At a glance, papillons are happy, outgoing, and seemingly enjoy being lap dogs as much as they love running laps around the house. What’s not to love about these adorable descendants of European toy spaniels?
While they are known to be lively and energetic, papillons are relatively easy to care for. But their floppy upright butterfly ears and great temperament aren’t the only distinguishing characteristics of these lovable companion dogs. You may be surprised to learn that these dogs pack a lot in their small packaging!
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The Fancy Facts of Papillons
- Classic Companions: It’s unclear where papillons derived from, though the name is French. Smaller spaniels that resemble the papillon date back to as early as the 1200s in Europe. Some believe that the breed originated in China or Japan, but others believe there is no relation to Asian influence at all. While today papillons are often portrayed as loving companions to the wealthy, they actually make great family pets. They enjoy playing with children and get along well with other household pets including cats and even larger dogs.
- Butterfly Beauties: The word papillon means ‘butterfly’, so it’s no wonder where the breed inherits their name from. One look at the breed’s fringed upright ears and you can easily see their resemblance to a butterfly’s outspread wings. In addition to their unique ears, they have a long flowing coat which adds to their elegance and grace.
- Smart and Trainable: Papillons are so much more than ornamental lap dogs! Of course, it’s helpful that they are agile and natural retrievers, they also are known for their ability to be trained to do almost anything from dog sports, and tricks for the ring. A papillon even won the prestigious Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in 1999. They are considered to be the most popular toy breed when it comes to obedience, and among all breeds, they rank 8th for intelligence.
- Lively Personalities: Papillons are loveable, outgoing and energetic. They are fluffy little love bugs and can be just as happy sitting on your lap as they are energetically running around. Papillons are inquisitive and love being around people. Known for giving love and kisses all around, papillons have no problem protecting their companions with their big-dog attitude.
- Therapy Dogs: Because of the love they give and their smart demeanor, papillons make great therapy and service dogs! Whether they’re trained for hearing assistance or therapy, they are always alert and quick to sense the mood of their companion.
- Low Maintenance: Papillons are very low maintenance dogs. Their hair, if combed once or twice a week isn’t prone to matting. Because of their size, they require less food than larger dogs, and the best part is they have no lingering doggy odor.
- Long Healthy Lifespan: In most cases, this breed is relatively healthy but like most purebred dogs, they are prone to their own individual health concerns. Some of the more common concerns for this breed are floating kneecaps (patellar luxation), low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), collapsed trachea, and a degenerative eye disorder known as progressive retinal atrophy (PRA). Even so, the average lifespan of a papillon ranges from 12-17 years.
Papillons are sure to entertain you with their love and energy. With all the greatness these dogs have to offer, what’s not to love about this perfect pet? Check out TruDog’s ultimate guide to learn more about caring for your Papillon.