Papillon is an ancestor of Continental spaniel. It is deemed that the breed was appeared in the 14th century. France can be called the homeland of Papillons. So the origin of the name become clear: Papillon means “butterfly” and Phalene means “moth” (a flap-eared type). This dog was a pet of royal family members and aristocrats.
The story of the breed has thrown the history of France a lot. The King Henry III was accused of waste of the royal treasury as he spent state money for purchasing small dogs – spaniels. The King often visited Leon where butterflies” were bred and historians say he expended more 100,000 crowns for dogs in 1576.”Butterflies” who sat in the basket hanging on the king's chest accompanied Henry III everywhere: at reception-days, state councils. Henry ordered dresses himself with a lot of dog- pockets. The King had three pets who could sleep in the royal bed. One of them was called Lillinne. Just what she was with the king in Saint-Claude where the monk called Clement asked for king’s audience. Lillinne barked at the monk loudly showing her dislike. The dog was turned out hall into the vestibul. When the monk was left tet-a-tet with the king he passed a dagger king's chest. The dog gave the alarm and the killer was arrested , but the Valois ancestor was not save. Dying king whispered: “Oh, if I only listened to the dog…”
Papillons were also owned by Henry IV, Ludovic XIV, Maria Antoinette, Madam de Pompadour.
Papillons are extremely friendly and clever. Their mobility and cheerfulness is combined with real royal tranquility and dignity. Dogs do well in a group of other animals, but their communion is not enough for them so they need contact with man constantly. Papillons adore men, especially children. Papillons aren't nervous as many small breeds.
Just what these toy dogs are one of the cleverest breeds in the world, which allows them participate contests in agility successfully. Papillons took the 9th place among 79 dogs who passed Koren mental agility tests popular in Europe and the first place among decorative breeds. Its desire to learn and cognize is amazing. It is especially good at tasks where they need remember words and find solutions in uneasy situations.
Papillon is not a destroyer in his nature, and he can be kept in an apartment with expensive interior. Papillon is very tender and finds common language with kinds quickly. He becomes an active partner of children’s games. He will never bite you for self-protection! All these wonderful qualities make Papillon an irreplaceable companion.
Origins of Papillons
Continental toy-spaniel was mostly desirable in the royal palaces of France. There are a lot of stories about the relevance of ancestors of our Papillons in the life of their royal owners. Of course, these stories more seem like legends but they have both truth and fiction. Ancestors of Papillons were extremely popular in those far away times.
For example, there is a strange story of life and death of Henry II, the King of France. He reigned in the times of profound religious struggle. The eccentric monarch often had baskets with toy spaniels on his chest even when he visited the Royal Council. The legend goes that one of his dogs expressed obvious enmity to a monk who delivered a letter for the monarch. The monk was a fanatic black friar by name Jacque Clement. He passed a knife into the king’s back on July, 1st, 1589. Henry III died on the following day.
One of the most famous persons who owned Papillons' ancestors was Marie-Antoinette. Thus a small statuette which was rescued from her palace reminded of Papillon a bit but round eyes made it look as a Japan Hin or Pekinges. Picturesque legends (that are not always true) say that devoted Papillons to Marie-Antoinette accompanied her on her way to the guillotine hiding in the pleats of the dress. One of the legend’s versions says that the headsman cared for her dogs until the end of their days.
Madam de Pompadour (1721-1764) was a powerful mistress of Louis XV. Madam owned two Papillons, Ines and Mimi. There is an overwhelming fact that now we know few names of people who lived 300 years ago but dog`s names of Madam de Pompadour dogs are well known by Papillon fans.
PAPILLON OR A BIT ABOUT DOG’S EARS
In the north-west of France in the old province of Normandy there is the land of severe coasts, shadowy forests and splendid gardens, the land of castles and fortresses. There three friends lived in a small house on the ocean shore: Bulldog, Bishon and the Earless, each of them had his own business.
The small, stumpy, but brave and strong Bulldog with multiple black stripes on his bronze thickset body guarded the house. The elegant Earless in his fluffy pants with richly fuzzy tail was an intellectual center of the company as he read a lot and watched everything around him. The small, lively, snow-white Bishon with airy coat looking as a powder puff was a decoration for the house. He had a pleasant voice and often amused his friends with his own songs.
And now, the calm talk was taking place in the parlor. The French friends were visited by the English Bulldog – a stubborn, witty and strong dog. As usual, he started the argument on the beauty of the breed. Having small, thin and flexible rose-like ears the Englishman criticized the French for large, forward ears look like a bat. Bishon laughed at them silently, as he knew that he had the best ears of all – hanging, fur-coated, sweeping in the wind when he made his morning jogging.
The Earless was sitting in the corner sadly, then he went to the garden sighing. It was a warm and windless evening. High in the sky the Large Dog watched over his pack and he was ready to present himself to his brothers upon the first request and help them with a good piece of advice, with attention or… just by making a miracle. Do you like to dream when you watching for the night sky? Do you believe in miracles? No?! And the Earless believed. Reading books, where the Cinderella found her prince, the cat got his boots, and the wooden boy got alive and found friends, the dog dreamed that he would have … ears, any… because who would like just two holes in the head covered with fur. You may ask: “Why the Earless did not appeal to the Big Dog?” The answer is simple, as he didn’t want to bother the leader knowing that there are dogs that need help more. These are those dogs whose masters ruthlessly turn them out by betraying them and cancelling the agreement written in the Great Pedigree. As for ears – oh yes, this is unpleasant , but this is not primary.
Thus, grumbling and murmuring, the Earless heard a strange crunching sound that was coming from a pear tree. When he came nearer, the dog saw a thick worm who was shoveling up a green leaf with great appetite. The dog raised his paw, flicked… as suddenly the worm said with no desire to stop chewing: “Do not kill me the Earless, I will be useful. Now I absorb flowers and leaves but when I grow up and transform into a beautiful butterfly, I will give up bad habits and will help you in the garden”. The dog was taken aback, sat on her rear legs and looked at the gobbler with interest.
- What is your name and why are constantly chewing? – asked the Earless.
- I’m Saturniy, the worm, and soon I will transform into a male of the most beautiful night butterfly in Europe – the Large Peacock-Eye but ,unfortunately, my life is not that long, just a few days, and I’d like to see everything, to go everywhere. I will not have time even for dinner, so I prepare stock, – answered the worm.
So the dog made a friend of the future Peacock-Eye and told him about his vice while the worm restlessly champing. Of course, everyone has its own disadvantages: Bulldog snores at nights, Bishon bursts out with laught but what it means to have no ears….
The time passed and once coming to the garden, the dog didn't see Saturniy in its usual place and grieving, the Earless wanted to come back home, when in the light of a street lantern he saw a large, dancing butterfly who smoothly landed on the dog’s head. Oh wonder! The shadow that the dog threw back, had large, exuberant ears. He stay put…, but the butterfly flied up and sat on the tree trunk. The mirage vanished.
- Hello! Don’t you know me? It's me, Saturniy, – the Peacock-Eye looked at the dog, expanding its velvet wings glaring with gold, brown, rose tones, with iridescent spots – eyes.
- I need tell you so much, - Saturniy jabbered. And he told the Earless about the beauty of Normandy, about the sea, the rocky shores, springs and rivers with clear crystal water. The dog attentively listened and memorized as he could not fly and see the beauties of his land from the bird’s eye view.
Such meetings had lasted for five days, but t it was time to say goodbye. The dog sobbed with his earless head hanging. It was the first time when he lost his friend, he was broken-hearted, tears dropped on Peacock-Eye wings, and it seemed that they glanced with rainy and dew drops. Life was leaving the fragile body of Saturniy and he moved his feathers and said: “Do not be sad, we part but you have your memory and I will always live in your heart. Butterflies can use only one wish in their life. Oh, I would like to stay with you so much!” Gathering his last powers, he expanded his wings, swung them and put them down on dog’s head… The lighting flashed, the thunder struck and… and something appeared under the dog’s forehead. Bulldog and Bishon came to the sound and came to a dead stop. At the top of the Earless head, ears looking as butterfly wings covered with fur as fringe were flickering.
- Papillon, papillon, - the dogs barked (this means butterfly in French). This is how the last wish of Saturniy was fulfilled. They were together – the dog and the butterfly – forever and ever!
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