The name "Papillon" means "butterfly" and it's easy to see where the name comes. For such a delicate little dog, they have very large erect ears exaggerated by long fringes.
They are a fine-boned little dog with a slightly rounded head and those distinctive ears. Occasionally, Papillons have ears with drop tips. They are called Phalene Papillons (moth). Their tail is carried over their back with long hair that fountains down and they come in white with coloured patches and a coloured mask.
They are one of the oldest breeds of dog and were always a companion. The original dog, known as the Dwarf Spaniel, had drop ears like Phalenes. The erect ears and change of name came later.
They can be a charming dog: friendly, intelligent, playful and proud. They are very trainable and can be good at agility, obedience and learning tricks. They are naturally people, children and animal friendly. They are a good watchdog too. They are fairly active indoors but are tougher than they look and enjoy a good daily walk outside.
The silky coat needs daily brushing and combing and occasional bathing. Teeth need regular cleaning as they are particularly prone to building up tartar. They can be prone to kneecap problems and some have difficulty under anaesthesia. Occasionally, their fontanel (soft spot in the skull) does not close properly.