Introducing the Papillon

The Papillon (pronounced Pappy-Yon) is one of the oldest toy breeds- a direct descendent of the Continental Toy Spaniel. Papillon is the French word for butterfly, and the dogs were so named for the shape and position of their ears which when erect, resemble the spread wings of a butterfly. These little dogs were great favorites of the ladies of the Royal Courts in France and Belgium, during the 17th and 18th centuries. The original dogs were drop eared like all other Spaniel breeds and today both varieties can still be seen and are judged on an equal footing in the shows. The drop-eared variety is known as Phalene (pronounced Falen), the French name for a moth that droops its wings.

The general appearance of a Papillon is that of a small, alert, friendly, elegant Toy Dog of fine boned structure, with light, graceful and lively action. Papillon's may be as small as 8" and as tall as 11". The weight of a mature dog around 25 cm (10") in height is 3 to 4 kg (6 and 8 pounds approx.).

Papillons are always parti-coloured being predominately white with patches of any other colour except liver. The colour should cover both ears and both eyes. A central white blaze on the head is preferred, as it represents the body of the butterfly, but it is not essential. Patches of colour on the body may be present or absent.

Papillons are inquisitive and fun loving refusing to believe that they are small dogs. They like nothing better than a romp with a ball, or a walk in the country where they can chase a butterfly, a bird or a squirrel and investigate the world around them. They are long-lived, remarkably resistant to disease, and retain their playfulness right into old age. Their acute hearing makes them excellent watchdogs and they will soon let you know when a stranger is around. However, they are not persistent barkers and once visitors are inside the house and the greetings are over, they will return to their favorite spot and lie down quietly.

Coat care is minimal, for Papillons have silky hair that sheds the dirt easily. There is no need for trimming, and as there is no undercoat there is little shedding. A gentle but thorough brushing once or twice a week and a bath every month or so is all that is required. They keep themselves very clean and have no doggy odor. Regular trimming of toe nails is required.

Papillons are naturally eager to please and are devoted to their owners, preferring to have them within sight at all times. Their exceptional intelligence and easy trainability have placed them at the top of the Toy Breeds in Obedience and agility. Their happy manner of working has endeared them to the public. They are "naturals" for training as Hearing Aid dogs and in Pet Therapy programs. For versatility there are few breeds to match them; for loyal loving companions, they are second to none.

Published by Papillon Canada