Origin of the Papillon

The papillon, also known as the continental toy spaniel, originated in Italy 13th and 14th century. At that time one cannot speak of today’s papillon, but there are already paintings of nobles with small lap dogs that look very similar to the papillon. However, like today’s phalenes, they did not have pricked ears back then. The erect ears only appeared in the 17th respectively 18th century. The little spaniel was a status symbol back then. It is often seen in paintings of nobles, so it served as an accessory. Although the breed has its origins in Italy, it continued to develop mainly in France and Belgium. It almost became extinct after the French Revolution, as there were few nobles left who could use the breed. At the end of the 19th century, however, enthusiasts got together and continued breeding. A breed standard was established for the first time in 1905.

Essence of the Papillon

Although the Papillon is a former lapdog and one of the smallest dog breeds in the world, you shouldn’t underestimate him – he’s a sly old dog! Because he is and will always be a spaniel with hunting in his blood. Without proper upbringing of puppies, the papillon would probably happily follow any bird. He also loves mouse hunting. That’s why you should start recall training early!

The intelligent pooch loves to take his human on long walks to explore the world and, like most dogs, is not satisfied with a short stroll around the block. The Papillon’s cleverness makes it easy to train and popular with dog athletes, especially for trick dogging. He is also very good at agility as he is very quick and agile. It should be noted, however, that you should socialize your Papillon puppy with other dogs early on, as it tends to be aggressive towards other dogs.

Appearance/patterning of the papillon

With a maximum shoulder height of 28 cm and a maximum weight of 4.5 kg, the Papillon is one of the smallest dog breeds in the world. Hence the name continental toy spaniel. There are 2 variants of the continental toy spaniel, one with erect ears, Papillon, and one with lop ears, Phalenen. Papillon means butterfly in French, because the ears should remind of a butterfly. Phelene means moth in French because the ears are droopy and are meant to remind the dogs of a moth or moth. Both versions of the toy spaniel are otherwise exactly the same. It has long, silky fur on its body, and its ears and tail are long-haired. In principle, all colors are permitted, on the body white should prevail in relation to the color. A blaze on the face is appreciated, but a predominantly white head is faulty.


The Papillon’s silky coat requires a lot of care because it tends to get knotted. Therefore, the papillon should be brushed at least once a week in the critical areas (behind the ears and armpits). Otherwise, the papillon does not shed as much as other dog breeds because it has little or no undercoat. You should pay attention to regular ear care, especially with phalenes, as they like to get ear infections from their hanging ears. In winter it is important to trim the long hair on the paws and belly, otherwise the snow will get stuck and removing the chunks of snow can be very painful for the dog. Dental care should also not be forgotten, papillons and most small-bred dog breeds often suffer from severe tartar. That is why it is important to examine and brush your teeth regularly. Chew sticks can also help.


Basically, the papillon is a healthy and resilient companion. With an average life expectancy of 15 years, it can also get quite old. But unfortunately it also suffers from overbreeding. Luxation of the patella, malformation of teeth and early formation of heavy tartar are major problems in the breed. However, if you get your puppy from a good breeder, the chance of your Papillon developing a genetic disease during its lifetime is reduced