Papillon (dog): Wikis


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A brown and white Papillon.
Other names Phalène (drop ear type)
Continental Toy Spaniel
Epagneul Nain Continental
Nicknames Butterfly Dog
Squirrel Dog (due to tail carriage)
Country of origin France

The Papillon /pæpijɑn/ (French for "butterfly") is a small, friendly, elegant breed of dog of the Spaniel type, distinguished from other breeds by its large butterfly-like ears.[1] The Papillon is one of the oldest of the toy Spaniels.

Papillons were bred for companionship, and make excellent watch dogs.




The Papillon's large, butterfly-like ears and symmetrical face gave the breed its name.
The Papillon is a highly athletic breed. This Papillon is demonstrating the breed's great speed in dog agility.

The Papillon's ears are very large and butterfly-like (in fact, 'papillon' means butterfly in French). Papillons are beautiful and adorable parti-colored (white with markings of any color). An all white dog or a dog with no white is disqualified from the conformation show ring.

Papillons can be registered with AKC as the following colors[2], though not all of these colors are permitted in the conformation ring:

  • White & Black
  • White & Lemon
  • White & Red
  • White & Sable
  • White Black & Tan
  • Black Brown & White
  • Black Red & White
  • Brown & White
  • Fawn & White
  • Red
  • Red White & Sable
  • Sable
  • White
  • White & Liver
  • White & Silver

The most distinctive aspect of the Papillon is its large ears, which are well fringed with colored (not white) silky fur. The color covers both eyes and the front and back of the ears to give the ideal butterfly look. A white blaze and noseband is preferred over a solid-colored head. Nose, eye-rims, and lips should be black. Paw pads vary in color from black or pink depending on the coloring of the dog.

The Papillon is considered to be a "wash and wear" breed and does not require excessive grooming. Papillons have a coat of fine fur, single length coat. As puppies, papillons have short length fur and as adults, the coat is long and silky. Their fur is very long, plush and soft to touch, until about three months old.

There are two ear variations of this breed, the completely upright ears of the more common Papillon, and the dropped spaniel-like ears of the Phalène. The American Kennel Club and the Fédération Cynologique Internationale consider the Phalène and the Papillon the same breed.[3] The Papillon coat is abundant, long, and silky. There is no undercoat. Ears are well-fringed with the inside covered with silken fur of medium length. Tail is long, well-fringed, set on high, arched over back with fringes falling to side to form plume. The head is slightly rounded between the ears, and the muzzle is fine, tapering, and narrower than the skull with an abrupt stop. Height: 20-28 cm (8-11 inches), over 11 inches is a fault and over 12 inches is a disqualification from the conformation show ring. Weight: 7-10 pounds (3–5 kg), but they can also get to (14- 16), pounds at the heaviest.


The Papillon has the appearance of a dainty toy breed, but many owners will claim that their dogs are "big dogs in little dog suits". Some people find that their Papillon is very capable of handling a good five-mile walk. One aspect of the Papillon that has led many to believe the "big dog" assertion is this breed's surprising athletic ability. Don't be surprised by this dog's size and appearance; they are extremely athletic. In contrast to its staid and stately representation in the Old Master portraits, the Papillon is highly energetic and intelligent. The breed is far older than any other represented by the AKC and is only notable for its oft-cited, yet dubious "psychological abilities"; some strange proponents of the Papillon claim that its true strength lies in its ability to perceive the emotional needs of its owner and to translate them into a healthy psychological environment. But this is of course totally without substantiation in the scientific literature. In other words, the animal becomes what the owner needs at the time, depending on circumstances. Provided their genetic structure is sound, and they are not the product of "puppy mill" inbreeding, they are generally healthy animals. Papillons are built for movement, and most do not need any encouragement to apply their energy to athletic activities. They enjoy at least a half hour running about.[citation needed]


In recent years, the Papillon has become a small dog star in the sport of dog agility. This sport consists of an obstacle course with tunnels, jumps, A-frames, and narrow bridges that a dog completes at top speed aided only by verbal and body-language commands from a handler. Agility requires the dog to spring, scramble, weave, and turn on a dime. The breed is considered naturally agile, and Papillons compete at both national and international trials. Because many Papillons have intense drive and natural speed, their tiny turning radius gives them an edge over larger dogs, and some Papillons are capable of beating Border Collie speeds on some courses. At the same time, Papillons excel in companionship and lap dog sweepstakes, and take it very seriously.

Others have experienced Papillons as highly companionable—yet physically active—dogs requiring appropriate socialization, consistent and monitored exercise, continued training (which also serves to stimulate their active minds), and daily, proactive human-to-canine interaction.


A Papillon from 1915.

The History of the Papillon is traced through works of art. The earliest toy spaniels resembling the Papillon are found in Italy. Tiziano Vicelli painted these small dogs in many famous paintings beginning around 1500[4] including the Venus of Urbino (1542). Other well known artists who included them in paintings are Watteau,[5] Gonzalez Coques, Fragonard, Paolo Veronese,[4] and Mignard.[4] In a painting after Largillierre in the Wallace Collection in London, a Papillon is clearly shown in a family portrait of Louis XIV. Papillons are also in paintings of royal families around Europe and paintings of merchant class families. The breed was popular in England, France, and Belgium, which are considered countries of origin by the FCI.

The "Titian spaniels" and those portrayed by later artists through Mignard and his contemporaries had the drooping ears characteristic of today's Phalène; it was not until the end of the 19th century that the erect-eared appearance became fashionable[4] and gave the breed's modern name, Papillon, French for "butterfly". The Titian spaniels were also exclusively red-and-white in coloration,[4], in contrast to the many recognized colorations of today's Papillon.

The Papillon's history and long association with royalty have led to many stories about the breed. Marie Antoinette is said to have walked to the guillotine clutching her small dog under her arm,[5] likely an apocryphal tale. However, tradition has it that Marie Antoinette's dog was a small spaniel that had been brought to the French court from Spain on the back of pack mules. According to the story, her pup was spared and cared for in a building in Paris still called the Papillon House. Marie Antoinette's dog was said to have descended from a very old drop-eared breed known as the Epagneul Nain Continental, or Continental Dwarf/Toy Spaniel that appeared in church frescos and paintings as early as the 13th century.

The Papillon is still officially referred to as the Epagneul Nain Continental (ENC) in non-English-speaking countries.[6] The name Squirrel Spaniel also has been used, most likely referring to an earlier standard in which the tail set is described as "curling over the back as a squirrel's". One version of the history of the two varieties of ear shape in the ENC ("Papillon" to denote the erect ear and "Phalène" to denote the dropped ear) is that toward the end of the 19th century, breed fanciers bred a version of the spaniel whose ears stood up. This dog was said to have been nicknamed papillon based on the impressively large, erect ears that resembled the wings of a butterfly. The drop-eared variety of the breed came to be called the Phalène (which means "night moth"). Both types are still bred today and appear in the same litter. The Papillon variety is much more common, although recently the Phalène has undergone a resurgence in popularity.

The Papillon was first recognized by the AKC in 1935[7] with the formation of the Papillon Club of America.[6] In 1999, Ch. Loteki Supernatural Being (call name "Kirby") owned and handled by John Oulton of Norwalk Connecticut, became the first Papillon to win the prestigious "Best in Show" at the annual Westminster Kennel Club dog show.[6][8] Kirby also won international success for the breed by taking the World Dog Show in Helsinki, Finland, and the Royal Invitational in Canada in 1998.[6] Papillons also enjoy success today in competitive fields outside of conformation, including obedience and agility.[6]

Famous Papillon owners

  • Marie Antoinette owned a Phalène, the drop eared variety of papillons. All papillons were drop-eared until the 20th century.
  • Madame de Pompadour and Henry III also had a Phalène, and possessed a very strong devotion to the breed.
  • Actress Autumn Reeser of The O.C. owns a Papillon named Gatsby after the book The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald.
  • Tech expert Leo Laporte owns a Papillon named Ozzy.
  • George Takei, Mr. Sulu from Star Trek and official announcer of the Howard Stern Show on Sirius 100 owned a Papillon named Reine (her full name is "La Reine Blanche" -- The White Queen).
  • Porn star Ron Jeremy has two Papillons, named Jenna and Tiffany. They can be seen in background of some of his movies.
  • TV character Edna Birch from Emmerdale has a Papillon named Tootsie.
  • Legendary screen star Lauren Bacall never travels without her own well-behaved Papillon.
  • Singer Christina Aguilera owns two Papillons, Chewy and Stinky.
  • Artist Eliza Leahy owns a Papillon, Gem, who is also a Psychiatric Service Dog
  • Japanese pop singer Yuya Tegoshi has a Papillon named Tiny.
  • Magician and Juggler Dan Chan has a Papillon named Ace who performs 200 shows a year with him
  • Jane Kelly has two Papillons called Trudy and Trixy.
  • Musician Shinya Yamada owns a male Papillon by the name of Ben (short for Benkei). Ben is depicted on a drum in one of Shinya's drum sets.
  • Libertarian Radio Talk Show Host Neal Boortz owned a Papillon named Coco.
  • Jon Lajoie also owns a Papillon by the name of Scruffy.
  • Alex Gaskarth, vocalist of All Time Low owns a Papillon named Sebastian.
  • Sean Finney, author of the hit book The Travels of Mink, has a very hyper Papillon named Rascal.

See also


  1. ^ meesha moosha AKC Papillon Breed Standard
  2. ^ AKC Papillon Colors & Markings
  3. ^ Fédération Cynologique Internationale Group 9 Companion and Toy Dogs, Section 9 Continental Toy Spaniel
  4. ^ a b c d e "Brief History of the Papillon." Papillon Club of America. Retrieved December 16, 2008.
  5. ^ a b "Dog or Butterfly? A Breed Profile." Palika, Liz. Papillon Club of America. Retrieved December 16, 2008.
  6. ^ a b c d e "Papillon FAQ." Papillon Club of America. Updated August 19, 2000. Retrieved December 16, 2008.
  7. ^ "Papillon History." American Kennel Club. Retrieved December 16, 2008.
  8. ^ "Best in Show Winners." The Westminster Kennel Club. Retrieved December 16, 2008.


"AKC Papillon Breed Standard". 

"AKC Papillon Colors & Markings". 

External links

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