The Papillon is also known as the Continental Toy Spaniel. It is named after the french word for butterfly, due to its upright and fringed ears, which give it a butterfly-like appearance. This is a breed of spaniel. Papillons with dropped ears are called Phalène, which is the French word for moth. It has been given nicknames such as Butterfly Dog and Squirrel dog.
The Papillon can be traced all the way back to the 14th century, but it was not until the 19th century that it came to the US, and finally in 1915, became a registered breed with the AKC. The early dogs had only drooping ears, but this changed somewhere along the line and erect ears started to appear, and now this type is more popular.
The typical appearance of this dog is white with patches of any other colors. Its ears are always of a different color, which extends to its eyes. A white line runs between the eyes towards the nose. Any appearance other than this is considered as a fault. It has a small and thin muzzle, and dark, medium-sized eyes with black rims that sometimes extend outwards.
The average height for both males and females is 8 to 11 inches (20 to 28 cm). The average weight for males is 8 to 10 pounds (3.6 to 4.5 kg), and for females is 7 to 9 pounds (3.2 to 4.1 kg). The coat is fine and single, which means that this dog cannot tolerate severe winter. It needs to be kept indoors when the weather is cold. The tail is upturned and very bushy. It normally lives up to 17 years.
This dog is intelligent and easy to train. However, it has a lot of energy and a playful personality, which means that you have to keep up with it. Hence, good workouts or a good work schedule is a must to keep your dog happy and engaged. Simply playing is not enough. Daily walks or runs are very necessary. It needs a lot of time and dedication from the owner. If the owner is not up to spending a lot of time with the dog, then this breed is not advisable.
When training the dog, the owner should be assertive and confident about the commands that he/she is giving or else, the dog will pick up on this and decide that it would be better to do what it wants instead of listening to its owner. That's why a demonstrated consistency is the best lesson that the dog can learn from you. This dog is very intelligent, but also bossy and possessive. It does well in obedience training, but house-training can tend to be a problem sometimes.
Care, Health, and Maintenance
This is a small dog, so careful consideration must be made before buying one if there are small children in the house, as it can get injured very easily. It does well with older children and other pets, although sometimes, it will try to show bigger dogs who's boss, so care must be taken. It does equally well in apartments and houses. You might want to socialize your dog at an early age to make sure that the puppy grows up into a confident and well-behaved adult.
When it comes to grooming, one should not worry as the long, silky coat is not prone to matting. A good brush one to two times a week is sufficient to keep the coat in top condition and looking beautiful. For the sake of hygiene, it is best to keep the hair around the bottom of the dog trimmed. Due to the long hair in the dog's ears, they are prone to infections, so care must be taken to keep the ears clean and dry at all times.
This breed does not have many major health issues. However, seizures, dental problems, or pattellar luxation might crop up. It can also be at a risk of allergies or intervertebral disc diseases.
When looking for a Papillon, always take the time to find a good, responsible breeder that can ensure the health and the breeding of his animals. Responsible breeders care for their puppies and the homes that they will be going to. Try to avoid puppy mills because the dogs are usually raised in cruel conditions with no thought given to their breeding or their long-term health, and you might end up with a puppy that can have problems related to health and mental stability.
A wonderful family pet, great companion, intelligent, loving, and a friend for the whole family to enjoy and love, the Papillon truly is a unique dog.