Description: The Papillon is a small, friendly, elegant Toy dog of fine-boned structure, light, dainty and of lively action. Their body is slightly longer than their tail and their heads are small with a thick tapered muzzle. They are distinguished from other breeds by their beautiful ears. Papillons' ears can be either erect like butterfly wings (hence the name Papillon, which is French for butterfly) or dropped (Phalene, meaning night moth). The Papillon is very devoted to their masters, with a hearty spirit, making them desirable for show or companionship. Papillons hardy and usually long lived. They adapt to almost any climate and are comfortable in an apartment as well as the country. They make good travelers. They love to be with their family. They are friendly, happy and eager to please. The Papillon is excited, enthusiastic and eager to make new friends. They are playful and fun-loving. The Papillon ranks number one among Toy Dogs in obedience.
Other Names: Continental Toy Spanial, Epagneul Nain (dwarf spaniel), Phalene (drop eared), Butterfly Dog, Le Chien Ecureuil (Squirrel Dog)
Type: Companion Dog
Height: 8 - 11 inches.
Weight: 3 - 9 lbs.
Colors: From pale lemon and white to rich shades of red, chestnut, and deep mahogany over a white background. Tricolors and black and white are also common colors.
Coat: No undercoat. Long, abundant, flowing and silky in texture. The coat is soft and single.
Temperament: The Papillon is friendly and alert. They act like they are big dogs, but in a little body. They are cheerful, enthusiastic, intelligent and obedient. Papillons are hardy, confident, energetic, and outgoing. They are excited to make new friends, but can be slightly timid with new people. Papillons are adaptable to many situations and easy to travel with. They get along well with other pets and children, but are not afraid to challenge bigger dogs.
With Children: Yes, but not with small children.
With Pets: Yes, cats and small dogs, may challenge bigger dogs.
Special Skills: Family pet.
Watch-dog: High. These dogs are very alert and will bark to let their owners know what is going on.
Guard-dog: Very Low.
Care and Training: Weekly brushing of the Papillon's coat is needed. Trimming of the pads of their feet to prevent splaying of the feet. Nail trimming and teeth cleaning should be preformed on a regular basis. Minimal bathing is required. The Papillon can obtain their exercise indoors, but love to take walks outside. Younger Papillons have been know to participate in "Frapping", which is frenetic random activity periods. Some puppies do this by making figure eights inside the house when they are very excited or happy.
Learning Rate: High. Obedience - Very high. Problem Solving - High.
Activity: Low - Moderate.
Special Needs: Grooming and socialization.
Living Environment: Papillons will adapt to any living environment including apartments, but they love the outdoors and will enjoy laying down and soaking up the sun in a back yard. This breed does well with sedentary or apartment-dwelling people.
Health Issues: Usually very healthy. Some problems with inadequate tear production, PRA (Progressive Retinal Atrophy), luxating patellas and liver shunt.
Life Span: 13 - 16 years.
Litter Size: 2 - 4 puppies.
Famous Papillon Owners:
Christina Aguilera owns two Papillon dogs, Chewy and Stinky
George Takei (Mr. Sulu from Star Trek) owned a Papillon, Renne
Country of Origin: France
History: Developing from some type of Bichon crossed with the smaller spaniels, the Papillon is an incredibly old breed, dating back to as old as the year 1500. The Papillon is a very old breed that dates back to the fourteenth century where they were know as the Continental Toy Spaniel in Europe. The Continental Toy Spaniel had typical Spaniel ears, (hanging down on the sides of their head). Papillons were popular with noblewomen of Western Europe. Madame Pompadour had two Papillons named "Inez" and "Mimi". Marie Antoinette had Papillons as pets as well. Many painters included this elegant breed in their artwork as well, including works from Rubens, Van Dyke, Rembrandt, Fragonard and more. Today in the Louvre in Paris you will find a picture of Louis XIV with his children and their Papillon. In the United States the Papillon arrived close to the 19th Century where the erect eared type has became more common. In France, the breed is sometimes called Le Chien Ecureuil, or Squirrel Dog. The Papillon was first exhibited in Britain under the title "Foreign Dogs" in 1923, and was officially recognized in the U.S. in 1935.