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.
Is this the right dog breed for you?
All dogs have their own, unique personality, but some instincts and behaviours they’re born with. Try our breed selector and find out which dog breeds better match your preferences and lifestyle. If you and your dog enjoy similar things, you will be more likely to live a happy, fulfilling life together.
What to Consider next
It is incredibly fulfilling to adopt a dog from an animal shelter or rescue organization. It often means offering them a second chance in life. There are many dogs waiting for a loving family, a forever home. Reputable centers will be very careful about matching the right people with the right dogs. Staff learns all they can about the dogs they take in, and will spend time getting to know you, your family and your lifestyle, before they match you with any of their dogs. They’ll also be happy to give you advice and answer any questions you might have before and after the adoption.
Finding a good breeder
If your heart is set on a pedigree puppy, then your best bet is to find a reputable breeder. Contact The Kennel Club or a breed-club secretary who may have a list of litters available, or should be able to put you in contact with breeders in your area. Try to choose a breeder who is part of the Kennel Club’s assured breeder scheme.Visit dog shows to meet breeders in person and inquire about availability of pups of your chosen breed.
Welcoming your dog home
Whether you’re bringing home a tiny puppy or rehoming an adult dog, this is a hugely exciting time for everyone. While you’re waiting for the big day you might need to distract yourself, so luckily there are a few things you need to sort out before you welcome your new arrival. Click here for more information