Papillon and Phalène: Two Types of Continental Toy Spaniel


Sensitivity to strangers
Affection for family
Suitable for first-time owners
Ease of grooming
Energy level

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The Continental Toy Spaniel is one of the most beloved dogs in the World; now let’s introduce its two types: Papillon and Phalène.

The Continental Toy Spaniel has ancient origins, the word “spaniel” means: Spanish dog; so we can say that this dog breed most likely was born in Spain, although the motherland of the Papillon and the Phalène are France and Belgium.

We can assure that since the 13th century these dogs were highly popular in Spain, we can see them portrayed in many paintings from the Renaissance period.

Papillon and Phalène: Origins

During the Renaissance era, the Phalène spread through the world of monarchs and noblemen; among the most famous admirers of this dog breed we can mention Louis XIV; although the most curious stories make reference to Marie Antoinette who was guillotined with her little spaniel dog. The same legend is linked to Mary, Queen of Scots, but this time the protagonist was her Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.

Also, the two Cavalier Kings of Charles I of England decided to put their heads in the guillotine when he was being beheaded, and the three heads were cut off at the same time.

In fact, all Continental Toy Spaniels portrayed during the Renaissance resemble the Phalène, with its charming hanging ears. The Papillon gained popularity by the 19th century, and conquered hearts with its striking and gorgeous ears. Throughout time, its popularity was replaced by other hunting and companion dogs, like the Terriers.

So, the Continental Toy Spaniel from the era of Titian (Tiziano Vecelli) has evolved into a more sophisticated, elegant and furry dog, that the one from the Renaissance period, and nowadays it needs more grooming and care. Also we can find it in more colors and its head has become its most striking feature.

However, some recent studies confirm that there are fewer specimens in the World during the last years. If we compare this dog breed to other Spaniels such as Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, we can say that the Continental Toy Spaniels are fewer, but it is a dog breed that deserves to recover its popularity. Nowadays it is really hard to find a specimen, but the good news is that uncertified breeders and sellers are less attracted to sell this dog breed.

Papillon and Phalène: Temperament

Like we mentioned before, we have not met a lot of Continental Toy Spaniels, perhaps because they are not very popular or widespread, but the ones we knew impressed us very much, especially because none of them acted like the typical small dog breed.

Certainly, we cannot assure that these dogs were with careful and caring owners; in fact they were quite neglected. Moreover, these little fluffy dogs showed happiness and were kind with people and other dogs. A characteristic to keep in mind is that they do not bark too much, although there is not a small breed dog that does not bark a little, except for the Basenji.

Another characteristic worth mentioning is its liveliness; it has the same temperament during puppyhood and as an adult. Once we met a Papillon of 14 years that acted like a 14 month old puppy.

A feature we like very much about this dog breed is its calmness and kindness; inside the house it can be a little sedentary, but it surely has the skills to be a true athlete and withstand long walks and even trekking.

In the countries where Continental Toy Spaniels are highly popular, you can see them in competitions of obedience and agility; two features in which they stand out because they are collaborative and docile dogs.

We can say that this is a versatile dog breed, its resistance is only limited by its small size, and it does everything it can despite its tiny proportions.

And also these are very affectionate dogs! If we add the fact that they are truly adorable and beautiful, easy to groom and let’s say it again gorgeous little dogs; by the end of the day, one cannot help but wonder, why are not all the homes filled with Papillons and Phalènes?

Papillon and Phalène: Health

Another amazing feature is that this dog breed does not have any particular diseases. We can only mention ocular problems and patella luxation, a common condition in all small dog breeds, but certainly an issue that does not affect or endangers the life of the dog.

The only thing some owners have complained about is that these dogs are picky with food and tend to stop eating some meals, a problem that can easily be solved by being a strict owner. But some of these little fellas are very spoiled and stop eating completely just to see what is on the menu, and then decide if they eat or not.

Papillon and Phalène: Physical Characteristics

  1. PHALENE: this variety has droopy ears that hang gracefully and are positioned high on its head. It has a beautiful wavy and long coat that can reach its height, which gives it an extraordinary appearance.
  2. PAPILLON: this variety has straight and open ears that point to the sides of its head. The ears cannot point forward like the Pomeranian; this is not accepted by the standard.

Mating between both types give as a result specimens with semi-erect ears and droopy ends, this kind of mixture is considered a defect of the breed.

The Continental Toy Spaniel is a companion dog of normal and harmonious proportions, with a long coat, and a muzzle slightly long for its head. Its temperament is cheerful; its body is robust but elegant, with a proud look, and a charming walk. The body is longer than its height.

Papillon and Phalène: Price and Puppies

The price of a Papillon or a Phalène puppy can be around 900 dollars, 700 English pounds. It is a lively and small companion dog, however if you have any questions you can contact certified breeders who will provide you with all the necessary information.

Some common flaws of this dog breed can be: flat skull, nose that is not black-colored, small or round eyes, light-colored eyes, visible sclera when looking forward (the white part of the eyes), eyelids discoloration, curvy tail that falls on the back or the sides (we refer to the bones not the hair) and curved back legs.

Papillon and Phalène: Breeders, and Puppies for Sale

In this section you can find the best registered breeders in countries such as: the US, Canada and UK; but also Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, Scotland, India and South Africa; where you can find all the information you need. It is imperative to purchase from a reliable breeder, to insure that your puppy has been:

  • Raised to have good character and good health;
  • Carefully selected (its parents were chosen without any genetic diseases);
  • Properly socialized, so that it is not too aggressive or fearful;
  • Vaccinated and well-cared for

When you adopt a puppy, a reliable breeder provides you with an official veterinarian certificate, in which it is formally stipulated that the animal is in perfect health and dewormed.

You can ask for a pedigree certificate, which allows you to check your dog breed´s purity. An animal with pedigree has certain characteristics that distinguish it among the others.

Now that we have mentioned the most important aspects, you can go to your new four-legged friend, who is certainly waiting for you.


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