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

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Pap Standard Interview Jr Exhibitors - Breeders Ear Evaluation Growing Fringe


Growing Papillon Ear Fringe

 Published in Feb/Mach 07 Issue of TNT Magazine

Standing ringside recently a newer Papillon exhibitor asked me, "how do I grow fringe on a Papillon?" I said, "it is rather easy." The exhibitor said, "No, Really!" “What are your  tricks to growing fringe? No one will share any tips or secrets with me on how to grow fringe or give me any information on conditioning my dog's coat." I replied, "Keep your dog clean, brushed out, don't let them play with the other dogs too much and if your dog has the genetics to grow ear fringe, then your dog should grow some ear fringe." I thought how unfortunate it is if an experienced Papillon fancier will not take a little time to help a new fancier when they are seeking simple grooming information. So I said, "lets have dinner and we'll chat about the breed." We did and we had a delightful time.

The following is what I explained to her about fringes on a Papillon. Not all Papillons can grow long curtain fringe. Some Papillons, although they have a nice texture of coat, simply don't grow length to their coat. Through the years I have seen this tendency to be in some of the older American lines, where soundness of body and movement were the breeders biggest concern and coat and fringe were down farther on the list of requirements.

Unfortunately, many years ago the breeders and fanciers before us did not have the wonderful products of today such as shampoos, grooming tools, or a quality kibble to offer their dogs.

Back in the 80's and still today, American breeders began importing Papillons from Europe where they had developed the lovely long ear, tail and leg furnishings as well as long, draping, silky, yet nylon coats. However, many of these dogs did not have the same type and body soundness that the Americans sought out in their own dogs. What some of these smart breeders found out is by introducing stud dogs whom carried a little European coat lineage to their plain, but sound American bitches it gave them a mixture of the best of both continents. That being Papillons of correct coat texture and length with nice
fringing which vastly improved the look of the butterfly ears of their dogs. With this they also had to learn how to properly care for the fringes they had been blessed with on their dogs.

Black and White, Black, White and Tan and Dark Sables with black to tan banded fringes are much easier to grow fringe on than Red and White Papillons. Red and White  Papillons who carry little or no sable hair can be difficult to achieve nice length of fringe and sometimes the fringes may never grow at all. A Papillon's red fringes are a very fine soft coat which can break easily and once the fringe breaks, on some dogs, these fringes may never grow back. I consider myself fortunate to have been allowed to acquire or breed to some dogs in the early 90's which gave us the vivid red dogs our Forevr Papillons are known for, but in addition to their lovely red colors they seldom grayed. We also had red and white dogs with the ability to grow lovely long ear fringes.  

During the years I have tried many methods of fringe conditioning from oils to sprays, shampoos, pin brushes, slicker brushes, elastic bands, Vet wrap yadah yadah yadah. Today my preferred method of keeping ear fringe in good condition goes back to the beginning of this article so I will repeat myself and say, "

Keep your dog clean, brushed out, don't let them play with the other dogs too much and if your dog has the genetics to grow ear fringe, the dog should grow some fringe."

This regimen was developed with the help of my husband Danny, whom bred Maltese in addition to Papillons prior to our marriage. Danny brought in some good ideas on coat care as well as keeping great fringes with the knack of untangling coat with little hair loss.
I do need to add, keeping your dog parasite free and feeding a good kibble also helps with growing coat.

Keep your dog clean: Clean coat promotes hair growth. A show dog should have
at least a weekly bath and blow dry.

Brush out:  Running a quick brush through your dog's fringes and coat on a regular basis will keep mats at a minimum. Use a sprits of water before brushing or your favorite conditioning spray. Never quickly rip through a coat or fringes. If you find a tangle set down your brush and start untangling the coat with your fingers, much like you would do to remove knots from a spool of thread that had come unwound. Hold the mat in both thumbs and fore fingers and gently pull. Using your brush, lightly brush the mat and repeat until the mat becomes loose. Then brush the mat the rest of the way out. Be patient with the mat and in most cases at least some fringe can be saved unless it is felted to the skin.

Experiment with what brush works best for you. In most cases we prefer to use a medium size pin brush for maintenance grooming. However, there are times when a natural bristle brush works well on ear fringes. I tend to not use a natural bristle brush in dry cold weather since it promotes static electricity.

Playing with the other dogs: Paps love to play with each other. This play must be supervised. Many Papillons will bite at each others fringes, tug on their britches or pull on tails. The acidity in the dogs saliva will break down the coat. It is as simple as this: Don't let your Papillons chew on each other if you're growing fringe on a lovely show dog. At minimum, put a snood on your dogs while they are playing. A snood is a tube like scarf with elastic sewn in both ends which slips over the Papillon's head and ears. Long fringe can be tucked into the snood.

Now for a more detailed account of fringe growing.

Static electricity breaks off coat. If your dog is going to a show and needs to look its best, use a Static Spray to calm down the hair that stands on end. Make sure the spray you use doesn't weigh down or coat the hair with a sticky feel. Some static products can make a Papillon's fringe appear oily or clump the hair making the fringe look dirty. During travel, consider using a snood to keep the fringe protected on those days which may bring on
static electricity.

On a weekly basis I like to bathe my Papillon with a good quality shampoo and conditioner to remove any product build up that may be on the coat from the weekend before. While the dog is still wet I apply a light coating of Vellus Satin Crème on the dog's fringes, tail and furnishings and then I dry my dog as normal with a dryer and a pin brush. I prefer the Satin Crème over oils and lanoline. The Satin Crème penetrates and nourishes the hair follicle, thus making the fringe stronger and conditioning dry ends. It is
our opinion using oil may keep your dog fringe in condition, however oil attracts dirt and if not watched closely this too will break off ear fringe.

Between shows and baths some people will use a conditioner/water mixture in a spray bottle as a daily brush out. We use Vellus Static Stablizer or Satin Crème in warm water to spray on as a daily brush out spray. Do not brush out a dry coat. This too can break off a Papillon's fine fringes.

For show days we bath and dry with Vellus Shampoo concentrate and depending on the dog's coat, texture, and the atmosphere on the day, we may or may not use conditioner on our Papillon's fringe.

So there you have it! Our method at Forevr Papillons for growing fringe on our Show Paps.

Please feel free to write us for answers to any additional questions you may have about this article. There are other Papillon articles on our showpaps.com website.  Also if you do not have a mentor, consider joining our email list at Papillon-edu.com where there is a group willing to help with show and breeding discussion or our other co-owned email list which has a more international crowd and shares many pictures and brags, Papworld.org. Don't groan, both these list are friendly and are moderated to remain that way.

Ruth Ann Ford - Forevr Papillons




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