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Papillon Dog Breed Information

Size 8-11 inches (20-28 cm)
Weight 4.4-11 lbs (2-5 kg)
Origin France, Belgium
Color White with spots; multi-colored
Lifespan 12-15 years
Suitable as Family dogs
Personality Happy, attentive, playful, obedient, intelligent

Papillon Photo: Fayzulin Serg/Shutterstock

Breed Characteristics

Papillons may look adorable, but they’re more pocket rockets than cuddly teddy bears. They run and jump through the house as if they were mountain goats. Despite their small size, they enjoy long walks. It’s almost like they don’t know how small they are, as they often pick fights with much bigger dogs. That aside, they are very open-hearted, affectionate dogs. They get along well with other dogs and pets („even“ cats) and enjoy being together with people.

Papillons have many pros: They are beautiful, easy to care for and handier than a large Border Collie. At the same time there is a lot you can do with them and even teach them challenging tricks. But please don't expect a slow-paced lap dog.


Papillon Photo: Marie Dirgova/Shutterstock

Pros and Cons


  • Suitable for beginners
  • Friendly towards strangers
  • Doesn't shed a lot
  • Easy to train
  • Small and easy to carry
  • Doesn't need a lot of space
  • Suitable for smaller homes


  • Small and "fragile"
  • Has lots of energy
  • Needs lots of grooming
  • Tends to bark often

Papillon Photo: Grisha Bruev/

Discipline and Training

Papillons are exceptionally talented agility and obedience dogs. They are very agile, speedy and also have the "brainpower" to master demanding obedience tasks or the hurdles of an agility course.

According to a study by the famous neuropsychologist Stanley Coren, the Papillon is the eighth-smartest dog in the world. This study was published in the book "The Intelligence of Dogs". By the way, there are many exciting books by him, z. For example, "Do Dogs Dream?" Or "How Dogs Think": By the way: The Border Collie is considered as the smartest dog in the world, the poodle is in second place.

Papillon Photo: Vika Dubrovskaya/Shutterstock



The most striking feature of the papillon is its long, fringed hair on its upright ears. They make them look like a butterfly. Papillons come in many pretty colors. But no matter if their coat is black, red or brown, there must always be some white fur. The dog wears a colored "mask". It covers the ears and the eyes. Additionally it has colored markings on its back and the tail. The rest of the coat is mostly white.

By the way: The Papillon has a little "brother", the Phalène. It looks just like the Papillon, but is drop-eared.

Health and Care

With its silky hair the papillons' coat looks almost royal. Yet, it is easy to groom. It only needs to be combed about once or twice a week. Since it does not have the typical dog smell, you should only wash him if it is really necessary.

Papillon Photo: nataliakabliuk/

History and Origin

The story of Papillon can be told through paintings! In the 16th century, numerous artists depicted this dog in their works of art. For example, Rubens, Rembrandt and Titian. It is believed that the countries of origin are England, France and Belgium. The dog breed has been officially recognized since 1935.

Where Does the Name Come From?

Papillon is French and means butterfly. If you look at his ears, you know why. They have a shape that reminds us of the wings of a butterfly. Actually, the Papillon is just a "version" of the Continental Toy Spaniel. Well. Papillon sounds a lot nicer, right? But wait. Is there more than one version of the Toy Spaniel? Correct. The second "version" is the Phalène. This means "moth" and is French, too.

Fun Facts

It took Konjo 2.39 seconds to cover a distance of 16.4 feet (5 meters). On his front paws! An official Guinness World Record. Konjo is half Papillon (and one quarter each Jack Russell and Chihuahua).

Comparable Breeds

Papillon Photo: Degtyaryov Andrey/Shutterstock


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