When one considers their unique and interesting appearance, it is not surprising that these dogs have often been the objects of the interest of artists. It is through art that we can get a lot of information on this breed and its history.
Paintings of dogs that looked quite like the today’s Papillon have been made as early as 1500 in Italy. Tiziano Viceli in particular seemed very fond of this breed and included it in many of his paintings. He was not alone in this fascination, and there is even a portrait of Louis XIV with this dog. Papillons often had their spot in the portraits of various noble or royal families, which shows that they were favored pets in European courts for quite a long time. Countries of origin of this breed are generally considered to be Belgium, France and England.
These dogs were usually of the Phalen variety, today’s, butterfly like Papillons didn’t become fashionable until the 19th century, when the breed got its current name. The dog has been and still is known under several names, such as Continental Toy Spaniel or Squirrel dog. The breed owes the latter name to its fluffy tail that is often carried high over the back.
The American Kennel Club first recognized the breed in 1935, and it was then that the Papillon Club of America was formed. The club was disbanded by the end of the war, but several years later, in 1948 it once again resumed its activities. Today Papillons are rather popular companion breed that often gets its time in the spotlight, not just in conformation shows, but also in different events such as agility and obedience. These cute little rascals are also often employed as therapy dogs.