Papillon dogs are a small toy dog that has been in existence for almost 700 years. They were originally bred in Europe and were given their French name, which means “butterfly”, due to the fact that their erect ears have a butterfly-like appearance. They have always been a well-loved and popular companion. They are prized for their alertness, watch-dog abilities, competitive obedience and agility.
A papillon is a fantastic companion and is quite hardy despite his size. He loves being outside, is happy in all climates and prefers a good walk or run to being carried around. He is energetic and can easily achieve his exercise requirements indoors and outdoors. Therefore, he is well suited to both a home with a substantial yard or apartment life.
He is very lively, clever and has an aptitude for learning. He is easy to train and learns best when taught with gentle consistency. However, just as he is intelligent so is he a highly alert canine. He makes a fantastic watchdog (not a guard dog) and can be reserved and slightly suspicious when it comes to strangers.
Moreover, just as the papillon is tentative with those outside of his family, he may also have difficulty getting along with other pets and small children. Therefore, it is essential that he is socialized early with other animals and little children and kids should be taught how to properly handle and respect a small dog.
Since he is a member of the toy group, it should come as no surprise that the papillon is a small sized pooch that stands no taller than 8 – 11 inches at the withers and weighs between 9 – 10 pounds. As was previously mentioned, he is known for his erect ears but he is also recognized for his dainty and refined appearance. He has a fine bone structure, straight legs and a long, high set tail that arches over his back. His face is very sweet featuring dark eyes, a black nose and eyelid rims and a short pointed muzzle.
His coat is very fine, long and silky. The color of the fur is white and features patches of any other color with the exception of liver. The papillon’s flowing coat requires regular weekly grooming to keep it free of mats. He is an average shedder.
Though a healthy breed with a life expectancy that can last as long as 16 years, he is prone to certain health issues that may include kneecap problems in his hind legs and fontanel, which is an opening in the top of the skull that never fully closes and needs to be protected as the dog could die if this place is ever injured.
All in all the papillon is a beautiful creature with a charming spirit. When you are in the company of one of these four-legged furballs it isn’t difficult to understand why they are one of the best companions a human could ask for.