How to Identify a Papillon
The papillon is a beautiful dog. It is one of the oldest breeds of toy dogs. It is also sometimes called the “butterfly dog,” “pap,” “continental toy spaniel” or “phalene.” Unlike some toy dogs, the papillon is very active and playful, quick on its feet. The distinguishing characteristic of this dog, from which it gets its name, is the butterfly-like ears.
Observing Physical Characteristics
1. Look at the butterfly-like ears.
The main distinguishing feature of the papillon is the butterfly-like ears, from which this breed derives its name. Papillon means butterfly in French. When the ears are erect, they will form an angle of forty five degrees to the head. They are quite large ears with rounded tips.
- Some papillon have drop type ears, called Phalene, which look similar but tend to droop down.
- The ears, combined with the colors of the head, make its head seem a lot larger than it really is.
2. Observe the dark, round and alert eyes.
The eyes should have an alert expression. They should be dark and round but shouldn't bulge out. The rims of the eyes should be black.
3. Notice the small head and black nose.
The head of a papillon is small. The skull should be slightly rounded between the ears. There is a distinct stop or corner where the muzzle is attached to the skull. The nose is small and black.
- The muzzle will taper down to the nose. The length of muzzle should be about one third of the length of the skull.
- It has a small muzzle, and the eyes are spaced on either of it, rarely with overlap between the eyes and the muzzle.
4. Notice its small stature.
A toy breed, the papillon is generally between eight and eleven inches in height. In fact, it may not be recognized as a papillon if taller than twelve inches. The dog should weigh between five and a half and eleven pounds.
- Look at its size. If you have a massive dog, then you don't have a Papillon. They are generally between 7-10 pounds for males, 6-9 pounds for females.
- They stand about 7-11 inches for both males and females.
5. Observe the coat of white fur with patches of color.
This breed is white with patches of any other color. The other color will generally cover the ears and the eyes. The feel of the coat is fine and silky. You may notice a frill on the chest of the dog. If the dog is properly groomed, the hair on the feet will be cut short and the ears will be fringed. However, is has no undercoat.
- Standard colors include white and black, white and lemon, white and red, white and sable or white black and tan.
- Their coat is described as abundant. It is silky, and it is flat on the sides and the back of the body.
6. Take note of the delicate bone structure.
The papillon has a delicate bone structure. It is light and dainty. It is quite an active, light and quick breed.
7. Look at the rigid tail.
When the tail stands straight up, it should be rigid, and it should arch slightly towards the back. The tail has a lot of fur, generally white, and the skin and bones of the actual tail should not be seen.
8. Confirm your dog's parentage through a pedigree certificate or DNA test.
Order a kit online and follow the instructions to take a cheek swab DNA sample from your dog. Send the sample to the given lab address. The scientists there will analyze the sample and compare it to their database to confirm your papillon's breed.
- If you bought your papillon from a breeder, you can also confirm their parentage by requesting to see the mother and father dog's pedigree certificate.
Watching for Behavioral Traits
1. See if they are unable to sit still for a long time.
Papillon's generally don't like to sit still on a lap or a sofa for too long. They prefer to be running around the house or chasing after a toy. It the dog is sitting still for a long time, it might not be a papillon.
2. Notice playfulness.
The papillon is one of the smartest toy dog breeds. If you leave it alone for a while, it may invent a game to bide the time. If the dog invents a game or seems quite smart for a small dog, it could be a papillon.
- For instance, the dog could invent a game with squeaky balls. They love to hunt and chase, so they may also invent a game with a cat or, if you let them outside, with squirrels or birds.
3. Take note of a smart, independent and active personality.
The papillon is generally a very active dog. It is not very yappy. Although the papillon is a small toy dog, it actually likes to take the lead and can be quite bossy. It can also be quite possessive. However, the papillon is a very smart breed and trains very well if the right methods are used, such as positive reinforcement.
- The papillon is a smart, fun and happy dog at heart.
- The papillon can be a little independent and standoffish.
- Be nice to the little pooch, as it is small and easily injured.
- Do not act roughly around the animal as you check it for the characteristics, or you will develop a bad bond with the dog.