The Papillon are very small dogs with butterfly-like look in their long and fringed hair on the ears, and that is where it derives its name (the French word for “butterfly” is papillon). This dog is a small sized version of the Epagneul Nain, and for many generations it was a valuable animal, desired by the nobility. Eventually, the Papillon became a companion animal and lapdog.
The Papillon became extremely popular when Tiziano Vicelli painted these small dogs in the XVI century. Because of that, many other well-known artists decided to include them in their paintings. That was the time when this breed started being considered as royalty dogs because they were in a great deal of the family paintings of the most important European kings.
It is a Spaniel, and so a Water dog, which slightly changed its physical morphology in the XIX century, when the novice breeders started selecting specimens with erected ears. That action gave them a similar appearance to the current Papillon.
This breed was not recognized until 1935.
Its appearance is fine and elegant, which stands out as its soft head with some big ears with a butterfly-like look (its well-known physical attribute). Its coat is white with black, tan, red or sable markings. It can show very different tones. Its stunning furry tail is also noteworthy, because it gives this breed a singular appearance.
The paws are straight and very thin. It has a long snout and some fine ears with fringed hair. These ones are placed on the back of the head with the auricles well opened and steering to both sides.
There are “two types” of the Papillon: the one with erect ears and the other one with trailing ears. No matter how their ears are shown, the main organizations classify them as the same dog breed.
These dogs are really playful and loving. They love to play outdoors and it is stronger and more resistant than what it looks like because of its size and tender look. The Papillon has to be socialized since they are puppies and to be shown their place inside the family, because if not they may be possessive and even jealous. These can be the perfect companion animal for the whole family, and because of their small size they can go to family trips. Nevertheless, they may live being nervous and barking in places whwere they hear sounds they cannot recognize, because of its protection instinct.
Coat maintenance: even though its coat is long and seems to keep it warm, the Papillon does not tolerate low temperatures. This is because, unlike other dog breeds, it has only one coat layer. Owners must not ignore this fact because it is prone to catching a cold and to trembling.
It is important to take care of its fur regularly too. The brushing and the use of conditioning with help keeping its fur extremely soft and untangled. It is also of big importance to clean its eyes daily to avoid the generation of unaesthetic brown markings around the eyes.
The Papillon is a robust dog with very good health. Despite that fact, there is the risk of patellar luxation and epilepsy. Because of its small size and its thin skeleton, it is also prone to bone fractures and other similar lesions.
You can download the FCI (International Cinological Federation) standard at the following link: http://www.fci.be/Nomenclature/Standards/077g09-en.pdf