The Coton de Tulear was developed on the island of Madagascar and is still today the national dog of the island
The Cotons ancestors were possibly brought to Madagascar in the 15th and 16th centuries aboard pirate ships, Madagascar was a haven for pirates and pirate graves can still be seen their now, whether the dogs were brought to control rats on the ships or purely as companions for the long voyages, or were confiscated from other ships as booty, nobody really knows . . .
There have been many stories about the history of the Coton de Tulear, most of them are untrue, the Coton was never feral on Madagascar, it did not hunt wild boar, it was actually a companion dog of the Merina (the ruling tribe) in Madagascar
The Coton de Tulear is of the Bichon family, linked most closely to the Bichon terrier and the Tenerife terrier
They gained their name from the port of Tulear (also known as Toilara) where they originated from and their cottony like coats
Around the 17th century, the Coton de Tulear caught the eye of the Malagasy royal family and it became illegal for a commoner to own a Coton, gaining them the name "Royal dog of Madagascar"
The Coton de Tulear was first formally recognised as a breed by the Societe Centrale Canine (French National Kennel Club) in 1970
In 1972 the Coton de Tulear gained official recognition from the Federation Cynologique Internatioale (FCI) when they accepted them into their registry
It wasn't until 1973 the first Coton de Tulear was brought to America
And, the Coton de Tulear was not recognised in the UK until 1990
They even have recognition on a stamp