Playtyme Papillons of Distinction - AKC Breeder of Merit

History of the Papillon

The Papillon (pronounced "Pappy-yon") may have had its origin in Spain or Italy, but both France and Belgium claim the breed today. The breed is believed to have been pure for at least 700 years, since at least the time of the Renaissance.

The Papillon was recognized by the United Kennel Club in 1950. The Papillion is one of the oldest breeds of dog, with a recorded history in Europe going back nearly 700 years. These early dogs had drooping ears, but through some unknown event, some dogs sported erect ears. Both drop-and erect-eared Papillions could be found in the same litter. Even today both ear types are equally correct, although the erect-eared dog is much more popular. In America, the drop-eared Pap is known as the Phalene, (which is French for moth) whereas in Europe it is called the Epagneul Nain or Continental Toy Spaniel. The name Papillion is French for butterfly, which the face and ears of this sprightly little dog should resemble. (this is why symmetrical markings are preferred in the show ring)

At one time the Papillion was known as the Squirrel Spaniel because it carried its plumed tail over its back in the same way a squirrel does. This tiny breed is recognizable in 13th through 15th century Italian frescoes.  It was featured in many paintings of the Renaissance period; in fact much of the breeds' development is known because of its depiction in paintings.  The breed was widespread in Italy during the Renaissance and later perfected by French breeders.

Some of its talents include: watch dogging, agility, competitive obedience, and performing tricks.  This is a very biddable dog that is highly intelligent. The first Papillons may have been Spanish (Spaniel) or Italian.  Today, both the French and the Belgians claim the breed. Since the Renaissance, no known cross has been used in its development although two or three other breeds probably trace their ancestry in part to the Papillon.  It is one of the oldest purebred Toys, seen in the company of 17th and 18th century Royal children and ladies at court in paintings of the Old Masters.
" Isabella Clara Eugenia and Catalina Micaela " ( 1570 )

" Thee Children and a dog " ( 1555 )

  " Portrait of a Lady & Her Dog "

" St Valentine Baptizing St Lucilla " ( ca 1575 )

" Portrait of a Woman "

" Self-portait with his wife " ( 1674 )

" Two small dogs " ( 1643 )

" A Game of Billiards " ( 1807 )

http://www.papillonclub.org/History/PhotoGallery-OldMasters-C.html