Rare Breed Coton de Tuléar® Breed Standard

Introduction to Standards for the Breed

There are currently (as of 2018) several different standards for the Coton de Tuléar including several Show Standards. The predominant Show Standard which is recognized worldwide by Show/Fancy Breeders is the FCI Show Standard (Federation Cynologique Internationale.) FCI Breed Standard for Coton de Tuléar.

There are also show standards from the United Kennel Club (UKC), the American Kennel Club (AKC,) and the Canadian Kennel Club (CKC.) Each attracts a substantial number of Show/Fancy Breeders. Each of these standards has been revised at least once since its inception.

Coton clubs with differing standards (USACTC, UKC, AKC, mCTCA, etc.) have in the past registered each other's dogs. The United Kennel Club (UKC) in the U.S. has recognized Cotons for many years but some, including the mCTCA, have now closed their Stud Books. The UKC for instance for a period of time would not grant pedigrees to Cotons with any more than 5% color markings and required photographic proof of whiteness.

UKC & FCI Breed Standards Side-by-Side Comparison.

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 Tuléar. Europeans and particularly the French selected the white variety of the multicolored Coton de Tuléar 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 Tuléar Club gave the standard to the French club.

"Malagasy" Cotons

There are now two clubs in the United States, the mCTCA (Malagasy Coton Club of America) and the MCPC (Malagasy Coton Preservation Club) that claim to be exclusively "Malagasy." The latter is a 2018 spinoff from the original mCTCA which was a club privately owned and run by Dr. Jay Russell, PhD. recently deceased.

Both clubs espouse the mCTCA standards (a maximum of 18 pounds, all colors permitted and desired.) Their dogs were imported from Madagascar and bred in the United States and Canada with a standard developed in 1974 by the founder of the first U.S. Coton Club, to meet the description of some of their original Malagasy Cotons sent home from Madagascar to the United States by Dr. Jay Russell, PhD. while researching lemurs in the early 1970's. The mCTCA, formerly known as the CTCA, originally included dogs which were bred to the FCI Show Standard along with larger dogs of color but Jay Russell later closed his stud book to dogs of European heritage.

The CTCA Coton de Tuléar Standard - Coton de Tuléar Club of America

American Cotons

American Cotons are bred in the United States and Canada from either or both the European lines as well as Malagasy lines. Thus, American Cotons encompass all varieties, and may be smaller and white or they may be a maximum of 18 pounds, with all colors permitted and desired including black and white, tri-color, champagne and white, or various combinations thereof. Often, the American Cotons have vivid coloring as puppies with color on their heads only, or they may present with black or brown or cinnamon patches on the body, or with champagne on their ears but as adults the color may fade to the appearance of white. Sometimes a bit of color remains, as either a vivid patch or as a faded gray, brown or fawn or champagne on the ears.

The newest Coton Club in the US is the Malagasy Coton Preservation Club, otherwise known as the MCPC.

Coton de Tuléar Dog Breed Standard - MCPC

The American Kennel Club Parent Club for the Coton de Tuléar, the USACTC, has written its own Show/Fancy Standard based on the FCI Show/Fancy Standard where color is to be minimized in the extreme and their breeders are encouraged to eliminate color altogether.

Official Standard of the Coton de Tuléar General Appearance: The ...

Here is a side by side comparison of four breed standards for the Coton de Tuléar: Federation Cynologique Internationale (FCI), United Kennel Club (UKC), Canadian Kennel Club (CKC), and Coton de Tuléar Club of America (mCTCA). See table on this site.

Regardless of which Standard is followed by a particular breeder or Breed Club, the temperament of the Coton de Tuléar is clearly and universally recognized as a very important characteristic of the breed.

The American Coton Club, Home of the Rare Breed Coton de Tuléar®®, was originally formed to be an all inclusive club that has always accepted all the recognized standards for the Breed and has for many years registered any true Coton de Tuléar from both independent breeders as well as club affiliated breeders regardless of the breeder's club affiliation or Registration as long as the dog has a verifiable and legitimate pedigree and/or DNA Proof of Breed from the EMBARK test. With the advancements achieved by the Embark Testing Lab, a research lab affiliated with Cornell University Veterinary College, it is now possible to determine by DNA Testing the breed of each dog presumed to be a Coton de Tuléar.

While the majority of Show/Fancy Breeders take the FCI Show Standard as their "Bible" and strive to breed only white Cotons which meet this FCI Show Standard, some breeders in the European Union agree with The American Coton Club and recognize that all verifiable bloodlines are valuable and should be preserved. Knowledgeable breeders who are aware of current genetic research understand the importance of genetic diversity including the color, size, and coat variations inherent in the original gene pool and recognize these variations as being important to the health and wellbeing of the breed.

The American Coton Club, Home of the Rare Breed Coton de Tuléar®®, understands that we must remember that the Coton de Tuléar originally came from Madagascar and that the genetic diversity of bloodlines must be preserved in order for the breed to remain healthy, vibrant and wonderful for the generations to come. We know that It is more important to preserve the original genetic integrity and diversity of the Coton de Tuléar than it is to produce a winning show dog.

The American Coton Club, Home of the Rare Breed Coton de Tuléar®®, is very concerned that limiting a breeding program to only white Cotons is extremely detrimental to the breed in the longterm. Selectively breeding away from the native color diversity of the breed, whether for all white or for one particular color, leads to the elimination of certain bloodlines, reduces the all important diversity of the gene pool, and results in an eventual increase of breed-wide genetic disease.

The American Coton Club believes that conscientious breeders must choose carefully and should breed Cotons that represent the original genetic and physical diversity and integrity of the breed in order to preserve and maintain the health and wellbeing of the Coton de Tuléar gene pool.

Which Standard Does the American Coton Club Accept and Recognize?

Regardless of which Standard is followed by a particular breeder or Breed Club, The American Coton Club, Home of the Rare Breed Coton de Tuléar®® accepts all the recognized standards for the breed while emphasizing the importance of the genetic diversity and the part that diversity plays in breed health. The American Coton Club will register any true Coton de Tuléar with a verifiable and legitimate pedigree that has been proven by Embark DNA testing to be a genuine Coton de Tuléar, regardless of origin.