Papillon Information

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(Continental Toy Spaniel) (Butterfly Dog) (Pap) (Epagneul nain Continental)The Papillon is a cute and small dog with distinctive characteristics.  Their round, perky face stretches into a short muzzle sticking out from it.  The breed’s large round eyes are always filled with emotions.  One unique characteristic of the breed is its ears which are erect and have hair all around their sides which is why they are often referred to as butterflies.  The Papillon’s short furry neck leads to broad shoulders and sunken stomach covered with an abundance of fur.  Short skinny legs with fur feathering out along them lead to small oval shaped feet which are perfectly proportioned to the rest of their body.  Another cute and distinct feature of the breed is their fluffy tail which rests on their lower back.  This small dog is covered in lots of fur especially on their face.  Coat colors vary, but the main color is always white with patches of any color such as black, brown, or red.

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The Papillon is a sweet and playful dog.  This dog especially loves their family which they become very attached to.  However, this breed does not like strangers and views them as a threat to their owners and property.  Children should be respectful and gentle with this dog.  Papillons are often aggressive to dogs but can live with a cat.  Intelligence makes them easy to train; however, they are difficult to house break.   

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8 – 11 inches
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8 – 10 pounds

American bred: 3-7 pounds European bred: 6-9 pounds
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General Health

The Papillon is fairly healthy with only a few health concerns.  The two main health problems are fontanel and patella which can be cured with surgery.  However, the Papillon can have difficulties being under anesthetic.  Even with these health concerns, they normally live long, healthy lives and can sometimes even reach 16 years of age.

The Papillon has no major concerns but should be careful about Patelluar Luxation.

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The Papillon originated in Italy about seven centuries ago.  The breed was initially lumped with spaniels and even had similar drooping ears to those breeds.  Papillons were common in Italy for most of the Renaissance and can even be found in much of the art of that time.  However, it’s the French, not the Italians, who made the breed what it is today.

No one really knows where the Papillon came from. All we know is that they are originally from Western Europe. They were named by the French for their butterfly appearance as "Papillon" means "butterfly" in French. Papillons are actually a small spaniel, not a toy, which is why they are so versatile and excel at so many different things. The original Papillons were the Phalenes, which had drop ears and resembled the Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. However, when the ears were bred to stand up, most people preferred the Papillon and the Phalenes have nearly gone extinct. In recent years, dedicated breeders have made huge strides in recovering the foundation of this magnificent breed.

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Grooming a Papillon is a fairly simple task requiring little work.  Brushing should be done every day, but it is easy because their coat does not matt.  Baths and nail trimming are needed occasionally.  A very important step for keeping this breed healthy is to clean their teeth regularly as tartar builds up on them quickly.  Exercise is great and important to any dog; however, this breed does not need as much exercise as many breeds.  Frequent play sessions and time to run will make the Papillon an even happier and healthier dog.

Their coats will mat if not taken care of. Their silky coat is wonderful to care for as dirt tends to slip right off of it. However, the hair between their legs and belly and behind the ears will mat if not brushed regularly. Some Papillons do not have the correct silky coats and may be more like cotton. Most cotton-like coats will mat very easily, and must be given extra care. Frequent nail trimming will keep the quick back so they are easier to maintain and less painful for the dog. It is very important to keep the hair trimmed between the paw pads of the Papillon. Without regular trimming, the fur will cause the feet to splay which can be painful for the dog. Bathing should be done a couple times a month unless they get really dirty. Too much shampooing will break off their coat. Brushing teeth should be done several times a week minimally. Their teeth are prone to build up and if they aren't kept clean, they will require expensive dental cleanings that require the dog to be put under anesthetic. Papillons may not require lots of exercise but generally a well exercised dog is better behaved. They are a very smart breed and if they aren't given proper stimulation, they can become hyper or destructive.

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Ideal Environment

Many environments suit this small, playful breed that loves its family.  However, they do not get along with strangers because of their protective and possessive nature.  Plus, this breed should only be with older children and should not be around other dogs.  Even with these problems, the Papillon is a sweet and loving dog that rarely yaps and is easy to train.  Any climate is fine for this adjustable breed but apartments may be a bad idea because Papillons will bark often at strange noises.

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Dog Training!

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Papillon Q&A

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How to I get my papillion to stop barking? How do I keep my papillion to stay calm around children and let them pet her?

First make sure she gets plenty of exercise. She might be a bit frustrated if she has too much energy and thus the barking and nervous energy. The reason she is barking and aggressive with children is because she views them as a threat and she feels the


Do some papillons have short hair? I got mine from a shelter who rescued him from a backyard breeder, so he probably is not totally pure, but I am curious if this is normal.

I’ve never known of a Papillion with short hair. If the dog is young, his/her undercoat might have not come in yet. Once the undercoat comes in, his/her hair should look a lot fuller.


how many puppies can they have

From what I can find, they have 3-5 puppies per litter.


My male Papillion puppy is around 23 weeks old.Training and kitty container training is both going great. 5 days ago, after sleeping in his crate, I noticed his right ear was drooping. I took him to the Vet, to rule out mites or infection. All was fine, my Vet suggested I cut the hair off around the ear to cut back on the weight, but that isn't helping. Has anyone else had this problem and is it permanent? Is he doomed to have one erect ear and one droopy ear? The breeder has good quality puppies and the parents of mine are champion show dogs.

Probably just from sleeping on that side too much. I have the same problem with my 5 1/2 year old female papillon.


We just adopted an 8-year old female that fits all the physical descriptions of the papillion except that she is primarily black. We were told by the "shelter" that she is a papillion, which was per her only owners (who had to leave her due to a move). She does have some small white markings on her tummy and her feet. Does this indicate that she is actually a mixed breed? She does have one erect ear and one ear where 1/4 or less of the top droops over. We don't know a lot about how the previous owners treated her, but she seems very loving and loyal already after only one evening.

Never trust what the shelter says. Probably a Papillion mix.


To the person that said their 5 1/2 yr old pap also had a drooping ear. Is it permanent? It's been about 3-4 wks now and his ear is still down. I've ruled out any health problems.

Yes it is. There is a breed of Papillion called Phalen, and their ears are not erect although can be when excited.


I am having trouble potty training my papillon who is 6 months old. I have tried everything from puppy pads-which he just eats to rubbing his nose and putting him in his kennell and then taking him outside but he just continues to go on the floor everywhere. My carpet is ruined. He does very well at night though, holds it all night.

Try putting your puppy outside right after he wakes up and right after he eats. When he does go to the bathroom where you want him to, praise him a lot, and maybe give him a bit of cheese or something. Also puppies dont have very big bladders, especially small dogs, so take him out often.


My papillon keeps me awake at night barking at noises that I can't even hear. Is there a way to stop him from doing that?

Believe it or not, try talking to your dog. Mine is 3 years old and she listens well. When she was a puppy, she even barked when my stomach gurggled! In the beginning, I would sit up and talk to her reassuringly while I petted her. Dogs as we all know, have different barks for different events. When my girl barks like there's no tomorrow, I'll get up with her to see what's going on. Know when it worked best? During the first 4th of July. Since then, she no longer barks at the fireworks.


I work during the day and get home fairly it better to keep the dog in the kennel all day or try and fence him in the bathroom? It is too hot where I live for him to stay outside.

You can crate a dog for no more than four or 5 hours, and come home during lunch to allow it play. If not, then it is best to send the dog to a doggy day care. If you're like me, then teach your dog some in-house etiquette. My dogs are quite civilized so I leave them in the house and they don't tear up the place. It works b/c I think it is best to exercise the dog in the morning before going to work if you can. This will settle them down for a while during the day. Then I come home and exercise them again. You can always put toys in your living room, television on, leave the blinds a little open so he can look out, and shield off the room. This way the dog has room to roam but can't damage anything but again, exercise the dog in the morning, then he'd be too tire and content to care about tearing up anything. Or you can have someone you trust to come and walk the dog during the day so he doesn't get bored. But your best bet is doggy day care.


My Papilion is 10 months old and spends 90% of his time scratching and chewing on himself and he is so obsessed with this chewing that he will even do the same to our legs and arms with his front teeth, as if he were needing to groom us. I have placed him on a diet for allergies and given him baths with a shampoo just for this problem with no luck, Is this just a nervous habit? How can we help him to relax (if it is nervousness)?

I have found that my 3 year old Pap is "allergic" to dog food with salmon in it. I was trying to give him things high in Omega 3's, but ended up with a very itchy scratchy pooch. I isolated it as being the dog food and switched to something else but now I add a bit of Flax Seed Oil to their food. Also, another option is to take your dog to the vet and have its Anal Glands cleaned out. This can also cause itching as well as odor. You can do it yourself, but it is not a great job. Much easier to have it done at the vet or some groomers may offer the service as well. When squeezed to be emptied, it should look similar to caviar. Best of luck.

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