Coton de Tulear – INFORMATION
The Coton de Tulear is of Bichon-type, related to the Bolognese and the French Bichon Frise. It probably arrived in Madagascar by French troops or with their administrators who followed them a little later. The Coton de Tulear was almost unknown until it was introduced into Eurpoe during the last 20 years or so. For many centuries, the breed was a favourite pet of the upper-class residents of Tulear, Southern Madagascar, where it was bred to type and from where he gets his name. The original small Bichon-type may have extended way back to a thousand years. The Coton de Tulear remains a popular breed in Madagascar but is now becoming increasingly popular throughout other parts of the world. The FCI recognised the breed in 1970. In 1974, a tricolour Cotton de Tulear was honoured by being depicted on a postage stamp.
The Coton de Tulear, ‘coton’ being the French word for cotton suggests the texture, and feature, of the breed’s long coat, which is fluffy and cottony rather than that of a silk-like coat. The colours of a Coton de Tulear’s coat are white, tricolour or black and white. Some of the white dogs have marking on their ears, which is a light yellowish colour.
The Coton is generally healthy. Following are some of the conditions that have been seen in Cotons, although they’re not widespread in the breed.
Luxating patellas, (knees that slip in and out-of-place) are a common problem in any small breed, and the Coton is no exception. It’s important to protect puppies from jumping on and off furniture while their joints are still developing. Cotons think they’re invincible, as well as capable of flight, so it’s important to protect them from themselves.
Hip Dysplasia (HD) is a heritable condition in which the thighbone doesn’t fit snugly into the hip-joint. Some dogs show pain and lameness in one or both rear legs, but you may not notice any signs of discomfort in a dog with hip dysplasia. As the dog ages, arthritis can develop. X-ray screening for hip dysplasia is done by the Orthopedic Specialist, contact your Breed Club for your nearest clinic. Dogs with hip dysplasia should not be bred. Hip dysplasia is hereditary, but it may sometimes be worsened by environmental factors, such as rapid growth from a high-calorie diet or injuries incurred from jumping or falling on slick floors.
Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) is a hereditary degenerative eye disorder that eventually causes blindness from the loss of photoreceptors at the back of the eye. PRA is detectable years before the dog shows any signs of blindness. Fortunately, dogs can use their other senses to compensate for blindness, and a blind dog can live a full and happy life. Just don’t make it a habit to move the furniture around. Reputable breeders have their dogs’ eyes certified annually by a veterinary ophthalmologist and do not breed dogs with this disease.