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Country/Date of Origin: Belgium/1500s

Ladies of the French and Italian courts fancied the little spaniels which were originally drop eared (see Phalene). Both Marie Antoinette and Madame de Pompadour helped to make the breed fashionable. The dwarf spaniels were carried to England and then to the U.S. The breed was accepted into the American Kennel Club in 1935.

Other Names Body Type Personality Coat Health Concerns

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Butterfly Dog, Continental Spaniel

AKC Group: Toy (shown with the Phalene)

Breed Club: Papillon Club of America

Rescue Club: Papillon Club of America Rescue

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Body Type:

  • A miniature spaniel whose appearance is said to resemble a butterfly
  • The erect ears are not altered
  • The plume of a tail carried jauntily across the back is not altered
  • Height: 8-11 inches (at shoulder); Anything over 12 inches is a disqualification
  • Weight: 8-10 pounds


  • Loves to be pampered! In fact, insists on it. Bright and active
  • Gets along well with other pets and loves to be around people. Craves companionship in fact
  • Can be assertive if it is threatened or stressed
  • Very protective and because of its tendency to bark an alarm, is a good watchdog


  • Long silky single coat
  • Hair is exceptionally long on the tail and chest
  • Must be primarily white but has to have patches of color covering the ears and eyes
  • Additional patches of color on the body are allowed
  • Moderate grooming

Health Concerns:

  • Sturdy and healthy in spite of its delicate appearance
  • However, the small size of the Phalene automatically rules out this breed as a pet for active children who might break its bones
  • Slipped patella which gives the gait a "hop and a skip" appearance
  • Low blood sugar
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Tasty Tidbits: Papillon means "butterfly" in French. The fringed ears and face markings are supposed to resemble a butterfly and the bouncing, flitting gait of the dogs reinforces the resemblance further Phalenes and Papillons may be born in the same litter
  • Dainty and clean
  • Easily housebroken
  • Require little exercise
  • Recommended for apartment living or for older people
  • The Papillon's original use was as a ladies companion
  • It has never had any job other than to grace the home and heart

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