Great Dogs and Breeders in Papillons

Reproduced from an article by Mike Foster published in Dog World, April 1998

Since the Papillon (Butterfly Dog) Club was formed 75 years ago, there have been many breeders whose names have become part of the breed history. This article pays tribute to just a few whose dedication has enabled the modern Papillon to compete on equal terms in the show ring with any other breed.

The first Papillon champion, Gamin de Flandre, gained his title in 1925 and his breeders, Mrs Gordon Gratrix and Mrs M B Cooper (who also bred a further two champions in her own name), bred five champions, including four of the first five Papillons to be made up. In those early days and the years to follow, such names as Mme Oosterveen (Monamie), Mrs H C Lake (Otter), Mrs G M Gee (Springshaven), Mrs I E Radermacher (Harleymeads), Mrs S Settles (Dandymites) and Miss D Currie (Sunnysouth) contributed greatly towards the foundation of the breed.

It was not until the mid ’50s that the breed began to see a steady increase in popularity and it was perhaps from that date that the modern Papillon began to evolve.

The ’50s saw a number of breeders/exhibitors come into the breed who were to achieve much success. Mr and Mrs L Ratigan (Laurigan) made up their first champion, Dawn of Springshaven in 1952 and between her and Ch Oakridges Piaf, made up in 1972, cane 19 champions. They preferred always to exhibit rather than breed, and only three of these champions were homebred. The Picaroon kennel of Bob and Peggy Russell Roberts made up their first champion, Picaroon Ambrose in 1958. Ambrose, who sired five British champions carrying the Picaroon affix, had a marked influence on the breed.

Winner of the Miss Taylor Stud Trophy in 1961 and 1962, his grandson, Max Bygraves of Inverdon, was to be a dominant force behind the success of the Inverdon kennel. 17 British champions carrying the Picaroon affix were made up between 1958 and 1972.

In 1964 Ch Picaroon Parasol took best toy bitch at Birmingham City, and Ch Picaroon Nightcap became the first outright toy group winner, at Richmond in 1970. George and Netta Henderson’s Inverdon kennel was started in the late ’50s. Their first champion, Inverdon Endora, a daughter of Max Bygraves, took BIS at both the English and Scottish club championship shows and won the CC at Crufts in 1967 and 1970. Her dam, Inverdon Josephine Chi Chi, half sister to Max through their sire Picaroon Pluto, produced four British champions, two by Max: Endora and Pretty Puppet; and two by Inverdon Aristocrat: Pretty Bindi and Regan. Aristocrat, a grandson of Max, was himself a potent sire, producing a number of champions and winning the Stud Trophy for four consecutive years from 1972.

16 British champions and numerous overseas champions carry the Inverdon prefix. Regan mated to Pretty Puppet produced Ch Charthamcoombe Tristam, owned and bred by Clem Wood-Davis. Tristan sired seven British champions and was five times winner of the Miss Taylor Stud Trophy.

Phyllis Frampton’s Fircrest kennel’s first champion was Fircrest Fleurette, made up in 1958.

In 1963 Miss Frampton bred Fircrest Forget-Me-Not who was to prove an outstanding brood. She produced four British champions: Fillette, Fiddler and Filepe by Ch Stouravon Beaujolais; and Foxtrot by Ch Grenmichels Bronco. Filette mated to Tristan produced a further two champions, Fernanda and Fidelity, and another Forget-Me-Not daughter, Flower of Blue, produced Filemon by Tristan and Fan Tutti by Ch Picaroon Sebastian. Yet another Forget-Me-Not daughter, Fleur de Lune, produced Fanta of Sunshoo, again by Tristan. What made Miss Frampton’s success all the more remarkable was her disability through polio.

Norma Staff came into Papillons in the early 1950s. her first British Papillon champion, Ringlands Polly Flinders, was made up in 1956, taking BOB at Crufts that year. Since that time to modern day, 15 British champions, 83 overseas champions and 9 international champions have carried the Ringland affix in papillons alone. Over the years, Mrs Staff has imported a number of Papillons including Danaidae Beausacq d’Royal from the USA in the 1950s and in recent years Elegant Boy of Silver Ridings at Ringlands, top stud 1988, who can be traced back to the very first Ringlands Papillon champion, Int/Scan Ch Ringlands Fircrest Figaro. After nearly 50 years, Mrs Staff is still producing winners. two of her latest successes are UK/Ir Ch Ringlands Treasure Island’s Top Dog all breeds win in Ireland in 1997 and Ir Ch Ringlands Rainbow’s BIS win at the 1998 Irish Kennel Club St Patrick’s show.

The kennel that has perhaps influenced the breed most in recent years is Ellis Hulme’s Tongemoor Papillons. Already experienced in a number of toy breeds, Ellis’ first champion was the red and white, Oakridges Petit Maurice, bred by Mrs M Castle, who gained his title in 1973. He was quickly followed by his half brother Ch Pierre of Oakridges. Pierre proved to be special. he won 25 CCs, a breed record at that time, and was BOB at Crufts for three successive years from 1974, RBIS at Border Union in 1974 and in the same year BIS at the Welsh Kennel Club. He remains the only Papillon ever to have won BIS at an all-breed championship show in the UK and in all he won six groups and two reserve groups. He sired nine British champions, all except two of whom were campaigned to their titles by Ellis. Three other Tongemoor Papillons won groups – Snowbird (two), Snow Tiger (two) and Miss Peppermint (seven, including Crufts in 1982). With 17 group wins, 19 reserve groups, a BIS, RBIS and BOS in show (Miss Peppermint at City of Birmingham 1982), and 18 British Tongemoor champions, the record of this kennel is unsurpassed. The Tongemoor Papillons stood out in a class of their own, and no Tongemoor papillon was ever seen in the ring unless it was at perfection; the skills with which they were presented were unbeatable and brought about a noticeable improvement in the standard of presentation of the breed as a whole.

In 1974, Jenny Scovell and her mother, the late Gladys Rainbow, obtained Quinetta Deirdre who, when mated to Tristan, produced their first champion, Hendikay Gaytime of Caswell. Gaytime mated to Alcala Toymaker, whom they had bought from Pearl Peacock, produced Ch Caswell Gay Coppelia and she was to prove an outstanding brood producing five British champions – Classic Touch, Copper Tiger, Coppelita, Copernicus and Carminetta (the last three in one litter). Gay Coppelia was top toy brood, and third top brood all breeds, a remarkable achievement for a toy, proving that brood bitches do not have to be big, for Gay Coppelia herself was the daintiest of Papillons. All her champion offspring have won CCs at Crufts, Coppelita is currently the breed record holder with 39 CCs and Copper Tiger was RBIS at Crufts in 1991. Classic Touch was top Papillon in 1986. From another Toymaker offspring, Ch Dourhu Distinction of Caswell, Jenny produced another successful line. Distinction sired World Ch Caswell Picador, who in turn sired Ch Caswell Principality, top Papillon 1988 and sire of Kay Stewart’s well known Ch Tussalud Story Teller. Sadly Mrs Rainbow did not live to see all the success that this kennel has had. To date there have been 18 British champions from the Caswell kennel, most of whom have been homebred. Like the Tongemoor kennel, presentation and perfection in the ring has been a recognisable feature of this kennel.

No doubt readers will think of many other names they would add to a list of their own ‘great breeders’, but surely those mentioned here have earned the right to be on everyones’ list.