Thanks in part to their delightful, plus sized ears and light, fluffy coat, the Papillon are perhaps amongst the most visually distinctive of all dog breeds. Of course, this appearance is quite far from being the only unique quality the Papillon is known for. Besides their distinctive look, the Papillon are also known for several other things. Listed below you will find just a few stories, facts and trivia that have helped the Papillon gain the reputation they carry.
Thanks to their dignified, noble look, the Papillon have been very popular amongst European royalty. Known Papillon lovers include Madame de Pompadour, Henry II, Henry III, Henry XIV and most famously, Marie Antoinette.
Today the Papillon are still a favorite of the financially privileged and those in the public eye. Famous Papillon lovers and their dogs include pop singer Christina Aguillera and her dogs Chewy and Stinky (although this second name may seem a bit unfair, as the breed are not said to carry any natural, unpleasant odor), George Takei, better known as Star Trek's Mister Sulu, is the owner of a Papillon named Rene, Autumn Reeser, an actor known for her role on The O.C., cares for a Papillon named Gatsby, for the Dickens book The Great Gatsby and Leo Gordon Laporte, a tech expert who makes regular television appearances giving advice on computers and appliances, owns a Papillon named Ozzie.
While they experienced a more significant boom in popular relevance upon being brought to France, the Papillon had already been featured in Spanish paintings and church frescoes as early as the thirteenth century.
The drop eared variety of the Papillon are referred to as the Phalene. While Papillon means butterfly in French, Phalene, fittingly, means "night moth".
While the historical basis is up for debate, on the Emmy award winning HBO series Elizabeth I, Mary, Queen of Scots, cares for a Papillon. As there is no material verifying this detail, it is probably just a stylistic choice (and a smart one, at that).
Songs that have referenced the breed include Papillons, by "The Twilight Singers", and Papillon Stalemate, by the alternative rock band "Inme".
Dustin Hoffman and Steve McQueen starred in a film entitled Papillon, but lovers of the dog breed are warned not to get their hopes up. The film is actually an adventure film about the McQueen character escaping from a prison compound built on a desert island.
A pregnant Papillon by the name of Mademoiselle Giselle made news recently by adopting a squirrel named Finnegan. Giselle tended to the injured squirrel and took him home, eventually giving birth and nursing and caring for the squirrel as if he were a puppy.