the outer corners on the same level. The are not completely “frontal” like a Shih Tzu and they are not lateral like a Whippet. The eyes are slightly sub- frontal. The rims of the eyelids must be completely pigmented in black. These eyes must give the sweet, lively, empa- thetic expression of a Coton. The eyes are really important to define the head type, the third of essential features of a Coton. The head type is defined by its shape, proportions, profiles and crani- al axis. The head must be in proportion with the rest of the body. Then skull/ muzzle should be in proportion of 9 to 5. The head is short and, when seen from above, it must resemble a trian- gle; that means that the cranial region must be wide and slightly rounded (when seen from the front). The stop is slight. One very important point that must be considered is the parallelism of the two cranial axes. Lately some Cotons are losing the right expression, not only with muzzles that are too long, but also with divergent cranial axes (we could simplify saying slop- ping noses, or noses pointing down). In fact, convergent or divergent cranial axes really modify the expression com- pared to a parallel axis. This could give the expression of a nasty and mean dog, surely not the happy and sympa- thetic Coton expression! If you have correct eyes and head, the expression displayed is that of a lively, smart, intel- ligent, inquisitive, alert and happy dog: the Coton’s “joy for life!” Also for the correct expression, a Coton must have ears that are triangular in shape and set high (pendulous, never erect or partially erect), the correct bite and a good chin. Never forget to evaluate the sexual dimorphism: a male must have a masculine head that is different from the femininity of a female head. The fourth point is the top line. A standing Coton has an unmistakably unique topline with the slightly rect- angular, arched top line that continues with the curved tail, much like a gentle sea wave. (The tail at rest must be car- ried below the hook, tip being raised. An excited dog could raise its tail, but it should stay down if gently touched at the base.) While moving, the tail is curved over the back so that the hair of the tail rests on the back with the point toward the nape, the withers, the back or the loin.
The fifth point that makes a Coton a Coton: the indispensable joie de vivre —the expressive smile and witty personality of the Coton. An aggressive specimen or an extremely shy dog must never be awarded, or even bred. This is the main trait that makes a Coton the most wonderful, loving companion and we must preserve it. ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Eli De Luca is a journalist with an innate passion for dogs. As a teenag- er, with her father Franco, she found- ed the Cotonbrie kennel. She has spent many years exhibiting Cotons all over the world, collecting more than 500 Championships (among them 25 World Champions, 2 Crufts winners, and then France, Finland, Norway, Switzerland, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Argentina, US, Aruba, Monte Carlo, Poland champions, BISS…). As an International Merit breeder (USACTC, Enci.), she is on the board of the national CCC (Italian Toys Club) and on the Board of local section of Italian kennel Club. Eli is the director of two dog newsletters and cooperates with several dog magazines. She is one of the few FCI judge breed specialists since 2001. She judged Toys special- ties all over Europe and she has been invited to judge Crufts, Norwegian winner, Nordic winner, and the World Dog Show in 2015. Moreover, she has been invited to speak at seminars in the UK and USA. She is the author of the book on the breed, Coton’s World (orders directly to firstname.lastname@example.org) written in 2003.
248 • S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , A UGUST 2015
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