top of page


GENERAL APPEARANCE : Small luxury spaniel, of normal and harmonious build, with long hair; muzzle moderately long and shorter than the skull; of a lively personality, graceful but robust. Proud carriage with an easy and elegant movement. His body is slightly longer than he is tall.

Personality:  Active, alert and agile.

Energy Level : Very Active.  This dog is active and energetic, and needs daily exercise.  

Good with children:  Yes.


Good with other dogs:  With supervision.


Grooming:  Seasonal.


Life Expectancy : 13-16  years old.

Bark level:  High.


The name Papillon is the French word for butterfly because the face and ears of this energetic dog resemble a butterfly. The Papillon has its roots in the spaniel which were so popular throughout Europe since the 16th century. These small dogs were extremely popular with the nobility, as a hobby, Spain and Italy became the breeding and trading centers for spaniels. The court of Louis XIV of France liked Papillons and imported many of them. At one time the Papillon became known as the Squirrel Spaniel because it carried its feathered tail over its back in the same way a squirrel does. These early dogs had droopy ears, but through some unknown event, some dogs came to have their ears pricked up. Both types of ears can be found in the same litter. To this day both ear types are equally accepted, although the raised-eared dog is much more popular. In the United States, the floppy-eared Papillon is known as the Phalene, which is French for moth, while in Europe it is called the epagneul nain or toy continental spaniel. By 1900, the Papillon was well represented at French dog shows and soon after it was being shown in England and America.
These earlier shows tended to be larger than those seen today and were usually solid-colored dogs, usually some shade of red. Selective breeding has resulted in a smaller dog that is distinguished by its striking colors broken by patches of white. A face symmetrically marked with white spotting contributes to the appearance of the butterfly. The Papillon has become one of the most popular toy dogs, functioning equally as a lovable pet, famous in shows and obedient.

Country of Origin: France, Belgium.

BEHAVIOR AND TEMPERAMENT:  Gentle, kind and playful. He is friendly with strangers and is great for kids.

HEAD:  In normal proportion to the body and proportionately lighter and shorter than the large or medium sized Spaniel.


Skull: Not too round, either in profile or front, sometimes showing a slight median groove.

Stop : Sufficiently severe depression. In heavier dogs, this depression is less evident, however, still defined. In very small dogs depression is clearly marked without showing a sudden depression.



Snout:  Shorter than the skull, thin, pointed and not too concave on the sides; must not be upturned.

Truffle:  Small, black and round, but slightly flattened at the top.

Jaws and Teeth:  Very strong; normally well adjusted.

Lips: Strongly pigmented, thin and adherent.

Eyes: Very large, wide open, large almond shaped, not prominent, set low on head; the inner corner is at the intersection of the skull and the muzzle. Dark in color and very expressive, heavily pigmented eyelids.

Ears : Fairly fine, but firm. Whether slanting ears or hanging ears, when examined by hand, the cartilage should not end up in a very sharp point. The ears are set far back, far enough apart to show the slightly rounded shape of the skull.


• Variety of floppy ears, called: PHALENE. The resting ear is set high, considerably higher than the eye line, carried pendulously and quite mobile. Furnished with wavy hair that can reach a good length, giving the dog a beautiful appearance.


• Variety of erect ears, called: PAPILLON The ear is set high, the auricular cavity wide open and lateral; the inner edge of the pinna forms an angle of approximately 45° with the horizontal. By no means should the ear point upwards, which would be like a Spitz-type ear and which should definitely be rejected. The inner part of the pinna is covered with fine hairs, also wavy. Longer hairs slightly extend beyond the edge of the ear; the external face, on the contrary, is covered by long hairs that form drooping fringes, well beyond the edges of the ears. Crossing between the two varieties often produces semi-erect ears with drooping tips; this mixed form of ear carriage is a serious defect.

NECK :  Moderately long, slightly arched at the nape of the neck.


Topline: Neither too short or arched, nor sealed, but not flat.


Loin: Solid and slightly arched.


Chest: Broad, well let down. The circumference of the chest, measured between the last two ribs, should be approximately equivalent to the height at the withers. Ribs well sprung.


Bottom line: Slightly tucked up.


TAIL: Set on very high, quite long, abundant fringe forming a beautiful plumage. When the dog is in action, the tail is carried raised along the line of the back, and, curved, the end can touch the back; should never be rolled up or laid on the back.

  • LIMBS: Straight, firm and thin legs. The dog must not appear wading; viewed from the front or rear, the limbs are parallel.




Shoulders: Well developed and well adjusted to the torso.


Arms: Equal in length to the shoulder, normally at an angle to the scapula and well attached to the trunk.


Pasterns: Apparent, in profile.


Hock joint: Normally bent.


Feet: Quite long, called “hare feet”, upright on their pads. Strong nails, preferably black, lighter in brown or white dogs (white nails in white dogs or dogs with white legs are not considered a fault if the dog is well pigmented in all other areas. The toes are strong with a resistant pad, well covered by fine hairs between them, extending beyond the tip of the paw and forming a point.

  • GAIT/MOVEMENT: Proud, free, easy and elegant.




Hair: No undercoat; it is abundant, lustrous, wavy (not to be confused with curly), without being soft, but slightly resistant to the touch, with silky reflections. The hairs are inserted flat; they are thin, slightly curved by the waves. The appearance of the coat is similar to that of the English Toy Spaniel but it differs entirely from the coat of the Pekingese Spaniel; on the other hand, it should bear no resemblance to the Spitz coat. The hair is short on the face, on the muzzle, in front of the forelegs below the hock. Of medium length on the body, it is longer on the neck to form a mane, which descends in undulations to the chest forming a jabot; forming fringes on the ears; on the back of the thighs it forms a wide breeches with soft hair. It may have a small tuft of hair between the toes and go over it slightly, so that it does not give the paws a heavy appearance, but rather a thin appearance, making them longer. Certain dogs in good coat condition have a hair of 7.5 cm long at the withers and fringes of 15 cm on the tail.


COLOR: All colors are acceptable in a coat on a white background. On the trunk and limbs, white should be predominant in relation to color. The white on the head, preferably extended by a more or less wide band. A white spot is allowed on the underside of the head, but the dominant white on the head is a fault. In all cases, the lips, eyelids and especially the nose must be pigmented.

SIZE:  Height at the withers: About 28 cm.


WEIGHT: Two categories: 1) Less than 2.5 kg for males and females. 2) From 2.5 kg – 4.5 kg for males. From 2.5 kg – 5 kg for females. Minimum weight: 1.5 kg

  • FAULTS  

Any deviation from this standard should be considered a fault and penalized in exact proportion to its severity and its effects on the health and well being of the dog.  



• Aggressiveness or excessive shyness.

• Any dog that shows any sign of physical or behavioral anomaly must be disqualified.

• Atypical dogs.

bottom of page