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Papillon Puppies for Sale: Butterfly Details & Other Features

It is easy to underestimate the bold spiritedness of the smallest spaniel, the Papillon. Known for its signature butterfly ears, the Papillon dog for sale brings joy and energy to any home. Fit for active families with other Toy dogs and older children, the Papillon likes it best when she can be an active participant in your everyday activities.

Papillon Breed Overview

The Papillon is thought to have descended from drop-eared Dwarf Spaniels that were around as early as the 1300s. The Papillon’s ancestors likely came from Italy although its proper development occurred in France, Spain, and Belgium. Its main purpose was to serve as a small companion dog, and it was a prominent fixture among the European nobility by the 1500s. The drop-eared version of the Papillon, still known today as the Phalene, was the more coveted of the two varieties until the late 1800s. About this time, the Papillon also arrived in the US where it received AKC recognition in 1935. Papillon means butterfly, and the term Phalene refers to a moth in French.


The size of a Papillon dog for sale is usually between four and nine pounds with a shoulder height of eight to eleven inches. The AKC disqualifies any dog that is over 12 inches tall. A correct Papillon is fine-boned but not as delicate as it appears. The dog should be slightly longer than it is tall. Papillons are unique in that both a fully erect and a completely droopy ear are acceptable. In either case, the ears are large with rounded tips and wide-set. A papillon has round eyes with black rims (except in liver) and a thin, fine snout with a pronounced stop. The muzzle is a third of the length of the rather dome-shaped skull. A Papillon has a medium-length neck, a level topline, well laidback free-moving shoulders, and a moderately-deep chest. Despite its petite size, the Papillon has well-muscled hindquarters that contribute to its expected graceful and free-flowing gait. Finally, the Papillon has a long tail that curls over the back.


Papillon puppies for sale have sparse fuzzy hair without the elaborate feathering that is so classic for the breed. A fully mature coat may not appear until your dog is 15 to 18 months old although it starts coming in at seven to eight months of age. A Papillon has an abundant and silky single layer coat with elaborate feathers on the ears, chest, undercarriage, legs, and tail. Unlike other fathered breeds, Papillons tend to have long frills, especially from the ears. The feathers on the legs have a clear tapered shape, diminishing below the elbows and hocks. Papillons have long luxurious plumes on their tails.


A Papillon must always have a base color of white marked with solid patches of any shade or distributions. Markings on the head are more restrictive according to AKC show standards. Papillons are named for their ears, but they should also have a butterfly pattern on their face. This is achieved by a color other than white encompassing both ears and extending across the head and around the eyes. Many dogs have a white blaze that splits the face and a band around the muzzle. Patches are generally one of the following colors:

  • Red
  • Lemon
  • Black
  • Sable
  • Black & tan

Less common colors are fawn, silver, brown, or liver, and combinations such as black & brown, black & sable, or sable & red.


Despite its appearance, the Papillon is neither a lapdog nor big on cuddling. Papillons are affectionate, moderately to highly active, friendly, and full of joy. Their alertness and sharp bark ensure their effectiveness as watchdogs. They are smart and learn quickly. Papillons enjoy children but are sensitive to rough handling and susceptible to trauma. They do best with older and more careful kids. Papillons are amiable enough to get along well with other dogs, but their bossy nature, disregard for size, and fragility make it imperative that you avoid playdates with large dogs. With their low prey drive, Papillons often make great friends with cats.

Teacup Papillon Puppies for Sale

The first thing you should worry about when considering Teacup Papillon puppies for sale is hypoglycemia. A Papillon is already a small dog, and when you shrink it even further, the puppies, especially, have difficulty regulating their blood sugar. You may also have to concern yourself with an inefficient heart and failing kidneys. Teacup Papillons are commonly under two pounds and are usually the result of generations of breeding runts or miniature papillon puppies. Realize that the risks are not inconsiderable in a dog so small.

The term teacup or miniature can sometimes apply to a standard Papillon, and these are still accurate terms.


A Papillon typically lives 12 to 14 years although a 16-year dog is not unheard of.

Papillon for Sale Near Me

When possible, you should visit any Papillons for sale before your final decision to purchase one. Finding a litter in your locale means there are no obstacles to a face-to-face meeting. Assess the premises for cleanliness and look at the puppies for signs of personality flaws such as fear or aggression and illness showing up as diarrhea or discharge from the eyes or nose. Ideally, breeders should have records of veterinary visits, vaccinations (the first series should be done at least), parasitic control, and certifications on breeding adults. Recommended evaluations for Papillons include the following:

  • Progressive rod/cone disease/progressive retinal atrophy genetic test
  • Eye evaluation
  • Cardiac exam
  • Certification of knees
  • Neuroaxonal dystrophy – a form of lipid storage dysfunction specific to Papillon; genetic test

Basic evaluations may only include tests involving the heart, knees, hips, and eyes. Genetic tests are advanced for many breeders. Papillons can also come from rescues, accidental breeding, humane societies, and adoption events. You can find adults and puppies and may have to pay only for the cost of spaying or neutering, and exam, and vaccinations.


As a Toy breed, Papillons require more calories for their weight than larger dogs. You should plan to feed 36 to 40 calories per pound of body weight or 1.9 to 2.5 ounces of fresh food daily. Like any other dog, a Papillon should get most of its nutrients from meats along with a set proportion of fats or oils, vitamins, and minerals. You can consult with a veterinarian about including carbohydrates. Grains like corn or rice and starches such as potatoes provide alternative and cheap sources of proteins that your dog can process on top of animal-sourced amino acids. Many dog owners opt to stay away from carbs except for fruits and greens. Keep in mind any food sensitivities or intolerances that your dog may have.


Papillons have basic grooming requirements like any other dog.

  • Nail trim monthly
  • Bath every four to eight weeks
  • Clean face daily – damp cloth
  • Clean ears as needed – check for signs of infection every couple of days

You should brush your Papillon twice weekly. Brushing prevents your dog’s long hairs from becoming tangled. Moreover, the feathers on the chest and belly are close to the ground where they easily pick up dirt.


A Papillon requires 30 to 45 minutes of daily exercise. Papillons are full of energy, and because of their tiny size, can often get a lot of their daily exercise needs satisfied inside the home. A couple of walks every day will give your Papillon some of the mental stimulation and adventure she craves. Papillons are remarkably athletic, and there are several activities you can consider combining your efforts to provide physical exertion, mental enrichment, and bonding opportunities.

  • Agility
  • Advanced obedience with trials and competitions
  • Flyball
  • Luring
  • Hiking
  • Short jogs


You may despair of teaching your Papillon anything because the breed is difficult to housebreak. However, you have your dog’s tiny bladder to thank rather than her intelligence for potty accidents in the house as a puppy. Papillons are intelligent, eager to please, and willing to learn. In true spaniel fashion, Papillons are easy to train even for the novice. Take care to avoid trampling on your pet’s sensitive feelings and strive to keep things interesting. Be innovative with repetitions and always approach your dog’s training with patience and gentleness. Papillons have physical as well as emotional sensitivities, so avoid excessive patting.