The Papillon, with its characteristic ears, is a dainty toy dog that’s also known as the Continental Toy Spaniel. This French breed is named for the shape and look of its ears that resemble a butterfly, which is what the French word Papillon means. A different name is used for a Papillon with dropped ears, namely a Phalene, which is French for moth.
Besides its large hairy ears, the Papillon has dark round eyes with black rims and a fine-boned little body. On average, the Papillon stands 22 to 28 cm tall and weighs just 3 to 5 kg.
The Papillon has a single straight, long coat and a long hairy tail that’s carried over the body. Its coat is white with patches of what can be almost any other colour, most notably on its head and ears and around the eyes. The Papillon is a clean and odourless breed but this long-haired dog does need a daily brushing.
Papillons are alert, intelligent little dogs that can quite easily be trained and taught tricks. A soft approach is needed however, as they are sensitive to harsh words. On the other hand, it’s important not to over-pamper your Papillon because that may cause them to develop the dreaded small dog syndrome.
This friendly dog with the alert look on its face loves company and enjoys exercise and playtime in the backyard or doggy park. It needs a daily walk and plenty of human attention. Because it is so small, the Papillon is not the most suitable dog for you if you have young children or other, larger dogs.
Papillons do not have many health problems, but some can be prone to problems with the patella in the hind legs. They can easily live up to 15 years of age.