The Papillon is a descendant from the Continental Toy Spaniel, a breed that was popular among European royalty. The breed is a lap-dog through and through, and loyal companion to its family. The breed is intelligent and does well in obedience and agility, or even as a therapy or hearing ear dog.
The most noted characteristic of this breed is the large ears with extensive feathering. In fact, Papillon means “butterfly” in French, due to the butterfly-like quality of their ears. This gives them a sweet and royal look. The breed is smart, friendly and loyal to his family.
This dog breed should be socialized extensively to keep them friendly and confident. They are an energetic breed and eager to please and follow their families. While not overly talkative, they can bark to alert their families to anything new. They are versatile and hardy despite their small size.
They live on average 13 to 16 years, typical for a small breed dog. Issues include patellar luxation. The key to a long and happy life for this breed includes good veterinary and preventive care as well as careful breeding.
There is no undercoat on this dog, unlike other breeds. This leads to minimal shedding, however, the breed will shed their outer coat seasonally. The coat, including the ears, should also be regularly brushed to prevent knots and mats from forming. Toes and tail may need trimming, but the ears should never be trimmed or they may not re-feather properly.
They are easy to train and will pick up on any task the owner gives it. However, they should be kept occupied with training sessions or activities, or else they may begin to train their owner instead. They do well in any activity given to them and are happy pleasing their owner.
They can easily train their owners to coddle them, leading to potential obesity. Despite his small size, he should be regularly exercised and allowed to run around on his own paws. Daily activities with the family or hobbies such as agility are enough to keep him in shape.