Dogs 101 Papillon – Interesting Papillon/Phalene Dog Fun Facts
The Papillon, his name literally means butterfly. He’s been painted by old masters such as Rubens, van Dyke, and Rembrandt. Today, he is a happy, alert and friendly companion with a take-charge personality. Amaze your friends with these interesting facts about this highly active little go-getter.
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Papillon vs. Phalene
10. The word papillon, meaning “butterfly,” in French refers to his fringed upright ears, which resemble a butterfly’s outspread wings. The breed also comes in a drop-eared variety called the Phalene, which means “moth,” a cousin of the butterfly that folds its wings at rest. Both varieties can be born of the same litter, although the Papillon is the more popular variety. Despite the distinction, Papillons and Phalenes are recognized as one breed.
9. The early toy spaniels from which the Papillon descended had drop ears, but in the 17th-century court of Louis XIV a small spaniel with upright ears was developed and given the name Papillon for his resemblance to a butterfly. But he has gone by other names and nicknames throughout the centuries. He’s sometimes called the Butterfly Dog or Squirrel Dog, along with Belgian Toy Spaniel; Continental Toy Spaniel; and Dwarf Continental Spaniel.
8. The Papillon was bred as a ratter in order to rid homes of pests. This adorable dog was too small to directly kill a rat like other breeds, so he had to use clever methods. His main strategy was to bait the rat and tease it until it became exhausted. Once the rat was too run down to fight back, the Papillon could make his final move.
7. The Papillon is very outgoing and happy. He loves to be around people and gives kisses to one and all. These little dogs get along well with other pets in the household, including cats, and frequently try to boss bigger dogs around. Paps also love kids, as long as they are gentle and non-threatening.
6. Though the Papillon is registered as a toy breed, don’t expect him to lounge on your lap. This high-energy dog needs a lot of activity to keep him stimulated. He is highly intelligent and gets bored easily, but responds well to interactive games or agility training.
5. If you keep your papillon engaged and let him get plenty of exercise, he is otherwise low-maintenance. He can do fine in both hot and cold weather and thrives in both homes and apartments. Even during puppy-birth, the papillon generally has no problem whelping healthy litters.
4. You’ll find Papillons in a rainbow variety of colors, with various combinations including black, brown, red, lemon, sable and tan. All colors are acceptable, but in a show dog white has to be in there somewhere. Papillons that are all white or that have no white is faulted in judging.
3. In the bestselling book “The Intelligence of Dogs,” neuropsychologist Stanley Coren ranked the relative intelligence of the various dog breeds. Papillons came in as the eighth-smartest breed. Although Papillons are rambunctious, they are also friendly, excited to learn and eager to train, due to their high intelligence.
2. When the actress Lauren Bacall passed away in 2014, she left behind $26.6 million, which was split among her three children—as well as her beloved papillon. The dog, named Sophie, was given a whopping $10,000 in order to maintain the lavish lifestyle she had grown accustomed to. The money is being looked after by Bacall’s youngest son, Sam Robards, who is in charge of pampering the dog in Bacall’s absence.
Marie Antoinette’s Papillon Coco
1. The ill-fated Queen of France, Marie Antoinette had many dogs during her short reign, but her favorite was reportedly a papillon named Coco. There are rumors that Marie actually walked to the guillotine desperately clutching her beloved pooch. But some accounts maintain that she gave the dog to the governess of her children. Regardless, Coco survived the French Revolution and even lived through the Napoleonic era. At the age of 22, the old dog died and was buried just a short walk from where her owner was beheaded. A small square headstone still marks where the dog was laid to rest.
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