Family Pet Guide > Dogs > Toy > Papillon


Quick Checklist
with kids
with seniors
with other animals
with strangers
Energy & Exercise
Training Needs
Grooming Needs
Size: Small (10 to 25 lbs.)
Lifespan: Long (12 to 15+ years)
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Papillons, also known as Continental Toy Spaniels, are sweet and silky little dogs, similar to the Japanese Chin but unmistakable for their "butterfly" ears. Papillons are one of the oldest Toy breeds, and were bred as companions and watch dogs in ancient Mediterranean countries. Owners claim that this toy dog is truly a big dog in a small package. Papillons, unlike other toy dogs, are not just a lap dog. Papillons are happy to take long walks with their owners and need a fair amount of exercise. Papillons have also excelled at agility competitions, and are increasing in popularity as assistance dogs for seniors (especially as hearing and therapy dogs).

Famously, Marie Antoinette clutched her Papillon to her chest even as she marched to the guillotine, and while her family's fate was sealed, her prized pup was spared. Singer Christina Aguilera and actor George Takei (of Star Trek fame) are both Papillon fans and owners.

General Care

Papillons are lovable, affectionate and active toy dogs, usually weighing between 3 and 9 pounds and are not generally nervous or "yippy" like some toys. Papillons love to be clean and are easily bathed and groomed, but their long, silky coat needs to be brushed often. Don't judge a book by its glamorous, privileged cover, either--underestimating the energy of a Papillon is the number one reason that most end up in shelters. Papillons are popular with city dwellers: they make perfect family pet in an apartment, are natural lap dogs, love to go for long walks, and are outgoing with strangers. Care in all aspects is generally minimized with toy dogs: cost, mess, shedding, grooming, and training. Training especially can be much easier with a toy breed than other dogs, making them a good fit for the first-time dog owner. As the AKC mentions, it's always easier to control a ten-pound dog than one ten times its size. Depending on how they are raised, Papillons are generally good with kids, seniors, and strangers (although due to their tiny size, small children should always be supervised around a Papillon). Papillons are tough-natured and big-egoed dogs that will protect themselves if mistreated.

For more information on Papillon ownership and care, check out the Papillon Club of America.

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