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Coton de Tulear
History
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The history of the Coton de Tulear is poorly documented. But, the most common belief is that they are descendants of dogs who survived an ancient shipwreck near the Madagascar coast. Madagascar is the world's fourth largest island, and lies in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Africa. The little white dogs who swam ashore to the port of Tulear were the now extinct Coton de Reunions. The dogs settled on the island and bred with the local terriers resulting in what we now know as the Coton de Tulear.

During the 17th century, the Merina, who were the ruling tribal monarchy in Madagascar closely controlled the breed. They forbid both coastal tribesmen and non-noblemen from owning the dog. The Coton became known as the "Royal Dog of Madagascar." Later, conquering French colonists adopted the dog as well, and only those persons in the top echelon of society were allowed to own a Coton de Tulear. Political and economic crises in Madagascar now threaten the dog with extinction in its own native land. The Coton was honored on a Madagascar postage stamp in 1974.




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