- breed of toy dog known from the 16th century, when it
was called a dwarf spaniel. A fashionable dog, it was favored by
Madame de Pompadour and Marie Antoinette, and it appeared in paintings
by some of the Old Masters. The name papillon (French:
“butterfly”) was given to the breed in the late 19th century, when
a variety with large, flaring ears resembling the wings of a butterfly
came into vogue.
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