The Papillon (pronounced Pappy-Yon) is one of the oldest toy breeds. The "Papillon" is the French word for butterfly, and the dogs were named for the shape and position of their ears which when erect, resemble the spread wings of a butterfly.
The Papillon's general apperance is that of a small, friendly, alert and elegant Toy Dog of fine boned structure, with light, graceful and lively action. Papillon's may be as small as 8" and as tall as 11". The weight of a mature dog around 25 cm (10") in height is 3 to 4 kg (6 and 8 pounds approx.).
Papillons are always parti-coloured being predominately white with patches of any other colour except liver. The colour should cover both ears and both eyes. A central white blaze on the head is preferred, as it represents the body of the butterfly, but it is not essential. Patches of colour on the body may be present or absent.
Papillons are inquisitive and fun loving refusing to believe that they are small dogs. They like nothing better than a romp with a ball, or a walk in the country where they can chase a butterfly, a bird or a squirrel and investigate the world around them. They are long-lived, remarkably resistant to disease, and retain their playfulness right into old age. Their acute hearing makes them excellent watchdogs and they will soon let you know when a stranger is around. However, they are not persistent barkers and once visitors are inside the house and the greetings are over, they will return to their favorite spot and lie down quietly. Coat care is minimal, for Papillons have silky hair that sheds the dirt easily. There is no need for trimming, and as there is no undercoat there is little shedding. A gentle but thorough brushing once or twice a week and a bath every month or so is all that is required. They keep themselves very clean and have no doggy odor. Regular trimming of toe nails is required.
Papillons are naturally eager to please and are devoted to their owners, preferring to have them within sight at all times. Their exceptional intelligence and easy trainability have placed them at the top of the Toy Breeds in Obedience and agility.