Papillon Reference & Information Resourses

The Papillon: What is it?
Papillon Feeding Instructions
Papillon Basic Care & Grooming Instructions
Papillon Books
Training Books
Health & Diet for Dogs
Internet FAQs
Internet Lists

The Papillon: What Is It?

(The following information was complied by Tracy H. Burdick from various sources)

Often called the "Butterfly Dog" because of its fringed ears that resemble a butterfly's outspread wings, the Papillon (“Paw-Pee-YAWN”) is one of the oldest purebred Toys. It appears in paintings in Italy as far back as the 15th century. In France the court ladies and royal children were frequently painted with a Toy Spaniel pet, as the breed was then known. As the merchant class in the Low Countries (modern Belgium and Holland) became wealthy, the little dwarf spaniel appeared in many family scenes. Gradually painters all over Europe were portraying them. These Toy Spaniels had drooping ears, but otherwise the prettiest of them were unmistakably the same breed we have today. The dropped ear still survives in the variety known as the Phalene (“FAY-leen”), named for a moth that droops its wings, to distinguish it from the erect-eared modern variety—the Papillon or Butterfly dog.

With its unusual ears, waving tail plume, and flowing coat, the Papillon is a standout. It possesses what has been termed "sensible glamour" because the owner does not have to become a slave to preserve its beauty. The Papillon has no doggy odor and its silky coat is not prone to matting. However, Papillons love to be clean and bathing is easy; they wash like an orlon sweater! They have no dense undercoat to shed out twice a year as with most long-haired breeds and the resilient coat texture sheds dirt and dry grass with the touch of a brush. The pet Papillon requires no trimming of the coat, although the bottoms and sides of the feet can be trimmed for a more tidy appearance (this is usually done for the show ring).

The possibilities for color and markings are very nearly unlimited so you will find no two Papillons are exactly alike. For the show ring, the white color should predominate, with color covering both ears and extending over both eyes. Patches of color on the body may be of any size or shape, and of any color including black, tricolor, red, orange, tan, and sable. A symmetrical white blaze and noseband are preferred on the face but not essential for prize winning.

Their height at the top of the shoulder blade averages 8" to 12", with a corresponding weight of 3 to 9 pounds. This is the size range allowed in dog show competition, but smaller and larger individuals do occur infrequently. The delicate tinies can serve as exquisite companions for senior citizens, while the oversized ones with larger, stronger bones make delightful additions to active families with well-behaved children.

The Papillon is generally outgoing and friendly, although how extroverted it will be with strangers varies with how it was raised. Both males and females make equally suitable pets, and of course, should always be neutered or spayed if not destined for the dog show ring. Papillons are generally very social with other animals, and make wonderful companions to other dogs—and cats too. A word of warning though—they ignore all size differential and will entice much larger dogs to play, often with disastrous results. Their preference is to be with people, not only to be cuddled in a lap, but to accompany walks, car trips, TV watching, etc.

Papillons are active, lively dogs, although generally not nervous or yappy. They might alert you when someone is at the door but should quiet down immediately when that person has been admitted as a friend. Most Papillons retain their puppy playfulness to some degree throughout their lives. They travel well (carsickness is rare), and enjoy the attention they draw wherever they go. A Papillon can change homes at any age and if suitably placed, will adjust happily.

This is a relatively healthy breed. Although it cannot claim absolutely no genetic problems (no breed and no species of animal is entirely free of harmful genes) but in comparison with many breeds, the Papillon seems to have no serious problems widespread throughout the population. They are seldom finicky eaters but are not prone to obesity. Contrary to popular belief, they should not grow fat or change their personality after being spayed or neutered.

The Papillon is not considered to be a rare breed, although it is far from common. For 1988 it ranked 67th (among 129 breeds) with 1,209 new registrations with the American Kennel Club. With growing popularity, regrettably, increased numbers are being produced in "puppy mills" for distribution to pet shops. These puppies are raised in deplorable conditions, as cheaply as possible, and often from lines containing serious inheritable defects and questionable pedigree. Luckily, it is still mostly bred by knowledgeable fanciers devoted to protecting its interests and producing stock that is sound of mind and body.

The Papillon’s popularity also has grown at the dog shows because they are easy for novice exhibitors to groom and handle. They also are known to "show themselves" and will catch the judge's eyes by dancing happily on the lead with ears held erect at attention and tail plume waving. Their "trainability" ranks extraordinarily high, enhanced by a strong desire to please; thus, they are rapidly becoming sought after as obedience competition dogs. In comparison to the more common large breeds found in the obedience trials, the Papillon's small size, lively action, and intense attention to their handler always draw a crowd of spectators to ringside. It is one of five top breeds in obedience competition when all its scores and titles are factored in with its registration figures. It has been discovered that the Papillon has exceptional abilities in tracking (following a human scent) and agility (maneuvering a canine obstacle course). The breed also is ideal for service as Hearing Ear Dogs for the deaf and hearing impaired and therapy dogs (visiting hospitals and nursing homes).

It is often said that the Papillon is a big dog in a little dog's body. They can do virtually all that a larger dog can do, but with less effort, upkeep, and space requirements. Truly, their unique beauty goes far beyond their glorious "butterfly" ears.

Papillon Feeding Instructions

The following information protected under US copyright Laws. Copyright 1998, Tracy Halverson Burdick

Type of Food

I recommend feeding a naturally preserved premium dry kibble. Avoid adding water— chewing dry food helps to reduce tartar buildup. For poor eaters or underweight dogs, add more fresh protein. Preferred protein sources are ground beef & turkey, cottage cheese, tofu, cooked eggs, plain yogurt, & cheese. Leftovers from your meals, particularly vegetables, may be added in small amounts, but avoid fatty or sweet foods. If you must add canned dog food to tempt a poor eater, I recommend these: Nutro, Avo, Neura, Eagle, & Old Mother Hubbard—they have no by-products & some contain valuable herbs. Use canned food in very small amounts! Warning: Chocolate is POISONOUS to dogs!

Brand of Food

There are many popular premium dog foods that contain undigestible fillers and poor quality ingredients. Diet is key to good health, so please consider my recommendations after years of study into dog food:

DO NOT FEED THESE BRANDS-- Iams, Eukanuba, Science Diet, regular Purina O.N.E., or any food that contains chemical preservatives (ethoxyquin, BHA, or BHT) artificial coloring or flavoring; soybean meal, peanut hulls, or sucrose. Avoid foods containing meat by-products and ground yellow corn.


Use a measuring cup — don't guess or you may overfeed! If there is food leftover after 15 minutes, you are feeding too much! The amount may need to be decreased with adulthood, maturity, & particularly after spaying as the metabolism changes & less calories are required to maintain proper weight. DO NOT let your your Papillon get fat! This will shorten the lifespan & put extra strain on fine leg bones, the heart, & the kidneys. Record the dog's weight on a calendar monthly to ensure the weight does not creep up slowly & go unnoticed until it becomes a health problem.


I use a supplement daily for all ages of dogs--my favorite is the Oxyfresh Vitamin Rich Pet Antioxidant (tablets or granules) which contain valuable antioxidants, herbs, and vitamins to strengthen the immune system and promote good health, coat growth, stamina, & energy. I also use Oxyfresh Pet Digestive Aid, particularly after any caseof diarrhea, and also for all puppies and seniors, where digestive upsets are common. Other good supplements are Bloom, K-Zyme, Nupro, & Solid Gold.


Dog biscuits may be fed as treats, but in very small amounts & never enough to spoil the appetite for the regular daily meal (try Nutro’s Puppy/Small Dog biscuits). Avoid dog treats that contain sucrose (sugar), artificial colors, or chemical preservatives (BHT, BHA, etc.)—real the label! The best treats are pieces of the dog's regular kibble (from your hand, the dogs think it's a treat!), raw vegetables (especially carrots) or fruits. DO NOT give cooked chicken or pork bones as these can splinter! Remember that all biscuits & treats count up as part of the daily ration & add unnecesary calories for the overweight dog.

Feeding Schedule

Adult dogs are fed once daily (approx. 6 PM); puppies under 7 months are fed twice a day (approx. 8 AM & 6 PM). You can adjust this to fit your schedule. If you feed an adult dog twice a day, be sure to cut the daily amount in half for each portion! DO NOT allow a dog to “free-feed” by leaving a dish of food out at all times. This will cause numerous eating disorders to form. The dog must learn to eat when food is placed down—if it is allowed to nibble all day, it will never develop an appetite or will overeat & become dangerously obese very quickly. When a dog will not eat, it is not hungry, so don’t substitute treats! Allow the dog 15 minutes to eat, then remove uneaten food until the next feeding.

Feeding Location

The very best place for the dog to eat is in its crate--this can be taken along when traveling & always provides a familiar, undisturbed place to eat. Self-feeding, threats of other animals stealing the food, or feeding amidst interruptions will cause eating disorders (overeating or poor appetite). To prevent "begging" at your table, put the dog & its food in the crate (with door shut) while you eat.

Papillon Basic Care & Grooming Instructions

The following information protected under US copyright Laws. Copyright 1998, Tracy Halverson Burdick

Bathing Procedure

The secret to keeping a coat from tangling or matting is keeping it clean! Bathing can be done as often as weekly & should be done at least monthly to keep the skin clean & healthy. Contrary to what your veterinarian may say, frequent bathing does not cause dry skin in Papillons as they do not have the usual oily secretion that other breeds have. This is why they are odorless. Bathing your Papillon is more like a shower than a bath, so don't fill a sink with water for the dog to stand in. Simply wet the dog down, lather, rinse thoroughly.

To prevent water from entering the ear canal, fold & hold the ear leather & head downward while spraying/pouring water from behind the ear. A cotton ball can also be placed inside the ear. Towel dry thoroughly, then dry with a hair dryer, lifting the hair with a pin brush so the air reaches the skin. Be sure the dog cannot jump off a table to escape the dryer (here is where it helps to have two people).

Shampoo & Conditioner

My absolute favorite shampoo is Oxyfresh Pet Shampoo. After trying different products for over 20 years, it is my choice for keeping coats and skin in top condition & eliminate static in the coat. This product also conditions effectively so no creme rinse is needed. Avoid human hair products as their improper pH balance can damage or dry out a dog's coat with repeated use.

Brushing & Combing

Brush with a small oval pin brush with metal pins set in soft rubber & then a small metal comb after brushing to ensure that there are no tangles left in the body coat & featherings. Brushing is not required on a regular basis if baths are given weekly, but regular brushing will encourage coat growth. A pin brush & metal comb can be purchased at most pet stores; do not use a pin brush with rubber balls on the tips.

Coat Trimming

It is not necessary to clip or trim the Papillon's coat. However, some trimming is helpful to maintain cleanliness & a tidy appearance. The feet will look more dainty & track in less dirt if the hair is trimmed from the sides, back, & bottoms. Generally the long tufts on the top/front of the foot is left on to encourge the breed's unique "hare foot" appearance. Hair on the lower chest, stomach, & inner thighs can be removed in the summertime so the dog is cooler. Trim off any hair that collects urine or feces, such as stomachs on males, long culottes on females, anal area on either sex. Note: avoid excess trimming on show dogs as they should not appear trimmed in the show ring, except for bottoms & sides of feet.


Before every bath, trim the toenails with a cat or dog nail clipper, available at any pet store. Long nails make walking uncomfortable & can catch on things & tear, so they MUST be trimmed regularly. If you fear trimming too close & making them bleed, buy some "Quik Stop" (a styptic powder to stop bleeding) at a pet store. If you feel you cannot handle this procedure yourself, get a monthly appointment with your veterinarian for a nail trim.


Check teeth frequently to be sure there is no tartar, loose teeth, or inflamed gums. A dog toothbush with Oxyfresh Pet Gel toothpaste should be used on a regular basis--daily is best! Get a tooth scaler from your vet & learn to use it. To prevent struggling, wrap the dog in a large towel & talk in soothing tones while scaling teeth. Reward with special treats afterwards. Your vet may be needed periodically for ultrasonic cleaning & polishing but this requires anesthesia—always a potential danger.

Make dental care part of the weekly bathing/grooming routine. Use Oxyfresh Pet Deodorizer in your dog's drinking water daily to reduce plaque buildup and control odor. Tartar buildup can cause early loss of teeth, oral infections, & peridontal disease which can lead to premature kidney and heart failure. The effort put into keeping your dog's teeth clean will save you lots of vet bills, provide fresher breath, & lengthen the dog's life.


The dust we kick up at ground level in the home can cause excessive tearing, as can periods of stress or illness. Just wipe the eyes with a damp cotton ball when necessary. Eye infections are uncommon, but can occur & will require veterinarian treatment.


Papillon ears require little care other than occasional cleaning with a moistened cotton swab. DO NOT clean where you cannot easily see! Ear infections are very rare.

Anal Glands

These small sacs on each side of the anus must be emptied on a periodic basis & bathtime is ideal for this procedure. Your veterinarian or a dog groomer can show you how it's done or you may prefer to ask the vet to do this whenever you have the dog in for shots or other visits. If this is not done, the sacs can rupture & then will require immediate veterinarian treatment. "Scooting" across the floor is generally an indication that the sacs need to be emptied.

Flea Control

In you live in an area with a flea problem, ask your vet about the flea pill "Program". Control of serious infestations may require routine spraying of the yard & house (see an exterminator for help). DO NOT use flea collars, except in your vacuum cleaner bag—they are too potent for toy dogs. Finding fleas in Papillon coats is easy as there is no undercoat for them to hide in. Regular grooming & bathing with a shampoo containing "pyrethrines" is the best preventative.

Here are some sources for Papillon information

Papillon Books


by Carolyn & David Roe (England). Good reference book on the breed. Contains broad overview of history, care and training, breeding, showing, first aid, and bloodlines around the world; but not in depth on any topic. Plenty of excellent b/w photos. ©1992, hardbound, 160 pgs. OUT OF PRINT—May find at out-of-print and rare book dealers. Copies may be available from 4-M Enterprises, 1-800-487-9867,


by Papillon Club of America, Inc. The AKC breed standard with illustrations to help visualize the ideal qualities of the breed, as well as common faults. $5.00, (checks payable to Papillon Club of America), available only froim: Sandra Schumacher, 3417-13th Avenue So., Great Falls, MT 59405.

Papillons & Other Friends

by Gwen Swann. Reminiscences of a breeder of Papillons for over 60 years, covers the history and standard of the breed in Britain and the U.S. Loaded with 200 b/w photos of Papillons and the drop-eared Phalene variety. ©1992, hardbound, 186 pages. $39.95. Available from 4-M Enterprises, 1-800-487-9867


by Hoflin Publishing, Inc. Annual compilation of breed information. Contains interviews with noted Papillon breeders and trainers; Greats of the Past, annual U.S. rankings of conformation, obedience, top producers, and top breeders; many breeder/kennel advertisements and photos; special features; and general interest articles. ©1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998. $40.00 per annual issue. Available from 4-M Enterprises, 1-800-487-9867


by Clarice Waud & Mark Hutchings. Considered the "bible" of the breed to date. Thoroughly covers the history and development of the breed in all countries as well as influential breeders throughout the world. Includes care, breeding, showing, exporting, pet ownership, and more. Filled with exquisite b/w and color pictures, extensive appendixes. ©1985, hardbound, 300 pages. OUT OF PRINT—$75.00 while supplies last. Copies may still be available from 4-M Enterprises, 1-800-487-986


by Virginia Newton. This is an ideal introductory book for the new Papillon owner or anyone considering one as a companion. It provides a wealth of Papillon-specific information on basic care, grooming, training, safety concerns, etc., and gives valuable advice on how to find and purchase a Papillon. With several b/w photos and sketches. ©1989, 99 pages. $29.00 hardbound, $24.00 paperback (checks payable to Papillon Club of America), available only from: Sandra Schumacher, 3417-13th Avenue So., Great Falls, MT 59405.


by Mrs. D. Christian Gauss. The classic "pet store" book. Adapted from a 1960 version, it has limited Papillon-specific information. Mostly contains material used for all books in this series, regardless of the breed. Several b/w and color photos, mostly of pet Papillons. ©1990, hardbound. $9.95. Available from 4-M Enterprises, 1-800-487-9867

Papillon Club of America FIVE YEAR Handbook 1991-1995

Kennel/breeder ads, breed history update (BIS, National Specialty & obedience winners, top producers) for 1991-95, tons of b/w photographs. ©1996, soft/spiral bound, 351 pgs. $20 (checks payable to Papillon Club of America), available only from: Sandra Schumacher, 3417-13th Avenue So., Great Falls, MT 59405.

Papillon Club of America FIVE YEAR Handbook 1985-1990

Same as above but covers 1985-90. ©1991, soft/spiral bound, 310 pgs. OUT OF PRINT--$15 while supplies last.

Training Books

Competitive Obedience Training for the Small Dog

by Barbara Cecil & Gerianne Darnell. Special techniques for training small dogs. Covers novice through utility and includes sources of special equipment. Both authors are long-time trainers and exhibitors of top-winning obedience competition Papillons. ©1994, paperback. $19.95 (DBS) $20.00 (4-M)


by M.L. Smith. Yes! It is possible to train your dog to "do its business" on verbal command. Over 15,000 dogs have been trained during the past 10 years with this remarkably easy and rapid technique. © 1984, paperback. $6.95 (DBS), $5.95 (4-M)

Positively Obedience

Good Manners For The Family Dog by Barbara Handler. Covers practical, positive, non-violent ways to train the family dog without the unnecessary obedience exercises you will never use. © 1987, paperback. $10.95 (4-M)


by Kathy Diamond Davis. Dogs can reach out to the elderly, disabled and children as therapy dogs. Everything you need to train your dog to work in a care-giving facility. © 1992, 256 pgs. $25.95 (DBS & 4-M)

Direct Book Service (DBS)

1-800-776-2665 4-M Enterprises, Inc. (4-M ) 1-800-487-9867 Email: Email:



1-919-233-9780 5580 Centerview Drive, Raleigh, NC 27606-3390 Overflowing with information and photos covering all aspects of dog care and ownership, including health issues, showing, training, behavior, grooming, breed history, breedings, breed-specific columns, AKC news, etc. This is the ultimate purebred dog magazine! $29.95 for 12 monthly issues (includes free Events Calendar giving details on every upcoming AKC dog show and performance event held nationwide)


Monthly newsletter of the Papillon Club of America—available to PCA members only (Contact Tracy Burdick for membership application and further information)


Newsletter designed primarily for pet owners, with articles of general interest. Subscription rate: $20.00 (US or Cdn funds) annual (6 issues). Belle Darris, editor, 35 Brookside Crescent, RR #1, Kentville, Nova Scotia, Canada B4N 3V7. Phone (902) 678-1882. Email:



Explanation of the Papillon breed standard, using various Papillons to illustrate attributes and faults, including preferred markings, coat, movement, structure, size, etc. 21 minutes. $35.00 (4-M). Also available directly from the AKC.

Health & Diet for Dogs

"API's Investigative Report on Pet Food"

by the Animal Protection Institute (API) This report is an honest, enlightening, in-depth report regarding the commercial cat/dog food industry in the U.S., written by a non-profit organization dedicated to informing and educating the public in order to encourage the humane treatment of all animals. Available free of charge; order by phone: 1-800-348-7387, email:, or website:

Dr. Pitcairn's Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs & Cats

by Richard Pitcairn DVM Whether you are just starting out on your quest for better health for your pet or are already applying holistic methods, this is the classic natural pet care book. Will help you understand and apply all kinds of natural health therapies including vitamins, herbs, homeopathic remedies, and making your own pet food. Every pet owner should have this on hand! ©1995, paperback.  $16.95 (DBS & 4-M) Also available in most health food stores


by Volhard & Brown Learn how to use alternative therapies for your dog's health and behavior problems. Acupressure, acupuncture, ionized water, homoeopathy, chiropractic to name a few. Includes Volhard's "Back to Basics" homemade dog food program. Anyone interested in holistic veterinary care needs this! ©1995, 287 pages. $24.95 (DBS & 4-M)

Back To Basics, The Natural Diet--A Guide to a Balanced, Homemade Dog Food

by Wendy Volhard Control what is in your dog's food by making your own. It's easier than you think. Contents include nutritional requirements for young and adult dogs, and many easy-to-prepare recipes. Useful for dealing with allergies. ©1994, 30 pages. $8.00 (DBS), $7.00 (4-M)


by Linda Tellington-Jones Revolutionary natural method that promotes healing, training, and communicating with your pet. TTouch combines may advantages of traditional veterinary medicine with therapeutic body work. Improves or corrects aggression, submissive urination, artritis, barking, biting, licking, fear, itching, car sickness, and more. Here is the story of how techniques evolved. Last chapter describes techniques. ©1992, 177 pages. $11.95 (DBS & 4-M)


by Linda Tellington-Jones The TTouch uses light stroking techniques to help calm animals, restore confidence, ease pain and tension. The book tells the story of how Linda developed her techniques by working with every species of animal imaginable. The videos are the best way to learn to do the touches and they come with additional instructional material to make the information even easier to put into use! ©1994, video 84 Min. $39.95 (DBS)

Internet FAQs

There are nearly 100 FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) available for dogs. For a complete listing, get the "Complete List of RPD FAQs", posted bimonthly in rec.pets.dogs, and is available via the Web at, or via email by sending a message to with: send usenet/news.answers/dogs-faq/faq-list in the body of the message.

The Papillon FAQ contains a great deal of useful information about the breed. The address is:

Internet Lists

An Email list is a method of discussion among people with similar interests. Lists are FREE. Once you subscribe, you can send and receive email from the list. If you send a message to the list, it is transmitted to all subscribers on the list (often hundreds). Some lists have only a few messages a week, some have many messages per day. If the traffic is too much for you, you can elect to receive a "digest" form (1-2 emails a day instead of every message being sent separately).

For a complete list of dog-related email lists by email, send a message to: with the following commnd in the body of the message: send usenet/news.answers/dogs-faq/email-lists


This list is devoted to the discussion of the Papillon and open to all Papillon owners, prospective owners, breeders, exhibitors, or anyone with an interest in the breed. Anything related to Papillons may be discussed, along with questions, brags, friendly chat, etc. The list also hopes to meet public education needs, foster ethical breeding practices, and promote responsible dog ownership.

To subscribe:

Send email message to: LISTSERV@APPLE.EASE.LSOFT.COM

Leave subject line blank In body of message, type: SUBSCRIBE Papillon-L YourNameHere


A friendly exchange of any and all topics for those who are devoted to the Papillon dog. This list is for those who respect both the freedom of speech and the feelings of others. There is no boss, the list is a self governing democratic entity. New members are subject to acceptance by the current members. You can visit the Butterflynet homepage at:

To subscribe:

Go to :

Note: you will have to register with ONElist before subscribing to Butterflynet. It is VERY easy & simple to do.


Mary Salvail & her friend's Papillon list provides an informative yet entertaining Internet discussion forum for pet owners, prospective owners, and breeders of Papillons to discuss their dogs in an unrestricted environment.

To join, send a Email to:

Leave the subject line blank, and in the body of the message, put: Subscribe papfriends-l ( That is the letter "L" and not the number "ONE")or Subscribe papfriends-l-digest



This list is devoted to the care and well being of our senior dog buddies. It is open to all breeds and anyone with an interest in the older dog. To subscribe: Send email message to: Leave subject line blank In body of message, type: subscribe SENIOR-L your-name