Group: Group 1 (Toys)
General Appearance: This dainty, balanced little toy dog should have an attractive head, an alert bearing and an intelligent and lively expression.
Movement should be sound, light and free and not cramped or restricted in any way.
The AKC Standard expresses it thus: “The Papillon is a small, friendly, elegant toy dog of fine boned structure, light, dainty, of lively action; distinguished from other breeds by its beautiful butterfly-like ears.”
The Papillon is a normally built little dog which should be harmonious in construction and balanced in all respects but one: his ears... his large, high-set, obliquely carried, heavily fringed ears
Characteristics: This dainty, balanced little toy dog should have an attractive head, an alert bearing and an intelligent and lively expression.
Temperament: The current UK standard says “Lively, intelligent, friendly, with no aggression; always alert.” The AKC version states “Happy, alert and friendly. Neither shy or aggressive.” To these accurate descriptions we could also add “actively curious, outgoing and vivacious”. Shyness, snappiness or sullenness are not Papillon traits and should be penalized. In fact, any aggressive behaviour whatever the age, should see an exhibit non-awarded.
Head And Skull: The skull slightly rounded between the ears, the muzzle finely pointed and abruptly thinner than the skull accentuating the stop which should be well defined. Length from tip of the nose to the stop approximately a third length of the head. Nose should be black.
Eyes: Of medium size, rounded, dark in colour, placed rather low in the head and should not bulge.
The eyes of the Papillon contribute so much to the overall general appearance required, that their importance cannot be stressed too much. They must be of a very dark brown, almost black colour and rounded in shape, conveying alertness, intelligence and a lively sparkling look.
The expression of the Papillon is extremely sweet and quite mischievous, due in no small way to the medium size, rounded shape and dark colour of the eyes and their placement in the head. The eyes are set well apart in fully pigmented rims with the corner of the eye in line with the stop and looking rather forward; rounded, but not too round, never too large or bulging, nor almond shaped, nor small. These faults take away the typical sweet Papillon expression. Care should be taken when judging not to have the dogs looking directly into the sun or facing a wind as these factors can cause them to squint their eyes.
Ears: The ears should be large and mobile with rounded tips, heavily fringed, set towards the back of the head far enough apart to show the slightly rounded shape of the skull. The ears must be completely erect or dropped. When the ears are erect they must be carried obliquely like the spread wings of a butterfly, therefore the name, Papillon. When the ears are dropped they must be completely dropped, and this type is known as the Phalene (moth).
The ears are unquestionably the outstanding feature of the breed, as indicated by its name, either Papillon (Butterfly) or Phalene (Moth). It is interesting to see the different descriptions of exactly the same ears in the US and FCI Standards. The latter is the only one to go into detail about the Phalene. Age (adolescent) and colour may affect the amount of fringing
AKC Standard: The ears of either the erect or drop type should be large with rounded tips, set on the sides and toward the back of the head. (1) Ears of the erect type are carried obliquely and move like the spread wings of a butterfly. When alert, each ear forms an angle of approx 45 degrees to the head. The leather should be of sufficient strength to maintain the erect position. (2) Ears of the drop type, known as Phalene, are similar to the erect type but are carried drooping and must be completely down. Ears well fringed, with the inside covered with silken hair of medium length.
FCI Standard: Quite fine but firm. Whether it is the oblique ear or the hanging ear, when examined by hand the cartilage should not end in too sharp a point. The ears are set rather far back on the head, sufficiently apart one from the other, so as to reveal the slightly rounded shape of the skull. Variety with hanging ears, called Phalene. The ears at rest are set high, considerably higher than the eye line, carried hanging and yet quite mobile. Garnished with wavy hair which may reach quite a length and which gives the dog a pretty appearance.
In the Papillon, the ears should be exaggerated in proportion to the rest of the dog. This doesn’t mean that the biggest ears in the class should win regardless of the rest of the animal; however, without an ear larger than one would normally expect on a dog of this size, it is not a good or even typical specimen of the breed.
Papillon ears must resemble the outspread wings of a butterfly, or in the case of the Phalene, the dropped wings of a moth. This image should be apparent both from in front of, and from behind, the dog. Provided the ears are of appropriate size, correctly placed and carried, the look of a butterfly or moth wings should be quite clear, even without the added benefit of fringing.
Tips should always be rounded. Correct set and carriage of Papillon ears is 45 degrees, halfway between upright and horizontal.
In both types, ears should be very mobile – remember this is a lively, alert little dog. It is part of the breed to sometimes flick his ears back and forth, often quite quickly. Also he will often fold his ears back when approached too closely, not as an act of fear or aggression, but as a sign of endearment. Always step back before alerting a Papillon.
The important point about the Phalene ear is that it must be COMPLETELY dropped. It should not go up or out and then break before dropping. The difference between the alert and passive ear on the Phalene is not great. The lift of a correct Phalene ear is noticeable but nothing like that of the Papillon. At a point where the muzzle of the Phalene is just below the horizontal, the INNER EDGE of the ears should just touch the cheeks. At the set-on of the Phalene ear, there is commonly a small tuft of hair – this is quite typical and correct.
Mouth: Scissor bite, upper teeth fitting closely over lower. The lips thin and tight.
There is no excuse in this breed for anything but a correct scissor bite. Teeth should be clean and healthy and dentition should be complete.
The thinking that “mouths don’t matter in Toys” is fallacious, to put it mildly. Bad mouths, whether overshot, undershot or wry, produce worse mouths and should be heavily penalized in the Papillon. “The lips thin and tight” indicate that cushion, flews or dewlap are NOT required. When the mouth is closed, the tongue should not protrude.
Neck: Of medium length.
Short, stuffy necks and long, swan necks both spoil the balance of the Papillon, and are functionally deficient. Hands are required to ensure that the profuse frill does not create the impression of a short neck. The correct medium length and proud arch of the Papillon neck contribute to the graceful, elegant outline and the light, free, unrestricted gait required.
Forequarters: Shoulders well developed and sloping back. Chest rather deep. Forelegs
straight and slender and fine boned.
Upper arm and shoulder should be of approximately equal length, giving good forequarter angulation, which in turn produces correct reach in front. Forelegs should not only be straight, slender and fine boned, but vertical from any viewpoint. Chest should be rather deep but also have some width. This is not a narrow-fronted breed, but neither should it be too broad. Elbows should be held close to the body, standing and moving. Chest should reach down to elbow, with elbow to ground same distance, giving normal balanced length of leg under the dog. A major fault creeping into this breed, as in many others, is loss of leg length. Correct balance and typiness in the Papillon requires body depth to be half height of dog. Any extra chest depth indicates lack of leg length and creates an elongated body impression. Renowned UK breed authority Mike Foster (Nouveau Papillons) in his superb, definitive treatise “The Complete Illustrated Standard for the Papillon and Phalene” describes these short-legged specimens as “the “Caterpillar” Papillon, unfortunately still a frequent sight”. Such exhibits are a blight on the breed and should be heavily penalized. There should be good clear daylight under a Papillon - standing or moving! Conversely, the adult Papillon should not look leggy”.
As to the description “slender and fine boned”, Papillon coats can make this difficult to determine by eye.
It is imperative to establish the boning in all four legs with your hands. Also, all limbs must have sufficient bone supported by appropriate ligament and muscle to give strength and sturdiness to this active little dog. What is NOT wanted is heavy bone such as in the Pug.
Body: Level topline. The body should have plenty of length, well formed with well sprung ribs, good length of loin which must not be weak, with slightly arched belly.
Level topline means just that, standing or moving. It should not be dipped at the shoulder, high at the tail or roached at the loin.
“Plenty of length” means that it should not be cobby, like the Japanese Chin. It does not mean that it should be long in body. The Papillon is not a square dog, but a quite normally-made dog of normal proportions, SLIGHTLY longer than height at withers. “The dog will appear to be slightly longer than high when properly furnished with ruff and hind fringes”. This just-off-square appearance should not come at the expense of leg length.
Ribs should be well sprung, never slab sided or barrelled. Loin should be firm and strong, tuck up evident but not exaggerated. This is a small dog with fine bone, but should never be weedy or shelly.
Hindquarters: Well developed, good turn of stifle. Legs when viewed from behind, should be parallel. Dew claws on the hind legs must be removed.
Clear enough. The Papillon is a normally-made dog requiring balance between fore and hindquarter angulation. “Well developed” means strong with good second thigh and adequate, firm musculature. “Good turn of stifle” in this breed means normal – not excessive, not lacking in angulation. Bone should be fine, as fully described in Forequarters.
The view from behind should show parallel legs; rear pasterns vertical, hocks turning neither in nor out. This should also be reflected in movement. As with forequarters, there SHOULD BE SUFFICIENT LENGTH OF LEG!
Feet: Fine and fairly long, as in the hare. The tufts of hair between the toes extending far beyond them.
“Hare Feet: A type in which both centre toes are appreciably longer than the associated outer and inner ones; further more, toe arching is less marked, making such feet appear longer overall.” (H. R. Spira, Canine Terminology).
Round, cat feet are quite untypical of the Papillon. Hare feet are a MUST and an important breed characteristic. Whilst good hare feet have less toe arching than round feet, they must not be flat or splayed. Nails should not be too long.
The long tufts of hair between the toes are as characteristic of the Papillon as the ear fringes. This hair was to protect the foot from the cold Palace floors, to give added traction and to cushion the noise of the nails on the hard floors. This is a hallmark that must be preserved. Any trimming should be absolutely minimal. Pasterns should be relatively short and only very slightly sloping – almost vertical.
Tail: Long and well fringed, set on high, arched over the back with the fringes falling to the side to form the plume.
The tail is a most important part of the overall picture of the Papillon and the perfect balance to the heavy ear fringing.
A breed hallmark, the tail should not lie flat to the back as in the Pomeranian, but should rather be arched over the back, like a teapot or jug handle, with the tip of the tail just touching the back. There should always be room under the arch for two or three fingers. Set high and richly fringed with long hair to form the plume, the actual tail is rather long – when pulled down (gently!) its tip should reach the hock joint. The fringing should fall to one side or the other, not rest on the top.
Judges should handle the tail to establish its length. Short or over-long tails are incorrect, as are lowset, upright, kinked, tightly curled or crooked tails, any of which can spoil the picture of balanced perfection we aim to create. Profuse fringing can hide many things!
Gait/Movement: Movement should be sound, light and free and not cramped or restricted in any way.
The current UK Standard agrees with this, but is more explanatory: “Light, free-flowing, positive and free from any restriction. Viewed from in front or behind, legs and feet moving parallel to each other, with feet turning neither in nor out. Viewed from the side, dog covering ground well with no hint of hackney action.”
So, we are looking for normal, sound movement with an air of lightness. No excess lift in front, no plaiting or weaving, no short-stepping stiltiness, just easy free-flowing, ground covering gait. A wellbalanced and properly angulated, typical Papillon should have no difficulty in fulfilling these requirements. The legs will converge a little as the pace increases, but should not approach single tracking.
The topline should remain firm and level on the move, and the tail should be carried proudly at all times. A nervous or unhappy Papillon carrying its tail below back level is not a pretty sight and should be penalized.
Coat: Should be abundant, (flowing) but without undercoat, long fine, silky, falling flat on back and sides forming a profuse frill on the chest, short and close on the skull, muzzle and front part of the legs. Back part of the front legs to pasterns, tail and thighs covered with long hair.
The coat is the Papillons final crowning glory... profuse, but not so as to impede movement or reach the ground. At all times the coat should fit the dog well but not obscure its outline. There should always be clear daylight under the Papillon.
The coat is fine and soft with a texture that, given time, would allow one to count each hair. In bloom, the coat is a joy to behold with the coloured patches having the glow of good health, whilst each white hair appears to have a silver tip.
The Papillions single coat is easily maintained as the silky texture causes burrs and dirt to fall free – this could not happen were any undercoat to be present. There should be NO UNDERCOAT! As well, there should be no sign of coarseness, curl or tendency to stand off.
Note that the Papillon has a flat coat, while the Japanese Chin has a “not too flat” coat. The Chin’s ruff stands out especially at the frill of the neck, while the Papillon’s “profuse frill” is confined to the front of the chest, and that the hair on the back of the neck follows the natural outline of the neck and lies flat.
Papillons do not spend the whole year in full coat. However, they do suffer from climate and seasonal changes. Provided there is sufficient coat of the right type, the dog under the coat is more important. Coats come and go, but poor construction doesn’t improve!
Colour: White with patches which may be any colour except liver. A tricolour must be black and white with tan spots over the eyes, tan inside ears and under root of tail and on cheeks. The head marking should be symmetrical about a white, narrow, clearly defined blaze.
The Papillon is fundamentally a white dog with patches, which, on the body, can be any shape or size, and any colour but liver. (The main reason liver is outlawed in this breed is to avoid the light eyes and lack of black pigmentation, the liver gene brings.)
The background colour is always white. The most common colours are black, red, and red-sable. Red colours range from palest lemon to rich red. Head markings of red dogs are often edged with black. True red-sable colour is a mixture of red and black hairs and care must be exercised when judging this colour because, at a distance, it can be mistaken for liver.
Also seen are dogs with different colours on the same animal, e.g. red markings on the head and black markings on the body. Tricolours are a version of this, but the position of the colours is specific, as described in the standard. The normal head markings are: Colour covering ears and extending to cover around eyes, leaving a narrow white blaze between the eyes, sometimes stopping abruptly but often fining down to a very narrow line to the back of the skull; and a white nose band. It is intended for the blaze to represent the body of the butterfly (or moth), and while its absence is not a fault, the blaze is very attractive and adds a nice finish to the picture.
However, Toy authority Bryan Mitchell put it this way in an article years ago: “If you come across a beautiful head without a blaze, you first notice the positive aspects. You realize a blaze is missing afterwards. But when a blazeless Papillon has an ordinary head, you wonder if its ordinariness is caused by a lack of blaze. It isn’t.”
No mention is made of ticking in the Standard. We are asked to look for white with patches and much is dependent upon how small some of those patches are. It is not unusual to see many small spots of colour on the legs and this is deemed genetically part of the white/colour configuration. However, when a definite “roaning” pattern is seen (i.e. when white and coloured hairs are interspersed), particularly on the body of the dog, this should be considered a deviation from the colour configuration called for and evaluated accordingly. Some ticking is inevitable in the breed but most breeders do their best to avoid or minimize it, regarding it correctly as undesirable
Sizes: The ideal height at the withers from 20.3-28 cm (8-11 ins). The dog will appear to be slightly longer than high when properly furnished with ruff and hind fringes.
Generally speaking, most Papillons fall into the 9 – 11 inch (23 – 28 cm) range, however overall balance within the ideal height 8 – 11 inch (21 – 28 cm) as per the Standard should be the prime criteria.
The Papillon Standard allows for a large variation (3 inch or almost 8 cm) in a small dog. It is quite possible, however, to have a 21 cm and a 28 cm in the same class, both within the Standard. Provided each exhibit looks absolutely representative of the gender, other qualities than size should determine the winner. Whatever the size, a bitch or dog should always look dainty and balanced.
Make your assessment on the table, with both hand and eye! Be careful that you do not allow large ears and a lot of coat to create a false impression of oversize. Weights are not specified but should be in proportion to the height
Faults: Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog.
• Skull flat or apple shaped. • Muzzle overlong or coarse. • Nose other than black. • Eyes light in colour, too small or large, or protruding. • Ears semi-erect or not fully dropped, small, sharply pointed or set too close together. • Mouth over- or undershot to the extent that the incisors do not touch at all. • Wry mouth. • Shoulder straight. Out at elbow. Topline roached, dippy or cobby. • Legs malformed and crooked, cow hocked, too long or too short. • Stifles straight, coupled with weak hindquarters. • Tail unduly short. Too low set. • Harsh, curly or stand-off coat.