Papillon or the Continental Spaniel Dog, as it is alternately called, is one of the oldest toy spaniel breeds, highly famed for its cute and cuddly appearance. The large, wing-like ears of these adorable dogs, earn them the name Papillon, which in French means butterfly. Besides their pleasing outlook and disposition, these are agile dogs, excelling in dog sports and also serving as faithful companions.
This small-sized elegant toy breed has been characterized by the following physical features.
Head: Small and slightly rounded
Muzzle: Short and thin, tapered to its nose
Eyes: Medium-sized, dark, round, with an alert expression
Ears: Large sized with rounded tips which can be erect or drop. Those with erect ears are carried in an oblique manner, moving just like a butterfly’s wings when spread. Papillions having drop ears known as phalene (the French word for moth) are carried completely low.
Tail: Long, high set, plumed, arched over its body.
|Other names||Continental Toy Spaniel, Butterfly Dog, Phalene, Squirrel dog|
|Coat||Long, abundant, fine, silky, straight and flowing|
|Color||White and black; white and red; white and lemon; white and sable; brown and white; fawn and white; red; sable; white; white and liver; white and silver; black, brown and white; black, red and white|
|Group||Companion, Spaniel, Toy|
|Average life expectancy (How long do they live)||12 to 15 years|
|Size (How big do they get)||Small|
|Height of a full grown Papillon||8 to 11 inches|
|Weight of a full grown Papillon||Male: 8 to 10 pounds
Female: 9 to 10 pounds
|Litter size||Approximately 2 to 4 puppies|
|Behavioral characteristics||Happy, friendly, shy, alert, smart|
|Good with children||Yes|
|Barking tendency||Moderately low|
|Climate compatibility||Adapts well to warm and cool climates|
|Shedding (Do they shed)||Moderately low|
|Competitive Registration Qualification/Information||FCI, ANKC, AKC, NZKC, UKC, KC (UK)|
The Papillion regarded as a dog of the royal and noble class has been popularly projected in the works of eminent painters like Goya, Rembrandt, Toulouse-Lautrec, and Ruben. Their development happened during the Renaissance period by breeding the spaniels with the existing toy varieties since the nobles of that time possessed an infinite liking for miniature versions of their choicest canines. Of the various dogs that they originated from, a drop eared spaniel, named Epagneul Nain, existing in the 13th century, often appearing on the frescos in churches during that time, is considered a direct ancestor of this breed.
Serving as great lap dogs, they were the priciest companions of noblewomen who took them wherever they went. Marie Antoinette, the last French queen prior to the revolution, was said to own a Papillion, whom she clutched onto while heading for the guillotine. However, the Pap was spared and even looked after well post its mistress’ death and the building where it was kept was named as the Papillon House.
Besides all over Europe, its popularity also spread to America gradually, and it gained AKC’s recognition in 1935. The Papillion Club of America developed around that time but became nonfunctional by the time the Second World War ended and again revived in 1948. Presently it has attained the 35th rank of all the AKC registered breeds.
Because of their happy, friendly, and energetic nature, they excel as wonderful family dogs. They would be shy at the onset when encountering strangers for the first time, though once taught to socialize with visitors it gets friendly with guests, a trait that does not qualify them as watchdogs. Though fond of kids, their interaction with young children should be supervised as the little ones might not be able to handle the small dog well often resulting in accidents. They also share a great rapport with other dogs and cats, however, because of the small dog syndrome, often seen in canines of its size, it could try bossing around with dogs bigger than it in size, which could, therefore, result on problems at times.
They are intelligent dogs and would take training well, especially when it comes from an experienced taskmaster who can handle them well with a firm and tactful approach.
The National Research Council of the National Academies mentions that an adult Papillion weighting 10 pounds needs about 392 kcal on calories on a regular basis. A good quality dry dog food high in protein and fats and devoid of grains like wheat and corn as well as artificial colorings would suit your pet the best. While including a homemade diet alongside dry dog food, consult your vet once to know what would suit it the best.