Photo by © Tamara Mann

Papillon - Breed Profile:

Origin: France
Colors: White with patches
Size: Small
Type of Owner: Novice
Exercise: Little
Grooming: Regular
Trainability: Easy to train
Combativeness: Can be slightly dog-aggressive
Dominance: Moderate
Noise: Not a barker

Physical characteristics

The Papillon is a small dog with large butterfly-like ears. Actually, the word "papillon" is a French word for "butterfly". The ears can be both erect and dropping (Phalene), but always fringed with silky fur. The muzzle is short and slightly pointed. The eyes and the nose are dark. The body is well-boned and relatively strong for such a small dog. The plumed tail is moderately long and arched over the back. Overall, the dog looks quite delicate.
The height is 8 to 11 inches, the weight is 5 to 11 pounds.


Papillons are affectionate and intelligent dogs that can easily be trained. They are playful and lively but can also be calm and patient. Usually quiet. They do have a dignity streak, like other small dogs, for example, the Shih Tzu or Pekingese. Charming and amusing. However, they can be manipulative and kind of possessive of their owners up to jealousy. Some individuals can be timid and shy, while others are dominant and bossy, especially with larger dogs. Proper socialization and obedience training should exclude this. Make sure you become a pack leader. Note that Papillons move very, very fast. They can zip through a cracked door and be gone in an instant.

Coat and grooming

Papillons have a long coat with frill on the chest, well-fringed ears and feathered backs of legs. This breed comes in white colour with patches of any colour. The patches, however, should cover both eyes and both ears. Daily grooming is preferable. Papillons are very clean dogs with no doggy odour.


Basically healthy dogs with few known problems. Like some other small dog breeds, Papillons are prone to slipped stifle and fractures. The teeth should be cleaned on a regular basis to remove tartar.
The lifespan is 12 to 15 years.