Dog Health & More
The Papillon dog breed descends from the toy spaniels that are frequently portrayed in paintings by the Old Masters, from as far back as the 16th century. He's highly active and is a wonderful competitor in agility and obedience. His sparkling personality makes him a favorite of all who meet him.
Additional articles you will be interested in:
The Papillon, whose name comes from the French word for butterfly, is a portrait come to life, the modern representation of the small spaniels often seen in paintings from centuries past. The dwarf spaniel, as he was once known, has changed somewhat in appearance over the years, but he's still the same wonderful companion who graced the laps of ladies and kings so many years ago.
The word papillon, meaning "butterfly," refers to the breed's fringed upright ears, which resemble a butterfly's outspread wings. The breed also comes in a drop-eared variety called the phalene, which means "moth," a cousin of the butterfly that folds its wings at rest. Both varieties can be born in the same litter, although the Papillon is the more popular and recognized variety.
While he might be categorized by size as a lap dog, the bright, busy, and curious Papillon is no shrinking butterfly. If you want a dog to sit on your lap while you watch television, he's probably not the best choice. He's more likely to be flitting around looking for something to do and will happily rid your home and yard of any small rodents that might be lurking there. And this small dog in a sturdy package takes seriously his duties as family companion and guardian. He has a big-dog attitude and a level of alertness that makes him a super watchdog, but when it comes to protecting you it's important to make sure he doesn't bite off more than he can chew. He has no idea that he weighs only 4 to 9 pounds.
The Papillon is outgoing and energetic. He loves to be with people and is a happy dog who gives kisses freely to all. The Papillon's small size makes him easy to handle, and his coat, while profuse, is easy to care for and doesn't shed excessively.
His energy level ranges from moderate to intense, and being highly trainable he's a great choice if you want to participate in dog sports such as agility or rally. Papillons are also excellent competitors in the obedience ring and are the number-one toy breed in obedience competition.
All Papillon owners should attend obedience class if only to ensure that they don't spoil their charming companions. Papillons can develop a stubborn streak if not shown early that such behavior will not be tolerated. On the plus side, their will to please and desire to succeed make them good at learning tricks or anything else a creative person can teach them. Papillons can even learn to pull a tiny cart and will proudly pull it in parades.
Papillons get along well with other pets in the family, including cats, if introduced at a young age. The fearless Papillon will often boss around dogs much bigger than he is, and this may or may not cause problems. It's not unusual for the smallest dog to be the one in charge.
Papillons love children, but the combination of a tiny dog and a young child can be a recipe for disaster. A Papillon may leap from a child's hands and injure himself if he's not being held correctly, and he won't hesitate to defend himself if he's being mistreated. No matter what the breed, dogs and children must always be supervised when they're together.
This is a long-lived breed. It's common for Papillons to live well into their teens, and if you're considering purchasing one you should take that into consideration. The dog will be a member of your family for years to come.
A Papillon made breed history in 1999 when for the first time one took Best In Show at the Westminster Kennel Club show. The dog, Ch. Loteki Supernatural Being, or Kirby to his friends, also won the World Dog Show in Helsinki, Finland, and the Royal Invitational in Canada in 1998. This dog's wins introduced the breed to many who had never seen or heard of the Papillon and has contributed to the breed's rise in popularity. Nonetheless, you won't find a Papillon on every street corner. He's not a rare breed, but he's not common, either. Most breeders have a waiting list because Papillons tend to have small litters.
The Papillon has been bred for centuries to be the ultimate companion. They are extremely people oriented and demand to be included in their person's life at all times. If you are looking for a lively, energetic, outgoing, and gregarious companion this could be the breed for you. You and your Papillon will live happily together for many years.