Papillon Facts
Papillons ("Pappy-Yons") are a toy companion animal. The other variety, Phalene ("Fah Len") is French for moth, because of the drooped ears.  Litters may contain both varieties. They are small, energetic elegant dogs. They were very popular as royal companions in the 15th - 17th centuries, and at that time they were called Continental Toy Spaniels. They can be traced through paintings of the Old Masters in every country in Western  Europe back as far as the 16th century. Around 1500 an artist known as Tiziano Vicelli (Titian) painted the tiny spaniels. The Titian dogs were red and white, and soon other colors emerged.

Spaniel means dog of Spain, but the term Spaniel also became synonomous with small "toy" breeds and sporting dogs.  During the time of Louis XIV a painter called Mignard was the official court painter and his works had many small dogs that look very similar to the Phalen's of today.

Baron Albert Houtart of Belgium has been credited as the most authoritative person on the subject of Papillons and he credits both France and Belgium for perfecting the breed to the standards it has today.

Papillons are considered white dogs with colored markings.  The colors are black, red, lemon, sable, liver, silver, fawn, black & tan, brown, black red, black brown, red sable, and they can have a black mask, black markings, sable markings, red markings and tan markings. The nose, eye rims and lips should be pigmented black. All white dogs, or solid color are disqualified. Both ears & extending over the eyes without interruption should be any color but white.  A symmetrical blaze of white is desired between the eyes and on the nose band, but it is not necessary for prize winning.

Papillons for show standard should be between 8" and 12", 11" are considered a fault and over 12" are disqualified from showing.  Long and short coats are accepted, but long coats are preferred.  There is not a weight standard, but they should be height weight proportionate.  Their coat is easy to maintain, and sheds dirt easily.  They have a single coat, so they do not have the twice yearly shedding most long coated dogs do. 

Papillons prefer to be with people, but are very social and not typically known as yappy or nervous.  They will sound an alarm bark when someone comes to the door, but do not continue to bark, once introduced to the new arrival.  They travel well, (car sickness is rare) and they enjoy meeting new people and animals.  They do not realize their size matters to other dogs, so they will play with dogs that are much larger than they are, sometimes with unhappy results.  Their small stature and fine frame do not meld well with tiny children, their bones are sturdy, but have broken due to too much loving or rambuntious play. As with any dog, they should be supervised with small children.

Papillons have few genetic problems, they are not prone to obesity and should not gain weight when they are spayed or neutered.

They have shown to have exceptional abilities in tracking and agility. They are known to "show" themselves, catching judges eyes, and make excellent therapy, hearing ear dogs, and mobility dogs like larger breeds.

Papillons are full of life, intelligence, and enjoy being companions.  They are a big dog in a little dog's body, they can do most things a large dog can do, with less upkeep, effort or space requirements.
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Marie Antoinette by Unknown Artist
Papillons are said to have been one of the favorites of Marie Antoinette. They acquired the name Papillon in the 19th century when the large flaring ears were popular. Papillon is French for butterfly. The name was chosen because of the butterfly wing shaped ears.
Portrait of Clarissa Strozzi By Titian
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The Grande Dauphine Family (Louis XIV)
By Mignard
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