The Papichon is not a common breed, and as such, there is limited data about his past. But we can explore the history of the parent dogs (the Bichon Frise and Papillon) to learn more. The Bichon Frise dates back to the 14th Century and originated in the Mediterranean. French sailors brought the dogs home from Tenerife (Canary Islands). This curly coated dog was quite the traveller in those days, joining traders on the Phoenician trade route, and also the Spanish seamen on their travels. It was inevitable that this little dog ended up in Europe and became a favourite of the nobility. They graced the royal courts and were treasured companions. Interest remained strong in this royal pooch until the late 1800s when it fell out of favor because it had become a 'common' dog. After the first World War, French breeders took a new interest in the Bichon Frise and invested their time to save the breed. The Bichon arrived in the United States in 1956, and in 1975, they were recognised as a breed by the American Kennel Club. The Bichon Frise remains a popular dog known for its sweet nature. Not to be outdone, the Papillon is found portrayed in paintings dating back to the 16th Century. They were seen with their doted mistresses and became the favourite little spaniel of the court ladies in Europe. While the early dogs had the floppy spaniel ears, during the 17th Century in the court of Louis XIV, a small spaniel with upright ears was developed and given the name of Papillon as their ears resembled a butterfly. The only other change to the Papillon was to do with color. Originally a solid color, today they have a white base with patches of color. When this little dog arrived in America is not recorded, but it ranks 35th amongst the 155 breeds registered by the American Kennel Club. Popular and attractive, the Papillon still is doted upon by loyal owners. Legend states that once you gaze into the beautiful eyes of this dog, you will lose your heart to them forever!
This small dog has the most appealing appearance with a coat that is soft and full with feathering on the legs and tail. Speaking of the tail, it is often carried proudly curling up and over the back with long fan hairs bushing out - much like a flag to herald the Papichon's entrance. Small in size but beautifully proportioned, the body is often longer than it is high. Slender legs and tiny paws tend to make you think this dog is fragile, but they have surprising energy and an attitude that is three times its size. The face is dainty and sweet in appearance, with a fine pointed muzzle. The head is slightly rounded with the ears wide apart. The ears can vary from floppy like the Bichon or held erect and upright with feathering on the edges like the Papillon parent. Soft luxurious coats give them that 'soft toy' appearance which makes them so endearing. Bright black eyes that will follow your every move, and a glossy black nose completes this small but vibrant little dog.