By the 18th century, pets had long been permitted to accompany their owners into even the most private of parlours. Ha ! le joli petit chien reflects this obsession with pets, depicting a young woman, absorbed in her embroidery, as she turns and sees the little dog in her friend's arms.
Bichon frises and toy spaniels were extremely popular at that time, as is demonstrated by Clodion's terracotta sculpture Monument pour un chien (Monument to a dog). In this gouache and its pendant, Le Petit conseil (A word of advice), which is also held at the Musée Cognacq-Jay, Lavreince pays close attention to the setting. The Louis XVI chair, embroidery frame, Versailles parquet floor and fireplace with its frieze of scrolls, as well as the clothes worn by the two young women, all suggest a late 18th century middle-class house. The portrait hanging on the wall also evokes the 17th century Dutch art that was fashionable at that time.