Papillon - Information and NZ Breed Standards

Membership ID


General Information - Papillon



12-15 years



Very hard

Watchdog Ability:
Very high

Protection Ability:
Very low

Area of Origin:

Date of Origin:

Other Names:
Epagneul Nain, Butterfly Dog, Continental Toy Spaniel

Original Function:
Small-vermin hunting


The Papillon is one of the oldest breeds of dog, with a recorded history in Europe going back nearly 700 years. These early dogs had drooping ears, but through some unknown event, some dogs sported erect ears. Both drop-and erect-eared Papillon could be found in the same litter. Even today both ear types are equally correct, although the erect-eared dog is much more popular. In America, the drop-eared Pap is known as the Phalene, which is French for moth, whereas in Europe it is called the Epagneul Nain or Continental Toy Spaniel. The name Papillon is French for butterfly, which the face and ears of this sprightly little dog should resemble. At one time the Papillon was known as the Squirrel Spaniel because it carried its plumed tail over its back in the same way a squirrel does. This tiny breed is recognisable in 13th through 15th century Italian frescoes. It was featured in many paintings of the Renaissance period; in fact much of the breed's development is known because of its depiction in paintings. The breed was widespread in Italy during the Renaissance and later perfected by French breeders. Some of its talents include: watch dogging, agility, competitive obedience, and performing tricks.


The Papillon is an intelligent dog breed who is easy to train. It is one of the most obedient and responsive dogs in the toy group. Friendly and playful, the Papillon gets along with all the family members and pets. Some can be timid.


The lively Papillon thrives on mental stimulation and it enjoys a daily walk on leash as well as challenging games indoors and out. This is not a breed to live outdoors. Its coat is virtually carefree, requiring only occasional brushing to remove dead hair.

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