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Energy level: ****

Exercise Requirements: *

Playfulness: *****

Affection Level: *****

Friendliness toward dogs: ****

Friendliness towards other pets ****

Friendliness towards strangers: ****

Ease of training: *****

Watchdog ability: *****

Protection ability: *

Grooming requirements: ***

Cold Tolerance: *

Heat Tolerance: ***

Weight: 4-9 lbs.

Height: 8-11"

Life Spam: 12-15 years

Popularity: Popular

Family: Spaniel, Companion

Area of Origin: France

Date of origin:1500

Original Function: Lap Dog

Todays Function: Companion


The Papillon originated in France, where it was named for its signature ears. Papillon means butterfly in French. However, not all of them have erect ears: The drop-eared variety is known as the phalene (moth).

The breed was once known as a dwarf spaniel and may date back as far as the thirteenth century. Papillons gained popularity in Spain and Italy over time, where they were often depicted in classic paintings. Those were the drop-eared variety; papillons with erect ears didn't appear until the late 1800s. Famous owners include King Louis XIV of France and Marie Antoinette. 

Papillons were brought to the U.S. during the late 19th century. The breed was first recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1915 and fully represented by their own breed club in 1935.

A papillon named Loteki Supernatural Being (Kirby) won Best in Show at the Westminster Kennel Club dog show in 1999. He also won the World Dog Show and the Royal Invitational in Canada.

Appearance and Behaviors

Papillons are very intelligent and self-assured dogs that have a very easy time learning new tricks. These dogs can be sociable with children and strangers, but are generally reserved around new people. They can also be socialized to get along well with other pets, but care should be taken with rambunctious pets or cats with claws, as they may injure them. If not properly socialized, Papillons can be distrustful and exhibit aggressive tendencies toward other dogs and people. Papillons may also be very playful and affectionate. Widely known as great companion dogs, they have the spirit and energy to keep up with active families, but can also be calm enough to be happy with sleeping in the arms of an equally affectionate owner. Due to their high energy level, they demand an augmented exercise routine, relative to the average companion breed. Papillons are known as excellent watchdogs, as they will alert their owner to changes in their environment. They may be considered garrulous like many other toy dogs. They can withstand heat, but are more sensitive to cold temperatures because of their single-coated fur, and should not be left outside unattended in cold weather.

The most iconic aspect of Papillons are their ears, which are large and well fringed, giving them a butterfly wing-like appearance. Papillons are particolored or white with patches of any color. An all-white dog or a dog with no white is disqualified from the conformation show ring. A blaze (area of white extending down between the eyes) and noseband is preferred over a solid-colored head, but not required. Nose, eye rims, and lips should be black. Paw pads vary in color from black to pink, depending on the coloring of the dog.

Major Health Concerns

Major concerns: None

Minor concerns: Patellar luxation, seizures, dental problem

Occasionally seen: vWD, PRA, open fontanel, intervertebral disk disease, allergies

Suggested tests: Knee, eye, (vWD) cardiac


Papillon: Full Profile, History, and Care (

Papillon (dog) - Wikipedia

Encyclopedia of Dog Breeds D.Caroline Coile, Ph.D Page 270-271

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