Crisanda Papillons.....Thirty one years of dedicated commitment to the Papillon breed.

" A promising future is most often the result of a legendary past.
Founded on the footsteps of breed legends,looking to a future filled with great promise".

Establishing A Line


Pearl A. George & Vickie J. Ehrlekrona


For fanciers contemplating breeding, exhibiting, and establishing a quality line of Phalčnes, one must first realize a good, well bred, Phalčne of quality is very hard to come by. Then, to complicate matters even more, you have decided to take on the difficult task of trying to breed typey, sound Phalčnes successfully. You can give yourself a big gold star up front for being a dedicated Phalčne fancier because from here on out you have taken on a definite challenge! One can certainly expect a long journey of many years of very hard work, disappointments, setbacks, and numerous lessons in patience and perseverance. Only recently, in the last eight to ten years, has there been a concentrated effort by a limited group of dedicated Phalčne fanciers to re-establish the original Continental Toy Spaniel, later known to the dog world as the Papillon. Great efforts have been made to bring the Phalčne back to its original status and equality to the Papillon, which is only right. Our beloved Phalčnescan be seen documented throughout history in old master paintings dated long before the 18th century and it was only around the 18th century that the erect ear appeared and gained favor.

It’s time to do your homework on the origin of the breed. Begin by doing extensive research into the breed’s history and evolution from the original Continental Toy Spaniel (E’pagneul Nain Continental). The Phalčne is not a toy dog per se, but the smallest of the spaniel breeds, and as such, is essentially a working spaniel. By becoming more familiar with the origin of the breed, and why they became the breed they are today, you will come to realize why they should be considered a small working spaniel.

Second, get a clearer image of what you want to produce in your line, (i.e. type) and then explore what pedigree/s produce the type you want. After you have a picture in your mind of what kind of Phalčne you want to breed, begin your search for a suitable foundation bitch. This will not be an easy task by any stretch of the imagination, and you cannot expect to find your “ideal” Phalčne in which to start. You may even want to consider getting a first generation Phalčne to begin with, where the parents are erect eared, and start from there. (Keep in mind you may not be able to purchase your ideal, but do not go too far afield from that ideal, with too much size, bone, and coarseness that may have been bred into the lines). Try to purchase the “closest” to your ideal with good breeding behind it, lines that are high in quality, soundness, and preferably one that has had necessary genetic screening done, and are well documented (i.e. eyes, heart, liver and patellas). In addition, one should never discount starting with a really nice Phalčne male, as they are usually easier to obtain. If you have a nice male, you can usually negotiate a puppy back from any breedings by your male. This can be a good place to start as well.

While the best method of breeding is Phalčne to Phalčne, one should not forget there are many generations of good quality Papillon lines that have produced Phalčnes, but have not been kept for breeding purposes and were placed in pet homes. Research into Papillon lines that produced Phalčneswill not be easy as most breeders placed them quickly into pet homes and/or they were sparingly used for breeding purposes. Older breeders might have valuable knowledge into earlier lines and what they produced.

Recent years have seen a large number of imports from Europe and Scandinavian countries. Imports can be a double-edged sword. On one hand, European and Scandinavian lines have drop ears behind them, but some of these lines are not without their genetic problems. Trying to research these lines can prove a daunting task. So much of what we know today about genetic problems within the entire breed was not known until the last ten to fifteen years. Documentation prior to 1980 would be less available. Trying to communicate with breeders that do not speak the same language can lead to incorrect interpretation or missed information.

While a breeder may make a statement to the purchaser that their pedigrees are clear of PRA, the purchaser may blindly assume that there are no PRA carriers or affected dogs associated within the pedigree. In fact, this may be far from the case. Very possibly a statement of no PRA in a pedigree may simply mean that from the dogs and bitches checked at any given age, no actual PRA positives were found. You may never know what the extent of the PRA affected dogs and/or carriers that are in the pedigree because of how much testing was NOT done after the animal left the breeders program (i.e. pet homes, exporting, non-checked siblings & offspring, etc).

If your aim is to truly establish a recognizable line that closely adheres to the ideal of the breed standard, first, as previously mentioned, you must know what you want to produce in type and quality. Breed standards leave a certain amount open to interpretation so there is a little variety within type but sound structure, movement, and temperament never vary. To establish a quality line you have to realize it is going to involve a lot of hard work and dedication for many years. Success does not happen overnight. In many ways, breeding is like working on a complicated jigsaw puzzle. In the beginning you know what the overall picture is supposed to look like, but the pieces that you think will work as you progress through the puzzle may not fit on your first attempt/s. At times it requires the adjustment, or the complete removal of a piece, so that the eventual desired image can hopefully be obtained. When breeding Phalčnesyou can try a combination of lines that you think are ideal, only to find that the pieces just didn’t fit quite right. At this point you will need to reassess and essentially move the pieces of the puzzle to make them “fit” to achieve the greater goal, which is coming closer to your “envisioned” ideal of a Phalčne. First generation offspring may not be what you want in an ideal Phalčne, but if you look to the second generation and look at all the pieces, they will eventually gel into a clearer, more focused image.

Hopefully, you have begun with a quality bitch (that also may not be your ideal), but you breed her to a male that will hopefully move you closer to your ideal. From that breeding you keep the puppy that is closest to your ideal, then you breed the next generation to further enhance what you have already achieved, and continue to work and improve on problem areas. You know what you want to produce, you’re focused, but you don’t have a male to breed to that is your “ideal”. By using a male who may not be your “ideal” but who will bring at least some of the qualities you want, (i.e. soundness, temperament, and strong Phalčne ears) will be a “stepping stone” towards your ideal. You can’t just look at one breeding, you have to look at two or three generations down the road.

On your third generation you can hopefully still show progress toward your ideal, still refining problem areas and type, while maintaining your soundness, temperament, movement, and ears. Sometimes people get so hung up on a type they jeopardize their soundness and temperament for lesser qualities. Old master painters knew the value of a quality product and began their master pieces with strong frames and canvases. Their old master paintings have survived thousands of years of time, avoiding major structural deterioration, still reflecting their original beauty today. Maintaining the structural “framework” of your line is essential. Keep in mind that whether Phalčne or Papillon the breed standard calls for:

Of medium length. Must be slightly longer than the height at withers. It is not a cobby dog. The top line is straight and level. The chest is of medium depth with well-sprung ribs. The belly is tucked up.
Shoulders well developed and laid back to allow freedom of movement. Forelegs are slender, fine-boned and must be straight. Removal of dewclaws on forelegs optional.
Well developed and well angulated. Hocks inclined neither in nor out. The hind legs are slender, fine-boned, and parallel when viewed from behind. Dewclaws, if any, must be removed from hind legs.
Well developed and well angulated. Hocks inclined neither in nor out. The hind legs are slender, fine-boned, and parallel when viewed from behind. Dewclaws, if any, must be removed from hind legs.
Free, quick, easy, graceful, not paddle-footed; or stiff in hip movements.
Happy, alert and friendly. Neither shy, nor aggressive.

Because the gene pool with Phalčnes is so limited, especially in the more refined type, it may be necessary to “occasionally” breed to an erect ear. When you do, however, you must keep in mind one of the breeding pair must have several generations of strong Phalčne ears. (This is where pedigree research comes into play as well). When crossing over to an erect ear to enhance your type and quality, try to pick a dog or bitch where you know Phalčneshave been produced in that line. Such dogs and bitches are around, it just takes knowledge of the lines and time to find those Phalčne genes in those lines.

In our opinion, one should never take the offspring of a mixed ear breeding back to the erect ears, as the breeding was to produce Phalčne ears. By doing the mix eared breeding you have introduced the PhalČne genes into the erect eared gene pool. If you take the result of a mixed eared breeding back to the erect ear the chances are that you will end up with undesirable and unstable ears (i.e., flip flopped over face, one up and one down, half tipped ears, soft ears, etc.) Whether you get a drop ear or an erect ear from the mixed ear breeding, breed the offspring back to a strong Phalčne line. Don’t intermix. We feel the best chance of getting a Phalčne from Papillon lines is not only to breed to a line that is documented to produce Phalčnes, but also one that has a very low ear set in the Papillon line. When we specify a lower ear set, we are looking at a dog with a fifty-degree angle on the ear set. We are more inclined to believe these dogs carry more of a Phalčne gene.

Another important element in breeding Phalčnes is being able to identify a correct Phalčne ear carriage. Knowing a correct ear carriage is essential to breeding a nice Phalčne ear, as the Phalčne is not just a drop eared or soft eared Papillon. Although the genetics in Papillons and Phalčnesare far more involved that can be described in this article, one must come to realize it is a genetic component that makes a Phalčne ear hang in the correct position, not just the concept of having the ears “down” in any passing shape or fancy.

An example of a correct Phalčne ear carriage are ears that drop to the side of the head, and where the ear attaches, at that point, a very slight rise where the ear leather pushes slightly away from the head, but there should be no more than a slim pencil width in that raised opening as seen in the examples below.

When you are on your third generation of Phalčne breeding, how do you “set” the type you have produced? In our opinion, the most ideal way to set “ideal” type is to run two lines from a common ancestor. It can be from the same bitch or half sisters if they both have the qualities you want. Try to work those lines down three generations, not identical in breedings, but if possible, related lines, using similar males and females, always maintaining progression towards your “ideal” type.

On your third generation, if you have Phalčnesthat are the type or come close to the type you want, and providing that each of the breeding pair compliments the other on qualities and faults, you will join the best of the type. At the same time, make sure you are not doubling up on a fault. Breeding a dog or bitch with the lines you have, but totally different in type, will not help you maintain type you have set. Bringing the two related lines together should set your type.

In conclusion, the biggest mistake people make is selling their puppies too young before they know what they have, selling their best in anticipation of a repeat breeding, or thinking they will be able to reproduce like quality in a repeat litter. The old English adage of “ there’s many a slip, twix the cup and the lip” can be applied here. It is very true in breeding that what you expect, and what you get, are two very different things. So, if you have something really special, hang on to it. Don’t be tempted by the large amounts of money being offered for the variety today. It is very possible that the puppy you let go too soon, could have been the one you should have kept, that would have made the difference between your being just a breeder rather than a high quality, top producing breeder. Many breeders do not have the patience they need to stick with a high quality breeding program. It’s not about the number of dogs being shown or even the number of dogs earning titles. It should always be about the quality that you consistently produce generation after generation, lines that are remembered years later for their consistency of producing type and quality.

The beautiful Papillons that grace the pages of this website took over 30 years of pedigree research, skill, knowledge, heartache and dedication, and as a result Crisanda is able to produce lovely, typey Papillons today.

©Vickie Ehrlekrona ~ Crisanda Papillons ~
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