It’s “pap-ee-YAWN”!

By Lynn –

I don’t consider myself the smartest person in the world, but I at least think that I can pronounce my dog breeds. Maybe it’s the region, maybe it’s my education level, or maybe it’s just that I’m a dog person…but let’s take a look at three commonly mispronounced ones I have to put up with on a daily basis in the spirit of humor, truth and history.

Papillon (mispronounced “puh-pill-un,” “PAB-il-on,” correct “pap-ee-YAWN”), a small spaniel-like dog with rather large ears that stand straight up. When the hair on the ears grows to a suitable length, they resemble butterfly wings, where the breed gets its name. However, the reason we don’t go around asking if your dog is a Butterfly is because the French got to it first: when they started breeding for that radar-dish pricked ear (as opposed to the drop-eared variety known as the Phalène), they decided to call it a butterfly&in French, of course.

Dachshund (mispronounced “dot-sun,” “dock-shund,” “dash-hound,” correct “dox-und”) is a short-legged, long-backed dog originally bred to flush badgers and rabbits in Germany. Because the modern version of the breed was created by those darned non-English speakers, we must grow a collective spine and learn the proper way to say the name instead of attempting to Anglicize it to the nth degree. The dog was named appropriately for which it was bred, that being Dachs, or “Badger,” and Hund, “Dog.” With English being a Germanic language, perhaps we can all take this to heart and keep good relations with our fellow planet-dwellers by keeping with the breed’s history and proper name. There’s a reason I didn’t go into cars, people…let’s try to remember that.

Coton de Tulear (mispronounced “cotton-day-too-lee-air,” correct “coh-TAHN-de-too-lee-air”) Sounds French and probably is, but this breed is actually from the city of Tulear (now Toliara), Madagascar where it is actually the island’s national dog. In short, it appears as a Bichon Frisé with a softer, more cottony textured coat, hence the name. It has a rather fuzzy history, from being companion dogs to ratters on ships…the former seeming more plausible than the latter because Cotons have little prey drive and the ones I have met have one sole purpose in life, that being to be with people.