A glamorous, delicate-looking dog, with ears that resemble a butterfly or a moth, the Papillon dog's coat is long and silky, and essentially white with patches of colour (see the breed standard for full details). The tricolour coat is white and black with specific tan markings. Adult dogs stand at 20-28cm and weigh 3-5kg.
- Category size: Toy
- Grooming requirements: More than once a week
- Shedding: Moderate
- Allergies: No
- Noise: Vocal
- Dog Group Kennel Club: Terrier
- Alone: Less than 1 hour
- Other pets: High
- Stability as a guard: Medium
Toy Spaniels that feature in many Renaissance paintings bear a strong similarity to the Papillon dog, and the breed is thought to have developed in France or Belgium. The Papillon dog was a favoured companion of royalty and the nobility on the Continent, and one is even said to have been carried by Marie Antoinette when she walked to the guillotine. The breed's name – which translates as 'butterfly' – comes from its large ears, which look like a butterfly with outstretched wings. If a dog has drop ears, it is called a Phalene (which translates as 'moth').
An alert, friendly, energetic little dog, the Papillon dog is a rewarding, loving companion that enjoys taking part in family activities, as well as spending time on laps!
Like many small breeds, the Papillon dog can suffer from kneecaps that may temporarily slip out of place (luxating patellas). As with many breeds, hereditary eye disorders can also occur, and so eye testing is recommended.
About half an hour a day will be needed for the Papillon dog, though he is capable of more if you can offer it. For his size, he is surprisingly energetic and has competed with success in agility.
Toy dogs have a fast metabolism, meaning they burn energy at a high rate, although their small stomachs mean that they must eat little and often. Small-breed foods are specifically designed with appropriate levels of key nutrients and smaller kibble sizes to suit smaller mouths. This also encourages chewing and improves digestion.
The profuse, long, silky coat should be groomed two or three times a week to keep it tangle-free.