Papillon Dog Breed Information – Appearance, Temperament, Living Needs, and More

The Papillon is a curious, smart pup with a unique beauty that hardly any other dog breed can top. They look like a million dollars! With their wing-shaped ears, plumed tails, and beautiful long coats, these little dogs are many people’s most favorite pets. How can they not be when they look adorable?

Papillons’ cute exterior hides a small body that, although measuring 8-11 inches only, is very robust. But this toy dog is not only sturdy – it’s also very agile! That said, they constantly win at high-level sports competitions! Thanks to their tiny, strong muscles, these pooches enjoy life in warm and cool climates alike!

Named after the French word for “butterfly,” these little-sized dogs are among the smartest doggos in the puppy world. They can learn to do all kinds of tricks and impress anyone! Happy and loving, they thrive in families who like spending time and being besties with their pup companion.

papillon infographic

Papillon Dog Breeds Pictures


What Does A Papillon Look Like

You can spot a Papillon pup hundreds of feet away because of their big ears. Erect and embellished with long patches of feathered hair, their ears are show-stoppers! There’s a reason why these famous little dogs are called butterfly puppies!

The tiny body of these dark-eyed puppers beautifully matches their large, butterfly-wing-like ears. Being 8-11 inches tall and weighing 10 pounds or less, these canines look like they could start flying anytime! But they won’t – their sturdy bodies keep them on the ground.

The Papillon coat keeps Paps warm and gives them their jaw-dropping looks. It comes in different colors, including black, white, brown, and red! The coat extends into a fringed tail that perfectly goes along with these dogs’ body weight and size.


Apart from being cute little butterflies, Papillon pups are fantastic companion dogs. They love sleeping next to their favorite human and enjoy playing all kinds of exciting games with their owners! Paps are definitely family dogs! Also, if exposed to other doggos and cats during puppyhood, they see these animals as family too!

Paps are smart dogs, and their intelligence goes hand in hand with their personality. Friendly and agile, they’re among the ten most intelligent pups, and they can learn tricks and commands fast! These playful small dogs love playing for fun, but they’re can easily win agility and rally competitions as well.

Before you adopt a Papillon, know that they need regular activity. Otherwise, they could get bored, become very vocal, and show disobedience during potty training! Some playtime at home is enough for your pup to be happy. Your dog will like playing with small, interactive toys or a cool puzzle feeder!

Living Needs

Paps are small, smart, and very friendly, which makes them great companions. However, they are not lapdogs per se; they’d rather do something all the time! Considering their size, it’s fascinating how energetic they are! Papillons are good with cats, dogs, and other animals too, and that’s thanks to their personality.

Smaller apartments and larger houses alike make great living spaces for these adoptable pets. But they do love playing outside too! A well-fenced yard could make your Pap’s dreams about jumping around and sniffing out some greenery true! Squirrels and birds will need to rethink whether they’d want to visit your yard again.

Although the royal-looking Papillon babies are great family dogs, small children can hurt them. The truth about Papillons is that, although they’re sturdy, they’re still tiny! These small-boned pups can’t handle rough playing! That said, it’ll be good to teach your kids how to play with the Pap and supervise their interactions.

Paps are also unaware of their small size and act as if they can’t injure themselves. They’re a smart dog breed, but their playful nature could get the best of them without your supervision! They could jump from high places or treat larger, stronger puppers like equals, play with them and get stepped on.


How To Groom A Papillon

The Papillon is a low-maintenance dog, which is really great. Although their fur is long and flowy, Papillon grooming is an easy task! These miniature pooches don’t shed much, so it’s enough to brush them once or twice each week.

When brushing their coat, make sure to take great care of the undercarriage and hind legs to avoid matting. You should also bathe them once in three months, trim their nails and dewclaws, and clean their ears. A groomed Papillon is a happy one too!

How To Train A Papillon

Training Papillon puppies is generally easy. Early socialization can shape their behavior and help them adapt to other people and animals. Obedience classes can help your companion pupper learn to listen to your commands and teach you how to treat them. However, apart from training them, you should also respect your Papillon’s intelligence and needs. Don’t leave your dog alone for too long! They may feel unhappy and act up.

How Much Exercise Does A Papillon Need

These small dogs with butterfly ears need to exercise. Female or male, they love playing with their owners and chasing balls! Paps might be small in size, but they quickly learn how to bring the balls back! These puppies also like to run in the yard, chasing after chipmunks, squirrels, and insects. They might even set out after larger dogs and cats, so always keep an eye on them!


Paps need 1/4 to 1/2 of great-quality Papillon food every day, split into two meals. Be careful not to overfeed your doggie! They have delicate knees, and they shouldn’t be fat!


Papillons are generally healthy and have a lifespan of 15 years or more. However, they are prone to some health issues, and all future Pap owners should be aware of these problems. To learn more about your Papillon’s health, get them screened for patellar luxation and have a vet check their eyes.

Pharyngeal gag reflex or paroxysmal respiration is one of the most common Papillon health problems. The condition is also known as reverse sneezing, but it is actually not a sneeze. Some of the factors that cause it are adverse reactions to strong odors and perfumes, overexertion, and pollen allergies. This problem is sometimes harmless.


Papillon’s history is intertwined with that of Renaissance art, sports, and queens. Noblewomen from the past loved having these toy dogs as companions because of their charm and attentiveness. Famous painters, like Rubens, Goya, Rembrandt, and Toulouse-Lautrec used to paint the puppies next to princesses and queens!

Folks from the Renaissance era really liked doggos that were cute and little. Royalties like Louis XIV and Madame de Pompadour were in love with the butterfly dogs! Even Marie Antoinette had a Pap called Thisbe. Allegedly, the animal stood outside the prison where the queen waited for her execution.

The origin of this popular small dog has to do with people crossing toy breeds with spaniels. Dwarf spaniels are the early ancestors of this pup! The spaniel blood in them could explain why the puppies are so agile and easily trainable. The AKC officially registered its first Pap in 1915.

Fun Facts About Papillon Dogs

Here are some cool facts about these dogs for you:

  • Famous pop singer Christina Aguilera owns a cute Papillon called Chewy. She also had another Pap named Stinky, but they died in 2018.
  • Some Paps have dropped ears, and they’re called Phalène. In French, their name means moth!

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