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Papillon Information


The Papillon is a rather delicate looking but surprisingly sturdy dog that has an intelligent expression and is always aware of what is going on. Named for its butterfly-shaped ears that can be carried erect or down, the breed is a largely white dog with patches of any other color except liver. The colored area must cover the hair around the eyes and ears, and should be elsewhere on the body. Papillon dogs that have the less erect ears are known as Phalene Papillon, which means "moth". The head is almost fox like in appearance with a short and pointy muzzle and bright, dark eyes. The coat is long and silky and there is no undercoat, so the hair is relatively slick against the body. The legs are fine boned yet strong, and the tail and head are both carried very high. The tail, which has long feathery hair, is arched over the back similar to a squirrel, leading to one alternate name, the Squirrel Spaniel.


As a general statement the breed tends to be a very loving, loyal and playful dog. They can become somewhat jealous of their owners and may become very aloof around strangers if not properly socialized. While easy to train in general they often are challenging to housebreak. Papillon dogs are often very diverse, some love to be cuddled and carried while others like to be more independent and active. They often make excellent companion dogs and will even interact well with cats provided they are socialized with cats as puppies. The breed does tend to be somewhat nervous of strangers and unfamiliar places and many be dog-aggressive, especially intact males.

Grooming & Shedding

Despite the long, silky coat the breed is not prone to matting or tangling. A daily brushing with a slicker brush or pin brush is all that is necessary. The breed is considered an average shedder and does not shed seasonally. They do need to have frequent dental cleanings and owners should consider starting a tooth brushing routine in conjunction with the daily brushing to help prevent tartar build up on the teeth. The Papillon should only be bathed when necessary and usually does not have a noticeable doggy smell to the coat.


The Papillon is one of the oldest European breeds on record with many painting and depictions of the breed dating back over 700 years. The breed has gone by many names including the Toy Spaniel, Continental Spaniel and the Dwarf Spaniel. The French court embraced the breed as a companion dog as well as prized it for the tricks it would perform and its excellent temperament. Recognized by the various Kennel Clubs the Papillon as a purebred dog is know used for obedience, agility and as a beloved companion.

Health Issues

  • Major Concerns: none
  • Minor Concerns: patellar luxation, progressive retinal atrophy
  • Occasionally seen: open fontanel
  • Suggested tests: eye, knee




8-11 inches (20-28cm)


7-10 pounds (3-5kg)


Up to 16 years




Yes –barking may be problematic



Young Children


Need exercise space

No – regular walks are enough

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