The dog who became the Papillon started off as the dwarf spaniel of the 16th century. Though its name — French for “butterfly,” for the butterfly effect of dog’s fringed ears — and much of its development can be traced to France, the breed gained a good deal of its popularity in Spain and Italy. Both erect-eared and drop-eared Paps can be born in the same litter and are judged together by the AKC, which first represented the breed in 1935.


Tiny, 8 to 11 inches.


Parti-color or white with patches of any color(s).


Happy, obedient, and playful.

Friendly toward other pets, and strangers, but a capable watchdog.

Energy level:


Best owner:

Fun-loving, active owner who can take charge.


Playtime, positive training methods, twice-weekly brushing of coat, regular teeth brushing.

Life expectancy:

14 to 18 years.