Among the dwarf spaniels popular in Spain, Italy and France several hundred years ago was one that rose to fame because of the interest of the court of Louis XIV and, later, Marie Antoinette. Eventually, a Bolognese trader named Pilipponi transported hundreds of the dogs over a large area of Europe, spreading the breed's popularity among commoners as well.
The breed was named papillon (French for butterfly) because most of the dogs had beautiful, erect, outspread and well-fringed ears set obliquely on their heads. With these dogs, drooping ears were the exception rather than the rule.
In early times, the papillon was solid in color. Nowadays, white predominates as the ground color, while patches of other colors are in evidence, particularly on the ears. The dog's coat is abundant, silky and straight with a resilient quality. Its tail is carried over the back like a plume, and its neck, shoulders, chest, front legs and the area below the tail are fringed. The dog's eyes are large, dark and expressive and appear to gleam with intelligence.
The papillon is friendly, spirited, alert, graceful and slender, but it's also hardy and playful. It excels at obedience trials