The origin of the papillon dog

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The origin of the papillon dog
The origin of the papillon dog

General description of the dog, versions of the appearance of the papillon, the use of its ancestors, distribution, popularization and recognition of the variety, the current position of the breed. The content of the article:

  • Versions of origin
  • The use of ancestors
  • Distribution history
  • Popularization and recognition
  • Current situation

The Papillon or Papillon is a companion dog that originated in Europe, therefore Spain, Italy, France and Belgium consider it to be their native breed. She has a "brother" - Phalene. There is little difference between them other than their ears. In the first type, they stand straight up, and in the latter, they fall down. In most countries, these canines are considered two separate species, but in America they are one.

"Papillon" in French means "butterfly", and "phalene" - "night moth". Although some dog experts believe that the papillons and phalens are of the Spitz type, they traditionally belong to the spaniel family, and collectively they are called continental toy spaniels.

Versions of the origin of the papillon

Papillon for a walk

The Papillon is one of the oldest known European breeds, dating back 700-800 years. This statement is based on paintings from the 13th century, depicting images of dogs that look very similar to these "toy spaniels". Regardless of whether they were immortalized on canvas, in fact, the appearance of the species remains mysterious, due to the lack of written evidence. Many claims about the Papillon ancestry are pure speculation.

This breed has traditionally been considered a spaniel type, although in recent years a small group of experts have concluded that it is actually a spitz. Spaniels are one of the oldest canine groups in Europe and have long been distinguished by their beautiful coats and long, drooping ears. They originally hunted birds and were among the first gun dogs.

Many of the specific breeds in this family actually predate the use of the gun for hunting. Other species belonging to this group include: English Springer Spaniel, American Cocker Spaniel, Irish Water Spaniel, Picard Spaniel, and Irish Setter. Almost nothing is known about the origins of the spaniel family, the ancestors of the Papillon, but several theories have been developed.

The English word spaniel comes from the French term "chiens des l'epagnuel", which means "Spaniard's dogs." Because of this, many believe that these dogs were first bred in Spanish territory. But, in fact, they were created in the Roman province of Hispania, which includes most of modern Spain and Portugal. Such a theory is most likely, but there is little or no evidence for this hypothesis other than linguistic evidence.

Perhaps the name of the spaniels, the ancestors of the Papillon, is inaccurate, and this group could have arisen in different places. Some believe that they were first bred by the Celtic peoples, and the welsh springer spaniel are similar canines. There is little historical or archaeological evidence to support this theory. But, almost all similar breeds are native to the lands of the Celts, primarily France and the British Isles. It is possible to combine both versions of the origin of the spaniel into one. Spain and Portugal were once inhabited by close relatives of the Celts, known as the Celtiberians, who especially favored such dogs. Another major theory is that they are descendants of the East Asian species, the Tibetan Spaniel and Pekingese, which were first introduced to Europe in the 5th century by Roman traders. Many spaniels resemble oriental breeds in appearance, however the two groups are not really related and are very different.

It is said that the ancestors of the spaniels came to Europe with the Crusaders.Arab rulers have long supported the Saluki, the greyhound of the Middle East. Its coat is very similar to that of spaniels, the ancestors of the Papillon, especially around the ears. It is possible that Europeans first encountered such dogs in Spain, as Islamic conquerors controlled this nation for most of the Middle Ages.

Spaniel proved to be excellent in Western Europe during the Renaissance. Then the European nobles and merchant classes bred a number of very small spaniels, using them for communication. The earliest confirmation of their existence goes back to Italian paintings from the late 1200s. Therefore, many assume that toy-spaniels first appeared in Italy.

It is also believed that these pets, the ancestors of the Papillon, were developed by selecting the smaller ones from the larger spaniels, and possibly mixing them with the Maltese, Italian Greyhound and other small companion dogs.

Many canvases of the Italian nobility show toy spaniels. In the early 1500s, the painter Titian depicted a slightly different variety of these dogs with red and white fur. They are very similar in appearance to the modern phalene (original version of the Papillons) and are remembered in the history of the titian spaniel. Over the next two centuries, artists from Italy, France, Spain and Belgium continued to paint them.

Surprisingly similar dogs appear in their paintings and it is likely that the breed had achieved type uniformity by this time and spread over a relatively large geographic area. Depending on the opinions of researchers, the origin of the papillons is usually attributed to the 1200s, when the artist's canvases showed the first "toy spaniels", or the 1500s, when the titian spaniel first appears.

Application of the ancestors of the papillon

Papillon runs down the beach

Many observers, both then and today, have commented that these dogs have no purpose other than to satisfy the fantasies of the rich and powerful. However, this is not quite true. Then such pets liked it when they were cherished by their owners, and they served their masters, but only in a different way. The ancestors of the papillons were used to distract fleas and other external parasites away from humans. Although the effectiveness of this method is questionable, at that time it was believed that it helped to reduce the spread of the "disease".

These toy dogs were also used to warm their owners, which was an important task in the era of huge castles and estates that could not be heated. Ancient physicians believed that the ancestors of the Papillons had medicinal properties and prescribed the use of "spaniell gentles" or "comforters" for various diseases. This idea has been confirmed by modern medicine in a number of studies. People who own a dog have less stress, increase the production of the hormone of happiness, and even have a significantly longer life.

The history of the spread of the papillon

Papillon appearance

During the reign of Louis XIV in 1636–1715, breeders successfully obtained a dog that was almost identical to the current phalene. The refinement of toy spaniels is largely attributed to amateur breeders in France and Belgium. While attention should also be paid to artists such as Mignard, who helped make domed dogs fashionable, the abundant cover is a sophisticated type of modern breed.

Towards the end of the 1700s, to distinguish titian spaniels from english toy spaniels, they were called continental toy spaniels. Although not as popular as it was during the Renaissance, the continental toy spaniel managed to retain a following in the Western European upper classes. The breed has probably never been particularly fashionable, but its position has always been favorable. Often associated with the nobility, the ancestors of the Papillons were associated with wealthy merchants and other members of the upper class.

The breed largely remained a phalene-type until the 19th century, although several early paintings suggest that papillon-type dogs were sometimes born as early as the 1600s.It is unclear if the papillon is a natural mutation of the phalene or the result of a cross with another dog, most likely a small spitz or chihuahua.

During the 1800s, Papillon-type dogs became extremely popular in France and Belgium for their butterfly-like ears. By 1900, they had become more popular than the old phalene type. The name "Papillon" has been used to describe the entire breed, especially in English speaking countries.

Around this time, the color of the papillons began to change from the simple red and white, as depicted by Titian and other artists. Gradually, these dogs appeared in more varied colors, probably as a result of crossing with other breeds. Throughout the 1800s, solid colored specimens became the most sought after, although specimens with white limbs and / or white breasts were also fairly common.

In the mid to late 1800s, dog shows became very popular among the European upper classes, and in the 1890s Belgian dog organizations became interested in the breed. By 1902, the Schipperke and Brussels griffon clubs offered a separate group for papillons and continental toy spaniels (phalenes). The first registrations of papillons date back to 1908.

Popularization and recognition of the papillon

Three papillons

World War I thwarted breeding and registration efforts for the papillon, but starting in 1922 a group of European show dogs emerged and formed the basis of the modern breed. A year later, the UK Kennel Club officially recognized the variety. In this country, the first club specializing in papillon was organized. Beginning in the 1920s, monochromatic individuals began to fall out of favor, with colored ones being the most popular.

It is unknown when the first papillons arrived in America, but most likely in the last two decades of the 1800s. At that time, writer Edith Wharton and Mrs. Peter Cooper Hewitt became the first registered papillon owners in America. Earlier, James Gordon Bennett owned several of these pets in Paris. In 1907 Mrs. William Storr Wells returned from France to America with such dogs. In 1908, she passed them on to Mrs. Danielson of Medfield, Massachusetts, who became the breed's greatest lover and began importing extensively in 1911. Her pupil "Juju", the first American champion, whose parents were a dog named "Gigi" and a bitch acquired in Paris. The American Kennel Club (AKC) first officially recognized papillon in 1915. The AKC has now granted partial recognition to the variety.

After the end of World War I, Mrs. Danielson began importing papillons from England, where they were quite popular in the 1920s. Over the years, a small number of other Americans have imported and bred these dogs from Europe. In 1927, Mrs Reigl purchased her first papillon from Mrs Johnson. The amateur not only bred her new pupils, but tried to demonstrate them at show shows. The woman discovered that very few people knew about this breed at the time.

Mrs. Ragle made an effort to get the recognition of the papillon. In 1930, a small number of breed enthusiasts met in New Jersey to form the Papillon club of America (PCA). The first President and Vice President were of course Ms Danielson and Ms Rigel. Other founders included Secretary Ruth von Haugen, Treasurer Ellie Buckley and American Kennel Club delegate Herman Fleitman.

This group of people worked tirelessly to promote the Papillons, overcoming many obstacles in the process. Their hard work was rewarded in 1935 when the species received full recognition from the AKC as a member of the toy group. The organization considered papillon-type and phalene-type dogs as one breed - papillon.

The Second World War led to a reduction in the import of the variety, and the PCA ceased operations in those years.Several specialized breeders managed to retain most of the original American papillon lines, and the PCA resumed at the Westminster Kennel Club Show in 1948. Two years later, the United Kennel Club (UKC) received official papillon recognition for the first time.

Throughout the 1950s, American breeders worked to increase the size of the breed, and also imported more and more of the best specimens from all over Europe. In 1955, the name "Phalene" was suggested by a European fan to denote the variety of the hanging-eared Continental Toy Spaniel. By giving the species a name that means "night moth", amateurs tried to definitely distinguish it from the "butterfly" - a variety with erect ears.

American partisans adopted the name phalene, but did not separate this type as another breed. Papillon continued to grow in popularity, and regional clubs dedicated to the variety were established throughout the country. Towards the end of the 1980s, the PCA began to worry that the Papillon might be becoming too famous and that unscrupulous breeders were damaging the quality of the breed.

In the early 1990s, the PCA became one of the first breed clubs to undertake the study of the genetic origin of diseases in its breed in an attempt to eliminate them from the pedigrees. During the same period, it was also observed that an increasing number of papillons entered pet stores and animal shelters, although the popularity of the variety continued to increase, but little by little.

The current position of the papillon

Papillon with puppies

The gradual rise in demand for papillon has increased its price. A number of breeders have bred these dogs exclusively for commercial purposes. These would-be specialists cared poorly about the state of the body, the character or conformation of the dogs they produced. They were only interested in as large a profit as possible, received for them. Such "breeders" create papillons with unpredictable temperaments, poor health and outwardly they do not correspond to breed standards. The small size of the variety and the deliberately high cost make it an attractive choice for dishonest people.

Fortunately for the Papillon, he did not fall prey to practices such as some other breeds such as the Chihuahua and Yorkshire Terrier. However, prospective papillon owners are still advised to carefully select a reputable breeder or organization. In recent years, there has been a trend towards creating "designer dogs" which are really nothing more than a cross between two purebred dogs. While most of the toy species are commonly used in this practice, this breed is rarely referred to.

The demand for papillon in America continues to grow, although this is happening gradually, not rapidly. The species is currently performing well in this country, but has yet to reach the status and numbers of the most popular varieties in the United States. The breed continues to grow as the breed is highly adaptable to urban and suburban environments and has less proven commercial breeding than some other dogs.

In 2010, the Papillon was ranked 35th out of 167 on the AKC's complete list of breeds. Their original purpose is to be companions. The vast majority of the species in America and around the world are companion animals or show dogs, although an increasing number of specimens are showing tremendous success in agility and obedience tests.

In continental Europe, papillon and phalene are considered separate species of continental toy spaniel. Mixing dogs with different types of ears is said to result in a litter with both types of incorrect ears. However, the breed is not shared in the United States.

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