The Basic 8 Toots were the original 8 elephants who discovered the Tootangan Wish Mist and were transformed into the first Toots (elephants). They then wished for friends, and the wish magic brought all the other characters (except Pil and Doodle) into play.
The old intro video
Originally, Doodle was meant to be the ninth member of this group. His story was re-written to explain his special status.