7 Facts About Papillons You Probably Didn’t Know

Written by: Arlene D.
| Published on May 18, 2023

The Papillon, a charming and elegant toy breed, is known for its distinctive butterfly-like ears and lively demeanor. Yet, there’s more to these delightful dogs than meets the eye. Here are seven lesser-known facts about Papillons that will surprise and fascinate dog enthusiasts.

  1. Historical Favorites

The Papillon, one of the oldest toy Spaniels, dates back over 700 years and has strong connections to European nobility. They were favorites among royalty and featured prominently in paintings by renowned artists like Rubens and Van Dyke. Queen Marie Antoinette was said to have walked to the guillotine clutching her small Papillon.

  1. Two Varieties

Papillons are known for their upright, butterfly-like ears (Papillon means “butterfly” in French), but not all of them have this feature. Some have dropped ears and are known as Phalène Papillons, or “moth” Papillons. Both types can be born in the same litter.

  1. More Than a Pretty Face

Despite their diminutive size and delicate appearance, Papillons are more than capable athletes. They excel in many dog sports, including agility, obedience, and tracking. Their intelligence and desire to please make them surprisingly good competitors.

  1. Long Lifespan

Papillons are a generally healthy breed with a longer-than-average lifespan for canines. It’s not uncommon for Papillons to live well into their late teens, with many reaching 16 or 17 years of age, and some even celebrating their 20th birthdays!

  1. Extroverted Companions

While some small breeds are known for being shy or nervous, Papillons are usually outgoing and friendly. They enjoy being around people and other animals, often getting along well with cats and other dogs. This social nature makes them excellent companion animals.

  1. Not Your Typical Lap Dogs

While Papillons are small and love to spend time with their people, they are not your typical lap dogs. They are active, intelligent, and curious, preferring to explore their surroundings rather than sit idly. They need regular mental stimulation and physical activity to keep them happy.

  1. Noteworthy Vocalists

Papillons have a broader vocal range than many other breeds. They don’t just bark; they also whine, chirp, and make other unique noises to express their feelings or capture your attention. While this can be endearing, it also means potential Papillon owners should be prepared for a more “talkative” companion.

In conclusion, the Papillon breed, loved for its beauty, companionship, and distinctive ears, boasts a history and set of characteristics that make it a truly unique breed. From their noble roots and surprising athletic ability to their extroverted personalities and vocal expressiveness, these lesser-known facts highlight the rich complexity of the Papillon. The breed’s longevity and active nature defy the stereotypes of small dogs, making Papillons fascinating subjects, whether you’re a prospective owner or a curious dog lover.

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