The adorable, little Papillon makes for an amazing family pet due to its size and friendly nature. At just 8-11 inches tall at the shoulder, this member of the Toy Group weighs just 5-10 pounds with females at the smaller end of the scale in both areas. The Papillon can be a wonderful companion dog in a single-person home or large family. They are not shy or aggressive, but friendly, alert and intelligent.
The Papillion's most distinctive feature is beautiful, butterfly-like ears, which are a favorite of young children. And, interestingly enough, Papillon means butterfly in French. Amazingly, this breed previously had large, drooping ears in the 16th and 17th centuries when French and Spanish nobility used them as lap dogs. That's why the breed also is known as the Continental Toy Spaniel. But the Papillon was developed later on, and the ears became the beautiful breed it is today.
They love to please their families whether in an apartment setting or in the country, because they are easily entertained and exercised. The Papillon doesn't require a lot of grooming, but since it doesn't have an undercoat it should be brushed regularly. This is a happy-go-lucky breed, so keep him happy and he'll provide all the love a family can handle for a long time. The Papillon can live as long as 16 years.
The American Kennel Club recognized the Papillon in 1915. The Papillon Club of America was formed in 1935, but by the end of World War II the club no longer existed. It was reactivated in 1948. The biggest health issues with a Papillon could be problems with the kneecaps in their hind legs, but that can be corrected with surgery. Also, fontanel, which is an opening at the top of the skull similar to a baby's "soft spot'' can occur and correct itself. The head must be protected if it doesn't heal on its own.