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Breed of toy dog known from the 16th century, when it was called a dwarf spaniel. A favorite of Marie-Antoinette, it appeared in paintings by Old Masters. It acquired its name (French for butterfly) in the late 19th century, when a variety with large, flaring ears became fashionable. Another variety has drooping ears. A slender, graceful dog with a plumed tail, it stands 11 in. (28 cm) or less and weighs up to 11 lbs (5 kg). The soft, full coat is usually white, with darker patches.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on papillon, visit Britannica.com.