by SANDY VAILLANCOURT & JOLENE ROUDEBUSH
V ersatility definition: Capable of or adapted for turn- ing easily from one another of various tasks, fields of endeavor. Th e definition aptly describes the Papillon dog. A “happy, alert and friendly” dog that is “light, dainty and of lively action” the Papillon is able to adapt and excel in many venues. Papillons have been some of the top dogs of all time in the physically and mentally demanding sports of agility, obedience and rally. Papillons are successful in tracking competitions. Th e breed standard may state “elegant and fine-boned”; but they are also sturdy, sound, and agile; with a great work ethic which makes this breed well suited for companion events. Papillons excel at agility. In the 2014 ranking of the AKC Top 25 All Breed Agility Dogs—the most represented breeds are Papillons and Shetland Sheepdogs; with 5 each. Th e AKC Lifetime Top 10 All Breed Agility rankings include Papillons at #1 and #6. Th e intelligence of the Papillon makes it a superb choice for obedience and rally. Th e Papillon is considered one of the top 10 brightest dogs and the challenges of obedience make them a super obedience and rally partner. Competitive Obedience and Rally present challenges that no other sport does. In addition to teaching the correct heel position, the dog must also do many exercises that require them to be as precise and as close to perfect as possible. In addition to their good nature and high intelligence, Papil- lons possess the most important aspect of a service dog—the desire to spend time with humans. Considered a “companion dog” the desire to spend time with their human makes the papillon an ideal choice for therapy and service dog work. Th ey are trained as Hear- ing Aid dog, Seizure Alert dog and Psychiatric Support dogs. Papillons have started doing Barn Hunt and Lure Coursing, now that the AKC as opened these venues to them. To showcase the versatility of the breed, the Papillon Club of America honors its members each year who compete in Obedi- ence, Rally, Agility, Tracking and Th erapy. PCA members can earn a Versatile Papillon Award, Versatile Papillon Advance or a Versatile Papillon Excellent Award. O ff ered at the Papillon Club National Specialty show is a friendly competition, “All Arounder Challenge”. Papillons com- pete in the Conformation, Obedience, Rally and Agility Trials during the National Specialty. Th e overall winner is selected from the highest qualifying scores.
Th e Papillon may be purse-sized, but packed inside is one of the smartest of all dogs—a clever, active dog that excels at almost anything dogs do. A truly versatile breed; capable of going from the conformation ring to doing agility, obedience, etc. to cud- dling on your lap.
178 • S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , M AY 2015
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