The basis of the original standard
The history of the Coton de Tulear is as unique as the cottony coat it. sports. It is believed that the coton is descended from a now extinct breed of dog called the Bichon Tenerife brought to the Indian Ocean area by sailors and traders. These dogs were used as ratters onboard ships. Over time, many of these types of dogs were either left or escaped onto the various Isles in that area, eventually intermingling with native species in the area. A single gene mutation occurred resulting in a distinct change in their coat. As the name suggests, many believe the point of origin for the coton was the port city of Tulear in Madagascar where they quickly became a favorite for royalty due to the cottony texture of their coat. For many years, the coton was only owned by those in the ruling class and therefore became known as the "Royal Dog of Madagascar".
In the 20th Century, dogs began to make their way to Europe, specifically France where the French Society quickly became enamored with them. Subsequently, the French began selectively breeding smaller white dogs. In the early 1970’s, the Federation Cynologique Internationale (FCI) recognized France’s standard for the Coton de Tulear. A few years later the first Cotons were imported to the US.
As of July 3, 2014 AKC recognized the Coton De Tulear as the newest addition to the non-sporting group.