Many theories have been put forward as to the origin of the Papillon, however it is generally accepted that it is descended from the European Toy Spaniels which feature in many of the Court Paintings from the 15th Century onwards. These Toy Spaniels were firm favourites with ladies of the Court and indeed it is rumoured that Marie Antoinette's own Toy Spaniel accompanied her to the guillotine. The Breed has two countries listed as its home, France and Belgium, and in both of these countries it is known as the Continental Toy Spaniel. The original Papillon was 'drop-eared' and whilst today the 'erect eared' Papillon (meaning 'butterfly') is by far the more popular, the drop-eared variety remains and are known as Phalenes (meaning 'moth'). Whilst the Phalene variety enjoys more popularity in Europe, in recent years more interest in this variety has been seen in the UK and the USA.
The Papillon is a happy lively little dog, extremely intelligent and quite certain in its own mind that it is really a large dog in a small body. It has a lively and outgoing temperament and should show no signs at all of aggressiveness. It is quite happy enjoying long walks with its owner and equally content curling up in front of the fireplace at home, or more usually on its favourite chair. It comes in a variety of colours, the most common being black and white, red (or sable) and white and tri-colour. Its long coat, the texture of which should be silky and fine, needs little attention, a few minutes a day should suffice, ensuring no tangles have developed especially under forearms, ear fringes and trousers. And like most dogs Papillons will from time to time shed their coats, however regular grooming will ensure this collects on the brush rather than on your carpet!!
The Papillon is a relatively healthy breed and whilst Patella Luxation and more recently P R A have appeared in the breed as a general rule the breed is sound.