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Papillon: Your New Pet

If you are one of those who appreciate extravagant-looking dogs, a Papillon may be the ideal dog for you. These dogs are famous thanks to their beautiful straight ears that resemble the wings of a butterfly in flight.

People have admired their unique facial appearance for hundreds of years. This elegant appearance made them the favorite dog of many royalty and nobility members, including Queen Marie Antoinette and King Henry. They were also a source of inspiration for many European artists who delighted the world with their works. Now, which characteristics are the most distinctive of these dogs? Join us to find out.

We should know several aspects of the Papillon if we want to raise one, these aspects are:

  • MEASUREMENTS AND WEIGHT: These lovely dogs have small proportions, being able to barely reach 28 cm in height. They also weigh between 1.5 kg and 5 kg.
  • EXOTIC APPEARANCE: They have a small round head, with a soft contour, deep eyes, and large ears with delicate hanging fringes. These are the basis of their remarkable appearance that attracts many followers. Due to their physical appearance, we can define two types of Papillon:

o Standard: The variety meets the aforementioned characteristics. They are perfect for agility competitions and aesthetic competitions.

o Phalene: It is a variety with drooping ears. It can compete in the same aesthetic contests as the previous category but with certain restrictions.

  • NECESSARY SPACE TO LIVE: They are not dogs that need too much space to live, so the interior of an apartment has enough dimensions for them to be happy. The owner must agree to take them outdoors frequently so that they can have fun and fight boredom.

These dogs usually bark a lot, which can be annoying for people living in an apartment or for their neighbors. In such cases, it is vital to train them from puppies to correct this instinctive behavior.

  • NECESSARY EXERCISE: They are dogs very willing to participate in walks with their owners. A moderate daily exercise is enough to meet their needs.
  • LIFE EXPECTANCY: They are dogs that live for quite some time, and they can reach between 15 and 18 years of life on average. In general, they do not usually suffer from chronic diseases that shorten their life. However, they can suffer from certain diseases such as epilepsy and osteoarticular problems. Therefore, veterinary control is recommended to diagnose and prevent some of these diseases.


In health, it is also important to mention the dental problems that many toy dogs usually suffer. Having such small teeth, it is possible that the food does not efficiently eliminate tartar, and, therefore, its teeth can suffer and fall. It is necessary to provide them with dental hygiene optimal to ensure a longer life for their teeth.

  • FUR: The fur is thick with long wavy hairs. It should only be short on the face and extremities. It is normal for their fur to be quite bright. Its color is mainly with a second or third color that distributes in different ways. The additional tones can be black, brown, or reddish.
  • SUITABLE WEATHER: They tend to prefer mild environments and avoid extreme temperatures, both cold and hot. If the weather of your country is not the most ideal, it may be best to keep the dog inside the home.

They are good-natured dogs that love to play with their owners. Their physical appearance is striking. Therefore, this dog wants to be the center of attention instinctively. With such a personality, it is not surprising that these dogs cannot tolerate loneliness well. They need to share a good part of their time with their human family.


These dogs are beautiful, but their docile appearance can make their owners spoil them and do not set appropriate limits on what they can and cannot do. If you let your Papillon feel like the leader, then you should be prepared to deal with problems such as excessive barking, bites in the furniture papers, scandalous behavior towards strangers, and even intolerance towards children.

You can easily correct all of these disorders if you set limits early and train the dog to understand socially correct actions and the correct way to interact with other living beings.

History and Origin

The Papillon is a dog that has gone through a complicated history to be able to achieve the characteristics that distinguish it today. To enjoy the traits that are famous today, it had to go through years of intense selective breeding, which made it be the companion of countless powerful and wealthy people.

For many centuries, people close to power, including royalty and nobility, showed a great fascination for small dogs. They could keep them in their lap to give them love while being distracted from their daily tasks. In that context, the ancestors of the Papillon appeared.

The origins of this breed are not as old as those of today’s many emblematic breeds. However, they are not precisely a recent breed. The current Papillon is likely a direct descendant of the miniature Continental Spaniel. This Spaniel was one of the favorite companions of royalty.


The exact country of origin is a matter of controversy. Currently, France, Belgium, and Spain are the three most likely candidates who dispute for being the country of origin of this beautiful breed.

However, no one can deny the fact that the name Papillon is of French origin (and, therefore, many people assume that these dogs come from there). In that language, Papillon means butterfly. It is easy to imagine that these dogs received such a name by the similarity that its ears show with a butterfly in flight.

After all, the characteristics for which they are illustrious are their beautiful straight ears with fringes that hang on the sides. However, the version of this breed that existed before the twentieth century had rather fallen ears. Although larger, these specimens would receive the name Phalene, which means nocturnal butterfly, since the drooping ears are more like folded wings.

The Papillon, the favorite dog of the nobility

The first recognized specimens of the breed could already show in works of art from the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. It is from this time that many of the legends that surround the Papillon come from. Legends that appear naturally around the pets that surround the supreme leaders of a country.

Perhaps one of the most interesting stories is that of King Enrique. Said monarch was a faithful lover of this breed and spent a lot of money for its upbringing. Some records show substantial payments for his pets. On one occasion, he even went to visit the breeder of some puppies that caught his attention. He took advantage of the opportunity and charged the monarch huge prices to acquire the puppies.

On the day of the monarch’s death, three special Papillons were sleeping next to him. They accompanied him at rest but also protected him. That night, a monk came to the royal chambers to see the king, and a Papillon became so loud that it was necessary to get her out of the room. Once the monk stood next to the king, he stabbed him and tried to flee. However, the barks of the two remaining dogs alarmed the guards, and they stopped the escape. Even so, the king died from the wounds. He regretted not paying attention to his beloved dog, who warned him of the danger.

These dogs continued to accompany countless royals throughout the years. They also appeared in numerous works of art by well-known artists, in many cases paid by their wealthy owners.


However, after the French revolution, the popularity of the breed decreased noticeably, mainly since they were deeply close to the aristocracy the new political system hated. It would not be until a century later that the Papillon would reappear in family portraits. However, these dogs never again reached their glory of the past. By that time, other dogs were the center of attention, such as the Pomeranian and King Charles Spaniel.

The Papillon Today

Even when the breed never got so much attention again, it was remarkable enough that the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI) recognized it. All of this thanks to the combined effort of the Belgian and French breeders. The first registered Papillon appeared in 1906. However, this club was not open until 1923, when the Kennel Club approved it.

The beginning of World War II represented the end of the club’s activities and its breeding programs. However, by 1951, the club had restarted its operations with 40 members who managed to restore the breed.

In the United States, the American Kennel Club only recognized the breed in 1915, and its official club would not receive authorization until 1935. As in the case of Europe, the club ceased operations due to the Great War but reopened its doors in 1948.

Today, there are hundreds of specimens worldwide that perform excellently in all dog shows and competitions.


Breed Characteristics

The Papillon is a breed of French dogs that also has Belgian roots. Its name refers to the French word that translates to «butterfly». For this reason, this furry friend receives the name «butterfly dog». Additionally, this name is thanks to a distinctive feature of its body, and its large ears have a shape reminiscent of the wings of a butterfly.

About the Papillon dog, we can say that it is a small one, which can reach a height between 15 and 35 cm. Its weight, proportional to its height, is usually between 3 and 10 kg. Their funny and friendly appearance made these dogs one of the favorite breeds among aristocrats and members of high social class. The Papillon has been present in many works of famous painters.

However, over the years, its features have changed slightly, until we have the specimen of the Papillon breed that we know today. Its official recognition took place in the twentieth century around the thirties, so it is a relatively recent dog breed.

This dog is small and exhibits a fine and delicate appearance, from its soft fur to its small and friendly features. It is a beautiful and striking dog since it looks like a cotton ball. Its body is small, more elongated than tall, with a wide and deep chest and a strong and arched back. The legs develop well, although their bones are thin, and they have a tail with the shape of a duster. It is long and stiff on the back, with the shape of an arch.

Its head is slightly round, with a pair of beautiful ears with fringes. They are large, simulate the wings of a butterfly, and are always standing upright. They are the main charm that gives more popularity to this breed. The snout is thin and short, and it becomes narrow towards the nose. It has round eyes, with a black liner, are medium in size, and of brown or dark color.

Its fur is very characteristic. The Papillon has a fur of abundant hair, straight or somewhat wavy, bright, and especially soft to the touch. The hair is short around the face, the snout, and the frontal portion of the extremities. In the rest of the body, the hair is longer, especially around the neck and chest, where it looks like a collar. In general, the fur is white and has some details in another color, such as black, brown, red, or sometimes combinations of these colors.

The Papillon is a unique dog breed. However, there are two variants of it, with a small difference in the shape of the ears. The standard dog is the characteristic dog with butterfly wings, while the Phalene variety has slightly fallen ears, which reminds of a moth. Hence its name «phalene», which means moth in French.

Behavior with Other Dogs


The puppy of the Papillon breed is a simply adorable dog. Its delicate features and its large and striking ears remind of a butterfly make this specimen a wonderful companion dog. It is also elegant, affectionate, loving, clean, and playful.

The Papillon has a friendly and easy-going nature at home, not only with humans. Fortunately, this puppy is receptive, open, and generous with other dogs, and even with other pets. With such companions, you can live without any problem in wonderful harmony. This puppy, in its personality, has a great sense of humor and is friendly. It does not need a strict training and socialization process to be a great pet at home.

The Papillon, in general, is a good partner. It is friendly, affectionate, and close to its family, not only to humans but also to other dogs and pets. Many of their traits change according to the type of education and training they receive from their owners.

Usually, as is necessary for all dog breeds, the Papillon must go through a socialization process as part of its puppy training. One advantage is that the puppies of this breed are smart, sociable, and given to share with others. Therefore, it will be a simple aspect of their education to make the Papillon get along with other pets, whether they are dogs, cats, or other animals.

You should keep in mind that, although the education of the Papillion is much simpler than with other breeds, socialization is essential. It will achieve an obedient and emotionally balanced pet, that is receptive and tolerant with other dogs, and with other pets.

If there are strangers in their environment, such as pets that are visiting or walking down the street, the Papillon is usually a bit more reserved. Although, they like to meet and make friends, and are active and playful. They also enjoy outdoor walks and exercising in moderate quantities. When in confidence, they are usually quite outgoing.

Papillon is a great pet dog, and it is ideal for homes where many individuals live. Not only talking about people, but this puppy can also live with almost any type of pet. They establish friendships with other dogs quickly, as long as the personality of these is equally receptive and tolerant.

Since the Papillon is a small dog breed, its fellow dogs should be small to medium-sized, and that they have an open mind to their partners. Larger dogs with a strong territorial sense may not feel comfortable and can even become aggressive with the extroverted Papillon dog.

Papillons are quite fearless and curious, and they are not afraid to invite dogs or other animals that are bigger than they are to play. However, these situations must be monitored and thus prevent accidental injury.

Diet and Nutrition


As we all know, the diet of our pets is a key aspect to preserve the good health of the animals from the physical, nutritional, and immunological point of view, also to make their appearance shine.

The general feeding advice for the dog is according to the characteristics of the breed itself. The number of nutrients, as well as the group of them, should be distributed according to certain needs. These needs are different at every stage of growth and development of the dog. The physical characteristics, health conditions, habits, and the degree of physical activity that these dogs perform vary according to their age.

As in other breeds, the Papillon is a dog that needs to consider all these aspects to receive an appropriate diet that is beneficial for him.

In the case of a puppy Papillon, food should allow it to become a strong and healthy adult dog. This food must be predominantly protein, which is the main substrate for muscle formation and other nerves. In lesser quantity, you will offer them healthy fatty acids and carbohydrates from which they get the energy to carry out all their needs.

The food options for the Papillon dog also vary. The most recommended is dry feed, and we must ensure that this is of the best quality. Choose commercial products made especially for breeds of miniature dogs, whose grains are smaller to allow better chewing and easier swallowing. Dry feed must have an optimal nutrient combination, and it must be from the junior gamma for puppies and from the adult range for adult dogs.

Its main ingredients must be, in this order of quantity and proportions, proteins, healthy fatty acids, and carbohydrates, which are in the nutritional table of the product packaging.

Likewise, make sure to avoid products containing cereals and additives, which cause food allergies and have little supply of nutrients for the dog.

The amounts and portions of food vary according to the age of the dog and its habits and activities.

These nutrients are a key point to prevent the Papillon from suffering from overweight and obesity. So it is recommended to distribute them in two main meals a day, with a maximum of three main dishes per day.

The diet should be apart from the exercise and training routines for at least two hours, to improve the digestive process. You may offer some treats between meals, especially during training sessions.

Other options of food products, such as wet feed, are not ideal for this breed of dogs since it can contribute to weight gain due to the high content of fats and carbohydrates that canned foods have. Feeding with wet feed favors the appearance of oral diseases, such as dental plaque and tartar.

Finally, never forget to offer your Papillon a good bowl of clean, fresh water that keeps it well hydrated.

Health and General Care


The Papillon is the ideal company for almost any home. Furthermore, it enjoys excellent health in general terms, being able to live between 12 and 14 years.

The care of this animal considers certain basic aspects such as hygiene, health, entertainment, and recreation, in addition to what we have already talked about in food.

Starting with the hygiene aspect, this puppy is immaculate and neat. Its owners must keep it as clean as possible since often dogs of small breeds spend a lot of time in the arms of their owners and friends. It could be harmful to human health if these animals are not properly clean.

On the other hand, the Papillon is an elegant dog partner, with the advantage that it is a clean and neat dog, and does not give off that characteristic doggy smell that can sometimes be somewhat unpleasant.

Oral and dental hygiene is an aspect that you should not neglect since small dog breeds have a greater predisposition to suffer from this type of disease. It can also favor the accumulation of dental plaque, tartar, and other food remains. Their mouth could become an ideal environment for the growth of many bacteria that cause infections such as periodontitis and gingivitis. Moreover, dogs can present halitosis or bad oral smell.

For this reason, their small teeth need to have to brush regularly, and they need to get used to this habit from a small age. Additionally, another alternative for dental hygiene is to offer the Papillon some cookies or bones that you can purchase at various pet stores. You can offer them as prizes during training, and, for dental health, they help remove plaque and strengthen their teeth.

Concerning Papillon’s body hygiene, the dog’s bath is only necessary when it is dirty. Its frequency varies according to the activities and the habitat the dog lives. Although, on average, it can be once a month.

The products for bathing the animal are those offered in special pet stores for dogs. It is not advisable to use human shampoo because they handle a different pH that could mistreat their skin and fur.

After the bath, you should dry it very well with a clean towel. Then, with the hairdryer, dry it at a reasonable distance to avoid burns. Finally, it will be ready to go for walks wearing a beautiful and neat appearance.

Brushing must be daily or at least about three times a week. This routine helps to stimulate the cutaneous circulation, the shedding of the hair, and noticeably improves the appearance of your Papillon. By brushing it frequently, you can keep its fur soft, silky, and tangle-free.

Los oídos y la nariz se limpiaran con una toallita humedecida en solución fisiológica que esté limpia, de manera regular para evitar la acumulación de sucio que pueda propiciar infecciones, al igual que los ojos, ya que el lagrimeo excesivo puede provocar manchas en la región infraorbitaria. Existen colirios que puedes aplicarle luego de la limpieza para lo cual se recomienda consultar al veterinario.

Clean the ears and nose with a wipe moistened in physiological solution regularly. It will avoid the accumulation of dirt that can lead to infections. Also, clean the eyes, since excessive tearing can cause spots in the infraorbital region. There are eye drops that you can apply after cleaning, consult the veterinarian in this case.

Papillon enjoys good health in general. However, it can suffer from some musculoskeletal diseases such as dislocation of the kneecap and epilepsy that can become chronic and could be hereditary or from eventual appearance. As well as the dental problems already mentioned, and numerous types of food and skin allergies. Always remember to take it to the veterinarian at least twice a year to keep its vaccinations and deworming up to date.

How to Train, Educate, or Teach a Papillon Dog


The training of dogs of this breed is a relatively simple task, thanks to the qualities of its personality. The Papillon is kind, affectionate, loving and close to its family. It is also receptive, intelligent and obedient, which greatly facilitates the learning of basic orders and also more complex tasks. Furthermore, this puppy is a tolerant and receptive dog, open to sharing with new friends such as people, other dogs, and even pets. The socialization process usually occurs without problems.

All training starts from puppies so they learn the most complex orders necessary for the development of the abilities of a great pet. Moreover, it is at an early age when the dog acquires manners, internalizes the allowed behaviors, and is the best age for corrections.

This way, the Papillon training ideally begins around four months of age, and preferably before six months. It will commit to raising a friendly, social, and obedient nature, and exploiting its best qualities and intelligence.

The first thing you start with is basic serial orders, which allow them to learn the basic rules of living together. These orders are the classic ones of sitting, walking next to the owner, learning their name and coming to the call, staying still, and doing their needs during the daily walk.

Hand in hand with this learning, the process of socialization must be simultaneous. It is essential to develop the qualities of behavior and manners that allow them to share the home with other animals and people. The Papillon has a friendly and affectionate personality, so this process will be simple.

Socializing means living together with other people and animals, either at home or during street walks or visits to the park. At this time, the Papillon learns to live with strangers, accepts them, and grows out of attitudes such as shyness, fear, or even aggressiveness. These moments are important to improve the emotional development of the dog.

Talking about orders is necessary to train our Papillon with commands that are truly useful for their behavior and coexistence at home. Of lesser importance, there are tricks or pirouettes that they will surely learn overtime to make us laugh.

The first orders that you should teach them are the basic ones: sitting, lying down, going to the call, walking by our side, and staying still. The basic technique is to state the command, demonstrate it, and try to make the dog do it.

You can stimulate learning and acquiring such behaviors with the reward method of positive reinforcement (either a cookie or bone for dogs), or with the clicker method. Positive reinforcement is a great tool to educate the Papillon.

The behavior of the owner-trainer must be kind and at the same time firm. Attitudes such as consenting or overprotection could cause the Papillon to develop a small dog syndrome. It will grow to be jealous, distrustful, and possessive, which will harm their coexistence.

Finally, we know that a well-trained Papillon is capable of being an excellent athlete, executing various tricks, and being a great participant in agility and skill competitions.

Behavior With Humans


The dog of the papillon breed is ideal for any family, since its behavior is adorable, friendly, playful, and affectionate, a great companion for all household members.

Dogs of this breed are very sociable, tolerant, and receptive to almost any type of environment, people, and pets. They interact peacefully with others and is a great pet for busy houses with many people or visitors. The Papillon is patient, balanced, friendly, and cheerful. It is an outgoing breed. Although, with strangers, it may initially be somewhat reserved. When it comes to trust, it will show all its happy and playful personality.

The dogs of the Papillon breed are active and love to play with their family, go for a walk, and do many outdoor activities. Despite being a small breed, they are dogs that need a moderate amount of physical activity, so the owner must take them to a walk daily, or to the park to play and interact with others. If the house has a safe garden, the Papillon will love to play daily in that environment.

This puppy is also very intelligent and observant. Although its size is somewhat misleading, they are excellent guard dogs. They have a strong, protective, and caring instinct towards their families. They are attentive dogs, and they can even make a big fuss if they feel threatened by a stranger. These dogs can often be barking dogs.

The Papillon is an outgoing dog. Certain behaviors, such as barking, are easy to modify with proper education and socialization since they are intelligent and obedient dogs.

As for their personality and nature, Papillons are dogs that show great confidence in themselves. They are confident, intrepid, and curious. Their walk reveals great courage and cleverness. These particular qualities have made the Papillion a dog of the aristocracy, an elegant breed for homes of the nobles in the past.

On the other hand, the Papillon is obedient. It usually enjoys good behavior and is always attentive to the requirements of its master because it loves to please its owners. For this puppy, obeying and pleasing is stimulating, since it enjoys and loves attention, pampering, and caresses.

In its general behavior, the Papillon is a patient and docile dog, tolerant, and receptive. It is also calm, to the point that some specimens may show some shyness. The virtues described in this breed are numerous, all of which make an affectionate and exemplary pet for most homes.

Like most small dog breeds, Papillon’s job is to be a companion dog. It is to be that faithful furry friend, good with children, a friend of the elderly, and playful with adults, it is an ideal pet. However, the Papillon is a good watchdog. It is intelligent, observant, and has a strong protective instinct. It will alert everyone in case something does not go well. Similarly, it is an agile dog, so it trains to be a champion and competitor in the skills and abilities tests.

Perfect Environment


The dog of the Papillon breed is an easy-to-care dog and a perfect company for all types of homes. Being a miniature breed, it adapts easily to almost all environments. Additionally, their care and basic needs are much simpler than those of larger breeds are, so you can keep them satisfied, healthy, and happy without major problems.

The Papillon is a dog for all types of environments. As for its ideal home, this puppy can live comfortably in a small city apartment, as well as be happy if you live on a farm in the countryside with open spaces.

The amount of exercise that this breed need is moderate. If you live in the countryside, they will enjoy running from side to side. While if you live in a city apartment, you should remember to take them out on their daily walks and regularly take them to play at the park. A house in the suburbs with a large garden or backyard will also be a great home for this dog.

Besides, the Papillon is a dog with a cheerful and adventurous spirit, which loves to travel with its owners. As a small breed, they are easy to transport and take anywhere.

As for the weather, its physical appearance can confuse us. Although the Papillion looks like a small ball of hair and seems to be well sheltered, its fur does not offer enough protection from the cold. It lacks the inner layer of short hairs that works as a thermal insulation coat that other breeds do have. Therefore, you must take care of it on cold days to avoid hypothermia or get a cold and get sick. Keep it warm and protected, and buy a cute coat for dogs so they can go for a walk on winter days.

Meanwhile, on hot summer days, the Papillion could have a greater shredding of hair. It deserves regular and constant brushing to remove dead hair, stimulate skin circulation, and avoid tangles. Make sure you provide enough water so it does not get dehydrated, and keep it in a cool and pleasant climate.

You should keep your Papillon dog in an environment as clean as possible. This dog is very neat and clean, who easily learns hygiene habits and does not need so much care. However, if you live in a place like a field, it will need reviews after each day outdoors to remove particles, hays, and spikes that entangle in their fur.

Papillon is a good pet for homes with children, elderly people, and other pets. It is tolerant, receptive, obedient, affectionate, and a great company for everyone. With basic care, you will enjoy a furry friend for many years.