Papillon Dog: Everything You Must Know Before You Own One (2023-24)

Learn all about the charming and playful Papillon dog breed - from its history and temperament to grooming needs and suitability for families. Discover more here!

If you are in search of a small, friendly, and loyal companion, the Papillon dog might be the perfect fit for you. Papillon dogs are known for their butterfly-like ears, elegant appearance, and playful demeanor. In this article, we will provide you with a comprehensive guide to the Papillon dog breed. We will cover their history, physical appearance, personality, care, and health concerns.

Papillon Dog Breed Overview

OriginFrance and Belgium
HistoryOriginally bred as a companion dog and lapdog
Affectionate with FamilyYes, very affectionate and loyal
Good with childrenYes, great with children of all ages
Good with other dogsYes, generally gets along well with other dogs
Suitable for what kind of family?They are great for families of all types and sizes
Space RequirementsThey can adapt to any living space, including small apartments
Shedding levelModerate shedding, requires regular grooming
Coat grooming frequencyEvery 4-6 weeks to maintain coat health
Coat typeLong and silky coat
Coat lengthLong, with feathering on the legs and ears
Drooling levelVery low drooling
Openness to strangersFriendly and outgoing with strangers
PlayfulnessVery playful and energetic
Watch/Guard dog typeNot suitable for guard dog, but can alert to strangers
TrainabilityHighly trainable and eager to please
Energy levelModerate to high energy level, requires regular exercise
Barking levelCan be vocal, but can be trained to control barking
Mental stimulation needsRequires plenty of mental stimulation to prevent boredom
Dietary requirementsHigh-quality, balanced diet to ensure overall health

History of Papillon Dog Breed


The Papillon dog breed originated in France in the 16th century. The breed was named after their characteristic butterfly-like ears, which resemble the wings of a butterfly in shape and size. Papillon means “butterfly” in French. The breed became popular among European royalty and aristocracy, and many famous artists, such as Rubens, depicted Papillon dogs in their paintings.

Physical Characteristics of Papillon Dog Breed

Size and Weight

Papillon dogs are small dogs that weigh between 4 and 9 pounds and stand 8 to 11 inches tall. They have a dainty, elegant appearance and a lively gait.

Coat and Color

The Papillon dog has a long, silky coat that is typically white with patches of color, such as black, brown, or red. They also have a fringed tail and feathered ears and legs.


The most distinctive feature of the Papillon dog is its butterfly-like ears. The ears are large, upright, and heavily fringed, giving the dog a regal and elegant appearance.

Personality and Temperament


Papillon dogs are highly intelligent and curious. They are quick learners and excel in obedience training, agility, and other canine sports.


Papillon dogs are easy to train due to their intelligence and willingness to please their owners. Positive reinforcement and consistency are key to successful training.


Papillon dogs are sociable and friendly, making them great family pets. They get along well with children and other animals, and they enjoy being around people.

Grooming and Care


Despite their small size, Papillon dogs are energetic and require daily exercise. They enjoy walks, playtime, and agility training.


A healthy diet is essential for the overall health and well-being of Papillon dogs. A balanced diet that includes high-quality protein, carbohydrates, and fat is recommended.


Papillon dogs are generally healthy, but like all breeds they can be prone to certain health issues. It’s important to schedule regular vet check-ups to ensure your Papillon dog remains healthy.

Health Concerns

Patellar Luxation

Patellar luxation is a common orthopedic issue in small breeds like Papillon dogs. It occurs when the kneecap slips out of its normal position, causing pain and discomfort. In severe cases, surgery may be required to correct the problem.

Dental Issues

Papillon dogs are prone to dental issues like gum disease and tooth decay. Regular dental cleanings and good oral hygiene practices, such as brushing your dog’s teeth, can help prevent these problems.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy

Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) is a genetic eye disorder that affects Papillon dogs. It causes progressive degeneration of the retina, leading to vision loss and blindness. There is no cure for PRA, but early detection can slow the progression of the disease.

Training and Socialization

Basic Commands

Papillon dogs are highly trainable and respond well to positive reinforcement training methods. Basic obedience commands like “sit,” “stay,” “come,” and “heel” are important for a well-behaved and obedient dog.


Socialization is crucial for Papillon dogs to develop into well-adjusted and confident adults. It’s important to expose your dog to new people, animals, and environments from a young age to help them become comfortable in a variety of situations.

Agility Training

Papillon dogs excel in agility training due to their high energy and athleticism. Agility training can help them burn off excess energy and improve their overall physical and mental health.


In conclusion, the Papillon dog is a charming and intelligent breed that makes a great companion for families and individuals alike. They are energetic, playful, and highly trainable, making them well-suited to a variety of lifestyles. However, it’s important to remember that they do require regular exercise and grooming, as well as socialization and training from a young age.

If you are considering adding a Papillon dog to your family, be sure to do your research and find a reputable breeder. It’s also a good idea to consider adopting from a rescue organization, as there are many Papillon dogs in need of loving homes.


Are Papillon dogs good with other pets?

Yes, Papillon dogs generally get along well with other pets, including cats and other dogs.

Do Papillon dogs have any special dietary requirements?

No, Papillon dogs do not have any special dietary requirements. However, it’s important to feed them a high-quality, balanced diet to ensure their overall health and well-being.

How often should Papillon dogs be taken to the vet?

Papillon dogs should be taken to the vet for regular check-ups and vaccinations at least once a year. They may require more frequent visits if they have any health issues or are older.

Are Papillon prone to separation anxiety?

Yes, Papillon dogs can be prone to separation anxiety if they are not properly socialized and trained. It’s important to gradually acclimate them to being alone and provide plenty of mental stimulation when you are away.

Can Papillon be trained to do tricks?

Yes, Papillon dogs are highly trainable and excel in agility training. They can also be trained to do a variety of tricks, such as roll over, play dead, and speak.

Are Papillon dogs good with children with special needs?

Yes, Papillon dogs can make great companions for children with special needs, as they are gentle and patient. However, it’s important to supervise interactions between dogs and children at all times.

How much do Papillon dogs weigh?

Papillon dogs typically weigh between 4 and 9 pounds.

Are Papillon good watchdogs?

Papillon dogs are not typically good watchdogs, as they are friendly and outgoing with strangers. However, they may bark to alert their owners of potential danger.

Can Papillon dogs be left alone for long periods of time?

No, Papillon dogs should not be left alone for long periods of time as they can become anxious and destructive. They require plenty of attention and socialization to thrive.

How often should Papillon be bathed?

Papillon dogs should be bathed every 4 to 6 weeks, or as needed to maintain their coat and skin health.

What is the origin of the Papillon dog breed?

The Papillon dog breed is believed to have originated in France and Spain.

How old is the Papillon breed?

The exact age of the Papillon breed is unknown, but it is believed to date back to the 16th century.

What was the Papillon dog breed originally bred for?

The Papillon breed was originally bred as a companion dog for nobles and royalty.

What is the meaning of the name “Papillon”?

The name “Papillon” is French for “butterfly,” which refers to the breed’s distinctive butterfly-like ears.

What is the temperament of Papillon dogs?

Papillon dogs are known for being friendly, energetic, and intelligent. They make great family pets and are loyal to their owners.

How to groom a Papillon dog?

Papillon dogs require regular grooming, including brushing their long, silky coats to prevent matting and tangling. They also need to have their nails trimmed and their teeth brushed regularly.

Is the Papillon breed suitable for families with children?

Yes, Papillon dogs are generally good with children and make great family pets. However, like all dogs, they should be supervised around young children to prevent any accidents.

What is the energy level of Papillon dogs?

Papillon dogs have a high energy level and need regular exercise and playtime to keep them healthy and happy.

What are the dietary requirements of Papillon dogs?

Papillon dogs require a well-balanced diet that is appropriate for their age, size, and activity level. It is important to choose a high-quality dog food that meets their nutritional needs.

Can Papillon dogs be trained easily?

Yes, Papillon dogs are intelligent and eager to please, making them relatively easy to train. However, consistent training and positive reinforcement are important to ensure success.


International BodyWebsite
American Kennel Club
The Kennel Club (UK)
Canadian Kennel Club
Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI)

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