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Papillon Dog Breed Profile


Other Names
Butterfly Dog, Pap, the drop eared variety is known as Phalene (Moth)  
Dog Group Kennel Club
Breed Classification
The Papillon is a member of the toy group. They were originally bred as companions and today are used for companions and seen in the show ring, agility, obedience, as hearing dogs for the deaf, visiting hospitals and homes. They are a good ‘all round’ little dog. 
Cost of Ownership
Average Food Cost
< £4 per week
Feeding Requirements
They will cost less than £4 per week to feed. 
Other Expenses
Depending on the breeder, the cost of a Papillon as a non-breeding pet would be approximately £500 plus, however if wanted for a ‘show dog’ the cost would be considerably higher. Bitches can some times be hard to come by due to the small litters. 
9 - 15 years
The Papillon will live 13 – 15 years. Many live longer, the oldest one on record, lived till he was 28. 
Average Litter Size
The average litter size is 3 to 4 puppies, although some only have 1 or 2 and others have 5. 
General Physical Description
A dainty, well balanced little dog who always has an alert and intelligent expression. Easily recognised because of his fringed, erect ears which resemble butterfly wings and the blaze on the forehead a butterfly body. Because of the plumed tail, this breed is also known by the French as the ‘Squirrel Dog’. Whilst a blaze is preferred for the show ring, this is by no means necessary for a pet home.

Height Min Max
Bitch 20cm (8") 28cm (11")
Dog 20cm (8") 28cm (11")
Weight Min Max
Bitch 0kg (0lbs) 0kg (0lbs)
Dog 0kg (0lbs) 0kg (0lbs)
Size Category
Weight Height Range
The standard calls for Dogs and Bitches to measure between 20 - 28cms. (8 to 11 inches). There are no laid-down weight specifications. Some reach their full height at a young age of around 6 months, more normal is 9 to 12 months, and with others it can be as long as 18 months. 
A relatively healthy breed free from many diseases that can affect other smaller breeds. Care must be taken to prevent broken bones, i.e. not letting the dog jump from a great height in case it lands awkwardly. Due to their size, especially cuddly little puppies, they should be supervised around children who must be taught that they are not ‘toys’ to be played with like children do with their own toys. Nor should they be left unsupervised around larger dogs who may inadvertently hurt the Papillon. 
Common Ailments

Susceptibility To Illness
The breed dates back around 700 years although the exact country of origin cannot be confirmed although it is generally accepted that the origins date back to the European Toy Spaniels. The breed spread across Europe in the sixteenth century and became popular with many royal families and were used in many of the royal portraits at that time. The breed was only recognised by the Kennel Club in the mid 1920’s and by the American Kennel Club in 1935. 
Being intelligent dogs, Paps are easy to train but consistency is needed when young to ensure the puppy does not become a ‘yapper’ throughout his or her life and patience and routine is needed when house-training a puppy. Some make good agility dogs, others are used as P.A.T (therapy) dogs and Hearing Dogs for the Deaf. < 
Show Characteristics
The skull should be slightly rounded between the ears with a finely pointed muzzle and a well-defined stop. The medium sized eyes should be rounded with dark rims and somewhat low in the skull and should never be bulging. The ears should be very large with rounded tips and heavily fringed. When erect the each ear should form an angle of approximately 45 degrees to the head. The jaws should be strong with a perfect scissor bite. The lips should be thin, tight and dark in colour. The neck should be of medium length and the shoulders well-developed and sloping. The forelegs should be straight, slender and fine-boned with the elbows being close to the chest. The hindquarters should be well-developed with a well-turned stifle, and when viewed from behind, the legs should be parallel. The body should be fairly long with a level topline and well-sprung ribs. The feet should be fairly long, fine and hare-like with long tufts of hair extending between the toes. The tail should be long, well-fringed and set on high. It should be arched over the back with fringes falling to the sides to form a plume. The movement should be light and free-flowing with no hint of a hackney action. The long, silky coat should be abundant and flowing with no undercoat.  
Country Of Origin
Famous Examples
Records Held
Overall Exercise
20 - 40 minutes per day.
This breed will get all the exercise needed running about the house and garden, although walks are always greatly appreciated!  
Distress if Left Alone
Personal Protection
Guard Dog Suitability
Risk of Sheep Worrying
Tendency to Bark
Level of Aggression
Compatibility With Other Animals
Suitable For Children


General Character And Temperament
Paps are friendly and alert, and whilst the breed will warn of the presence of strangers (they can be trained not to bark), will not be aggressive in any way. The breed loves human company and cuddles and are ‘doers’ and want to get involved in activities as much as possible! They are not suitable for outside living in a kennel. They are a ‘companion’ dog. 
Coat Length
Grooming Requirement
Once a week 
Requires Professional Groomer
Grooming needs are not great although regular brushing is important. Nails need trimming on a regular basis if not exercised on hard ground or walked on a regular basis, including the dew claws if they have them. The fur under the pads tends to grow long so it is advised to trim this hair away to ensure firmer footing for the dog. The fur from the hock to floor, on the back leg/pastern, can be trimmed to give a neater appearance. They do not have the usual ‘doggy smell’ that some dogs have. They do moult, bitches after each season, unless spayed, and dogs once a year. At this time regular brushing is advised. Puppies at around 12 to 14 weeks have a fluffy coat, then they tend to go through the 'ugly duckling stage' and become more or less hairless, and leggy. At around 5 months, they start to grow their adult coat, which can take up to two years before they reach their fully grown adult coat. Ear fringing can take up to 3 years. Some lines carry less coat than others.  
Paps come in many different colours, the most popular being Red and White, Red Sable and White, Black and White, and the Tri-Colour.  
Suffers From Allergies

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