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Breed of the Month: Papillon

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Country of Origin: France
Height: 8–11 inches
Weight: 5.5–11 pounds
Coat: Single coat is long, straight, fine, silky, flowing, abundant; chest frill; feathering
Colors: Particolor (white with patches of any color)
Registries (With Group): American Kennel Club (AKC); United Kennel Club (UKC)


Papillons are descended from toy-sized spaniels, called Continental Toy Spaniels, who were popular among European royalty since the beginning of the last millennium. Their exact origin is a mystery; some argue that their ancestors are toy breeds from Asia, like the Japanese Chin; others believe that the miniaturization of spaniel breeds in Europe happened simply by crossing in smaller pet dogs, without using any breeds from the Far East.


Happy dogs at heart, Papillons need plenty of socialization from puppyhood to help them feel confident in as many situations as possible. This is a dog who enjoys being out and about and who draws attention wherever he travels, so socializing him shouldn’t be a problem. Papillons are full of energy and fun, and they are not generally yappy. Extremely intelligent and hardier than they may appear, the versatile Papillon can be trained to do all sorts of things.


  • Exercise: Although he won’t mind being coddled now and then, the sturdy Papillon needs to use his own four feet to get enough exercise. Inquisitive and athletic, he enjoys playing outside and being a part of family activities.
  • Grooming: The Papillon doesn’t have an undercoat, so he sheds little to no hair. His silky fur is quite easy to care for and doesn’t require trimming or special grooming. He should be brushed regularly to prevent matting.
  • Life Span: The average life span of the Papillon is 13 to 16 years.
  • Training: The Papillon has proved himself a versatile dog in many arenas owing to the fact that he is easy to train. With a keen desire to please, positive rewards and motivational training will have him doing most anything his owner asks. He learns quickly and retains his lessons.

Excerpted from World Atlas of Dog Breeds, 6th Edition. © 2009 T.F.H. Publications, Inc. Used by Permission.

World Atlas of Dog Breeds Book

World Atlas of Dog Breeds

2 Responses to Breed of the Month: Papillon

  1. Jo-Anne December 16, 2010 @ 8:59 pm

    Your summary of the papillon is very good. The description of care and personality of papillons is just like papillons I’ve owned sice 1977!

  2. Marla April 26, 2011 @ 12:40 pm

    Oh my gosh, my mom just got a papillon from the shelter last week and she is ABSOLUTELY thrilled with the little guy!!!! He is soooo adorable and everything that is mentioned about the breed in this article. We can’t get over how intelligent he is. What a super dog. She just had her little pug that was 14 yrs. old die a few weeks ago and two months before that her husband died of cancer!! This little dog is such a blessing to her, and I’m sooooo glad to see her smiling and helping her through this rough time in life!! Happy Pappy is his name we call him, and I swear, EVERYONE in PetSmart went crazy over him . He saw another dog in the next aisle over and Pappy starting walking backwards!! It was so hilarious. And when they went by the cats in the window , he stood straight up on his hind legs looking into the cats cages. The manager was having a ball watching him that she walked around the store with my mom laughing with us!! What a wonderful experience that was to have this dog bring soooo much joy and excitement for my mother.
    It was just heartbreaking to go into that shelter and see ALL those dogs and having to choose the lucky one that we would take home with us. On the way to her house, my mom looked over at the dog and said, “wow, can you imagine having to put that dog to sleep because it’s time was up; at the shelter?” Makes us sick just thinking about it.
    Anyways, sorry to take up so much space, but I couldn’t help myself and just wanted to let other people that have never been around one know that they are an incredible breed of dog this truly is!! Very good in the car. AN Angel in the tub, smart and attentive. Alittle sweetheart, and we’re in total awe about this great dog. Beautiful fur … the listgoes on and on about this dog.. We can’t believe what a perfect dog pappy is and feel fortunate we feel found her at t he shelter
    So, now that I wrote almost an entire boo

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