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The Papillon Information Center       
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The Papillon Dog
AKA the Butterfly Dog
Welcome, Papillon lovers.  You are at the official Papillon information center, the most comprehensive site that exists for the beautiful Pappy. 

We welcome readers and Members from all around the world.  

Whether you are a Pappy parent, a potential owner or simply interested in finding out more about this amazing toy breed, you've come to the right place. 

You'll find lots of information and helpful advice here, including the details of grooming, feeding, care and training.
When you become a free member this allows you to:
  • Receive a friendly reminder when we add the Papillon Topic of the Month
  • Suggest a topic for us to write about
  • Know when new, important pages of information is added

Puppies are born with short hairs; however this all changes rather quickly. Your adolescent and adult Papillon is going to have a gorgeous coat with long hairs.

This will call out for good grooming techniques in order to keep both coat and skin healthy.

Matting (tangles or knots) in the coat should be cared for as soon as noticed, as the single layer of fur can lead to skin issues if the coat is not in good condition.

Keeping  a regular schedule for baths, nail trimming, eye care and brushing will keep your Papillon in show dog shape. We offer helpful tips in our Grooming section.
Health Issues

Each purebred is susceptible to certain health issues. This does not mean that a Papillon will develop any of them.   This breed is prone to issues that affect many of the toy breed dogs: Dental issues, patellar luxation, PRA (progressive retinal atrophy), IVDD (intervertebral disk disease), vWD (von Willebrand's Disease) and sensitivity to anesthesia.

Knowing early symptoms can help an owner ensure that proper testing is performed, since early detection increases the chances for successful treatment.  The small bone structure of the breed lends to the Papillon being liable to developing luxating patella or hip dysplasia. While the predisposition for this can be passed on genetically, these two conditions can be brought on my injury.  

Preventive care can keep your Pap in good health. This includes feeding the proper diet, providing adequate yet not excessive exercise and maintaining  good oral hygiene with at-home brushing and professional cleanings.   See:  General Health  | Serious Papillon Health Problems

"Dogs are our link to paradise. They don't know jealousy or discontent. To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring, it was peace."
Papillon Breed Stats

Pronunciation: pä-pē-ˈyōn – When saying this word, the “l’s” are silent.  If phonetically spelled, it would be: Pahpeeon

Translation: Butterfly   Original Meaning: Butterfly

Misspellings: Papillion, Papion, Pappillon, Pappilon

Alternative Names: Continental Toy Spaniel (in many parts of Europe), Epagneul Nain Continental (in  many non-English speaking countries), Butterfly Dog, Squirrel Dog

Nicknames: Pap, Pappy, Chrysamthemum Dog

Variety: Dogs with erect ears are the standard Papillons, those with drop ears are referred to as Phalenes.

Both are classified under the same breed in the US, UK and Canada

Phalene Pronunciation: fah - LEHN

Phalene meaning: moth

Origin of the Papillon: Spain, France, Italy. England and Belgium are also credited

Date of Origin: Arguably the Papillon dates back to the 16th century

SizeWeight (male): There is no standard set, weight is to be proportionate, average is 8 to 10 pounds (3.62 to 4.53 kg)

Weight (female): There is no standard set, weight is to be proportionate, average is 5 to 9 pounds (2.3 to 4.08 kg)

Height: 8 to 11 inches inches(20.3-27.9 cm) for both the AKC and the Canadian Kennel Club

Litter Size:   3 to 4

Group: AKC Toy Class, CKC Toy Class

Purpose: Companion dog and Show dog

Recognized: In 1915

Life Expectancy:  13 years on average

Recognition:  AKC, ANKC,  CKC, KC, NZKC, UKC, FCI

Popularity: 37th most registered dog, 8th most registered toy breed
House Training

When a dog is active and clearly intelligent, this gives you the foundation for fast learning; however independent thinking can cause a lack of focus on the task at hand. 

is the #1 concern for new puppy owners. We offer excellent training methods that work very well with this toy breed.

This charming and adorable breed ranks an impressive 8th in regard to canine intelligence. 

Therefore, the capacity to learn is there. It will be up to owners to instill good habits and to ensure that proper training is done in regard to housebreaking and commands.

This breed is happy, loving and very alert…great traits for a canine family member. The key to command training will be to harness the energy of the Papillon in a productive way.


A purebred will be a parti dog; which means at least 2 colors will fall on the coat. There are no solids in the standard of this breed.

White is always the primary color.  It covers most of the main body .

The head can be comprised of the secondary color and if so, it is preferred that the Papillon has a blaze of white (a stripe that runs down the center of the face).   You can read more about this, including points and pads in our extensive color section.

New Papillon Information

A good owner is an informed owner. We encourage you to sign up to be a Free Member, so that you can be notified when we add new information. You will also be able to suggest subjects for us to write about. Each month, we cover a new topic to bring enlightening and helpful advice. Whether you want to read more about behaviors, training techniques or the most up-to-date health information, you will always find something new here. 
This month's topic is: Socializing Your Papillon

Exercise Essentials

Pent-up energy is the #1 reason for undesired behavior and improper exercise is a cause of health issues. With this tiny dog that has an energy level a bit too large for its body, we show you how to find just the right balance of activity.

We offer examples of great daily schedules and tips for keeping your Papillon happy whether outside romping around with you or when home alone for independent play. In addition this breed appreciates games and bonding with his human; this offers intellectual stimulation and is a wonderful way for owners to spend time with their best friend.


When you have an un-spayed girl, this means learning and understanding about the heat cycle and pregnancy.  Many new owners are surprised to learn just how early a Papillon can enter into heat. We also discuss behavioral changes to expect and how to help keep your dog (and house) clean during this time…and for those hoping to breed, knowing the early signs of pregnancy are a must.   


This is an indoor dog.  While they do enjoy daily exercise in the form of walks or outside playtime, they are a lap dog, meant to live with humans.  They do not do well when put into separate living quarters. While having a doggie bed or gated off area is often necessary for times when you are not home, it is important to offer a warm and loving environment in which the Papillon truly feels like a welcomed member of the family.

Personality & Temperament

If there was ever to be a perfect companion dog, the Papillon may just fit the bill. This breed is highly loyal, with a welcoming and happy disposition.  With proper introduction and socialization, most do very well in multi-dog or multi-pet households.  This breed often takes his cue from his humans…. Jumping up to play with children at the drop of a hat and then curling up with his owner to relax after dinner.  Many Papillon dogs shadow, which means that they will follow their owner from room to room, sometimes to make sure that they are not missing out on anything and most often to actively stay in the company of others.  

While toy breeds often gain a reputation for being excessive barkers, many Paps are on the quiet side.

Circumstances that may lead to unwarranted barking may be when left home alone and when first brought to a new home. 

We discuss reasons for barking and excellent advice to counteract this issue. This breed does best when owner(s) are present for the majority of the day; however since that is not always feasible, we offer great tips for leaving your Pap home on his own to help with possible separation anxiety and barking.