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The Papillon is a small, dainty, elegant breed whose characteristic trait is a set of butterfly-shaped ears. Its body is fine-boned and is greater in length than in height with its weight in proportion to its height. The head is small and slightly rounded between the ears, with a muzzle that is thinner than the head and tapered at the nose with a scissors bite. The ears can either be erect or dropped. No matter the type of ear, they should be large with rounded tips, set on the sides and toward the back of the head. Erect ears are carried straight and obliquely while the dropped ears droop to the sides of the head. Their eyes are dark and round, but not bulging, and the rims are black. The nose is small, rounded, black, and slightly flat on top. The tail is carried high and curved over the arch of the back and carries a plume of hair. The coat is silky, flowing and flat on the back and sides of the body. The ears are fringed and the inside of the ears are covered with medium-length silky hair. The coat’s color is always white and patched with colors or parti-colors other than white. The head is never white, and whichever color appears on the head should be uniform, covering both eyes, and continue over the ears to the back of the head.


Fast Facts

12 - 15 years
16th century
4 - 9 lb
4 - 9 lb
8 - 11"
8 - 11"
Papeon, Papilon, Papillion or Pappillon.
Continental Toy Spaniel, Epagneul Nain, Phalene

Papillon Photos

Papillon Temperament

The Papillon is a lively, friendly, and charming dog....

It is affectionate and playful but can also be quiet, calm and timid. Though it loves to be cuddled and loved, one must not forget that this breed also loves to exercise and play outdoors. Papillons love their owners and are loyal dogs – so loyal, in fact, that they can be possessive of their owners and become aggressive if they feel their owner is in danger. Their size and spunk make them best fit for older, considerate children, who will not accidentally hurt them. The breed is very intelligent and easy to train, but may be difficult to housebreak.

Caring For a Papillon

Papillons are playful and energetic, but they don’t go crazy if they aren’t taken out for a run for a day or two....

This makes them very suitable for a small home with no yard, but not quite for apartments because they are protective and will bark at any outside noise, thinking all noises are potential threats. Their long, silky coat needs daily brushing to keep it shining like new. Their coat does not matt, tangle or shed excessively Being that Papillons are fairly clean and odorless, bathe only when necessary. However, they tend to accumulate tartar so their teeth need regular brushing. A fairly healthy breed, the Papillon’s only noteworthy health risks are patellar luxation, seizures and dental problems.

Papillon History

A Brief History of the Papillon

The Papillon is one of the oldest Toy breeds....

Its roots can be traced back almost 700 years to a trading route between Asia, France, Italy, and Belgium. It is believed that when Marco Polo opened up the trading route between China and Italy, he also opened the path by which the small breed was transported from China to Italy. The Italians brought the dropped-eared variety of the breed into other European countries, such as France and Spain, where the nobility became fascinated by the tiny personable dogs. European royalty loved the dogs because they were friendly, easy to train, and light-weight. The dog became most popular in French courts, where they were named Papillon (French for “butterfly”), and also where they were featured in tapestries, sculptures and paintings with their owners. Until 1923, the Papillon still predominantly consisted of the dropped-eared variety. Around this time, the Papillon was cross bred with the Pomeranian in an effort to create an erect-ear Papillon. Luckily, the erect ear of the Pomeranian is a dominant trait, and the breeders were successful in creating their hybrid. From then on, the popularity of the erect-eared Papillon skyrocketed. The Papillon was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1935.