Papillon Dogs Facts and Information

Papillon dog breed is a small, elegant dog with a fine-boned structure and is a little longer than tall.

It has a smooth and graceful gait with a long, silky, straight coat that is quite abundant.

This breed’s characteristics include its alert expression and friendly temperament along with the beautiful butterfly ears.

Let us find out more about the Papillon dog breed in this article.

Origin of Papillon Dogs

The breed, which is one of the oldest dog breeds in the world, is initially bred with only the dropped ears. It was then called the “dwarf spaniel.”

Papillon dogs are quite popular in history, especially around the 13th to the 15th century with it being seen in many Italian paintings.

It was in the Renaissance period when the dogs were usually painted on the laps of Spanish and French noblewomen.

Later on, the breed was known as Continental Toy Spaniel. It was the official name it goes by in the FCI, which is why it is sometimes called Toy Spaniel.

Over time, the old breed with dropped ears grew an erect-type of an ear which also has fringes resembling that of butterflies.

It is where the name Papillon came from, as it means “butterfly” in French. For this, AKC calls the breed Papillon while the drop-earned variety was named Phalene.

papillon dog
Brown and White Papillon Puppy
papillon dogs
Black and White Papillon Puppy

On the other hand, the FCI continues to call the breed as Continental Toy Spaniel but with two variations – Papillon and Phalene.

The AKC first recognized Papillon in 1915 and was known for its talents as a watchdog and ability to perform tricks.

Temperament of Papillon Dog Breed

The Papillon dog is sometimes referred to as the butterfly dog – a nod to the dog’s ears that look like butterfly wings.

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This dog breed seems gentle, but it is more robust than it appears. It is known for being intelligent and friendly, as well as a dog that loves outdoor exercise.

This charming little dog is also lively, playful, and amusing. Although affectionate and patient, the Papillon dog is proud.

It loves to cuddle and also enjoys romping outdoors. Another high quality of this dog is the fact that it isn’t a yapper like other breeds.

Papillon dogs are obedient and steady, which are great attitudes that allow them to be trained to perform little tricks. They are even great with cats if socialized with feline pets.

Perhaps one problem is they are difficult to housebreak. Generally, Papillon dog breeds are easy to train.

One thing to keep in mind is it become possessive of its owner, especially if you let it become the pack leader.

When that happens, a Papillon dog may be difficult when with outsiders.

Please don’t allow this breed to develop the Small Dog Syndrome or it can cause some behavior problems for you.

Small dogs that are allowed by their owners as if they run the show can develop some behavior problems such as separation anxiety, obsessive barking, snapping, growling, biting, and being timid or nervous, as well as untrustworthy around children.


While these aren’t natural traits of the Papillon breed, they can develop such qualities when not brought carefully.

It is critical that the owner is firm with the dog, playing the role of the pack leader consistently.

The owner must provide rules that the dog has to follow along with limiting what the Papillon dog is allowed and not allowed to do.

The firm hand, along with daily walks, will make the dog trustworthy around kids.

At the same time, getting them, enough exercise will keep the Papillon breed calm.

How long do papillons live for?

The Papillon dog is small and originates in Europe. The breed is classified as a toy dog and has a lifespan of 12 to 15 years.

You can find Papillon dogs in a range of colors such as white, black, lemon, red and white sable, as well as white tri-color.

It is one of the oldest breeds with a recorded history in Europe as far back as almost 700 years.

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Papillon Dog Breed Full Grown

Many people are interested in getting a Papillon. However, they first want to know the approximate size that of a full grown Papillon.

If you’re going to get a dog of this breed, it is best that you try to get one within the breed standards, which goes by the heights on the shoulders.

In that regard, the standard full grown American Papillon is 8 to 11 inches while other nations, such as Europe, is a little larger but only slightly.

Does Papillon Dog Breed Shed?

The Papillon breed does shed lightly, but it isn’t hypoallergenic like what some breeders advertise. Papillon dogs shed lightly in the average.

Still, the shedding of this dog breed is considerably more than the actual light-shedding of breeds such as Maltese and Toy Poodle.

Constant brushing and monthly bathing help in keeping the dog’s coat in good condition.

Is a Papillon Dog a Good Family Dog?

The Papillon breed is known to energetic and outgoing. Its temperament makes it essential that it always have exercise and stimulation.

While the dog is small in size, its personality is big with a keen sense of awareness.

It makes the Papillon an excellent watchdog and the perfect pet for the family.

It is one of the best breeds of dog for companion thanks to its playfulness, trainability, and excellent guard instincts.

Is the Papillon Dog Breed Aggressive?

This breed is not aggressive, but it isn’t a calm dog either most of the time. It is especially true when the Papillon is young.

Most Papillon puppies are spirited, lively, and athletic.

Since these pups like to be on the go, it is important they are kept on-leash or within a securely fenced yard.

By nature, they aren’t aggressive but when not properly trained, they can bite, and they tend to bark as well.

Is the Papillon Dog Breed Hypoallergenic?

The Papillon dog breed is not hypoallergenic. They shed moderately, and if not properly groomed, it can cause some issues to people who have asthma or respiratory problems.

Therefore, it is essential that the coat of this dog is regularly brushed. They should also be bathed at least once a month to ensure the shedding is kept lightly.

Is the Papillon Dog Breed Smart?

Like other small dogs, the Papillon breed is feisty and lively. However, unlike some breeds, this one is quite smart.

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Its intelligence allows it to be trained quickly and can learn well if you are diligent in training it.

It is a must for Papillon dogs to undergo consistent obedience training especially since it is a highly-energetic breed.

Does the Papillon Dog Breed Bark a Lot?

There is a potential that Papillon dogs bark a lot. In general, they are a little too quick in sounding the alarm at night with each new sound or sight.

It makes it essential that the owner is just as quick as the dog in stopping them from barking.

Success is only possible if you can establish the correct relationship with you as the pack leader and your Papillon as the follower.

This training is called the Respect Training, which is essential for Papillon dogs.

What health problems do Papillons have?

Papillon dogs can sometimes be prone to problems concerning the kneecaps in the hind legs. Fortunately, it might be possible to correct this through surgery.

Another health problem that Papillon puppies can have is the fontanel, which is the opening located at the top of the skull.

Sometimes, it corrects itself, but if it doesn’t, your dog has to be protected and lives a difficult time.

Respectable breeders work to try maintaining the highest breeding standards for Papillon as established by kennel clubs.

If the dogs are bred following these standards, it is less likely for them to develop any hereditary conditions.

However, still, other Papillon dogs can develop some health conditions. Among other conditions, they may develop Patellar Luxation, Collapsing Trachea, and Progressive Retinal Atrophy.

How Much Does the Papillon Dog Breed Cost?

The limited registered Papillon dogs are only allowed for pets, not for breeding.

Usually, they are sterilized before the new owner can take them home. Anyone who wants to have a friend through a Papillon dog can get a limited registered Papillon for reasonable prices.

The cost is not that expensive, often ranging from around $600 to $1100 for every puppy.

1 thought on “Papillon Dogs Facts and Information”

  1. There is no other breed that can compare to the Papillon…They are special, I believe they are the smartest of all breeds.
    I am also addicted to them . I lost my little one after 10 years and I’m having a difficult time without her. I’m looking for a papillon puppy but I don’t have a bunch of money…and I live in Ogden Utah …
    I haven’t been able to find any..


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