Rare Breed Coton de Tulear Breed Standard



There are two different standards, the Worldwide or FCI standard and the CTCA standard, each drawing a substantial number of breeders. Each of these standards has been revised at least once since its inception. Coton clubs with differing standards (USACTC, CTCA) have registered each other's dogs. The United Kennel Club (UKC) in the U.S. has recognized Cotons for many years and its standard is slightly different because it is written in the UKC manner.


1. European Cotons. These dogs are generally small in size and adults have the appearance of white. The maximum weight for males is 13.3 pounds with a few slight shadings of gray or fawn tolerated. They were bred in Europe from Cotons originating in Madagascar to conform to the European or FCI standard, which was developed in the 1970's to meet the description of dogs owned by fanciers in France and termed the Coton de Tulear. Europeans and particularly the French selected the white variety of the multicolored Coton de Tulear in Madagascar and also selected for smaller size in their breeding. The standard traditionally belongs to and is kept by the country of origin, in this case Madagascar. The Madagascar Coton de Tulear Club gave the standard to the French club.


2. Malagasy Cotons meeting CTCA standards (a maximum of 18 pounds, all colors permitted and desired), were imported from Madagascar and bred in the United States and Canada with a standard developed in the United States in 1974 by the founder of the original U.S. Coton Club, to meet the description of some of their original Malagasy Cotons imported into the United States. Thus, the CTCA standard includes dogs which meet the FCI standard but also permits larger dogs of color.


3. American Cotons are bred in the United States and Canada from either or both Coton heritage stocks. Thus, American Cotons encompass all varieties, and may be small and white or may be over 15 pounds and black and white, tri-color or various combinations. Often the dogs have vivid coloring as puppies -- heads may be completely black and brown and there may be large black or brown spots on the body -- but as adults the color fades to the appearance of white. Sometimes the color remains as either a vivid coloration or as a faded gray or tan.

ACC recognizes and supports the worldwide FCI standard.


While some take the FCI standard as the "Bible" and strive to breed only dogs which meet this standard, others recognize (as does ACC) that all bloodlines are valuable and that all should be preserved. All sensible breeders agree that color and size are in the genes and are inherent in the breed, and that it could take 20-30 years or more to breed color completely out of the Coton. ACC believes that we must remember where the dogs came from, Madagascar. The Malagasy bloodlines must be preserved in order for the breed to remain healthy, vibrant and wonderful for many generations. It is as important to preserve the history and the heritage of the Coton de Tulear as it is to produce a winning show dog.


By limiting your breeding program to only white dogs leads to the elimination of bloodlines which reduces the gene pool and results in acceleration of breed wide genetic disease. Complete absence of hair coloration may eventually result in loss of pigment as well. Recognizing this, a number of breeders in Europe and the Americas following the FCI standard recognize it is a mistake to breed color out of the genes and deliberately breed Cotons to generate adults with lasting color to preserve these genes. These Cotons are often then bred to white Cotons to produce litters which meet FCI standards. We believe you should choose carefully when breeding which Cotons represent the genetic and physical integrity in order to preserve and better the breed.


The FCI based show organizations throughout the world and the many rare breed show organizations in the U.S. and Canada (ARBA, Rarities, IABCA, FORB, SKC, UKC, and CKC) recognize the FCI standard for the purpose of competitive conformation showing.


FCI Breed Standard for Coton de Tulear