Also known as the butterfly dog, the papillon is a small dog with alert, upright ears and a long silky coat.

Papillon Breed Group


Size of the Papillon


Country of origin

France and Belgium

Time of original development

The exact date of origin of the Papillon is unclear; however, the breed can be traced back in history over 700 years.

Papillon Breed introduction and overview

The Papillon is a small, lightly-boned dog with large prick ears. It is also known as the butterfly dog. It's a small dog with a huge personality and full of confidence. The Papillon excels at agility, but is equally happy being a lap-dog and curling up in front of the fire.

Colour varieties of the Papillon

The breed comes in a variety of colours which include:

  • Black & White
  • Dark Red & White
  • Dark Red Sable & White
  • Dark Sable & White
  • Dark Shaded Sable & White
  • Lemon & White
  • Lemon Sable & White
  • Pale Red & White
  • Pale Red Sable & White
  • Red & White
  • Red Sable & White
  • Sable & White
  • Silver & White
  • Silver Sable & White
  • Tricolour

Size and weight of the Papillon

Height bitch 20-28cms
Height dog 20-28cms
Weight (kilos) bitch 3-4kgs
Weight (kilos) dog 4-5kgs

Exercise requirements of the Papillon

The Papillon requires around 30 minutes to an hour of exercise every day. It is a small dog, making it an ideal choice for older and less active owners. It can live quite happily in an apartment if it receives an adequate amount of exercise.

Papillon temperament, socialisation with children, other dogs and other pets

The Papillon may be a small dog, but it has a bold, confident temperament. Early socialisation is vital to prevent behavioural and aggressive behaviour. Papillons can be snappy with other dogs, and indeed humans. Owners should be careful about selecting this breed if they have small children. Papillons should also be kept away from cats and other small pets.

The Papillon can be wary of strangers, and tends to make a good guard dog around the home.

Is the Papillon a good dog for a first time dog owner?

Yes, the Papillon is intelligent, eager to learn and responds well to training. Potential owners should be aware that this breed can be snappy and aggressive. New owners to the breed should also be prepared to devote time each day to grooming this dog.

Papillon coat length

The Papillon has a single coat that is long, straight and silky and includes longer featherings on the ears.

Grooming requirements of the Papillon

The long silky coat requires daily combing or brushing with a soft slicker brush to keep the coat tangle-free. Your Papillon may require professional grooming and trimming twice a year.

Ears should be checked daily and cleaned regularly with a medicated ear cleaner.


No. The Papillon sheds hair steadily throughout the year, making it an unsuitable choice of dog for allergy sufferers.

Health issues in the Papillon

The Papillon is a fairly healthy dog, but owners should check with their breeders about the health issues and problems in the breed including:

  • Allergies
  • Dental problems
  • Progressive retinal atrophy
  • Intervertebral disc disease
  • Patellar luxation
  • Seizures

As with all pedigree dogs, it is very important to obtain a puppy from a reputable source where you can be guaranteed that it has been bred with a view to avoiding the inherent physical and psychological diseases of the breed.

Average lifespan of the Papillon

A healthy Papillon should enjoy a long lifespan of between 11-17 years.

Approximate Papillon pedigree puppy price

Expect to pay around £600-£800 for pedigree Papillon puppy, and litters are frequently available. Litter sizes are quite small, and 1-4 puppies tends to be the average size of an average litter.

Estimating how much a Papillon would need to be fed each day

A bitch weighing 4kgs requires 108gms of complete dry food daily.
A dog weighing 5kgs requires 123gms of complete dry food daily.
A bitch weighing 4kgs will cost around £2.60 a week to feed.
A dog weighing 5kgs will cost around £3.00 a week to feed.

Our figures are based on feeding an above average quality and popular complete dry food bought from a leading supermarket. A good quality feed is suggested for the energetic dogs in the gundog group.

Other financial costs to consider when owning any dog breed

Remember to budget for essential pet treatments and procedures that are not covered by pet insurance policies including:

  • Worming and fleas preparations
  • Annual vaccination boosters
  • Neutering or spaying
  • Microchipping
  • Dental treatment