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Are you in LOVE with those BUTTERFLY EARS? Love the idea of a high energy dog in a very small package? Looking for a dog that is easy to train? The adorable Papillon could be the dog you are looking for!

The Papillon originated from France, although Belgium is also thought to be where they originated from. The word Papillon is French for butterfly, referencing their ears that look like the wings of a butterfly. These little breeds were a favorite amongst Marie Antoinette's group of dogs she adored. Legend says that Marie Antoinette walked to the guillotine clutching her beloved Papillon (aka Toy Spaniel) under her arm. The small dog was spared and lived its days in a building in Paris call the Papillon House. The name of the Papillon became popular in the early 19th century.

Bred For

This breed was bred for companionship from the Continental Toy Spaniel, Epagneul Nain (dwarf spaniel), Phalene (drop ear version spaniel). Although spaniels are hunting breeds, the little Papillon was not used for such purposes.


The Papillon height is 8-11 inches and they can weigh between 3-9 pounds. The adorable Papillon's most distinct look is their butterfly ears that are large and naturally erect with fringe of fur. They are a small and delicate breed that has a small head and muzzle. Their eyes and nose are dark. The tail is carried high over their back. The coat is long, silky, and single-coated. The back of their legs are feathery as their chest has long frill. The coloring comes in different combinations of white, black, liver, sable, brown, red, and fawn. Regular grooming is necessary for this little breed.


The Papillon has a very outstanding personality! They get along with most everyone and other animals! They are considered very friendly, outgoing, smart, and adventurous! They are ready to go with you at a moments notice. They are playful, and enjoy the company of others as well as playing with other dogs. If left unattended, and unsocialized, sadly this will ruin the wonderful traits of the Papillon. This little breed is very easy to train, making them an excellent candidate to learn fun tricks, and do agility with. The Papillon enjoys hearing their own voice, making them a breed that is known for excessive barking. Due to this behavior, the Papillon might not do well in an apartment or condo. With early training, correcting their "yappy" behavior is doable.

Activity Level

Their activity level can be moderate to high. Don't let their small size fool you into thinking they don't need exercise. This breed is a very busy breed that needs regular exercise every day. They will require two-three 30-45 minute walks a day. With their ability to learn quickly, and having an active personality, the Papillon makes a great agility partner! With the Papillion's high energy, leaving them alone for long periods is not ideal. Consider doggy daycare for your best friend if you work long hours. They manage warm weather but struggle in colder climates due to their single-layer coat. This breed is not an outdoor dog.

Health Concerns

A typical life span for the Papillon is 12-15 years. Overall a very healthy breed, some health concerns are: Liver Shunt, Luxating Patellas, and Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA).

Rescue First

As you begin looking for a Papillon, please check with rescue organizations first. Every year there are millions of dogs being euthanized, not because they are bad dogs, but because there is no home for them and insufficient resources to care for them at rescues. By adopting a dog, you are truly saving a life!

At the very least, NEVER purchase any dog from a pet store. Unfortunately, those puppies almost always come from puppy mills. Instead, look for a reputable breeder to work with.

On a final note, it is important to spay and neuter your puppy by 6 months old to have a healthy and happy pet for many years to come!

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Dog Breed Info

Original Dog Bible, 2nd Edition by Kristin Mehus-Roe

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