Papillon Breed Guide

Papillons are small and elegant toy dogs known for their butterfly-like ears. Their long coat is abundant, silky, fine, and straight, and it lies flat on the sides and back of the body. There is a profuse frill in the neck area, and the ears are well fringed. These dogs do not have an undercoat, and the coat is parti-color or white with colored patches. Papillons have round, dark eyes and small heads. Their noses are black and rounded. They measure 8 to 11 inches tall at the shoulder and weigh 3 to 12 pounds.

The breed is very loyal and devoted, and they will become unhappy if ignored or left alone for long periods.

Happy, friendly, and alert dogs, Papillons make good family pets. They are happy living in most types of homes, including small apartments, and they can be exercised indoors when necessary. These dogs need regular brushing, but they are not high-maintenance when it comes to grooming.

Papillons are one of the breeds that gives all small dogs a bad reputation when it comes to barking and general noise making. In fact, these dogs are often known by the nickname yappy Pappy due to their nuisance barking.

Papillons are friendly, alert, and happy dogs that are not naturally aggressive or shy. They are also very clever and excel at pretty much everything they do, including agility, freestyle, rally, obedience, tracking, and other dog sports. Their small size and big attitude means they need protection from children and other dogs. Of course, Papillons don't realize they are small dogs and may challenge larger dogs, jump off high furniture, and otherwise put themselves at risk for injury. Generally, these dogs get along well with other pets, especially cats.

These dogs have an excess of energy and are always ready for a job or an adventure. Anyone desiring a lazy little lapdog should look elsewhere. These dogs love cuddling, but they are lively and sprightly and enjoy daily walks, puzzle toys, and vigorous play. Papillons are friendly toward strangers and will often seek attention and affection from them. Rarely, these dogs may be initially timid.

The breed is very loyal and devoted, and they will become unhappy if ignored or left alone for long periods. They are clean and easy to care for. Because of this, they make excellent family pets and great apartment dogs. They don't need much space and can be exercised indoors if necessary.

Papillons are a relatively healthy and long-lived breed, but they are prone to certain health conditions that can negatively affect length or quality of life. Common health problems in these dogs include luxating patellas, hypoglycemia, and eye problems such as dry eye and progressive retinal atrophy. These dogs are also at increased risk for liver shunts and may have a collapsing trachea, a condition common to toy dogs that causes respiratory problems.

The breed is also more likely than some other dogs to have an open fontanel, which is the soft spot on top of the head. Under normal circumstances, this soft spot should close and become hard during the first 6 months of life. Neuroaxonal dystrophy, which causes clumsiness and an odd gait early in life, is also seen in these dogs. This condition is progressive and untreatable and most affected puppies die within a few months. Papillons are also prone to dental problems and may have difficulty under anesthesia.

Routine veterinary care, a balanced diet, and frequent exercise help ensure these small dogs live a rich and long life of up to 17 years.

One of the most responsive and obedient of the toy breeds, Papillons respond well to training and learn quickly. These dogs are sometimes called the yappy Pappy because of their tendency to bark excessively. Consistent training can prevent most nuisance barking.

While these dogs don't require much daily exercise, physical activity will relieve the excess energy and restlessness that sometimes leads to negative behaviors. Long walks and playtime with other small dogs is beneficial. When tired out and sufficiently trained, these dogs make well-behaved, affectionate pets.

Like other small breeds, the Papillon is difficult to housetrain. Successfully getting these dogs to potty outside takes a lot of time, patience, and consistency. When given plenty of opportunity to go outside, and when praised for their successes, these dogs should eventually learn when and where it is appropriate to go to the bathroom.

Papillons have a long silky coat that looks difficult to manage but is surprisingly easy to groom. Brushing the coat every two to three days with a pin brush or stainless steel comb is usually sufficient to keep it healthy and prevent tangles. An antistatic coat spray will protect the coat during brushing. Mats can be removed by hand by gently working them apart with the fingers. Mats that cannot be pulled apart should be cut in half lengthwise to aid in removal.

Papillons don't need frequent bathing, and they don't usually mind baths. If they get dirty or smelly, they can bathed as often as twice weekly. To keep their skin and coat healthy, they should be bathed at least once each month.

The nails should be clipped every week or two to prevent painful snags and breaks. The teeth need regular brushing and professional examinations to prevent tooth decay and periodontal disease. Additionally, it's important to check the ears weekly for signs of infection or excess wax accumulation.

The word papillon means butterfly in French, and the term perfectly describes these little dogs. Papillons were originally called dwarf spaniels and were faithful companions to European nobles for several hundred years. These dogs were popular in French royal courts, but they nearly disappeared after the French Revolution because of their strong association with the country's aristocracy.

Fortunately, the breed was revived during the late 1800s, and it was during this time period that the dogs received their new name of Papillon. By the turn of the century, Papillons were a common sight at French dog shows and soon thereafter were shown in America and England. The breed has become very popular as both a show dog and a pet.

Papillons are named and known for their erect, fringed ears. There's a drop-eared version of the breed that is known by the name Phaléne. These dogs are judged by the same standards and often appear in the same litters. The only difference between them is their ears.

The American Kennel Club officially recognized the Papillon in 1915.