The Papillon is a dainty, fine-boned toy spaniel, usually strong and healthy, with an alert and intelligent expression. The name, French for butterfly, describes the ears that resemble butterfly wings. The ears may be either erect or drooping (Phalene). The abundant coat is silky and glossy with a frill on the chest. The plumed tail is arched over the back. The ears are well-fringed and the backs of legs feathered. The Papillon's muzzle is short and a bit pointed. The dog should be white with patches of any other color. A color other than white should cover both eyes and both ears back to front.
The Papillon is believed to be a descendant of the sixteenth-century Dwarf Spaniel. The Papillon was popular with royal courts and aristocrats; in fact, Marie Antoinette is said to have carried her pet Papillon with her to the guillotine. Madame de Pompadour had two, and many were sold to the court of Louis XIV. The Papillon appears in paintings of Watteau and Rubens. Today's Papillon is primarily a companion dog, but also excels at obedience trials.
A gentle and affectionate dog, trainable for competitive obedience. Lively, vivacious, and charming. Playful and amusing, but can also be calm, patient, gentle, and dignified. Steady and silent. Loves to be cuddled, but also likes to romp outdoors.