, with the

texture of cotton, never hard or rough, the coat is dense, profuse and can be very slightly wavy.

COLOUR : Ground colour : White. A few slight shadings of light grey colour (mixture of white and black hairs) or of redroan

(mixture of white and fawn hairs), are permitted on the ears. On the other parts of the body, such shadings can be tolerated,

if they do not alter the general appearance of white coat. They are however not sought after.

Simply Grand's Hocus Pocus owned by Pam Bachara

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Cottonball Teddy Bear

Knox of Cottonball Cotons

About the Coton de Tulear Breed

Show/Breedable Cotons versus Pets or Companions: Dog showing is a sport, and for some it is an expensive hobby. Some dogs and some breeders love the sport. Winning at the shows does not necessarily mean a superior dog in terms of passing on desirable traits to offspring. The current trend for the show dogs is to have profuse coats that can even trail on the ground (this makes sense; a beautifully groomed bouffant coat is very showy). Larger dogs are showier and so some of the winning champions are over the standard in weight since the dogs are not weighed at the shows. There is no requirement for show dogs to be genetically healthy (although reputable breeders regularly test their dogs for various problems). Showing can be a wonderful social experience for dogs and owners alike, and many show dogs although not all, have good temperaments. Some show dogs love all animals and people and love to show. Others are shy or somewhat fearful of strange dogs and people and prefer the comfort of their own family.

Every puppy in a litter has a different temperament. A good breeder is keenly aware of the difference in the puppies' personalities and tries to match the personality of the puppy to what the new owner wants and needs. Only a small fraction of the puppies in a given litter should be considered truly potential show quality and worthy of carrying on the genes of the breed. Question any breeder who tells you the entire litter is show quality. Puppies can be considered show quality because they can compete and win in conformation shows in the baby class when they are only three months old. It is quite possible to gain a championship in the U.S. before reaching one year of age. However, the puppy continues growing until at least a year old. Upper and lower jaw can continue to grow at different rates. The long bones of the legs are just beginning their growth, and no puppy should be considered breedable quality until at least a year old and meets all conformation and health tests.

What should you expect from a Coton: As has occurred in nearly every other breed, as the breed matures, the phenotype diverges from the original purpose of the breed to that which is popular at the shows. In a number of the working class breeds, the show dogs are not fit any more for what they were designed to do. The Coton de Tulear is designed to be a wonderful, clownish, happy, adaptable, boisterous Companion dog. It should be an integral part of the family, content to sit on your lap or at your feet, and yet instantly ready for rough house play or to read your mind when you are thinking of a walk or a hike or a ride in the car. The Cotons with extremely thick, profuse and long hair do well with owners whose primary hobby is showing, but may not be suited for the rough and tumble play of ordinary life. Sometimes the show dog puppies are not allowed to play with each other or with other dogs because their hair may get mussed or even pulled out. They can't walk on grass or play in the dirt while they are campaigning in the shows, and some spend considerable time confined to cages (certainly during the show weekends and perhaps the days of preparation before the shows). The ideal Companion Coton has a relatively easy to care for coat without the necessity of getting a "puppy cut". Don't be put off by Cotons with long and thick hair. Coats are variable and sometimes even this is relatively easy to care for. Many Coton de Tulear owners do opt for a "puppy cut" during the "blowing coat" stage between 6 and 18 months of age when it seems all the under hair comes loose at once. Your Coton will still look adorable with a puppy cut. Remember, however, that most of the mats and knots in the underhair form close to the skin, so you will still have to do some brushing and combing. Many owners easily get by with an overall combing once or twice a week although for many families it is an enjoyable social experience to brush or comb every day.

Most but not all Coton de Tulear have undercoats. This is the fine, downy hair that mats as it loosens from the skin. It's held in by the coarser and longer outer hair. The loose stays locked in the coat instead of being shed all over the house. Frequent brushing or combing are required to keep the coats mat free. However, if you are not trying to maintain every hair in place to impress the judges at the shows, it is quite feasible to thin out this underhair to alleviate much of the matting. These Cotons may not look quite like the poufy, bouffant photos but it's hard to tell the difference. There are still Cotons available with appropriate length hair that is well within the standard, but does not drape on the ground.

Expect a dog you can take everywhere, one that has little or no shedding, little or no dander (a cause of allergies in people), little or no doggy odor, a dry hairlike coat that sheds dirt, a dog clean enough to sleep in your bed, and a dog that has no significant genetic disease built into the breed. The Coton de Tulear is still remarkably free of genetic disease. There are perhaps 45-55 known genetic diseases in Cotons (compared to hundreds in other more common breeds). The known incidence of any particular genetic problem is low, in the 1-5% range. Often in other breeds, the incidence of one or more diseases can be greater than 50% in the population and presents a real problem to long term breed vitality. The known incidence of any particular genetic problem is still quite low. It is good to be aware of possible health problems but health information which appears on this web site is not meant to convey that there is a particular health problem in the breed. You can learn here about eye health, a recently discovered blood disorder, von Willebrands Disease which is common in some breeds but still rare in Cotons, Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA), which is still rare in Cotons, and a variety of problems reported by Coton owners in the Coton Community Health Survey. Recently, a DNA test has been developed for Canine Multifocal Retinopathy. This exciting development was reported in a series of articles in the March 2007 American Coton Quarterly, and you can also read about it here. ACC breeders maintain a lifelong educational commitment to learning as much about the breed as possible. It's always a good idea to ask the breeders you approach for puppies if they health test their dogs and what they can tell you about any potential problems in their lines. Although "bad" dogs can come from good breeders, you should expect a healthy, long lived Coton if you carefully select your breeder.

How to choose: ACC embraces all reputable breeders. It's fine to breed specialty dogs bred to type for the show and you can find wonderful examples from the ACC breeders if showing is your hobby. You can find Cotons of color if you like color in the breed. You can find different phenotypes, from the snub nose, round face Cotons to the longer aristocratic faces reminiscent of earlier generations of the breed. All ACC breeders, however, place an emphasis on health and temperament. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and you need look no further than ACC to find the puppy of your dreams.

Coton Temperament: The Coton de Tulear is an alert dog and naturally territorial. You won't find a Coton sleeping on the threshold of an open front door while the burglar steps over the dog. Cotons will bark at the doorbell to let you know something is happening. They are highly intelligent and some love to watch TV, particularly Animal Planet, where they react to pleasant and unpleasant scenes in appropriate ways. They have the delightful habit of barking at the sound of a doorbell coming from a TV program. They will bark to let you know an intruder has entered the yard, whether it be a delivery person or a mailman. They bark when it is necessary, but they generally are not yappy like some toy breeds (Cotons are full size dogs; they have not been bred down). They adjust well to normal street and neighborhood sounds, and so are well adapted to urban living, even in an apartment or condominium.

As with all dogs, they must be thoroughly socialized at a young age to become good citizens. Puppies go through periods of confidence as well as fear periods, when they are cautious of new experiences. It is said that puppies are unafraid and open to new experiences until the age of 14 weeks. During this time is is crucial to expose them to hundreds of different people on the street, in stores, at the park, etc. -- children in strollers and roller blades, riding skateboards, men with beards in uniform riding bicycles, women wearing floppy hats, anything and everything. If they are exposed to new experiences in a positive way during this period they will be comfortable with them for life. Similarly, this is the time to have parties in the home, to have dozens or hundreds of people over so the puppy will be comfortable with strangers in the home. It is essential that the puppy meet other dogs in a safe and controlled environment. Puppy classes are a requirement for new owners, who should be prepared to spend a big investment in time and energy with the puppy to ensure a happy and social Coton for the next 15-17 years.

Cotons want to be with you all the time, wherever you go, even to the bathroom. They generally love car rides and enjoy being taken into stores. They are usually accepted in any store where food isn't sold, and can accompany you to restaurants where there is outdoor seating. They thrive on attention from clerks and strangers. You will attract a lot of favorable attention with a well mannered and groomed Coton accompanying you.

Coton de Tulear are companion dogs. No dog thrives if left alone at home for long periods of time, for example, if the owner works 8 hours a day and spends another hour or two commuting. Please think again about getting a puppy if you cannot be a companion for it. If you can meet the puppy's requirements, a well socialized Coton de Tulear puppy will enrich your life beyond measure.

Coton de Tulear HIstory

The history of the Coton de Tulear can be described as mysterious, intriguing, exotic and romantic. Their adventuresome past certainly has led them around the world charming all those they meet.
Although they are new to the modern dog world they're considered an ancient breed with origins possibly in Central Asia. This little white dog possibly made it's way from central Asia on trade caravans ending up in the Mediterranean Sea area. There is mention of small white dogs in the time of Aristotle who graced the elegant courts.
These white dogs were popular companions with Roman aristocracy who called them "table dogs". This little white dog was known as the "Meletei". This name may have come from the Sicilian town of Melita. This fluffy white dog was also found on the island of Malta where they became known as the modern day Maltese.
As the Roman Empire fell the Meletei was mated with another popular breed, the Barbet. The ancient Barbet was a curly haired medium sized dog thought to be the ancestor of breeds including the Poodle, Portuguese Water dog and other water loving breeds. Breeding the Meletei and Barbet together gave rise to the "Barbichon" family of dogs which included the Bichon Maltais, Bichon Havanais, Bichon Bolognese and the Bichon Teneriffe. The modern day breeds in the Bichon family are Maltese, Bichon Frise, Bolognese, Havanese, Coton de Tulear and the Lowchien.
Barbichons traveled the Mediterranean aboard trade ships. At various ports the little white dogs disembarked possibly mating with other local dogs. This created a slightly different characteristic with each breed. All seemed to attract the attention of nobility and aristocracy who pampered the little dogs. Days at sea were not exciting for sailors or the women traveling with them. The little white dogs were wonderful entertaining companions and also helped control the rodent population on the vessels.
The Barbichon was brought to the Tenerife in the Canary islands by Spanish sailors and was later referred to as the Bichon Tenerife, now extinct. They are the ancestor to the Bichon Frise and Coton de Tulear. The Bichon Frise was later brought to France where they became extremely popular in the courts of French nobility.
In the 15th century sailors and possibly pirates brought the Bichon Tenerife to the islands of Mauritius and Reunion in the Indien Ocean via the Mozambique Channel. It is thought while on the island of Reunion the Bichon Tenerife either mated with local dogs or underwent a gene mutation which brought about a longer straighter cotton coat. These little dogs were called Coton de la Reunion.
Madagascar was considered to be a bridge of connection between the continents of Asia and Africa and was a popular refueling stop for maritime trade. Having the Coton de la Reunion show up in Madagascar in the 16th century is not surprising. The Coton de Tulear is thought to be descended from the Cotons on Reunion island. How the Cotons ended up in Madagascar is a mystery containing many legendary tales.
One legend involves a ship wreck during a violent storm near the bay of Tulear on the Southwest side of Madagascar. It is said all the humans perished. But the little robust Cotons survived and were able to swim ashore after fighting off hungry sharks. Their light cotton coats perhaps making them more buoyant. Perhaps this is the most feasible explanation for the Cotons arrival on Madagascar since they were eventually named after the bay of Tulear.
Another legend also involves a shipwreck on the southeast side of Madagascar whereby the Cotons spread throughout the island after swimming ashore.
Yet another possibility is Spanish and French sailors or pirates brought the Bichon Tenerife to Madagascar.
In any case it is believed the Cotons mated with local dogs to create the modern day Coton de Tulear. It is possible the little white dog mated with small dogs of color creating the color dilution gene unique to Cotons. Coton puppies born with color usually fade to white as they mature into adulthood.
The original Cotons on Madagascar were feral surviving by hunting and scavenging. One of their favorite meals was small wild boar native to Madagascar. They were able to adapt to the natural diverse and rugged conditions on the island. They lived in the rain forests and scrub of southern Madagascar near the sea and the port of Tulear. They had to survive arid conditions on the island as well as the Monsoons.
The Cotons led a much different life than their pampered Bichon cousins in Europe.
This brought about a strong constitution for survival, a keen intelligence, vigilance, adaptability, alertness. They also learned to live in packs increasing their odds of survival.
It is possible the tropical climate of Madagascar influenced the coat developing into a light and airy cotton which was a natural air conditioning.
There is a wonderful legend illustrating the intelligence and spunk of the Coton de Tulear. Crocodiles are native to Madagascar infesting rivers and streams. When Cotons needed to cross a river crocs presented a danger to be avoided. It is said the Cotons would find the narrowest crossing. There most of the pack would wait while the loudest Cotons found a wide area nearby. After reaching the wide area the loud Cotons began to bark causing a fuss. The noise attracted the crocodiles and lizards to that area, away from the other Cotons . The clever Cotons would run back to their friends waiting on the narrow bank where they could all safely cross while the crocs were busy with the lizards.
Some time during the 17th century these cute wild dogs with the cotton-like coats attracted the attention of the native Merina tribe whereby they became the favorite pets of the tribal monarchy. The little Cotons were often given as gifts to please and impress the Merina nobility. They became known as the "Royal Dog of Madagascar". A proud name they retain today and were honored in 1974 by having a stamp made proclaiming them the "Royal Dog of Madagascar".
These cute little feral dogs became domesticated more and more as their popularity rose.
The French began colonizing the island as the spice routes to India and the middle east were developed. By the late 17th century the French were established on the southeast side of the island at Fort Dauphin. In the 17th century France claimed the island and many the French aristocracy arrived to lead an idyllic life in paradise.
In 1658 there was recorded evidence of little white dogs in the book "History of the great Isle of Madagascar" written by the regional Governor Etienne de Flacourt. He wrote, " there are a quantity of dogs, which are small, have a long nose and short legs like foxes. There are those who are white. They are caused by dogs who have come from France who remained. They have short ears."
The French living on Madagascar inevitably fell in love with the charming personality of the Cotons as well as finding them beautiful, intelligent and loyal. It became unlawful for commoners to have Cotons as they were considered a privilege amongst the nobility
It is possible the French were the first to begin selectively breeding the Coton. They would breed the Cotons for their own enjoyment and companionship. It is totally possible when returning to France they took their little white companions with them to enjoy and share. We do know they were a very popular status symbol.
There are those who believe selective breeding of the Coton really began as late as World War II. French soldiers were trapped on Madagascar afraid of being caught or killed by the Germans. These soldiers had little to occupy their time. It's is said these soldiers participated in selectively breeding the "Cotons" to other existing breeds such as the Maltese, Papillon, Bedlington Terrier and other native dogs. Thus they ended up with a white dog with long straight hair and a wonderful temperament.
By the 1960's tourism between France and Madagascar increased as Madagascar had attained their independence from the French. The little dogs arrived in France at Orly airport with airline personnel, tourists and diplomats who fell in love with the little dogs while vacationing on Madagascar. The European price for a Coton more than paid for the trip. This exposed the little Cotons to a whole new world. People became enchanted with their sweet but spunky personalities and lovely cotton coats.
As popularity of the Coton de Tulear in Europe increased, in 1970 Monsieur Louis Petit, President of the Canine Society of Madagascar, submitted a request to the FCI (Fèdèration Cynologique Internationale) for breed recognition of the Coton de Tulear. The original standard was developed and submitted but later revised in 1987, 1995 and 1999. The last revision is the current standard used today.
Breeders kept no official documentation or pedigrees on the Cotons in Madagascar. The Cotons exported to Europe were given the initial TI (Titular Initiale) by their names indicating they were the original Cotons and no further information is known about their ancestry. Once the Malagasy were able to deport the Cotons with "purebred" papers, demand escalated which eventually depleted the Malagasy supply.
The Coton de Tulear was an instant hit in Europe. Breeders began refining the breed to the standard by improving dental bites, pigment, structure, coat quality and color. Initially the Coton was diverse in size, color and structure. It was up to the breeders to develop a "type" that fit within the standard. It took generations of selective breeding to the standard in order to achieve the beautiful Coton we see today.
The breeders achieved success in setting the Coton type and improving it's coat. In 1992 Monsieur Petit was invited to judge the Cotons in a dog show in France and was very astounded at the improvement of the Coton coats. No longer were they a straggly white. He found a much fuller, longer and fluffy Coton coat.
The French led the way when the CCCE (Chihuahua and Exotic Dogs) club recognized the Coton de Tulear and began revising the standard. Europeans preferred a smaller white Coton and incorporated that into a new standard loosely based on Monsieur Petit's original standard. As Coton breeding expanded in the late 1970's the smaller white Cotons in Madagascar became more scarce. Because of that a slightly larger Coton with some color began arriving in Europe. The added color contributed to improving the Coton pigment which makes the face so cute and alert.
The Coton truly thrived in France where they have become one of the great breeds. People are attracted to the exotic legends of the Coton's romantic past. Plus their cute personalities are quick to charm their way into anyone's heart.
By the 1980's most of the Cotons had been exported. The Malagasy realized they had failed to take the measures necessary to protect the Coton in their true homeland. The Malagasy felt the best quality dogs had left the country.
In the late 1980's the Malagasy government began regulating the yearly number of "documented" Cotons who could leave the island. Each family could leave the island with a maximum of two Cotons per year. A total maximum yearly deportation of 200 Cotons. Once the maximum total was reached, no more Cotons could leave that year. The only way to legitimately obtain a Malagasy Coton was from the generosity of a Malagasy family. It was not an easy task for a family, therefore many didn't take the time to do the paperwork to obtain an official pedigree. You were considered very lucky to obtain a Coton from a giving Malagasy family.
However, regulating the Coton did nothing for the exportation of "non-pedigreed " Cotons and this had a detrimental affect on the breed. Madagascar is a very poor country, the cost of a Coton de Tulear was equivalent to a 2-3 year annual salary for a Malagasy family. Thus the black market for Cotons was extremely attractive. This all led to the virtual disappearance of the Coton de Tulear in their homeland of Madagascar. The demand in Europe was so high some had taken any small white dog out of Madagascar and called it a Coton. Or mated other breeds with the Coton producing a black market of mixed breeds. Some people were breeding any small white dog, passing it off as a Coton while collecting a Coton price for the dog.
The French did want to help the plight of the Coton in their native land. In hopes of helping to replenish the Malagasy Coton stock, the French supplied them with 2 Cotons to be used for breeding. But because of the economic conditions on the island those attempts failed and no one seems to know what happened to those 2 French Cotons.

James was one of the original foundation stock males who appears in many of our pedigrees. James was abandoned in Madagascar and claimed by Monsieur and Madame Moreau of the French kennel Aiguevives. Helene Moreau was captivated by this male quickly falling in love with his sweet personality and handsome looks. He was the first Coton de Tulear show champion in 1982 and went on to be the premier stud of the Moreau's. James was the Father of other famous studs including Hutchinson who became a premier stud of Woodland Cottage, Roi de Coeur d' Aigeuvives and Vanderling de la Draille des Cailloux.
Okasaki Pong, another original foundation stock male, was traded on a beach in Madagascar for a bottle of whiskey. Okasaki sired litters in many of the original Coton kennels in Europe.
Some of the original French kennels are for the most part gone now but live on in our Coton pedigrees. Here are a few or the original Coton breeders: Des Tourtelles Clessy, de Guitelione, de la Perle de l'Ocean Indien, Domaine de Manakara, Valaury's Cottage, de la Fosse aux Renards, Diabolo Swing.
From France the Coton spread through Europe with breeders in Scandinavia, Finland, Belgium, Holland, Germany and Switzerland.
In 1974 Dr Jay Russell was studying the lemurs in Madagascar and was the first to export Cotons to the USA. He and his Father Lew were the first to breed the Coton de Tulear in the United States under the kennel name of Oakshade. Their first litter was in 1976. Jiijy of Billy was the first Coton born in the US. Jay Russell is the founder of the CTCA and has written a Coton standard differing from the European FCI standard. Much of the CTCA breeding stock orginates with Cotons brought over from Madagascar.
The "European" Coton adhering to the FCI standard arrived in the US in 1977 with Jacques Sade who purchased his Cotons in France. His kennel was Plattekill which produced Cottonkist Macaroon, the first US Coton champion and premier US stud.
In 1986 Monsieur Sade sold Macaroon to Kennette Tabor of kennel Cottonkist.
It's not surprising the Coton found its way to French speaking Quebec Canada. Breeders had heard of this marvelous white dog from trips abroad and from family members. One of the major assets of the Coton is it's adaptability even in northern climates. Cotons love snow thus the Canadians knew they would thrive there. Monsieur Melville Landry imported the first French Coton to Quebec in 1989.
It has taken some time for North America to familiarize themselves with this magnificent breed. Increasing demand in North America began in the mid 1990's and continues to gain popularity in the 2000's. In 1995 there were 16 Coton breeders in the U.S. The Coton has come a long way in the 20+ years here in the US. Currently they seem to be very popular on both coasts but middle America is discovering the Coton more and more.
The history of the Coton de Tulear is mysteriously enchanting. Unfortunately few facts are known but the legends and folklore associated with this cute white dog are compelling and intriguing. This all fosters the romance and allure these little creatures bring to our own lives. Once you are loved by a Coton you know their adventuresome past led them right to your heart.