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Monday, August 31, 2009

Companion Dogs

Coton de Tul'ear

ORIGIN: Madagascar
HEIGHT: 10-12 in (25-30 cm)
WEIGHT: 12-15 lb (5.5-6.8 kg)
COAT CARE: Brush coat twice a week

This breed is one relatively few to have originated from Africa, and has grown rapidly in popularity over recent years, both in North America and Europe. It is another member of the Bichon group, as reflected partly by it's white coat.

Almost certainly, the ancestors of this breed were brought from Europe to the Madagascan port of Tul'ear, as commemorated by it's name. This probably occurred as early as the 1600s, and these small dogs soon became status symbols for wealthy people living on this island, which lies off the East coast of Africa. Being bred here is isolation over the course of hundreds of generations, these dogs gradually diverged somewhat in appearance from their ancestors. It was prohibited for all but the nobility to own them, and they remained unknown elsewhere, right up until the 1950s. A small number were then permitted to leave the island and taken to Europe, while in the United States, they were not seen until the mid-1970s.
COAT The rater fluffy, cottony texture of the Coton de tul'ear coat is a distinctive feature of these dogs. Although white is the traditional color of the breed, individuals with cream or black patches occasionally occur.
WET DOG! Although traditionally the coat falls forward over the face, the wet coat reveals the unmistakable Bichon profile. A similar but now extinct breed existed on the island of R'eunion.