Papillon | Dog Breed Information & Facts – Pictures


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 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.

Dog sheet Papillon

Papillon photos

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Physical characteristics

Papillon is a glamorous and sophisticated dog. His ears are like butterfly wings. The coat is long and silky. The main color is white with colored spots (for more details, see the standard of the breed). Tricolor color (white and black with characteristic brands of fire). The size of adult dogs is 20-28 cm, the weight is 3-5 kg.


Distinctive features

  • Head: The skull is slightly rounded. The head is small, proportional addition. The muzzle is almost sharp, shorter than the skull in length. The front line transition line is clearly indicated.
  • Jaws: The teeth are powerful, closely adjacent to each other. “Scissors” bite.
  • Ears: the ears are elongated, look like the wings of a night butterfly, hanging or semi-sized, tied high.
  • Eyes: large ocelli, almond -shaped, moderately convex, low attached. The color of the iris is dark brown.
  • Body: the body is elongated, strong. The neck is of medium length, dry with a curved neck. The back is strong and straight with a slightly salient kidney. The chest is relatively spacious, flattened on the sides. Arched type ribs. Moderately raised belly and groin.
  • Members: The legs are perfectly straight, of medium length. Lyd format legs with powerful fingers, hard pads and strong claws.
  • Pelage: the coat is long, silky and shiny, but not particularly soft. The sub-point is underdeveloped. The color of the coat is different, but the snow white always dominates. There is a whitish, tricolor and snow white variant of the color.

Character and behavior

Papillon is a cute and energetic dog with an always cheerful and non -capricious arrangement. Perceives the world exclusively in pink.

Incredibly faithful to the owner, while the attachment is so immense that it often becomes pathological.

You will be surprised to see how he alerts you with all his or movement near your house, something inherent in his personality. We take this opportunity to say that it is a dog that barely barks.

With children

He is faithful to children and even befriends the child, they can play together and have fun in general. But if the child is small, under five, it is better not to leave him alone with the dog.

With other animals

He gets along well with cats and other small pets, but is afraid of big dogs.


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.

Life expectancy

The average life expectancy of a Papillon dog is 13-15 years. But with proper care, this miniature dog can live longer. Cases of longevity up to 19 years are known.


Papillon feels good in an apartment and a house. Despite his decorative status, he needs daily half-hour walks with active games.

Care is not difficult:

  • Brush the hairs 2 to 3 times a week.
  • Partial grooming is carried out if necessary.
  • The eyes are cleaned daily.
  • The ears are cleaned 2 to 3 times a week.
  • The nails are shortened if necessary.
  • The teeth are brushed every week.
  • Bathe it when it is dirty.


In autumn and winter, walks should not be long, the small dog can freeze and catch a cold. In case of frost or severe rain, it is better to completely refuse to walk. In such a case, there should be a litter in the house, to which the dog is taught from an early age.


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

Fun facts

  • 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 a Phalene, with drooping ears.
  • 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.

History of the breed

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.


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