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Papillon Dog Breed

The Papillon ['pæp i ,jɑn] (French for "butterfly") is a small, friendly, elegant bPapillion Dog Breedreed ofdog of the Spaniel type, distinguished from other breeds by its large butterfly-like ears.The Papillon is one of the oldest of the toy Spaniels.

Papillons were bred for companionship and make excellent watch dogs.

Appearance

Papillons are known for their large, butterfly-like ears. Papillons are parti-colored (white with markings of any color). An all white dog or a dog with no white is disqualified from the conformation show ring.

Papillons can be registered with AKC as the following colors:

  • White & Black
  • White & Lemon
  • White & Red
  • White & Sable
  • White, Black & Tan
  • Black, Brown & White
  • Black, Red & White
  • Brown & White
  • Fawn & White
  • Red
  • Red, White & Sable
  • Sable
  • White
  • White & Liver
  • White & Silver

The most distinctive aspect of the Papillon is its large ears, which are well fringed with colored (not white) silky fur. The color covers both eyes and the front and back of the ears to give the ideal butterfly look. A white blaze and noseband is preferred over a solid-colored head. Nose, eye-rims, and lips should be black. Paw pads vary in color from black or pink depending on the coloring of the dog.

The Papillon is considered to be a "wash and wear" breed and does not require excessive grooming. Papillons have a coat of fine fur, single length coat. As puppies, papillons have short length fur and as adults, the coat is long and silky. Their fur is very long, plush and soft to touch.


There are two ear variations of this breed, the completely upright ears of the more common Papillon, and the dropped spaniel-like ears of the Phalène. The American Kennel Club and the Fédération Cynologique Internationale consider the Phalène and the Papillon the same breed. The Papillon coat is abundant, long, and silky. There is no undercoat. Ears are well-fringed with the inside covered with silken fur of medium length. Tail is long, well-fringed, set on high, arched over back with fringes falling to side to form plume. The head is slightly rounded between the ears, and the muzzle is fine, tapering, and narrower than the skull with an abrupt stop. Height: 20-28 cm (8-11 inches), over 11 inches is a fault and over 12 inches is a disqualification from the conformation show ring. Weight: 7-10 pounds (3-5 kg), but they can also get to (14- 16), pounds at the heaviest.

Temperament

The Papillon has the appearance of a dainty toy breed, but many owners will claim that their dogs are "big dogs in little dog suits". Some people find that their Papillon is very capable of handling a good five-mile walk. One aspect of the Papillon that has led many to believe the "big dog" assertion is this breed's surprising athletic ability. Perhaps people are surprised that in contrast to its staid and stately representation in the Old Master portraits, the Papillon is highly energetic and intelligent. Stanley Coren, in The Intelligence of Dogs, rates the Papillon eighth among all breeds. Provided their genetic structure is sound and they are healthy, Papillons are built for movement, and most do not need any encouragement to apply their energy to athletic activities.

Papillons are easily litter box trained.

Activities

In recent years, the Papillon has become a small dog star in the sport of dog agility. This sport consists of an obstacle course with tunnels, jumps, A-frames, and narrow bridges that a dog completes at top speed aided only by verbal and body-language commands from a handler. Agility requires the dog to spring, scramble, weave, and turn on a dime. The breed is considered naturally agile, and Papillons compete at both national and international trials. Because many Papillons have intense drive and natural speed, their tiny turning radius gives them an edge over larger dogs, and some Papillons are capable of beating Border Collie speeds on some courses. At the same time, Papillons excel in companionship and lap dog sweepstakes, and take it very seriously.

Others have experienced Papillons as highly companionable—yet physically active—dogs requiring appropriate socialization, consistent and monitored exercise, continued training (which also serves to stimulate their active minds), and daily, proactive human-to-canine interaction.

Health

Papillons are a relatively healthy breed, but they are prone to common health issues of small dogs, such as luxating patella and "open" fontanels, as well as progressive retinal atrophy (though efforts by the Canine Eye Research Foundation and responsible breeders have helped curb its spread). Papillons may also suffer from Von Willebrand disease, mitral valve disease, progressive retinal atrophy and reverse sneezing

History

The History of the Papillon is traced through works of art. The earliest toy spaniels resembling the Papillon are found in Italy. Tiziano Vicelli (Titian) painted these small dogs in many famous paintings beginning around 1500 including the Venus of Urbino (1542). Other well known artists who included them in paintings are Watteau, Gonzalez Coques, Fragonard, Paolo Veronese and Mignard. In a painting after Largillierre in the Wallace Collection in London, a Papillon is clearly shown in a family portrait of Louis XIV. Papillons are also in paintings of royal families around Europe and paintings of merchant class families. The breed was popular in England, France, and Belgium which are considered counties of origin by the FCI.

The "Titian spaniels" and those portrayed by later artists through Mignard and his contemporaries had the drooping ears characteristic of today's Phalène; it was not until the end of the 19th century that the erect-eared appearance became fashionable and gave the breed's modern name, Papillon, French for "butterfly". The Titian spaniels also were red-and-white in coloration, verses the many recognized colorations of today's Papillon.

The Papillon's history and long association with royalty have led to many stories about the breed. Marie Antoinette is said to have walked to the guillotine clutching her small dog under her arm, likely an apocryphal tale. However, tradition has it that Marie Antoinette's dog was a small spaniel that had been brought to the French court from Spain on the back of pack mules. According to the story, her pup was spared and cared for in a building in Paris still called the Papillon House. Marie Antoinette's dog was said to have descended from a very old drop-eared breed known as the Epagneul Nain Continental, or Continental Dwarf/Toy Spaniel that appeared in church frescos and paintings as early as the 13th century.

The Papillon is still officially referred to as the Epagneul Nain Continental (ENC) in non-English-speaking countries. The name Squirrel Spaniel also has been used, most likely referring to an earlier standard in which the tail set is described as "curling over the back as a squirrel's". One version of the history of the two varieties of ear shape in the ENC ("Papillon" to denote the erect ear and "Phalène" to denote the dropped ear) is that toward the end of the 19th century, breed fanciers bred a version of the spaniel whose ears stood up. This dog was said to have been nicknamed papillon based on the impressively large, erect ears that resembled the wings of a butterfly. The drop-eared variety of the breed came to be called the Phalène (which means "night moth"). Both types are still bred today and appear in the same litter. The Papillon variety is much more common, although recently the Phalène has undergone a resurgence in popularity.

The Papillon was first recognized by the AKC in 1935with the formation of the Papillon Club of America. In 1999, Ch. Loteki Supernatural Being (call name "Kirby") became the first Papillon to win the prestigious "Best in Show" at the annual Westminster Kennel Club dog show. Kirby also won international success for the breed by taking the World Dog Show in Helsinki, Finland, and the Royal Invitational in Canada in 1998. Papillons also enjoy success today in competitive fields outside of confirmation, including obedience and agility.

 

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