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Adopt a Papillon

Papillon Dog Breed

Picture: Kent and Donna Dannen


spitz, spaniel, companion

Area of origin:


Original function:

lap dog

Average size of male:

Ht: 8-11, Wt: 9-10

Average size of female:

Ht: 8-11, Wt: 9-10

Other names:

epagneul nain (phalene is also known as Continental toy spaniel)

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    Friendliness towards dogs

  • Friendliness towards other pets

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    Friendliness towards strangers

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    Ease of training

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    Watchdog ability

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    Protection ability

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    Cold tolerance

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    Heat tolerance

Papillon Dogs Available on Petfinder Right Now

See more adoptable Papillon dogs available on Petfinder

Papillon Dog Temperament

One of the most obedient and responsive of the toy breeds, the vivacious papillon is also gentle, amiable and playful. He is friendly toward strangers, other dogs and pets and is very good with children. Some can be timid.

Papillon Dog Care

The lively papillon thrives on mental stimulation, and he enjoys a daily walk on leash as well as challenging games indoors or out. This is not a breed that can live outdoors. His coat needs brushing twice weekly.

Papillon Dog Health

Major concerns: none
Minor concerns: PRA, patellar luxation
Occasionally seen: none
Suggested tests: knee, eye
Life span: 12-15 years

Interested in the history of the Papillon dog breed?

The name papillon is French for butterfly, which the face and ears of this sprightly little dog should resemble. The papillon has his roots in the dwarf spaniels that were so popular throughout Europe from at least the 16th century. These little dogs were extremely popular with the nobility; as time went on, Spain and Italy became the centers of dwarf-spaniel breeding and trading. The court of Louis XIV of France was particularly fond of papillons and imported many of them. At one time the papillon was known as the squirrel spaniel because he carried his plumed tail over his back in the same way a squirrel does. These early dogs had drooping ears, but through some unknown event, some dogs sported erect ears. Both drop- and erect-eared papillons could be found in the same litter. Even today both ear types are equally correct, although the erect-eared dog is much more popular. In America, the drop-eared pap is known as the phalene, which is French for moth, whereas in Europe he is called the epagneul nain or Continental toy spaniel. By 1900, the papillon was well-represented at French dog shows and soon afterward was being shown in England and America. These earlier exhibits tended to be larger than those seen today, and featured mostly solid-colored dogs, usually of some shade of red. Selective breeding has resulted in a smaller dog that is distinguished by his striking colors broken by patches of white. A symmetrically marked face with white blaze adds to the butterfly appearance. The papillon has become one of the more popular toy dogs, functioning equally well as a loving pet, beautiful show dog and adept obedience competitor.

Copyright © 1998, 2005 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc. based on

Shelters with Papillon Dogs

Some animal welfare organizations with Papillons ready for adoption:

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