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   Danny & Ruth Ann Ford, 20 years of Dedicated Experienced  Breeding of Exclusive Quality Butterfly Dogs

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Breed Standard Comparison and Interview 

In the fall of 2005 we were honored by a prominent UK Papillon Breeder & Judge by asking Ruth Ann to submit answers for an Illustrated Standard Book.  The questions were in regards to comparing the AKC, U K, Australian and F.C. I. Standard.  We thought you might enjoy reading Ruth Ann's replies to the questions. Below are the questions and answers exactly as provided and as she submitted to the books publisher. Questions in Black, Answers are in Blue.

AKC Standard

UK Standard

Australian Standard

F.C.I. Standard

Question: Head and Skull How wide do you think the skull of a Papillon should be? The current UK Standard, for instance, is not specific although a previous version stated ‘Head and Skull - Small and characteristically proportionate to the body" Muzzles should be fine, how does the equate with some of the broader more wedge like muzzles seen??

Answer: When considering the Papillon is a “toy size dog” we must consider the overall size of the dog when observing the skull.  If a dog is heavy in bone than the dogs head is probably also heavy in skull with a wide width of skull and a coarse muzzle to match. 

A correct head should be in alignment with the Papillon general description. Dainty well balanced little dog. An alert bearing and intelligent expression”  A Dainty dog should have a proportioned “dainty head”  The top skull from the eyes to the ears when viewed from the side should be neither flat nor completely round in appearance.  A gradual curve between the ears when viewed from the front is correct.  A stop should be distinct enough feel when examining the head. A sloping stop down to the nose should be a fault.  A difference of the length of muzzle and length of skull should be easily visible without measuring.

Question: Eyes Shape and size of eyes differs in three of the four standards (the Australian and UK standards being similarly worded) Is this helpful??? The colour in all standards is given as dark, often one sees red and whites and paler colours being accepted with eyes lighter than would be allowed on a black and white or tri colour. Why is this and is it wrong????

Answer: I would prefer to see additional description of the Papillon eye shape.  Rounded in the shape of an almond is a better description. Eye shape faults; bulging eyes or too small of eyes that are lacking proportion from the overall head size. 

Light colored eye’s that is not a deep dark black/brown is a fault for any coat color variety.

Question:Ears How important do you feel that the shape, size and set of ears are. Apart from the Australian Standard the remaining standards all give a set of 45 degrees, given the importance of ears to the bred why do we see stock winning with either low or high set ears. How do you feel this affects the overall appearance and expression. Do you think any of the standards, with the possible exception of the FCI, given sufficient detail for ear set and carriage for the Phalene??? Should these be altered and if so what should they say???

Answer: Most Papillon standards do not give equal billing when describing the traits of the two ear varieties.  The difference in the dropped ear & set of the Phalčne and the erect eared Papillon also needs to be described in more detail. In many cases a breeder will opt for a Papillon ear set that is too high rather than a Papillon ear set low on the sides of the head.  However there is no fault for a low ear set. When describing the ear of both types, there needs to be more description given as well as faulting too high and too low of ear sets.  Consideration should be given in the overall feel and look of the ear leather on the Papillon and Phalčne. As well as description of faults for weak ears or ears that are half erect.

Standardization of the ear fringe also needs to be addressed.

“AKC Ears - well fringed, with the inside covered with silken hair of medium length.”

“Australian -heavily fringed”

“UK - heavily fringed”

What exactly is heavily fringed ?  Are large round ears with fringes coming from the back of the ear correct ?  Are fringes starting at the top edge of the ear correct?  Should there be allowable differances for fringes on Red & White, Sable & White, Black White & Tan and Black & White?  Some breeders will excuse lack of profuse fringe on Red colored Papillons.

Question: Mouth. Given the difficulty of maintaining teeth on toy dogs, particularly the smaller ones, how important is a full set of dentition. 

Answer:  All Standards require a scissor bite.  As long as the canines scissor a full dentition should not be a requirement.

Question: Neck How do you define a 'medium' neck as called for in the US, UK and Australian Standards or as in the case of the FCI Standard a neck of moderate length. 

Answer:  Medium and Moderate are exchangeable terms.  A neck of a Papillon should not be set directly on the shoulders nor should it be overly elongated to make a Papillon appear out of balance.

Question: Forequarters What effect do you think poor shoulders has on movement.

Answer:  There are different shoulder faults. All shoulder faults negatively effect movement.

Question: Body How do you interpret the UK/Aust Standard’s wording over length of body in the Papillon? Do you think the dog should be square but look longer, or that it should be slightly longer than high anyway? What does the "topline" section in the FCI actually mean, when it says the topline should not be roached, should not dip but should not be perfectly flat either. Does it refer to the next bit, which says there should be a slight arch over the loin?

Answer:  Ideally a Papillon should have a level topline. The top line should neither dip at the shoulders nor drop off at the tail set. A Papillon should be slightly longer when measured from the front to back and the floor to the top of the shoulder blade. Even though some Papillons may appear square upon measuring most of them are actually longer than high.

Question: Hindquarters The Australian, UK and US Standards call for good angulation (well turned stifle etc) the FCI Standard says "Hockjoint : Normally angulated". How do you feel a less than well turned stifle affects movement and soundness? Do you feel «normally angulated» adequately describes what you feel is correct??

Answer:  Proper rear angulation will accentuate a smooth gate at a trot. However an over angulated rear can cause a Papillon to appear almost hackney in front and an under angulated rear can cause a front not to sufficiently reach.  Both over and under rear agulation effect movement.

Question:Feet Apart from the US Standard, which says "fine tufts may appear over toes and grow beyond them, forming a point." the other three standards indicate that the tufts of hair on the feet should extend beyond the toes. Given the foot shape should be hare-like why do some people trim the long tufts from the feet accentuating a rounder more cat like foot?

Answer: Ignorance and lack of grooming skills. 

Hare as in “rabbit foot” should be elongated in the overall construction of the Papillon foot. Long Toe tufts that grow so far that the hair curls to one side or the other does not make up the overall shape of a hare foot. A neatly trimmed toe tuft extending beyond the foot does enhance the shape of a hare foot.

Question: Tail All standards call for a long tail well fringed, do you feel people confuse fringing with actual length of tail??? What do you think the incidence of (a) short tails and (b) kinked tails in the breed? Are either hereditary? Do judges take much notice of short tails, do you think, especially when the dog is fully coated and plumed? Is there a high incidence of naturally short tails in this breed? (from the point of view of both Judge and breeder). Is it an inherited characteristic? does it occur more in Papillons than in Phalenes?

Answer:  The AKC Standard does not call for tail fringing; it reads Tail is covered with a long, flowing plume.”  In any case both fringe and plume can also be described as decoration. No I do not think a long tail and a long plume or well fringed tails are frequently confused with actual tail length.

(a)   Short tails: There is little incidence of a tail length that the tip of the tail does not arch over to reach the back.

(b)    Kinked tails: A kinked tail and a cork screw tail are different.  A tail that turns similar to a cork screw is hereditary. I have not observed many cork screw tails in Papillons. A kink also described as a bend in the tail is not necessarily hereditary and several factors can influence a bend in the tail. Accidents, a big litter with little space in the womb are two examples.

Question: Gait/Movement How do you interpret "light, flowing" movement? Should the Papillon move with a sweeping "daisy-cutter" action or should the feet be clearly picked up and put down again – not high-stepping like the hackney action of the Italian Greyhound, but with a definite flexing of the pasterns. How do people interpret movement? Many Papillons and Phalenes weave, in a single-tracking movement, particularly in front - do Judges penalise this if it is still a "light" or "flowing" gait? Has anyone ever seen a Papillon or Phalene with a genuine, high-stepping hackney gait (as is correct for the Italian Greyhound?) How do you rate the overall standard of movement in the breed. How important is muscle tone to movement and do you feel that over crating can (and does??) have an adverse affect on movement.

Answer: The Papillon standard does not sufficiently describe movement.  This leaves the fanciers to their own personal interpretations.  I have been told by an AKC Papillon Judge that in regards to an AKC standard that if the description of movement is vague a judge is supposed to judge by the generic movement of a herding dog.  With that said a dog moving from the side should appear smooth not bouncing up or down. Reach should not be overly high or appear hackney.  The chest of a mature Papillon should be well sprung when viewed from the front the movement should not converge until the dog is almost at a run. Rear movement should push off and back with the hocks almost vertical.  The rear should not converge from double tracking to single tracking until the Papillon is almost running.  In most cases a Papillon does not move fast enough in a conformation ring to completely converge into a single track.

Muscle tone plays an important part in free flowing movement. A dog that is out of shape can almost appear wobbling or lose in movement.

Other than the ear description this is one area of the Papillon Standard, world wide, which could be described with more detail.

Question: Coat All standards require a silky coat without undercoat and all state the coat should lie flat, although the FCI standard states "wavy (not to be confused with curly)". Given the wonders of modern preparation techniques how easy do you think it is to hide a coarse or stand off coat. Do you feel there is an increase in poor coat texture. Why do some dogs that started off with correct coats develop woolly coats in old age, even if they have not been neutered?

Answer: An excellent groomer can create an illusion of proper coat texture with or without grooming products.  Grooming products can enhance a coat to temporarily appear more proper and can make it easier for a groomer to hide coat faults.  A Papillon coat should not stand out, it should drape or fall naturally.  I do not feel there is an increase of poor coat texture.  I feel there is more of an awareness of improper coat. 

I don’t think dogs start off with proper coat and become improper coated. I think improper coated Papillons are born with the coat fault; it is just not as noticeable on a younger dog that has not completely matured.

Question: Colour What do you think about the differences in the four Standards regarding the markings of a tricolour? Two state specific markings, two allow for any definition of "tricolour". Given that any colour(s) other than liver are allowed does it matter whether we have a description in some of the standards as to a tri colour. Has anyone ever seen a liver and white, or liver, white and tan, Papillon or Phalene?

Answer: All Papillon standards require white with another color(s). I consider a Papillon to be a parti-colored dog.  The definition of parti-colored is “color with different colors” Tri-color means “having three colors”. Traditionally we describe tri as white, black and tan.  However on an AKC registration there is no color for a Papillon called “Tri”, The AKC does allow the colors white, black & tan.  As I continue to breed I have found there are more three colored Papillons than just white, black and tan.  There are variations of red where a lighter red pip is noticeable or there are actually three different hair shafts such as Red, Sable & White. Those color variations could also be considered as “Tri-colored”.

I do not use the term “liver” as a coat color. If I were going to consider a coat color of liver I would describe it as a variable of tan.

Question: Size In the Australian, UK and US Standards there is size range allowed of three inches. Do you feel this is too great a range in such a small breed? The FCI Standard gives no minimum height, it merely states ‘about 28 cms’ . Do you think papillons are getting taller and heavier and do the standards ‘encourage’ this??

Answer:  If the goal is to have a breed that has the same look and size worldwide, then a standard size range of less than three inches may help to standardize the breed. 

The FCI standard requirement states “about 28 cm” leaves to much for individual interpretation of allowable size.  UK and Australian standard states dainty, balanced little toy dog”  AKC Standard States elegant toy dog of fine-boned structure, light, dainty” FCI Standard States Small de luxe Toy spaniel   The common word in all four standards is “Toy”, In three of the standards the word “dainty” is used. A Papillon over 11 inches in many cases is no longer dainty or toy sized.  Standards do not encourage taller and heavier Papillons. Breeders encourage taller and heavier less than toy sized dogs by breeding and showing their stock that is beyond the height and weight that is allowed.

Question: General Questions

Apart from ear carriage none of the standards indicate any difference in type, size or anything else between the papillon and phalene. However you quite often hear that the Phalene is "supposed" to be in some ways different from the Papillon – that its head can be broader for instance, its body longer , its bone heavier, that its tail can legitimately be carried lower, that the temperament is allowed to be more "retiring". You sometimes hear this not only from non-Phalene breeders but from Phalene breeders themselves. What are your opinions?

Answer: In my opinion a Phalčne must look like a Papillon, act like a Papillon, walk like a Papillon, and feel like a Papillon. Except! Their ears must be dropped like a Phalčne.

What do you think about the differences between the four Standards? Do you think the four Standards should or could be standardised? If so how would you rationalise these differences?

Answer:  Breed conformation competitors complain consistently that many judges have trouble finding a properly moving Papillon when awarding ribbons. Unfortunately, the Papillon standard does not completely address movement, thus not giving enough information for a judge to adequately evaluate proper reach, drive, or side gait. This fact leaves a great deal for the judge to assume as to what is correct. Nor do the current standards describe whether a Papillon should converge while moving at a trot. The topic of single tracking and double tracking has been questioned many times and this inconsistency shows in many specimens shown in the breed ring. 

Head type needs to be described separately for both ear varieties. The UK, Australian, AKC standard does not give equal billing when describing the traits of the two varieties.  The difference between the ears and ear sets of the Phalčne and the Papillon also needs to be described in more detail like it is in the F.C.I. Standard.  

Height and Coat variations are obviously another difference in different regions of the world 

A World Wide standardized description would be terrific.  Breeders interpret the the Papillon standard differently in their own countries, it would be a difficult task to have worldwide unity on making the four standards read verbatim.

Question: Health We shall have a section on the Standards and Health. This does not refer to hereditary disease or congenital abnormality, but to those parts of the Breed Standard which might be considered to promote either good health or bad health. For instance, all those parts of the Standard which indicate that the Papillon should be well balanced and free from exaggeration can be said to encourage good health. However, the requirement of the FCI Std for a "large" eye and the requirement in all Standards for fine bone, could be said to encourage eye problems and bone breakages. What are your views about the degree to which the Standard does, or does not, promote a healthy dog?

Answer: The Papillon is not a breed of exaggerations like some toy sized breeds ie; the apple dome of the Chihuahua, the large eye of the Pekinese, and the snub nose breeds such as the Pekinese, Japanese Chin and Pug.  For the most part I do not think any of the four Papillon breed standards are encouraging an unhealthy breed.


Want more information as to where to purchase this book?  Here is the web link to the Complete Illustrated Standard Book 


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