Coton de Tulear Breed Magazine features information, expert articles, and stunning photos from AKC judges, breeders, and owners.
DE TULEAR COTON
Let’s Talk Breed Education!
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Official Standard of the Coton de Tulear General Appearance: The Coton de Tulear, also known as the "Royal Dog of Madagascar", is a hardy, sturdy small white companion dog. The breed is endowed with a bright intelligence, is gay and energetic, and at times boisterous but never demanding. The Coton de Tulear is naturally clownish and lighthearted, as well as calm and easygoing. The breed possesses a remarkable gentle, sympathetic awareness to those around and is known for expressing unique vocalizations. In Madagascar, the Coton de Tulear survived in packs in the wilderness, later to become a companion dog of the native Malagasy and Merina tribal nobles. The Coton de Tulear is as unique as many animals found on this wild and isolated island. The Coton de Tulear is characterized by a natural long, white, dry, profuse, cotton-like coat, rounded lively dark eyes, black on white “joie de vivre” expressive smile and witty personality. The breed is somewhat longer than tall. The topline is very slightly arched over the loin with a happily carried tail curved over the back on the move. At rest, the tail is down with an upward hook at the tip revealing the distinguishing outline of the Coton de Tulear. Size Proportion, Substance: Size - Height - The ideal height for bitches is 9 to 10 inches and for dogs is 10 to 11 inches. A tolerance of ½ inch below the minimum ideal height or 1 inch above the maximum ideal height is allowed but not preferred. Disqualification - any bitch less than 8½ inches or taller than 11 inches in height; any dog less than 9½ inches or taller than 12 inches in height. The minimum height disqualification does not apply to puppies under 12 months of age. Substance - Weight - The Coton de Tulear is a sturdy small dog and should never appear fragile. The ideal weight for bitches is 8 to 13 pounds and for dogs is 9 to 15 pounds. When dogs are judged equal in type, proportion, coat and movement, the bitch/dog within the ideal height and weight range is to be given preference. Proportion - The height measured at the withers is two-thirds the length as measured from point of shoulder to point of buttocks. This proportion creates a rectangular outline. Specimens should never appear long and low. Head: The head is short and triangular in shape when seen from above. The length of the head (nose to occiput) in relationship to the length of the body (point of shoulder to point of buttock) is 2 to 5. Expression - The expression is lively, intelligent, inquisitive, alert and happy. The Coton’s “joy of life” is displayed in their expression. Eyes - The eyes are rather rounded, dark brown or black in color, lively, set wide apart with the inner corners and the outer corners on the same level. The rims of the eyelids are completely pigmented in black. Severe Fault - An overly large or bulging eye is a severe fault as is an almond shaped, obliquely set eye. Disqualifications - Eye/s of any color other than brown or black. Total lack of pigment on the eye rim(s). Ears - The ears are pendulous, triangular, set high on the skull and attached above the line of the eyes. They are fine at the tips, carried close to the cheeks and reach to the corners of the lips. The ears are covered with white hairs or with some traces of grey (mixture of white and black hairs giving a light grey appearance) or light tan (mixture of white and light tan hairs.). Skull - The skull as seen from the front is slightly rounded. It is rather wide in relation to its length. The superciliary arches are only slightly developed. There is a slight frontal groove. The occiput and crest are only slightly accentuated. The zygomatic arches are well developed. Stop - The stop is slight. Cheeks - The cheeks are lean. Muzzle - The muzzle is straight. The length of the muzzle in relationship to the skull is 5 to 9. The muzzle as seen from the front must be rather large and capacious with a strong chin. Nose - At the end of the nasal bridge, the nose continues as an extension of the same line. The nose has the shape of a rounded triangle, is completely
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pigmented in black with the nostrils well-open. Disqualification - Total lack of pigment on the nose. Lips - The lips are fine, tight, and completely pigmented black. Disqualification - Total lack of pigment on the lips. Flews - The flews are tight. Teeth - The teeth are well-aligned, strong, white. Complete dentition is preferred with the exception of the PM1 and the M3. Bite - The bite is a scissor or level bite without losing contact. Neck, Topline, Body: The neck is slightly arched, of moderate length, blends smoothly into the shoulders and is in balance with the height and length of the dog. Topline - The withers are only slightly pronounced. The topline runs smoothly from the withers to the loin. Beginning over the loin, is a graceful natural arch, not too accentuated, that carries through over the croup. The arch is continuous without flatness, resulting in a low tail set. Fault - A dip behind shoulder blades or a steep or flat croup is to be penalized. Severe Fault - A wheel back or flat back are to be severely penalized. Body - The body is longer than high. The height measured at the withers is two-thirds the length as measured from point of shoulder to point of buttocks. This proportion creates a rectangular outline. Chest - The chest is long, well-developed and well-let down to elbow level. The forechest is well-pronounced and protrudes well-forward of the point of shoulder. Ribs - The ribs are well-sprung. The ribcage extends well-back. Underline - The underline follows the profile of the sternum, then rises slightly toward the belly. Tuck-up - The belly is tucked-up but not excessively. Back - The back is strong. Loin - The loin is well-muscled and short. It is fundamental that the loin is short. If it is wide and strong, it helps to give stability to the entire dog’s movement. Croup - The croup is oblique, short and muscled. Tail - The tail is low set in the axis of the spinal column. At rest it is carried below the hock with the tip being raised. On the move the tail is carried happily. It is curved over the back so that the hair of the tail rests on the back with the point towards the nape, the withers, the back or the loin. In specimens with abundant coat, the tip may rest on the dorsal-lumbar region. Fault - A tail that does not reach the hock; a tail that has a complete curl loop; a gay tail; a tail that is carried completely flat over the body (snap tail). Disqualification - No tail. Forequarters: Shoulders - The shoulder is muscular. Shoulder Blades - The shoulder blades are laid back to somewhat near a 30 degree angle off the vertical. Upper Arm - The length of the upper arm corresponds approximately to that of the shoulder blade. The upper arm extends well back so that the elbow is placed directly below the top of the shoulder blade when viewed from the side and structurally the elbows are held close to the body. The scapula- humeral angle is about 120 degrees. Legs - The front legs are upright. The lower arms are vertical and parallel. They are well-muscled with good bone. The length of the lower arm corresponds approximately to that of the upper arm. The corpus (pastern joint) is a continuation of the line of the lower arm. There is no bow or curve in the forearm or wrist. Pasterns - The pastern is strong. When seen in profile, it is sloping very slightly. Dewclaws may be left natural or may be removed. Feet - The feet are small and round. Toes - The toes are tight and arched. Pads - The pads are completely pigmented black. Hindquarters: Angulation - The pelvis is sloped at approximately 30 degrees off the horizontal. The pelvis meets the femur at an angle of about 80 degrees. The angle of femur to lower thigh is about 120 degrees. Legs - The hind legs are muscular from hip to hock. Upper and Second Thigh - The upper thigh and lower thigh are approximately equal in length. Hock Joint - The hock joint is dry and well defined. The height of the hock joint when measured to the ground is slightly less than the length of the lower thigh. Hocks (Rear Pastern) - The rear pastern is perpendicular to the
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ground from any angle. Dewclaws - Dewclaws may be left natural or may be removed. Feet - The feet are small and round. Toes - The toes are tight and arched. Pads - The pads are completely pigmented black. Coat: This is one of the main characteristics of the breed from which its very name derives. The coat is very soft and supple, with the texture of cotton. It is never hard or rough. The coat is dense, profuse and can be very slightly wavy. A puppy coat is much softer in texture than an adult coat. Severe Fault -Atypical hair or hair that is tightly curled, wooly or silky. Skin - The skin is fine and stretched tight all over the body. Although of pink color, it can be pigmented. Color: Coat color is white. On the ears - A few slight shadings of light grey (mixture of white and black hairs) or of light tan (mixture of white and light tan hairs) are permitted on the ears. These shadings are only tolerated but are not desirable. Exception - Ears are not considered when applying the excess of 5 percent color to the body as a serious fault. On the body - Light tan shadings (mixture of white and light tan hairs) are permitted on 5 percent of the body of an adult Coton over 12 months of age. These light tan shadings may appear in one area of the coat or scattered throughout the coat. These shadings should never be so intense or deep in color or be so heavily marked on the coat that they alter the overall appearance of a white coat. When all other considerations are equal, the judge should give preference to the dog whose coat has the most amount of white. Severe Fault- Any color, except 5 percent of light tan (mixture of white and light tan hair) appearing in one area of the coat or scattered throughout the coat is a severe fault in an adult Coton over 12 months of age. Exception: Puppy Color - does not apply to puppies with color under 12 months of age. Puppies with color under 12 months of age may have the acceptable colors of light tan, light brown, dark brown, chestnut or grey on the body and head. These colors have the potential to fade to the acceptable 5 percent allowance by one year of age and should not be penalized. Disqualification - Black on the body is a disqualification at any age. Gait: When trotting the gait is a moderate free and easy movement. The top line is retained on the move. There should be no sign of uneven movement. Temperament: Of a happy temperament, stable, very sociable with humans and other dogs, adapting perfectly to all ways of life. The temperament of the Coton de Tulear is one of the main characteristics of the breed. Presentation: The dog must be shown as naturally as is consistent with good grooming. His coat should be clean and free of mats. In mature specimens, the length of coat may cause it to fall to either side down the back but it should not appear to be artificially parted. The long, untrimmed head furnishings may fall forward over the eyes, or be brushed backwards over the skull. The hair on the very bottom of the feet and between the pads may be trimmed. Any other trimming or sculpting of the coat or any grooming which alters the natural appearance is to be severely penalized. Faults: Any deviation from the ideal described in the standard should be penalized to the extent of the deviation. A tail that does not reach the hock; a tail that has a complete curl (loop); a gay tail; a tail that is carried completely flat over the body (snap tail). A dip behind shoulder blades or a steep or flat croup is to be penalized. Severe Faults: A wheel back or flat back are to be severely penalized. An overly large or bulging eye is a severe fault as is an almond shaped, obliquely set eye. Atypical hair or hair that
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is tightly curled, wooly or silky. Any trimming, sculpting or grooming of the coat which alters the natural appearance. Any color, except 5 percent of light tan (mixture of white and light tan hair) appearing in one area of the coat or scattered throughout the coat is a severe fault in an adult Coton over 12 months of age. Disqualifications: Height - Any bitch less than 8½ inches or taller than 11 inches in height; any dog less than 9½ inches or taller than 12 inches in height. The minimum height disqualification does not apply to puppies under 12 months of age. Eye(s) of any color other than brown or black. Total lack of pigment on the eye rim(s), nose or lips. Color - Black on the body is a disqualification at any age. No tail.
Approved September 11, 2013 Effective October 1, 2013
!"#$%&'($)$%('*+'),%-#.)' .*$*"'&%'$!/%)-'./!0' !"#$%&'(%)($!*(+&**, ! irates, shipwrecks, sur- vival in harsh climates, tales of encounters with crocodiles!”Yes”, we’re describing the origins of the Coton de Tulear! Oh, many to be the closest relative of today’s Coton de Tulear. Ships navigating the Cape of Good Hope and the Indian Ocean, led to the arrival of the Bichon Tenerife on the Island of Reunion, located 500 miles east of Mad- agascar, where matings with other breeds already inhabiting the Island, resulted in the Coton De Reunion. (Now extinct) !"#$%&''(#)*+%',* 12.(+345',"-+53(+3(-2+%("'-+&*.(+%("66'57.#(89(-2.(:3+-.#(;-"-.%(54(<,.'+&"()5-53(#.(1=*."'()*=8>(<?)>(@"'.3-(A'..#()*=8B
Th e remarkable result is todays extraor- dinary beautiful, charming, intelligent, robust and adaptable “Coton de Tulear”! On Madagascar, Th e Coton was forced to hone survival skills in a harsh, rugged and diverse environment. Conditions range from tropical temperatures along the coast to the much cooler temperatures of inland rain forests and rugged moun- tains. One of the main adaptations is the surviving strains of long, flu ff y, white hair that provided thermal insulation in this varied climate. Beneath this beautiful and practical coat, lies a well built, robust and muscular dog, of keen intelligence that possesses the essential tools for survival.
you thought this was a “French” breed, sit- ting in Royal Courts in the laps of nobil- ity! Th e reality is, this elegant, dynamic and robust white dog, with a beautiful long, flowing coat, finds its roots on the Island of Madagascar. !"#$%&!"$'#(!)*+ Th e sixteenth century European courts were enamored with the small white dogs of the Bichon family. Th eir size, sturdi- ness, and pleasing character made them the perfect companion. Ancestors of the Coton de Tulear (pronounced: KO-tone Dih TOO-LaY-ARE) began to accompa- ny fine ladies on long sea voyages as lap dogs. Sailors, however, discovered that they possessed great skills in control- ling vermin onboard. Several varieties of Bichons, scattered throughout the Medi- terranean region, soon found themselves as highly valued crew members, among them the Bichon Tenerife, considered by
Th e prospect of acquiring treasure from merchant vessels traveling along the East Indies trade route made the region a haven for pirates. Legends spin a tale of a merchant ship that became engaged in a furious battle with a pirate ship. Fol- lowing this battle, a violent storm arose and both ships sank. Th ere were no sur- vivors, except the strong white dogs they were carrying, the Coton de Reunion, the Bichon Tenerife and other Bichon type dogs that accompanied these sail- ing ships, who swam safely ashore in close proximity to the Madagascar Seaport of “Tulear”. It was there that the adaptation of these original Bichon type dogs begins and continues for over four centuries (300 to 400 generations) of rigorous natural selection, accompanied by some selective breeding with local and imported dogs.
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!"#$%$!&'(%)*$%'+,&'!+-%.(% $+/+'*0%+1,0&'+'$2 A small band of Cotons decides to cross a river infested with crocodiles. A pack leader moves along the shoreline. Th ere he barks loudly and makes every e ff ort to attract the attention of the crocodiles. Th ey come running from all sides, expecting that he ventured into the water, in the hopes of an easy meal. At this time, the rest of the band comes out of hiding and quickly crosses the river at a lower point. Seeing and hearing this, the crocodiles then turn and swim to the other dogs, but to no avail. Th ey have been outsmarted and all of the Cotons are on the other side of the river. Th is adventuresome and beautiful dog became a favorite of the Merina, the ruling tribe of Madagascar. It was decreed that they could be owned only by “nobility”. Th is designation earned the Coton the title of “ Th e Royal Dog of Madagascar”. !"+%3'+45"%5&44+5!#&4 In the 16th century, Europeans settled the Island of Madagascar, many of whom were French. Th e French played a strong role in Madagascar history and many expatriates still live there.
One of the early governors, Etienne de Flacourt, governor of Fort Dauphin wrote that he observed “amount of dogs that are small, have a long snout and short legs like foxes. Th ere are some who are white. Th ey are caused by dogs who came from France and stayed... they have short ears.” French colonists also became enam- ored with the descendants of their beloved Bichons. Th ey now saw a dog that was extremely pleasing to the eye, thanks to its beautiful fur. Beneath this alluring appearance was a very intelligent, well built, dog whose joie de vivre made him absolutely irresistible! Th e desire to preserve all of these wonder- ful qualities was to follow, but no registry existed on Madagascar, until 1966, when the “Societe Canine de Madagascar” was established by a group of Coton enthusiasts including Mr. Louis Petit. Th e Societe imme- diately applied to the FCI for recognition. Monsieur Leblond, Monsieur Tri- quet and Monsieur Petit, all considered expert judges, studied the Coton de Tulear on Madagascar and developed the first description of the ideal Coton. Th e picture below is said to be the “example” upon which that standard was based. Early exportation to France and Bel- gium, where the Coton became known
as the “Anti Stress Dog”, was followed by the appearance of the Coton in the United States in the mid-1970s. Th ese bloodlines are the foundation of today’s Coton de Tulear. In 1970 the first standard was writ- ten. Approval and publication by the FCI followed in 1971. Th at original standard was revised four times, to the current FCI Standard of 1999. 5&!&4%-+%!60+*'%#4%!"+%6$* • 1996: AKC FSS accepted Cotons de Tulear into the registry. • 2008: AKC Performance Events par- ticipation granted. • 2012: Th e United States of America Coton de Tulear Club, incorporated in 1993, with its established history of dedication to preserving the breed, accompanied by the largest Coton de Tulear registry in the United States, was designated as the AKC PARENT BREED CLUB. • 2012, Jan. 19: AKC Coton de Tulear Standard for the Breed: written by the USACTC and Approved by the AKC • 2012, June 30: AKC Miscellaneous Class: Approved. • 2014: July 2: AKC Non Sporting Class: Full Recognition
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Judging the COTON DE TULEAR based on the key elements of type
The information in this article is approved by the United States of America Coton de Tulear Club, AKC, Parent Breed Club.
BY EILEEN NARIEKA T he magnificent Coton will “take your breath away” when you behold the unmistakable striking beauty of the white flowing coat, rectangular outline, and distinctive convex topline. “Under the soft, cottony texture coat, the Coton is a dog of balance and symmetry”. The distinguishing qualities of the breed are best appreciated by judging equally with both hands and eyes. Slighty rounded eyes and black pigment, accentuate the stun- ning appearance and alluring expression. The head is triangular in shape with a slightly rounded skull. The stop is slight. Ears are set directly above the line of eyes. Ratios: muzzle to head ratio is 5:9 and head to body is 2:5. The standard does not define a difference between male and female heads, but emphasizes correct ratios. Head furnishings may fall forward over the eyes or brushed back over the skull. Topknots are not acceptable. Elements of Coton de Tulear type include: WHITE “COTTONY” COAT The Coton de Tulear is the “overall appearance of a white dog”. However, the standard defines a small amount of allowable color and makes exceptions for puppy color. When all consider- ations are equal, judges should give preference to the dog whose coat has the most amount of white. Cotons de Tulear are presented in natural coat. Some coats will reach the ground, but others will be approximately 1 to 3 inches less than ground length. Either coat length, however, is acceptable. The coat is not artificially parted, on the head or body. Exces- sive trimming, sculpting or grooming which alters the natural appearance is to be severely penalized. Trimming of feet and pads is permitted. The coat feels like a soft, fine quality cotton ball, never silky, harsh or wooly. Coats lay straight with only a very slight amount of wave being acceptable. Adult coats are dense and profuse and should never be so thin that it lays flat against the body. Determine coat texture by squeezing the fur into the palm of your hand. Correct texture feels like a natural cotton ball or flower. A small amount of fur, twisted upright with your fingers, should produce a stand up look of the fur. If it falls flat, texture is too silky. Puppy coats are much softer than adults. COLOR AMOUNTS & PUPPY COLOR Acceptable: 5% light tan in one patch or scattered throughout the body. Over 5% of light tan color is a SEVERE FAULT. A light tan or grey dispersed color is allowed on ear tips, and is not considered in determining the 5% amount. Exception: Puppy Color—Does not apply to puppies with color under 12 months of age. They may have the acceptable colors of light tan, light brown, dark brown, chestnut or grey on the body and head. These colors have the potential to fade to the acceptable 5% allowance by one year of age and should not be penalized. Black is a DQ anywhere on the coat and at any age!
This Coton has 5% color on body. NOTE: Ear color is acceptable and IS NOT taken into consideration in determining the 5% body color. Color is present here in a patch on one side.
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Judging the Coton de Tulear: Based on the Key Elements...
BY EILEEN NARIEKA continued
RECTANGULAR PROPORTIONS: 2:3 RATIO The body ratio is 2 high at withers to 3 long from point of shoulder to point of but- tock. Cotons de Tulear are 1/3 longer than tall! A definite rectangle! A Coton should never appear long and low and definitely not square. VARIATIONS OF ACCEPTABLE SIZE With height and weight sizes being so dramatically different, it is impor- tant that judges not be influenced by size and reward the specimen with the best
movement should be free and easy with no tendency for the feet to cross over. Rear in motion: a straight line is main- tained at all speeds of the trot, from hip to pad. The flash of pad seen from the rear reveals the construction of the rear leg. The straight leg will show the pad balanced per- fectly in line with front leg placement. Legs that are too close or cow hocked will show the pad going away at an angle. THE USACTC HOPES YOU HAVE MANY MEMORABLE EXPERIENCES JUDGING THE MAGNIFICENT “COTON DE TULEAR” Please visit www.usactc.org where you will find Complete Elaboration of the Standard and a
enables you to easily determine the starting point of the arch over the lumbar vertebrae. The rise should not start before the lumbar
vertebrae. Croup is oblique. TAIL SET & CARRIAGE
On the move the tail is carried happily. It is curved over the back so that the hair of the tail rests on the back with the point towards the nape, withers, back or loin. In specimens with abundant coat, the tip many rest on the dorsal-lumber region. It is not obligatory to see the tail raised continuously while in motion, however, when the tail is raised, it must be pointing forward. If the tail is dropped on rare occa- sion, this may be forgiven. Tails are down when presented on the table, when the dog is not in motion, and when stacked on the ground at rest. Most common tail faults (in motion) flagpole tail, standing straight up and a snap tail laying flat on the back.
overall conformation. CONVEX TOPLINE
Guide to Judging the Coton. ABOUT THE AUTHOR
The topline is slightly convex. The topline runs smoothly from the withers to the loin and begins a slight, natural arch over the loin continuing over the croup, without flatness, resulting in a low tail set! If a Cotons withers and croup are on the same plane, with an arch over the loin, you ARE NOT feeling the correct Coton topline. You are feeling a level topline with a hump. Unfortunately, the Coton is being judged like a Havanese. The Coton topline IS NOT high in the rear. The Coton tail set is low. Tail faults seen far too frequently are the result of incorrect toplines. One of the major faults we are experiencing in Coton judging is the incorrect evaluation of the Coton slightly convex topline. Place your thumb and index finger in an inverted U shape over the last rib. This
Eileen Boyer Narieka’s passion for Cotons de Tulear began over 17 years ago, but her love of purebreed dogs spans a lifetime. Eileen has served the Coton community as an educator, mentor and Board member of the USACTC, AKC parent breed club, and is known for her unwavering dedication to preserving the health and conformation of the breed. In addi- tion to owning, breeding and handling several #1 ranked Cotons in the club, she has played a vital role in the future of the AKC Coton as a current member of the Breed Education Committee presenting judges education semi- nars and authoring numerous educational documents. Eileen is a member of the Eastern Stewards Association and the Berks County Kennel Club. She lives in Leesport, PA sur- rounded by a family of AKC Show enthusiasts.
JUDGING MOVEMENT: TAKE THEM AROUND
The gait is a free and flowing moderate trot with no signs of uneven movement. The topline is retained. Less than ideal ring conditions may cause Cotons to jump over high grass, however, SKIPPING should never be seen in the ring, regardless of con- ditions. Exhibitor pace is a brisk walk. JUDGING MOVEMENT: DOWN BACK Front in motion: Cotons de Tulear have a 30 degree shoulder layback. Forward
HEIGHT 10" to 11" ideal Tolerance of ½ " below & 1" above WEIGHT 9 to 15 lbs
HEIGHT 9" to 10" Tolerance of ½ " below & 1" above WEIGHT 9 to 15 lbs
Over and under speci fi ed heights is a DISQUALIFICATION. EXCEPTION: under height DQ does not apply to puppies under 12 months of age.
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COTON DE TULEAR VARIATIONS OF BREED SIZE BY EILEEN BOYER NARIEKA, AKC JUDGE BREED/JUDGES EDUCATION CHAIR & VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA COTON DE TULEAR CLUB
(Graphics by Eileen Narieka are copyrighted to USACTC, Inc.)
The profuse coat of the Coton de Tulear and its grooming creates a multitude of illusions!
Please note the amounts of coat forward, rear, and over the topline.
DO NOT HESITATE TO CALL FOR THE WICKET! Correct height is the base of all Coton de Tulear ratios. Dogs may be a 1/3 longer than bitches, and weights may be almost double.
Evaluate Cotons for weight and condition according to correct body proportions of heights and lengths within the range of prescribed weights. The Coton is a sturdy dog with moderate bone. Larger sizes may produce heavier bone and muscle. Bitches are proportionately smaller, but should feel appropriately muscled and never be fine-boned. It is important that judges not be influenced by size, and reward an exhibit reflecting standard merits within allowable sizes for the sex of the individual exhibit rather than compared to each other in height and weight, with the ideal height range being preferred only if all other considerations are equal. Hands-on skeletal evaluations are vital to determine correct proportions under the visual illu- sion created by profuse Coton de Tulear coat!
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COTON DE TULEAR: VARIATIONS OF BREED SIZE
FAULTS & DISQUALIFICATIONS Fault – Any deviation from the ideal described in the standard should be penal- ized to the extent of the deviation. Fault – A tail that does not reach the hock; A tail that has a complete curl (loop); A gay tail; A tail that is carried completely flat over the body (snap tail). Fault – A dip behind shoulder blades or a steep or flat croup is to be penalized. Severe Fault – A wheel back or flat back are to be severely penalized Severe Fault – An overly large or bulg- ing eye is a severe fault as is an almond- shaped, obliquely set eye. Severe Fault – Atypical hair or hair that is tightly curled, wooly or silky. Severe Fault – Any trimming, sculpt- ing or grooming of the coat which alters the natural appearance. Severe Fault – Any color, except 5% of light tan (mixture of white and light tan hair) appearing in one area of the coat or scattered throughout the coat is a severe fault in an adult Coton over 12 months of age. DISQUALIFICATIONS Height – Any bitch less than 8.5 inches or taller than 11 inches in height; any dog less than 9.5 inches or taller than 12 inches in height. The minimum height disqualifi- cation does not apply to puppies under 12 months of age. Eye(s) of any color other than brown or black. Total lack of pigment on the eye rim(s), nose or lips. Color – Black on the body is a disqual- ification at any age. No tail. The United States of America Coton de Tulear Club at usactc.dog is your authoritative source for breed educa- tion and mentoring. We will be happy to assist you with the correct interpre- tation of the Standard. Our website Judges Education page features infor- mative articles and a list of approved, knowledgeable mentors. “DID YOUR HANDS CONFIRM WHAT YOUR EYES PERCEIVED?”
Tails are down at rest and for conformation evaluation.
A judge who does not use his hands to determine the correct height-to-length ratio of 2 high 3 long definite rectangular body and points of skeletal conformation of the Coton de Tulear does the breed a great disservice. “Did your hands confirm what your eyes perceived?” The uniquely defining characteristics of the silhouette of the Coton de Tulear are created by correctly proportioned ratios, a distinctive rise beginning over the loin that falls away, without flatness, into an oblique croup and low tail set. Please note the wide variations of shapes, sizes, and silhouettes in the graphic above, all of which may be presented for evaluation. Profuse coats reaching 3" forward of point of the shoulder, head furnishings, combined with inches of heavily coated rear assemblies and tails, make visual conformation impossible. An arch over the loin can eas- ily be groomed into place on a level topline, and make a flat croup appear to be correctly oblique (slanted) to accommodate the low tail set. Short-backed dogs will not have the correct topline, croup, and tail set. Movement will be negatively affected, as the gait will be shortened. Severely penalize sculpted coats, creative grooming altering the natural appear- ance of the dog, and any trimming anywhere other than feet and pads. (See Standard.) Head Standard: The head is SHORT. The ratio is 2 parts head to 5 parts body. The head is wide and appears triangular in shape when viewed from above. Muzzle-to-Skull ratio: 5 parts muzzle to 9 parts skull (backskull). See Elaboration of the Standard for head details and how to measure. Disproportionately large heads, caused by over-grooming or “teasing” (backcombing), distort the natural silhouette, as do long necks. Severely penalize parting and trimming of heads to shorten disproportionately long, downfaced muzzles. This creative grooming causes the stop to appear deep (stop is slight) with deep set eyes, and is frequently accom- panied by trimming around the eyes. This is to be severely penalized. Severely Fault: Any grooming and sculpting of the coat to create the illusion of body length. Forward and rear combing of a profuse coat will definitely affect the natural sil- houette. Remember that skeletal points only are to be evaluated for correct proportions. Any grooming or trimming of the furnishing that is done to narrow or cow-hocked rears to “deceive the eye” and create the illusion of width is to be severely penalized. The AKC Coton de Tulear Standard and Educational Resources, including an in- depth Elaboration of the Standard can be found on usactc.dog. Go to the RESOURCES link to Judges Education to find the drop-down links to the Standard and Printable Educational Guidelines. Please Note: usactc.dog is the AKC approved Parent Breed Club website.
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COTON: A SOFT COTTON BALL BORN FROM THE SEA
by ELISABETTA DE LUCA
I t’s easy to imagine a pack of little cotton balls running happy and free on the beautiful Malagasy seaside at sunset! The mystery is: how did those wonderful four legs arrive there? The legend goes that a boat sank off the Madagascar coast in the area of Tulear and a few small, white dogs reached the coast and settled there. The history confirms that often little dogs were used on the sailing ships to hunt mice or as precious toys of noble wom- en even when traveling. It’s also proven that European vessels approached the island regularly; however, nothing con- firms the “Titanic” version. The first historical description of a dog on the island was made by Fort-Dau- phin Governor Etienne de Flacourt who described them as a “quantity of dogs which are small, have long snouts and short legs like foxes. There are some of them that are white. They engendered with dogs that came from France and stayed, they have short ears.” Were these the ancestors of our Cotons? Nobody can confirm. In that time not only the French but also the Dutch, Portuguese, Spanish and Eng- lish landed on the island. Moreover, in the Middle Ages, the Arabic, Indians and Indonesians approached the island, maybe bringing with them some dogs from their own country. And last but not least, could there have been an
endemic, pre-existent breed of canine in Madagascar? In 1928, there was a second written testimony by French scientist Guillau- me Grandider. He reported the meeting of the local dogs, “poor starving ani- mals that roam in villages fighting for the most squalid pig’s garbage, or that go away in the bush where they survive on their hunting as wild animals” in his book Histoire physique, naturelle et politique de Madagascar . Most likely, the Coton survived in packs in the wilderness, but they also became companion dogs of the native Malagasy and Merina tribal nobles, gaining the name, “The Royal Dog of Madagascar.” It is a unique dog amongst several unique animals found on this wild and isolated island. Still, the origin of the Coton is mysterious, apart from the fact that they lived in Madagascar where the natural selection staggered over four centuries and gave us a rural, lively, smart, happy, strong dog that is able to survive in a very difficult envi- ronment…the Coton is a small and extraordinary dog. And when were they first consid- ered by the official fancy? Notwith- standing the colonists who had tamed the dogs, Cotons were jealously pre- served, owned and bred by a few high ranking families (and probably by the French colonies settled on the island). However, no registry nor any sign of an
official organization was created until 1966, when a small group of people, including Mr. Luis Petit, established the Société Canine de Madagascar that immediately applied to the FCI (Fed- eration Cynologique Internationale) to have the recognition of the Malagashy breed...Coton de Tulear. Official breed recognition arrived a few years later, and in 1971 the first standard was internationally published. A group of expert judges, among them Monsieur Leblond, Monsieur Triquet and Monsieur Le Petit met on the island to study the breed and wrote the first description of the ideal Coton de Tulear, the first standard. This is the unique picture (kindly given from Monsieur Leblond, see Figure 1) of the best Coton bred in Madagascar from which the first standard was written. In the handbook la société canine de Madagascar, there is a chapter titled “le chiens de compagnie” (com- panion breeds). It lists in this group
Fig. 1: “The unique photo of the actual Coton from which the first breed standard was based.”
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several breeds, including the Chow Chow, Dalmatian, Pug, Pekingese and the Bichon maltais (officially appointed as one of the ancestors of the Coton), as well as the Coton. Under Coton, it reads “...the Malagasy kennel club had asked for the recognition of the Coton de Tulear. This recognition was granted in 1971 by the FCI. As for all newly rec- ognized breeds, the parents after hav- ing been seen by a specialist judge of the breed, are registered in the Register Initiale (R.I.).” No ancestors are noted on the certificate, apart from the recog- nized and registered ones. The same is true for the progeny of these registered parents, the progeny also needs to pass the judge’s examination as puppies or as adults, only in this case the genera- tions are listed on the pedigree. This is the procedure to follow until there are four complete generations noted. Only after four generations, the pup- pies are automatically registered in the Livre des origins de la Republique Malagasy (L.O.R.M.). The first Coton de Tulear to own an official T.I. pedigree, a titre initial (meaning no unknown ascendants) was U’Rick, a black and white male born on January 2, 1971. His registration was issued on November 23, 1972. We can find these Malagasy pedigrees numbers contained in some of our old Coton reg- istrations near the old ancestors’ names. The number is easily recognized by the initials R.I.M., which mean that it is a registration only based on the appear- ance of the dog (phenotype), not on his genotype. This is the reason why before being able to have an automatic regular pedigree it’s necessary to wait four gen- erations, because this allows a genetical stabilization of the breed type. Unfortunately the Société canine de Madagascar did not register any other Cotons for the next 12 years. They start- ed again in May, 1984. A dog show was held on June 4, 1989 at the Hilton Hotel in Madagascar. There were 8 Cotons entries. The judge awarded only four of them with the recognition as Cotons. They were classified as follows: 1. ECC, Milou (Owner by Ola Ell) 2. ECC, Balita (Owned by Randriamananja) 3. Very Good, Bao (Owned by Randriamananja) 4. Very Good, Bouba (Owned by Rakotomavo)
In the following years, Cotons got to be known in Europe. First in France (Madagascar had been a colony of France for many years) and soon expo- nentially in the rest of Europe. Later on, the patronage of the breed passed to French Kennel Club, Société Centrale Canine . Nowadays in France, Denmark and Finland the Cotons are within the largest breed in the FCI Toy Group. In the US during the 70s, the first two breeders were Jay Russell and Jacques Sade. Russell seems to have been the first to import from Madagas- car; he bred under the kennel name Oakshade the Cotons. In 1976, he had his first puppy, Jiijy of Billy. The other pioneer of the breed in the US, Sade of Platekill Kennel in New York area, bred the Champion Cottonkist Macaroon, owned by Kennette Tabor. What is sure, despite the hypotheti- cal origin of the Cotons from a mix- ture of breeds (from Barbet to Maltese, from Bichon Tenerife to Papillon, from Bolognese to Bedlington Terrier), the Coton is a unique mix of beauty, intel- ligence and happiness which make him an undisputed wonderful companion. Not only is he family-oriented, but also a therapy dog, a disc player and a danc- ing dog—he would not disappoint you in Obedience or Agility either. Two Cotons that deserve to be men- tioned as memorable champions of Agility are Eden (J. Vasserot) in France and Bar-ken’s Happy go Lucky, bred by
Barbara Adcock and loved by Brenda Magnon in the US. Though able to perform with suc- cess in all the sports and disciplines, it does not overshadow that the Coton is a special friend also in your home. This is a dog that likes to be with you all the time. It is not pretending or demanding, just a “white shadow” that loves to lay down by your feet. However, they are not lap dogs by any means! They are always ready for a walk, a ride, a swim or a game—they are clownish and want to have fun, but…only with you. Advised also as dogs for people suffering from allergies because they don’t have doggy odor and do not shed. They are also “anti-stress” dogs to cuddle and hug in every moment of your day. Cotons have been referred to as the anti-depressant breed because of their happy, adaptable and empathetic personality. Cotons are excellent companions for people with disabilities and a fantastic addition to families with children. What could convey a better sense of well-being than what you feel stroking their hair? It’s because the Coton coat is unique; no other dog has such a cotton- like coat. The name of the breed derives from their beautiful “cotton” coat and from the port of Tulear—a vital area of plantations and trade of cotton. The beautiful Coton coat had the original purpose of being an excellent insula- tion from heat. Today, it could be a functional insulation against cold, too.
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in their breeding programs in order to have a good pigmentation and keep the breed healthy, but also because this is a peculiarity of this breed! It’s not unusu- al to see color-coated pups born from white parents. And color-coated Cotons are sure beautiful to see! Not all of them need to compete for championships! A Coton in full coat, whether for show reasons or just for its beauty, requires almost daily care. While it is also pos- sible to keep in a shorter puppy cut for easier maintenance, since Cotons do not shed it takes a lot to grow back. The coat is the first of five necessary points that define a true Coton. The tex- ture is different from a Maltese’s silk one (normally straight), and different from woolly one (often disordered, frisee, thin and short) and never harsh, hard or rough or similar to human hair (like for example, the Lhasa Apso). An atypi- cal texture is a big fault. The Coton’s coat is similar to a cotton swab—always dense, fluffy, very soft, supple and can be slightly wavy. To evaluate the right texture at a dog show, a judge should take the coat in his fingers, lift it up and rotate it with his fingers for a while and then let it down. Normally a good texture coat doesn’t fall down but stays up itself. The length is important, but not as much as the texture. A Coton’s coat must have some length, but not to the floor! What are the other points that must be indispensable to define a Coton? Surely the expressive eyes. Eyes (dark brown or black) have a rather round shape, of good size, never bulgy or almond! It’s also important that they are never too close: eyes must be set wide apart with the inner corners and
The Coton coat is fluffy and airy and, like the Bedouin tribes of the desert who cover themselves, their coat is like a barrier. Also the white color is not by chance; it’s well known that light colors reflect the light instead of absorbing it. Other singular characteristics are the patches of colors that sometime appear on Coton puppies. The breed is generally white but again, like cotton plants, they are not pure white. It is true that the general appearance of an adult Coton is generally white, but if you look carefully at the coat, you can see shades
of pale yellow, grey, off white, sable and fawn—especially in the ear area. It’s not unusual for Coton puppies to be born with strong patches of colors that could go from black to red, from yellow to champagne, from off white to ivory. These color marks often get light- er when the Coton reaches adulthood, and could even disappear. Rarely do the patches remain the original color. The standard requires the coat of an adult to have the impression of a general white appearance. The majority of breeders keep a few Cotons with colored coats
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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 email@example.com) written in 2003.
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!"#"$%&'"()&*&+,(,$&-.&(/!.*0 !"##$%&'($")%&*+,-"./)+ ! eneath the beautiful white coat, is a well built, vigorous dog, with charming clown like traits. Th e Coton de Tulear A Coton will delight you with their abil- ity to participate in a multitude of activities, such as conformation, therapy, agility, obe- dience, and doggie dancing to name a few. Minimal shedding and no dander, makes the Coton a good choice for people with allergies; however, it is not a panacea for all! Some Cotons have a distinctive vocal- ization. It actually sounds like they’re try- ing to talk to you and they smile. You’ll quickly recognize that flash of teeth when they give you an adorable grin. Dancing on their hind legs is a favorite pastime. It’s a natural instinct of this breed that can be further trained as a doggie dancing partner. Cotons de Tulear are contented to be your lap dog, to go for a walk around the neighborhood or join you on a hike through the forest. Th ey’re perfect com- pany for a relaxing day at the beach or an outing on a boat. Th e Coton de Tulear easily adapts to all ways of life. !"#$%&''(#)*+%',* !"#$%&'()*+,%(&$%&$,"%-$+),%./#$%-$+00)(1#2$34$,"#$5&%,#2$6,+,#-$('$7*#)%.+$8(,(&$2#$!9/#+)$8/93:$7;8:$<+)#&,$=)##2$8/93> has a witty and enchanting personality. Th eir extraordinary intelligence, versa- tility and spirit will never cease to amaze you! As a family member, a Coton is a dream come true! Th ey’re active, happy and loyal!
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