Most of the general population probably will not think of Papillons when the word "spaniel" appears, but the Papillon is still a popular toy spaniel breed.
Many works of art through European history feature this small dog, often in the lap of the upper class. Only the wealthy could afford paintings, so it is understandable that dogs such as the Papillon would have a better recorded history with their lapdog status.
The breed was previously depicted with dropped ears, rather than the erect ears that are present in today's breed standards, which started to appear around the late 1800s.
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The breed was popular throughout Europe and now enjoys favor around the world. The breed also excels in the show ring, agility trials and obedience trials.
Papillons are often recognized for their incredibly large erect ears with long hair flowing outward. The tail is carried up over the body and, like the ears, has a great deal of hair.
This small dog has small bone structure so as to appear almost fragile. Between the two large ears, the skull is rounded, and the snout is short compared to the size of the skull.
There are still pups born within litters with dropped ears, and these dogs are known as Phalene Pappillons. Coat colors can vary tremendously, but it is white with patches of other colors.
These dainty looking dogs might have been featured as Europe's lapdogs in previous artwork, but this dog needs outdoor activity to thrive.
Papillons have tremendous energy, and it could potentially be exhausting to a busy owner, particularly one with no outdoor space near the home. In all things, these dogs are playful and affectionate.
When they are not absolutely brimming with energy, a good cuddle with their human family is an absolute must.
These quiet moments are also made even better for many owners because Papillons are not the yapping type, unlike some other toy breeds. These dogs can coexist fairly well with other animals, especially if introduction occurs relatively early.
Papillons fare very well in obedience trials due to ease of trainability. Housebreaking can be somewhat difficult, but this difficulty is fairly common in many breeds of small dog. That does not make house training impossible.
Improperly trained dogs can become nervous and snappish, exhibiting behaviors that are quite unlike this particular breed's gentle nature.
Papillons do require a firm hand because small dogs are often treated like glass rather than like dogs, and this can lead an impressionable young pooch to believe that he or she is the master of the domain.
This impression needs to be broken fairly quickly, or a number of undesirable possessive behaviors that can be very disruptive may develop. This can lead to problems in households with children, including nipping.
Still, a firm hand early on in ownership can alleviate or prevent many of these issues.
Papillons are popular companion animals, and history shows that this has been a constant. It is quite likely that Papillons will stay in the hearts of enthusiasts for quite some time.