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You are here: myPetSmart.com > Breeds > Papillon


Origin: France

AKC Group: Toy

Height: 8 inches (Male)

Weight: 7 pounds (Male)

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Male height: 
8 inches
Male weight: 
7 pounds
Long, fine and abundant single coat, with a profuse frill on the chest and feathering on the ears.
Parti-color or white with patches of any color.

"Papillon" is the French word for butterfly, and one look at this breed's ears reveals how it got its name -the fringed, erect ears set obliquely on the dog's head resemble the wings of a butterfly when they are upright.

Papillons are descended from toy-sized spaniels, called Continental Toy Spaniels, who were popular among European royalty since the 1200s. He was a regular member of the royal courts throughout the Mediterranean from the 13th through the 16th centuries, as documented in numerous paintings. Portraits of Marie de Bourbon, the Dauphin and his family, and Henriette d'Orleans by the French court painter Mignard all include a toy spaniel who could pass for a Papillon today.

Papillons came to the United States at the turn of the 20th century, and novelist Edith Wharton was one of the first Americans to own the breed. It remained relatively rare in the US until 1999, when a Papillon named Ch. Loteki Supernatural Being won Best in Show at the Westminster Kennel Club dog show.

Happy at heart, Papillons are full of energy and fun. These busy and curious dogs bond strongly with their owners and love to learn tricks to further please their people. Extremely intelligent, versatile, and hardier than they may appear, Papillons can be trained to do all sorts of things. Although some can be bold and pushy, others have some natural shyness.
At home: 
The Papillon's small size makes him a good apartment dog as long as he is given enough exercise - even if it's an indoor game of fetch. He is a companion dog and so does not do well if left alone for long periods. In colder climates, he may need to wear a coat during the winter months. He can jump surprisingly high, so a secure 6-foot (2 m) fence is necessary.
The sturdy, athletic Papillon is no lapdog - he needs plenty of exercise and will appreciate using his own four feet to accompany you on your excursions. Inquisitive and athletic, he enjoys playing outside and being a part of family activities.
The Papillon is a good eater who should be fed a high-quality food twice a day. Although he may look adorable when begging for food, don't feed him junk, and don't let him get fat.
The Papillon has proved himself a versatile dog in many arenas because he is easy to train - he learns quickly and retains his lessons. With his intelligence and keen desire to please, positive rewards and motivational training will have him doing almost anything you ask. A Papillon needs plenty of socialization from puppyhood to help him feel confident in as many situations as possible.
Although Papillons are good companions for older children who understand how to handle smaller dogs, they are not usually recommended for families with children under the age of seven. They get along well with other small dogs (especially other Papillons) and small pets but should be supervised with larger dogs because of their size.
The average life span of the Papillon is 12 to 15 years. Health concerns include cataracts; dental problems; digestive problems; epilepsy; patellar luxation; retained testicles and von Willebrand disease.
Fun fact: 

While the name "Papillon" refers to his erect ear carriage, for centuries, drop ears were the norm for toy spaniels. It wasn't until the end of the 19th century that erect ear carriage became fashionable -which established the name "Papillon" Even today, puppies in the same litter can be born with drop or erect ears. The drop-eared types are called Phalenes (after a type of moth that drops its wings).

Grooming blurb: 
The Papillon doesn't have an undercoat, so he sheds little to no hair. His silky fur is quite easy to care for and doesn't need trimming or special grooming. He should be brushed regularly with a natural bristle brush to prevent matting.
This document has been published with the intent to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter within. While every reasonable precaution has been taken in preparation of this document, the author and publisher expressly disclaim responsibility for any errors, omissions, or adverse effects arising from the use or application of the information contained herein. The techniques and suggestions are used at the reader's descretion.