• The papillon's ancestors were spaniels that were developed at least by the 1300s to flush birds into nets or to waiting falcons.
  • Some smaller spaniels were probably bred with Oriental toy dogs such as the Japanese chin to create a lapdog version of the spaniel.
  • These dwarf spaniels were used to serve as lap and foot warmers, surrogate hot water bottles, and for companionship. They became extremely popular throughout Europe by the 1500s.
  • The Court of Louis XIV of France was especially fond of dwarf spaniels, and played a role in developing the French version.
  • Most of these dogs had drop ears, but the erect ears appeared soon after. Even today, both types can be found in the same litter.
  • Papillon means butterfly in French, referring to the general outline of the face and ears. The drop-eared type is known as the phalene, which means moth, again referring to the look of its face and ears.
  • In Europe the phalene is known as a separate breed, the continental toy spaniel.
  • By 1900, papillons were popular show dogs in Europe and had made their way to America.
  • The AKC recognized the papillon in 1915.
Papillon Behavior Concerns
  • Makes a loving and entertaining companion.
  • Extremely good with children. Children must be careful around such a small dog, however.
  • Very affectionate.
  • Makes a good lapdog as well as fun playmate.
  • Sensitive; some can be timid.
  • Eager to please and quick to learn.
  • Does best with reward-based training involving food and games.
  • Outgoing toward strangers.
  • Gets along well with other pets and dogs.
  • Enjoys retrieving.
  • One of the best toy dogs in the sports of obedience and agility. Also excel as therapy dogs.
Papillon Suggested Exercises
  • Makes a calm but alert housedog.
  • Requires daily exercise in the form of a short walk or energetic games.
  • Its exercise needs can be met by indoor games, but it needs the chance to get outside and sniff new smells and see new sights every day.
  • Many papillons have been trained to use indoor potty systems.
  • A good candidate for dog parks, but should be kept separate from larger dogs.
  • Obedience training provides mental exercise.
Papillon Grooming
  • Coat is long, silky, and straight.
  • The coat needs brushing and combing twice a week.
  • Shedding is average.
Suggested Papillon Nutritional Needs
  • Papillons tend to stay in good weight.
  • Adult dogs should be fed a balanced diet, with restricted calories if the dog starts to gain too much weight. Remember, it does not take much food to feed such a small dog, and small snacks can easily add too many calories.
  • Papillon puppies should be fed often to prevent hypoglycemia, a serious condition to which very small puppies are prone. Frequent small meals of high protein, fat, and complex carbohydrates may help guard against this condition.


Papillon dog breed picture
12 - 15 years
8 - 11 inches
4 - 9 pounds
Papillon Traits
  • Jogging Partner
    1 out of 5
  • Lap Dog
    5 out of 5
  • Good With Children
    5 out of 5
  • Warm Weather
    3 out of 5
  • Cold Weather
    1 out of 5
  • Grooming Requirements
    3 out of 5
  • Shedding
    3 out of 5
  • Barking
    4 out of 5
  • Ease Of Training
    5 out of 5