Papillon Dog | Information & Dog Breed Facts


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The Papillon dog, also known as the Continental Toy Spaniel, (Papillon in French means butterfly, due to the shape of its ears) is one of the most intelligent breeds on the planet despite its small size, (8th in the ranking of dogs the most intelligent according to Stanley Coren).

Among small dog breeds, the Papillon dog has been one of the most revered breeds in history, being a companion of honor in European courts, a member of the royal families. Among its qualities, its hardness and its resistance to cold stand out, although many others.


Popularly, a dog with an extraordinary appearance is affectionately called an elegant French flower, butterfly or moth.

This is all due to the fact that the representatives of the breed have ears that resemble the spread wings of a butterfly. They are the main decoration and distinctive feature of the Papillon. Surprisingly, these fragile creatures are endowed not only with beautiful appearance, but also with unsurpassed intelligence. Such a pet can beautify the life of all family members.

In this breed sheet of ‘ Pets Feed ‘, we will talk about the Papillon dog, which is one of the most elegant dogs in the world and comes from France and Belgium. Below we will detail some basic aspects you should know if you are considering adopting one: the characteristics of the breed, the character, its care or its possible relationship with children or other animals.

Breed history

In the distant past, the Papillon dogs had only one name – the continental toy spaniel. Then another name arose, which is considered the main one today – these are papillons with erect ears, resembling the wings of a moth. There is another variety of the breed that differs from the first in hanging ears – Phalène dogs.

Unfortunately, it was not possible to establish exactly when and in what year the history of the Papillon began. There are suggestions that Papillon dogs appeared about 800 years ago. There is also no consensus among researchers about the circumstances of the birth of the breed, about its first representatives. There are two versions of these questions:

1. In 1099, Gottfried made another crusade, it was then that the duke brought from Lower Lorraine to Jerusalem a dwarf dog with ears similar to the wings of a butterfly.

2. The first representatives of the Papillon breed appeared in the fourteenth century.

There was a very interesting and glorious period in the history of the Papillon dogs, when such pets were called “lapdog of queens and kings”. According to historical facts, Papillon dogs were the favorites of such royal, famous people as Louis 14, Louis 15, Louis 16, Marie Antoinette (ruler of France), the Marquis de Pompadour.

Naturally, at that time the breed was at the peak of its fame and popularity. King Henry III of France was also captivated by the beauty and unique mental abilities of the Papillons. Many representatives of the breed were kept at his palace, it is known that the monarch spent huge sums from the royal treasury on their maintenance and breeding work. There is an interesting legend regarding Henry III and his Papillon dogs, whether there is some truth in it or is it just fiction, it is impossible to say for sure:

“Once a monk came to Henry III. This visit was not easy, the mission of the monk was to assassinate the monarch. The most beloved of all available Papillon dogs sensed danger and began to bark loudly. Everyone decided that the animal was in hysterics and expelled the king’s defender from the throne room, where the reception of the assassin monk was to take place. As a result, the attempt took place, despite all the efforts of the devoted Papillon. “

In 1934 the breed standard was approved. Modern continental toy spaniel dogs differ significantly from their distant ancestors who lived in the royal chambers. The fact is that breeders at the beginning of the twentieth century came up with a wonderful idea. To improve the appearance of Papillon dogs, they crossed representatives of this breed with Spitz. The result exceeded all expectations.

The resulting offspring was distinguished by an improved coat, it became much healthier, thicker. The coat of modern Papillon dogs is luxurious and shiny. In addition, after crossing with Spitz, the Papillon received a fluffy tail thrown over the back and well-pubescent ears.


Characteristics of the papillon dog

The papillon dog is distinguished by its fine and elegant aesthetic, with a soft and friendly head in which large hairy ears take center stage, which can be mistaken for the wings of a butterfly due to its form. In addition to the ears, it shows a large, very hairy tail, which is also one of the features that stands out the most in these animals.

It should be noted that it has short and thin legs which contribute to this elegant posture which they still maintain, in addition to an elongated body with a good aesthetic appearance. Another of its advantages, especially for coexistence in small spaces, is that it does not emit odors and is fairly clean, a quality highly appreciated by most people.


The papillon dog ​​is small, which in no case exceeds 5 kilos. The maximum height at the withers is 28 centimeters, depending on the breed standard. Its small size makes it very appreciated as a companion dog in the city, because it adapts perfectly to life in small apartments.

In addition, it has the advantage of not requiring as much exercise as the other larger breeds, which also helps people who do not have too much time to take long walks on the street.


Although a large number of variations are allowed in its coat, the most common colors of the papillon dog are white and spots in brown or black tones. Lemon, red or sand colored spots may also appear. Or even the combination of up to three different colors.

The coat is soft and quite long compared to other breeds, although it does not require much care to always show itself in the best aesthetic and sanitary conditions. It can only present knots if it is not brushed with the necessary frequency, which is easily avoidable by maintaining good hygiene habits.


Character and temperament of the Papillon dog

Each dog has a specific and defined personality which can vary depending on the education it receives. After a good socialization of the Papillon puppy, you could say that we would find ourselves in front of an intelligent and social dog, capable of bonding perfectly with people and other animals.

Education is the key to achieving an obedient and emotionally stable dog. He is not particularly sociable with strangers like other more extroverted breeds, but in his everyday life, he is undoubtedly a very devoted and eccentric dog who will love being pampered and careful. They are particularly fun and active, so they will need you to spend them regularly and even exercise with them.

The Papillon dog is an excellent guardian. You will be surprised how it alerts you to any sound or movement near your home, something inherent in its personality. We take this opportunity to say that it is a dog that barks barely, although it is also determined by its education. The Papillon dog is a very alert, friendly and energetic little dog that is characterized by being an affectionate and enriching companion. He likes to participate in family activities and rest on the lap of his owners.



The average life expectancy of a Papillon dog is 13-17 years. But with proper care, this miniature dog can live longer. Cases of longevity up to 19 years are known.

So that the dog does not get sick, it is necessary to get vaccinated on time and undergo preventive examinations with the pet with tests in a veterinary clinic. Also requires treatment for worms and skin parasites.

The owner of the Papillon should familiarize himself with the list of diseases to which the representatives of this breed are prone:

Hypoglycemia – a decrease in blood glucose levels.

An open fontanelle – a developmental defect or even a disease (hydrocephalus).

Dislocation of the patella.

Progressive retinal atrophy is a combination of pathological processes with degenerative degeneration of the retina.

Tracheal collapse is a disease that cannot be completely cured, but in most cases, it can be controlled.

Entropion – volvulus of the eyelid, often seen in new-born puppies, is surgically removed.

Cataract – characterized by clouding of the eye lens.

Deafness – in most cases it is congenital.

With regards to the health and treatment of the Papillon dog, there is an important nuance. The fact is that the representatives of the breed are extremely sensitive to anesthesia. Therefore, any surgical intervention must be approached very carefully, referring only to experienced veterinary specialists.



The Continental Toy Spaniel dog will need a minimum of half an hour a day of exercise, although it can do even more if it is offered.

For its small size, it is surprising to see the amount of energy it has and that makes it a great competitor in agility tests. The Papillon dog is a very active dog that needs to be in almost constant movement.

However, being a small dog, he can enjoy various games inside the house, so that the necessary daily walks are reduced in terms of quantity and distance. Of course, you should always mix the rides with play sessions so that the Papillon dog does not get bored, because in this way we will avoid destructive behavior that could appear inside the house.

Papillon puppies
Papillon puppies

Basic care

The Papillon is a very delicate, vulnerable creature that need comfortable, ideal conditions of detention. Representatives of the breed cannot stand high humidity and low temperatures; such conditions can provoke health problems and even death. Therefore, it is strictly forbidden to keep them in the yard, such pets should bask in an apartment or in a house on a couch. For a miniature dog, you can even buy and install a whole house.

The Continental Toy Spaniel loves to play and cannot stand being alone. So that the dog does not get bored, provide him with various toys, long-playing bones from veins, balls, etc. The pet needs to be walked twice a day. In summer, the walking time is unlimited, walk with the dog at least all day, but not under the scorching rays of the sun.

In autumn and winter frosts, walks should not be long, the little dog can freeze and catch a cold. If it is severe frost or rain, it is better to refuse walking altogether. In such a case, there should be a litter box in the house, to which the dog is taught from puppyhood.

At the first glance at the luxurious Papillon wool, one gets the impression that it is difficult to care for such a pet. In fact, there are no particular difficulties and problems with grooming, although the coat really takes quite a lot of time for combing and bathing. You also need hygiene procedures that help maintain the beauty and health of the dog:

  • Wool. We comb it out daily using a special mitt and combs. Particular attention is paid to the fringe on the ears, frill on the neck and “trousers”. It is noted that the coat of papillons of black and white and red with white colors is much drier than that of other representatives of the breed, therefore it is recommended to buy special moisturizing creams. Bathe your Papillon dog as soon as it gets dirty with dog hair shampoos. Such products help to maintain the natural shine and color saturation. Human shampoo can be harmful and cause allergic reactions.
  • Claws. Trim as it grows back. This procedure is complex. If there is no experience, you can injure the animal. Therefore, it is recommended that you seek professional help. Thick hair grows between the claws of the Papillon, it must be cut regularly.
  • Teeth. Clean regularly with a special paste purchased from a veterinary pharmacy. Brushing will help keep your teeth healthy and prevent bad mouth odor.
  • Ears. Once a week, we wipe the auricles with a special solution and inspect for inflammation, excessive ear discharge. If you notice such signs of infection, immediately contact your veterinarian.
  • Eyes. Wipe, removing discharge from the eyes as needed. Make sure that there is no inflammation and excessive discharge, if any, this may be a sign of illness.

We feed adult Papillon dogs 2 times a day, puppies, depending on their age, we feed 3 to 6 times a day. For normal growth and good health, nutrition must be balanced, and the pet must also receive the necessary amount of vitamin and mineral supplements. If the dog eats dry food, all additives are already present in it.

One of the peculiarities of feeding the Papillon dog is that he absolutely must not be overfed. Obesity can lead to serious health problems. In a normal state, the ribs of an adult Papillon are well felt. After each feeding, the pet should be able to rest, lie down. The diet should not contain sweets, bones, spices, smoked meats and leftovers from the master’s table.

To help your pet have an even posture, place bowls of food and water on a stand. Adjust the height to suit your dog’s height so that he does not bend over while eating or drinking. It is important to feed at the same time, water must always be available.


Training and education

The Papillon dog ​​is rightfully considered one of the most intelligent and easy to train. He is very curious, active and intelligent. He has an excellent memory, which allows him to quickly memorize commands. The Papillon is an eternal child, the dog loves to play and frolic even at a respectable age. Based on this, the training program must be organized in a playful way.

Never make concessions, always get the dog to obey the command. At the same time, you cannot shout and beat the dog. The Papillon dog is able to take offense even at one shout from you. Let us understand clearly and confidently what is required of him. An intelligent dog will quickly master the science, for which do not forget to reward with treats or stroking.

Papillon dog
Papillon dog

Papillon Dog Fun Facts

Take note of some fun facts about the Papillon dog breed to deepen your knowledge about these special and fun animals:

  • Translated from French, papillon sounds like “butterfly”.
  • They owe their name to Queen Marie-Antoinette, who had a dog of this breed which she called the ‘Petit Papillon’ little butterfly.
  • They tend to get bored in the company of children and prefer the attention of adults, but they can perfectly adapt to living together if they are used to from a young age.
  • It is possible to find specimens with three-colored spots, although they are rare and difficult to see.
  • There is a variety of this breed known as moth. Indeed, instead of showing the right ears, the moth shows them falling on the sides.
  • Papillon dogs were highly prized at the royal courts of France.
  • Paintings by medieval artists (Rubens, Boucher, Fragonard, etc.), which depict papillons, are in the most famous museums in the world.
  • Not a single portrait of Marie Antoinette was painted without the presence of a Papillon dog.
  • For several decades, the Papillon has been ranked eighth in the ranking of the smartest breeds.
Papillon dog
Papillon dog

Papillon (Continental Toy Spaniel) Dog Breed Highlights

Papillon dogs are suitable for any family, but there are some features of their content and character that you need to pay attention to before buying such a pet. This dog is very loyal, if you do not have the ability and desire to spend enough time with the dog, this breed is not for you. If you want to have a faithful, cheerful, intelligent friend next to you, feel free to go after a Papillon puppy. To make the right decision, check out the main pros and cons of butterfly dogs.

Positive points

  • A Papillon (Continental Toy Spaniel) is very affectionate and loyal by nature.
  • It is very adaptable being just as happy in an apartment as a house.
  • It does not need to do a lot of daily physical exercise.
  • The Papillon (Continental Toy Spaniel) is a perfect companion for the elderly.
  • It’s a great choice for new dog owners thanks to its gentle nature.

Negative points

  • The Papillon (Continental Toy Spaniel) can be difficult to train like many other breeds of small dogs.
  • Not the best choice for families with very young children.
  • It is quite expensive in maintenance.
  • It loses a lot throughout the year and more in the spring and fall.
  • This dog hates being left alone and suffers from separation anxiety.
  • The Papillon is known to love the sound of its own voice, which can be problematic.

As you will see, the Papillon dog ​​is ideal for family life and is a perfect pet. If you want to share your life with a copy of this Papillon dog ​​breed, go to a trusted breeder who can offer you guarantees on the puppy’s health and references on the parents. Let yourself fall in love with one of these cute puppies and prepare for your life to change forever. You will not regret it.

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  1. […] Papillon, the 5th smallest breed of dog in the world, is one of the oldest toy spaniels. These dogs were very much appreciated in the royal courts of France. From French, “papillon” means “butterfly.” Ears in the form of krill and the color on the dog’s forehead resemble a butterfly. […]


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