The History of the Phalene        The interest in the Phalene in many countries seemed to have faded in the past years, but today this is not so. In fact, many countries are having a delightful resurrection of the Phalene in the now "New Millennium". Intrigue and fascination are at an all time high for the Phalene.        A world wide Phalene List is now in existence where fanciers exchange questions and ideas on a daily basis, as well as share their lovely photos of their Phalenes. Now with the Phalene Web sight, breeders and fanciers can tap into a much wider spectrum of the Phalene.        The early pioneers of the Phalene are not well known, and their actual history will never be known for sure. For the most part, the use of old paintings, writings, and conjecture have been used to piece together what is known, to form a generally accepted history. In medieval times it became common in royal houses for the use of lap dogs to help keep the family members warm in drafty winter castles. They then became just beloved pets. Did the lower classes also have toy breeds, Phalenes, etc.? We may never know, as unless there was money and education there is no artwork or written history to be able to verify their existence. Different breeds became popular in different areas and countries. Soon, like the larger dogs bred for specific uses, toy breeds for companionship and lap dogs, were being bred for a purpose.        There is marked debate among some as to exactly which breeds were used to develop the Phalene, and from where the Phalene originated. One theory is that it came back from Mexico with the Conquistadors to Spain. However, there are paintings depicting the Phalene earlier than that period. In addition, the dogs from Mexico also had erect ears, which did not show up in Phalenes for another two and a half centuries. Another theory is that they came from South America. And still another that postulates they came from China with Marco Polo. However, it is generally believed today that the Phalene's beginnings were in France and Belgium, with Spain as a third possibility.  It is interesting that while three countries claim the origins of the breed, France, Belgium, and Spain, Italy was also a main country in which to find Phalenes.       It has been suggested that Phalenes came to be popular in European courts due to the portraits done by Italian artists in Italy.  There is a book out which suggests a small Italian spaniel as being one of the ancestors of the Phalene. The oldest known portrait with a phalene is an Italian one.         Breeds such as the Cayenne Dog and the European Toy Spaniel are thought to be predecessors of the Phalene. Throughout history the Phalene have been called the Little Squirrel Dog, Belgium Toy Spaniel, Royal Toy Spaniel, Epagneul Dwarf Spaniel, Epagneul Nain, Papillon or Butterfly Spaniel, Dwarf Continental Toy Spaniel,  Belgium Toy Spaniel, Papillon and Phalene.             The origination of the Phalene is based on the appearance of the Phalene in portraits of nobility by some of the great artists of the world. It became common practice when portraits were made to include a beloved pet; thus we are able to get our first glimpses of the origins of breeds throughout history of at least the noble families. One of the earliest known portraits with a Phalene is St Anthony, by Italian artist Sasetta (1392 - 1450). Phalenes began to show up in portraits from the countries of Italy with Titian (1485 - 1576) and Mignard (1612 - 1695), Spain with Velaquez (1598 - 1660), France with Rubens (1577 - 1640), Watteau (1684 - 1721) and Largillere (1659 - 1746), Prussia with Pesne (1683 - 1757) .        Phalenes are linked with many royal names throughout history. Probably some of the best known is King Louis XIV, King Henry III, Madame Pompadour, and Marie Antoinette. The Polish Princess, Catharina Jagellonica, who wed King John III of Sweden, brought her Phalene. That Phalene was actually whelped in Italy and sent to the Polish Court where it became the beloved pet of Catharina, and then the first Phalene in Sweden. Phalenes arrived in France with the family of King Francois I. Becoming very popular there, they quickly became THE Phalene country of that time. It was after the French Revolution that Belgium became the country for Phalenes.         At the same time at the end of the 1800's, it became popular to have solid color dogs with white feet and chest. These lasted for a while until once again it became a parti- color dog as it remains today.         Originally the breed we know as the Papillon/Phalene or Continental Toy Spaniel now, was only found with drop ears. The first documentation of an erect eared Papillon was in the sixteenth century. It was in the end of the 19th century that the first erect eared Papillons began to gain popularity, eventually becoming more popular than the original drop ear. In the early 1900's the first erect eared Papillons were being registered with various kennel clubs. It was at about this time that the name "Papillon" came into use. The Papillon then began to flourish as interest in the erect ear intensified. During the 1920's through the 1940's it was hard to find a Phalene. These early pioneers who first bred the Papillon perhaps liked the look better than that of the Phalene. They realized through the breedings they had done that the erect ear was now dominant over the drop ear, and this eventually shadowed out the Phalene. This of course is speculation on the part of the authors.        In the past forty years, there has been a slow resurgence of interest in the Phalene. Many of our present Phalenes owe much to their breeders for the hard work and determination to preserve such a beautiful dog. The present pioneers of the past century like Maud Pettersson, Skymningen's Phalenes of Sweden, Gwen Swann,  Lacewing Phalenes of the United Kingdom, Linda Greenslade of the United Kingdom, Mavis Pratt of the United Kingdom, Sheila  Cameron of the United Kingdom, and F. Harnist of France,  have done so much for our wonderful Phalene. In the United States in the later Seventies and early Eighties, we also had Mary Jane and Furman Cunningham, breeders of Phalenes.             Of course today we have many more breeders, overseas as well as in America, who are diligently directing their  expertise to reestablishing the lovely Phalene. These current breeders are also pioneers of the twentieth century and now the new Millennium.         This is just a brief history of the Phalene and how it came to be. The history of the Phalene is varied and rich. We will probably never know for sure its original conception, or its total history. With the various portraits from the Masters and inclusion in historical documents of the beloved pets of royal families, we can but try to piece together the facts we have. However, the history of the breed is one of devotion and love from both the dogs to their owners and the owners to their dogs, and this is the greatest testament . written by D. Cawley and J. Naylor © Phalene Fanciers 2001 - 2011 No photos or articles may be copied without written permission Click on a photo to see it larger or to see the slideshow.