The Papillon is a small dog bred as a companion and watch dog. It is one of the oldest toy breeds, traced back to Italy circa 1542. The breed can be seen in paintings over the centuries, especially in those of royal and merchant class families.
The Papillon is a small, elegant, fine-boned breed which generally stands 8 to 11 inches tall and weighs 6 to 10 pounds. The coat of the breed is generally white with brown or black markings. It is silky and long, and the tail and ears are covered with a good deal of fringe. Color covers its eyes and ears to give it the look of a butterfly, which is what its name translates to in French. The ears of the breed are its most distinctive feature; they are large and well fringed with silky hair. The head of the Papillon is rounded between the ears, and the muzzle is small and tapering.
The breed makes an excellent companion, as that is what it was bred to do. The breed is highly intelligent as well as energetic. It is easy to train, and should be socialized and trained at an early age. The breed is built for activity; it has a high level of energy and can make an excellent competitor in dog agility sports. The breed is naturally agile, speedy, and intensely driven. They take their sports, as well as their companionship, very seriously. The breed needs frequent exercise as well as daily human-to-canine interaction.
The breed is generally easy to maintain. It requires minimal grooming, and sheds only twice a year. As a puppy, the Papillion has short fur; it grows longer as the breed ages, but remains thin and single layered, and thus easy to keep.
The breed is generally healthy but may be affected by Von Willebrand’s disease, luxating patella, mitral valve disease, progressive retinal atrophy, and reverse sneezing.