Breed group: FCI Group 9 (Companion and toy) / AKC Toy Group
Country of origin: France / Belgium
Weight: 3-5kg / 5.5lb -10lb
Height: 25-28cm (8-11″)
Coat: Long, silky, feathering, no undercoat
Color: Always parti-color, white being the dominant color
Life expectancy: 13-16 years
Other names: Continental Toy Spaniel, Épagneul Nain Continental Papillon et Phalène, Phalène
Nicknames: Pap


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Papillons and Phalènes originate from old dwarf spaniel type dogs. They may have developed from hunting type spaniels that were mixed with smaller dogs. Some sources speculate that the breed could be related to East Asian dwarf dogs that arrived in Europe in the 13th century. The modern day Papillon, however, is considered having been bred in France and Belgium.

Papillons have also carried the names “Dwarf Spaniel” and “Continental Toy Spaniel”. The latter was a name given to the breed to differentiate it from the English Dwarf Spaniel type dogs.

Papillons are known to be seen in numerous historical paintings and they were popular among Europian royalty. The breed was especially adored in France during the reign of Louis XIV.

The original variant of the breed had drooping ears. Today we call this variant by the name Phalène which means “moth” in French. During the French revolution the breed had spread to Belgium and that is where the first erect-ear type Dwarf Spaniel was born in the end of the 19th century. It is this erect-ear variant that carries the name Papillon today, because the dog’s ears resemble the wings of a butterfly and Papillon means “butterfly” in French. Both ear types can appear in puppies born in the same litter.

The American Kennel Club first recognized the breed in 1915. In 1935 the breed was represented by their own breed club. FCI recognized the breed in 1934.


The Papillon is a toy breed dog with an alert appearance. They are elegant dogs with a graceful looking walk. The Papillon weighs 3-5kg (5.5lb -10lb) and they are 25-28cm (8-11″) at the shoulder.

The breed is described as having a small and slightly rounded head with medium size eyes and ears that are either erect (Papillon) or drooping down (Phalène). The dog’s tail arches over the dog’s back letting the long hair of the tail fall down.

The coat of a Papillon is long, fine and silky without an undercoat. The Papillon is always parti-color meaning that the dog is mostly white with a pop of some other color such as black or red. White should not be the dominant color on the dog’s head.

Photo by: Blue Bird


Having been bred as a companion dog, The Papillon inhabits many traits suited for the purpose including the fact that they are said to be friendly, social, affectionate and happy. The breed is also said to be alert, intelligent and energetic.

Papillons are typically considered easy to train and they are said to get along well with children. Though one must be aware of the breed’s small size to avoid accidents.

The breed is considered suitable for both life in the city as well as in the countryside.


The Papillon is considered a rather healthy breed. Patellar luxation is mentioned as something to be aware of when it comes to this breed. Some sources also mention eye illnesses and epilepsy as health concerns.

The life expectancy of a Papillon is 13-16 years.

Care, Exercise And Grooming

Seeing that Papillons are energetic and athletic dogs, they like to stay active despite their small size. Also since Papillons are smart dogs they require mental stimulation to live a healthy life.

The breed has become well liked in many dog sports such as agility and obedience.

The Papillon’s coat is said to be rather easy to care for. The dog’s fine and silky hair only requires regular brushing to prevent matting. The fact that Papillons do not have an undercoat makes them light shedders.

Like with all dogs, The Papillon too requires basic dog health and wellness care. This means that the dog should be provided with proper dental care, nail care, ear and eye care as well as regular checkups at the vet for vaccinations and other health related matters.

Every dog also requires proper socialization and training. When raised properly, The Papillon will make a loving pet for many.

Photo by: Blue Bird


1. 50 hundar. Sveriges populäraste hundraser. Tukan förlag 2016
ISBN: 978-91-7617-733-4
2. American Kennel Club. The Complete Dog Book (p. 852). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
eISBN : 978-0-307-41699-5
3. TFH Editors. Encyclopedia of Dog Breeds (Pocket Professional Guide®) . TFH Publications. Kindle Edition.
ISBN: 978-0-7938-4482-1 (eBook)
4. 50 Most Popular Dog Breeds and Bloodlines from Around The World. A Guide to the World’s Favourite Dog Breeds. : A Guidebook to 50 Most Popular Dog Breeds Around the World. By Jen Hutchinson. Kindle Edition


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