/Breed Introduction: Papillon Dog

Breed Introduction: Papillon Dog

The Papillon Dog, also called the Continental Toy Spaniel, is a breed of dog of the Spaniel type. One of the oldest of the toy spaniels, it derives its name from its butterfly-like look! The breed is highly active and is a wonderful competitor in agility and obedience. Its sparkling personality makes him a favourite, whenever humans meet him. The Papillon is outgoing and energetic. He loves to be with people and is a happy dog who gives kisses freely to all. The Papillon’s small size makes him easy to handle, and his coat, while profuse, is easy to care for and doesn’t shed excessively.

All Papillon owners should attend obedience class to ensure that they don’t spoil their charming companions. On the plus side, their will to please and desire to succeed make them good at learning tricks a creative person can teach them.

Breed Origin


The Papillon was portrayed in portraits dating to the 16th century, a testament to the breed’s age and staying power. Rubens, Watteau, Boucher, Van Dyke, Rembrandt, and Fragonard all portrayed them in various artworks, usually accompanying their doting mistresses. The little spaniels were favourite companions of court ladies throughout Europe.

The early toy spaniels from which the Papillon descended had drop ears, but in the 17th century court of Louis XIV a small spaniel with upright ears was developed and given the name Papillon for its resemblance to a butterfly. The Papillon ranks 35th amongst the 155 breeds and varieties registered by the American Kennel Club.

Breed Characteristics


Papillons stand 8 to 11 inches at the shoulder and weigh 4 to 9 pounds.

The dog is very smart, highly trainable and is best described as a doer, not a cuddler!

Papillons are house dogs and aren’t suited to living outdoors. They are active, and will enjoy having a yard where they can run in wild and fast circles. If that is not available, however, they will make do with tearing through your house and jumping on and off the furniture.

Adults need two or three 20- to 30-minute walks or playtimes per day, and they will appreciate more if you can provide it. Start puppies with two or three 10- to 15-minute walks and gradually increase the time and distance.

The Papillon’s long and resemblance to a butterfly flowing coat is straight, fine, and silky, with no undercoat. Cascading down his chest is a frill of hair. His beautiful butterfly-like ears are fringed with hair, and the insides are covered with medium-length silken hair.

The Papillon is always parti-colored, white with patches of any color. On the head, any color other than white covers both ears back and front and extends without interruption from the ears over both eyes.

Papillons love children, but the combination of a tiny dog and a young child can be a recipe for disaster. A Papillon may leap from a child’s hands and injure himself if he is not being held correctly! Papillon won’t hesitate to defend itself if it is being mistreated.