Papillon: those ears, though. The long hair that hangs from their cute, perky little ears makes them look like little butterflies. (Or Chrissy Snow from “Three's Company.”) Originally called the “dwarf spaniel,” this breed might have gotten its new name from the last queen of France. Marie Antoinette called her dog “le petit papillon,” or “little butterfly.” Stories have it that her majesty carried her Papillon with her while she walked to the guillotine. (The dog supposedly survived the revolution; Marie Antoinette, of course, did not.)
This ancient breed has also appeared in paintings by Renaissance giants Rembrandt, Titian, and Rubens. Today, most Papillons are cherished lapdogs. They also do well in therapy work.
Originally from France, this small-sized and medium-energy breed can grow to between 4-9 pounds and lives an average of 12-15 years. The breed is recognized by the American Kennel Club and classified as a member of the Toy group.
|Breed's original pastime||Companion|
|Average lifespan||12-15 years|
|Family||Spitz, spaniel, companion|
|Date of origin||1500s|
|Original function||Lap dog|
|Average size of male||Height: 8-11 Weight: 4-9|
|Average size of female||Height: 8-11 Weight: 4-9|
|Energy level||High energy|
|Affection level||Very affectionate|
|Friendliness toward other dogs||Very friendly|
|Friendliness toward other pets||Very friendly|
|Friendliness toward strangers||Very friendly|
|Ease of training||Moderately easy to train|
|Protection ability||Not very protective|
|Grooming needs||Moderate maintenance|
|Cold tolerance||Low tolerance|
|Heat tolerance||Medium tolerance|
BEHAVIOR & TRAINING
WHAT IS A PAPILLON'S PERSONALITY LIKE?
Cheerful, clever, and curious, Papillons are basically butterflies that you can cuddle. They're affectionate, playful, and funny. These dogs are absolutely wonderful with children. As with any tiny breed, however, you'll want to be sure to supervise play so that your little furry friend isn't accidentally injured. Strangers of the two- or four-legged variety are just friends your Papillon hasn't met yet.
WHAT IS PAPILLON BEHAVIOR LIKE?
This is a little dog with a lot of energy. While you can meet her exercise needs with indoor romps, your Papillon's busy brain will enjoy the opportunity to get outside and sniff the flowers. These dogs also enjoy playing fetch. At home, they're usually calm and alert. Papillons can be a bit barky, so be sure to discourage nuisance barking early and often.
HOW EASY IS IT TO TRAIN A PAPILLON?
People-pleasing Papillons are exceedingly trainable. They learn quickly and respond well to games and treat rewards. They're also sensitive, so be gentle with your furry friend.
Among toy breeds, these dogs are some of the best competitors in agility and obedience. They make good canine citizens in the dog park, but will probably be safest and most comfortable on the small dog side of the park.
CARE & HEALTH
HOW MUCH DO PAPILLONS SHED AND WHAT ARE THEIR GROOMING NEEDS?
A Papillon's long, straight, silky coat will need twice-weekly combing and brushing. That single coat doesn't require much professional grooming, though — just bathe them as needed. They're average shedders.
WHAT HEALTH PROBLEMS DO PAPILLONS HAVE?
Papillons are generally healthy. Some are prone to eye disease, slipping kneecaps, seizures, and heart disease. Testing for von Willebrand Disease is standard in this breed. Some skeletal and spinal conditions can be problematic as well, so be sure to discuss this with your veterinarian if you're considering getting your own “little butterfly.”
As do many toy breeds, Papillons need to eat often to stave off hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). Feed them small, frequent meals of complex carbohydrates, fat, and high protein.