For our English speaking visitators
A Papillon is referred to as a small dog related to a spaniel, which has a long, silky coat and a bushy tail that curves over its back. It's large, flaring ears are its trademark, which are shaped like the wings of a butterfly, but there is a variety of Papillon that has drooping ears. The tail of the Papillon is long and plumed, curled over its back which gave an earlier name the "Squirrel Dog." Considered to be a small and dainty dog, it is elegant and of a fine-boned structure with a build that is slightly longer than it is tall. A small dog with a quick gate, it is easy and graceful with an abundant coat of hair that is very straight, silky, and flowing.
Also known as the American Papillon, the breed called "Phalenes" (a French word pronounced fah-LEN' whereas the American pronunciation is 'FAY-leen) is a dog that has mobile ears, and are placed in a dropped position--but the dog can still lift them up at the base. In the United States, this breed is still recognized as a Papillon instead of a Phalenes--even though it is seeing a resurgence in its own breed lately even though many judges will not accept them in the show rings. There are long-time Phalene breeders located in Sweden and France that consider them a separate breed of their since their earliest origin, and are considered the forerunner of the Papillon.
Besides the butterfly ears, the trademark of the little Papillon is the coat of hair. To tell a good quality Papillon coat is to take the hand and run it backwards against the dog's hair. Quality hair will fall right back into place, and its maintenance will be a breeze as the hair is simple and straight normally. Many breeders of Papillons say that Papillon hair has the "flexibility of nylon but feels like 'peau d'ange', " which is French for angel's skin, or a wonderful type of satin.
The colors of the Papillon is white with patches of any color except liver. If the breed is colored with a color other than white, it should cover both eyes and both back ears to the front. Called a classic tri-color, a Papillon is one that is white and black on the body, with black on the face. Brown spots are above each eye, and also on the cheek. As a puppy, sometimes the brown spots do not show up until later on.
Written history of the hunting and working dogs go back to the Dark Ages, while during the dawn of Classical Greece and Rome the toy breeds developed that had a spitz type of background. With the disappearance of these dogs, it was not until the Renaissance that many different types of toy breeds began to develop--toy greyhounds, dwarf barbets, Cayenne dogs, and crosses of assorted breeds. None of those earlier toys had the body type or personality of the little Papillon, or toy spaniel.
Several early theories state the toy spaniel may have come from China because of Venetian trade over the centuries. History says that the Chinese actually did have such a breed--a parti-colored, long-coated dog similar to the toy spaniel of those early days, in addition to resembling the modern day Pekingese which was very popular with nobility. Some other earlier theories say that eventually, the early lines of the toy spaniel developed out of Spain, with the word spaniel referring to "dog of Spain." Others rebut this theory as the Continental Toy Spaniel did not develop as the "butterfly dog" until two-and-a-half centuries after the Conquest. But regardless, the little dog remained popular in court circles with the nobility, providing a successful market for the breed. Many pictures with royalty and nobility were painted by famous court painters of the little spaniel, with the drooped ears of the Phalene--later developing into the present day Papillon.
The Papillon is the number one dog in dog shows, excelling in obedience or agility sports, which should say a lot about the personality of this courageous little dog. An entertaining sort of dog, they are considered to be a hardy yet dainty little dog with a long life line, they are very devoted to their owners along with being a very high-spirited dog with a happy and livelily personality. One would think they are the classical lap dog, and that this little "butterfly" of a dog would seem to be the type of pretty little dog that is content to sit on its owner's lap and idly watch the world around them drift by. Not so.
On the contrary, as small as it is--the Papillon loves to hunt and flush out butterflies, moths, and mice--little things within its size range! But it cannot be used in field trials as it is too fine-boned and dainty, even though that is where the Papillon's little heart is. The basic field trials, usually involving the stronger and more durable hunting dogs like the hounds, spaniels, Labrador, retrievers, etc., involves participating in a sport that definitely would do damage to this little dog that has more courage than having some old-fashioned common sense. So it has to "make do" with being a small little watch dog, setting off the alarm whenever a bird flies over-or-a mouse quickly scuttles across the field before the brave little canine hunter finds it.
This particular breed requires socialization of the puppies before their eyes open due to the nature. Many Papillons are reported to be "fear biters" unless handled correctly when they are bred and raised by a reputable breeder. The puppies need to begin developing a calm and trusting nature when young. If raised properly, the breed will be very curious about their surroundings while being calm and assertive, without being so afraid they develop a "bitiness" to anything new. They get along well with other pets and animals, attempting to bring them into play with them.
As small as the Papillon is, they still need an average amount of exercise, due to their high-energy nature. They are low on the level of exercise, but need to still be exercised enough to keep them calm when inside or not exercising.
The Papillon is highly intelligent and easily trainable, due to a strong love of their owner and a desire to please. Highly affectionate, this adds to the ease of the training routine for the breed. All breeds were developed for some purpose or another, and the Papillon was raised to be a companion to people--inseparable and within close proximities at all time. A Papillon will never make it with an owner who has little time for the dog, requiring only a moderately demanding companion. They thrive on stimulation, obedience work, agility trials, dog therapy, trick performance, and anything that allows them to use their intelligence and still be close to their human owners--particularly the males as the females have a tendency to be slightly "aloof."
Many novice trainers confuse a dog's intelligence level and their ability to be trained. A trainer who is very inconsistent will not achieve consistent results, even teaching basic command teaching. The Papillon has the highest aptitude for learning, and has the ability to learn from everything around them--one experience after another--without any particular form of training. Forced training does badly with this breed, due to their high response rate for positive reinforcements.