Papillon Dog Breed

The Papillon was a fragile, fine-boned toy breed that gained popularity in France and Spain in the 16th and 17th centuries. It is recognisable by its lovely, butterfly-like ears.


Papillons are attentive and loving dogs who do best in families where they receive a lot of care. This amiable breed may thrive in any environment and any loving household.

Although they have a dainty appearance, Papillons are actually rather tough, athletic, and playful small dogs.


The small Papillon, a member of the Toy species, leaves a lasting impression thanks in part to his enormous, wing-like ears. In fact, the name of the breed—”papillon,” which is French for “butterfly,” derives from these ears.

While the Phalene kind of this breed has ears that are down, some Papillons have ears that are erect. All Paps have a long, silky coat and a plumed tail.


14 to 16 years

Colour Collection

White coats with black, lemon, red, sable, or black-and-tan markings are characteristic of papillons.

Hair fall

The long, silky hair of the Papillon requires less maintenance than you may imagine. This breed sheds periodically but does not have an undercoat, so all he requires is monthly (or about monthly) grooming and a wash every few months.

Run a comb or gentle brush through the long hair on his legs and behind his ears in between grooming sessions to prevent mats from forming.


Overall, the Papillon breed is in good health. Breeders who are doing their jobs will check for patellar luxation and fontanels, which are soft spots in a baby’s skull (kneecaps that can dislocate).

Although this breed is undoubtedly tough, it is still quite little. Owners should exercise caution when allowing Papillons to play with boisterous children or larger animals that might play rough.

Breed History

Papillons have a history of living in the lap of luxury, and no wonder. They were originally developed as delightful little lap dogs for noblewomen.

The Papillon made its debut during the Renaissance, when miniaturized versions of larger breeds were all the rage. A cross between existing toy breeds and spaniels, the tiny Papillon breed also embodies the bloodline of a ready and athletic sporting dog.

The Papillon breed was refined in Italy and Spain, and became popular in royal courts throughout Europe, especially France. It is said that Marie Antoinette’s faithful Pap, Thisbe, waited for his queen outside the prison where she was held prior to her beheading.

The first Papillon was registered with the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1915, but the breed was not fully represented by its own breed club until 1935.


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