Papillon Dog Breed Characteristics

Papillon Characteristics

  • Apartment Living
  • Active Lifestyle
  • Watchdog Ability
  • Child Friendly
  • Dog Friendly
  • Cat Friendly
  • Shedding Level
  • Exercise Needs
  • Social Needs
  • Grooming needs
  • Stranger Friendly
  • Health Issues
  • Trainability
  • Adaptability
  • Papillon Appearance

    According to the breed standard of the continental Spaniel it is divided into 2 types:

    • Papillon (from French “papillon”- a butterfly) dog with the standing ears.
    • Phalene (from French “phalène” - a moth) dog with drooping ears

    Also, they are divided into two categories by weight:

    • Males and females - 1.5-2.5 kg
    •  Males - 2.5-4.5 kg; Females - 2.5-5 kg

    Build: harmonious.

    The bone: strong.

    Movements: lightweight, elegant, graceful, and free.

    Head: small; skull is rounded; furrow between the eyes is slightly visible.

    Bridge of the nose: the transition from forehead to muzzle (stop) is well defined. On a big dog it is hardly noticeable; on small ones it is sharply visible.

    Nose: black, round shape, a bit flattened on top.

    Muzzle: tapering and a bit shorter than the skull.

    Lips: black and thin; close fitting to the jaws.

    Teeth: scissors bite; jaws are strong.

    Eyes: large, dark, almond-shaped, not protruding, low planted; the inner corner of the eye is located at the intersection lines of the skull and muzzle.

    Ears: big, firmly set, slightly offset away from each other. Since Papillon is descendant of Spaniels, there is an assumption that his ears stood up in the XIX century, when Phalene was crossbreed with Dwarf Spitz and Chihuahua. It does not metter how are arranged ears, hanging or oblique, the ends must be rounded.

    Phalene: type of spaniels with hanging ears. At rest, they are set high, considerably higher than the eye line. Hanging part of the ear is long, mobile, covered with long wool.

    Papillon: spaniel type with the standing ears. Highly placed, sent to the parties; ears shell are wide open. The inner edge of the shell forms an angle of approximately 45°. Ears are covered with long wool, on the ends there is dangling fringe.

    Moving ears remind butterfly's wings flapping, because they can move independently of each other.


    Advice for beginner breeders: if you want to save the individuality of Papillon, you should not cross two kind of this breed. Puppies will have semi-erect ears that are folded on the top, but it is a serious defect.

    Neck: dry, set high, slightly arched at the nape.

    Body: strong, straight.

    Loin: strong, slightly arched.

    Chest: broad, deep, a bit flat at the sides. The volume of the chest is equal to the height at the withers at the level of the last two ribs. Ribs are arched.

    Belly: moderately tucked up.

    Tail: long, set high, covered by long hair which forms the fountain. The tail is curled over the back or thigh when the dog is alert.

    Forequarters: straight, short. Shoulders are long, tight to the body. Elbows are well pressed. The pasterns are slightly slanted.

    Hindquarters: strong. Paws are long like of a hare, they are placed at a right angle to the paw pads.

    Claws: black. White nails are permissible for animals with white coat.

    Fingers are motile with strong pads; between the fingers grows long hair that extends beyond the foot and lengthens it.

    Coat: guard hair is thick, wavy, and silky without undercoat.

    On the head, on the face, on the outside of the front limbs and on the underside of the hind limbs hair is short.

    On the body wool is medium length; the collar on the neck smoothly descends to the chest.

    The ears and the back of the front paws are covered with long fringe; on the outside of the thighs wool forms "trousers".

    The wool on the back grows up to 7.5 cm and on the tail up to 15 cm.

    Males should have two testicles fully descended into the scrotum.

    Color of Papillon

    • White - sable (spots are pale lemon, red, the color of mahogany)
    • Black - white
    • Tricolor (black - white and tan, the color must be present on the ears and eyes)
    • Black and tan

    The standard allows the spots of any color except blue. Completely white color or white ears are not acceptable, but white must always prevail in any color.

    On the head and the muzzle is viewed white blaze, spots on the sides are symmetrical.

    As every spaniel, Papillon and Phalene have "freckles" on the muzzle and legs.