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  • papillon<Back to Dog Breeds
    Other Names: Butterfly Dog, Pap
    Dog Group Kennel Club: Toy (AKC, KC)

    The Papillon is most recognisable for it’s elegantly fringed ears which are set obliquely on the head. these trademark ears are said to resemble the wings of a butterfly, hence the French name Papillon which is French for butterfly. There is another variety of Papillion known as Phalene (moth) which has drop ears. Both types can show up in the same litter but the Papillon variety is much more common.

    The Papillon has a long, straight, silky top coat with no undercoat. Colours include Red and White, Red Sable and White, Black and White, and the Tri-Colour.

    Weight: There is no specific weight of this breed

    Average Life Span: 9 – 15 years

    The Papillon is a hardy, lively and playful, devoted, and protective pet. They are a wonderful family companion, neither shy nor aggressive, but very protective of his family and home .Many owners will tell you they act like big dogs in small dogs’ bodies. They thrive on human attention and delights in pleasing its owners.
    Papillons are not suitable for families with small children as they are fragile and can be seriously injured by playful children (even children with the best intentions could easily fall on this little dog). They are good with other animals but may challenge larger dogs. As with all toy breeds papillon’s are dainty fragile dogs and can be easily be seriously injured or even killed. Therefore constant supervision and surveillance of what’s going on around your tiny dog is needed.

    As with most toy breeds they are quite difficult to house train.

    To keep their feathered coat free of mats, Papillons require regular brushing, combing, and occasional trimming.

    Minimal requirements, they will get enough exercise running and playing around the house and garden. Short walks would also be appreciated by this happy little dog.

    Papillon Health Issues
    Luxating Patella Slipping knee joints (also referred to as luxating patellas, slipped stifles) are a common problem in small breeds. In this condition, the kneecap slips out of its groove and moves against the thighbone (femur) instead of along its natural groove. Although this has been found to be a heritable condition, small, active breeds are likely to aggravate it through the course of their natural activities (jumping up and down) around taller objects such as furniture.

    Legg’s Perthes Disease (commonly mistaken for hip dysplasia) is due to the death of the head of the femur bone. This causes wearing and promotes arthritic changes. Therefore, after the condition has progressed for some time it is difficult to diagnose whether the resulting degenerated joint is a manifestation of hip dysplasia or Legg’s Perthes. This condition is congenital and has no known cure. The accompanying pain and arthritic changes can be controlled with steroids.

    Hypoglycaemia: the medical term for low blood sugar is a condition associated with a sudden drop in the level of blood sugar. This commonly affects the small toy breeds as puppies, and usually not seen in puppies over twelve weeks of age. It is most likely caused by the uneven spurts in growth of the internal organs of the puppy, especially the pancreas which is associated with insulin production. Symptoms that a dogs sugar level has dropped too low include: weakness, confusion, drooling, pale gums, seizures. These attacks can be fatal. Prevention from these attacks are monitored through diet. Always ask your local vet for advice!!

    Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA): is a family of diseases all involving the gradual deterioration of the retina. It is diagnosed by a retinoscopic exam or by means of an electroretinogram (ERG). Early in the disease, affected dogs become nightblind and lack the ability to see in dim light; later on daytime vision also fails. As their vision deteriorates, affected dogs adapt to their handicap very well, as long as their environment remains constant. Certain breeds are affected early in life, whereas in other breeds, PRA develops much later in onset.

    Papillon History
    The Papillon is a very old breed that dates back to the fourteenth century in Europe where they were know as the Continental Toy Spaniel. Originating in France, the breed was then called the epagneul nain, or dwarf spaniel, and sported spaniel-type dropped ears.

    There is evidence that these small dogs were favourites of European aristocrats, particularly French royalty. The court of France’s Louis XIV was particularly fond of Papillons and imported many of them. Recognizable in Italian frescoes of the 13th through 15th centuries, the tiny breed was featured in many paintings of the Renaissance period. Much of the papillon’s development is known because of its depiction in paintings

    Although the early dogs had drooping ears, an unknown event caused some dogs to sport erect ears. These erect ears are said to resemble butterfly wings hence the name Papillon which is French for butterfly. Sometimes both drop- and erect-eared Papillons came from the same litter. The drop-eared dogs are known as Phalene, which is French for moth. Although the breed is known for its resemblance to a butterfly, it has also been likened to a squirrel because of the way it carries its tail.

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