Papillons derive their French name from their beautifully fringed, butterfly-shaped ears. And it will surprise no human companion of a Papillon to learn that Dr. Stanley Coren, an expert on animal intelligence, rated the breed the 8th smartest of the 138 breeds he assessed. These little dogs are whip-smart and full of cheerful energy, making them an ideal companion for active families able to provide plenty of exercise and mental stimulation.
The Papillon’s fabulous ears are no doubt at least partially responsible for their long history as subjects of fine art. The earliest samples are seen in famous Tiziano Vicelli paintings circa 1500, including the Venus of Urbino. Papillons make frequent appearances in paintings of royal and merchant-class families throughout Europe, and one even made it into a family portrait of Louis XIV.
To add a Papillon to your next family photo shoot, search online for a rescue organization near you.
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