Papillon Dog-Continental Toy Spaniel

Papillon Dog also called the Continental Toy Spaniel, the Papillon is a small dog breeds, fine-boned dog. The small head is slightly rounded between the ears with a well defined stop. The muzzle is somewhat short, thin tapering to the nose. The dark, medium sized, round eyes have thin black rims, often extending at the junction of the eyelids towards the ears. The large ears can either be erect or dropped with rounded tips. A papillon with drop ears is called a phalene (French for "moth"). The hair on the ears is long and fringed, giving it a butterfly-like look from which the breed's name "papillon" (French for "butterfly") is derived. The teeth meet in a scissors bite. The long tail is set high carried over the body, and covered with long, fine hair. Dewclaws are sometimes removed. The straight, long, fine, single coat has extra frill on the chest, ears, back of the and the tail. Coat colour is white with patches of any colour except for the liver. A mask of a colour other than white covers both ears and eyes from back to front.


The Papillon's ears are very large and butterfly-like. Papillons are beautiful and adorable parti-colored (white with markings of any color). An all white dog or a dog with no white is disqualified from the conformation show ring. A papillon without the signature white blaze extending down between the eyes is not disqualified.

Papillons can be registered with AKC as the following colors, though not all of these colors are permitted in the conformation ring:

  • White & Black
  • White & Lemon
  • White & Red
  • White & Sable
  • White Black & Tan
  • Black Brown & White
  • Black Red & White
  • Brown & White
  • Fawn & White
  • Red
  • Red White & Sable
  • Sable
  • White
  • White & Liver
  • White & Silver

The most distinctive aspect of the Papillon is its large ears, which are well fringed with colored (not white) silky fur. The color covers both eyes and the front and back of the ears to give the ideal butterfly look. A white blaze and noseband is preferred over a solid-colored head. Nose, eye-rims, and lips should be black. Paw pads vary in color from black or pink depending on the coloring of the dog.

The Papillon is considered to be a "wash and wear" breed and does not require excessive grooming. Papillons have a coat of fine fur, single length coat. As puppies, papillons have short length fur and as adults, the coat is long and silky. Their fur is very long, plush and soft to touch, until about three months old. It may take two years for a papillon to develop the tufts of hair that sprout off of its ears and chest.

There are two ear variations of this dog breed, the completely upright ears of the more common Papillon, and the dropped spaniel-like ears of the Phalène. The American Kennel Club and the Fédération Cynologique Internationale consider the Phalène and the Papillon the same breed. The Papillon coat is abundant, long, and silky. There is no undercoat. Ears are well-fringed with the inside covered with silken fur of medium length. Tail is long, well-fringed, set on high, arched over back with fringes falling to side to form plume. The head is slightly rounded between the ears, and the muzzle is fine, tapering, and narrower than the skull with an abrupt stop. Height: 20-28 cm (8-11 inches), over 11 inches is a fault and over 12 inches is a disqualification from the conformation show ring. Weight: 7-10 pounds (3–5 kg), but they can also get to (14- 16), pounds at the heaviest.


The Papillon has the appearance of a dainty toy breed, but many owners will claim that their dogs are "big dogs in little dog suits". Some people find that their Papillon is very capable of handling a good five-mile walk. One aspect of the Papillon that has led many to believe the "big dog" assertion is this breed's surprising athletic ability. In contrast to its staid and stately representation in the Old Master portraits, the Papillon is highly energetic and intelligent. Provided their genetic structure is sound, and they are not the product of "puppy mill" inbreeding, they are generally healthy animals. Papillons are built for movement, and most do not need any encouragement to apply their energy to athletic activities. They enjoy at least a half hour running about. Papillons are considered a highly intelligent breed, often being ranked in the top ten dog breeds for intelligence.

Bred for centuries as lapdogs, a properly socialized Papillon has a need to constantly be in the presence of its owner. Anywhere the owner goes, the Papillon will be right behind. Because the dog will follow its owner from room to room, owners often find they have to look before they step, or they risk accidentally kicking the small dog. A Papillon's agility, however, works to its advantage to prevent injuries: Once they have learned to be careful of where its owner steps, Papillons have little trouble quickly moving out of the way. Their agility also means that they will leap on and off beds and couches several times their own height, presenting a risk of injury to their pencil-thin leg bones. Papillons will insist on sleeping directly next to their owners at night, and owners have to take care that they do not inadvertantly roll over on top of the dog, or push the dog over the side of the bed.

Papillons that are properly socialized and have not been abused welcome being handled by complete strangers, and owners may find difficulties keeping the dog away from visitors to their homes and strangers while on walks. Papillons are very playful by nature, and will welcome any chance to play with humans. However, care should be taken with the dog while around small children and toddlers who may unwittingly play too rougly and injure the dog in the process. Papillons can be highly protective of their owners, especially in the presence of larger dogs, but a well-socialized dog will not bite; under stress the Papillon will instead bark loudly and excitedly run around.

Papillons have a reputation for being highly sensitive to their owner's moods. Owners may find that their Papillon will act excited, start barking, or run and hide almost the instant the owner falls into a bad mood, even before any words are spoken. Papillons may recognize when their owner is about to leave them alone in the house, before the owner has reached for his keys or coat, and begin to whine or bark.

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