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Characteristics, History, and Health


The Phalene is a variation of the Papillon breed, with the primary distinction being their ear type. Phalenes have drop ears that lay flat against their head, which gives them a resemblance to a moth. In fact, ""Phalène"" is French for ""moth"". Despite being essentially the same breed, the Papillon and Phalene are considered distinct in some canine registries, while others consider them to be simply different versions of the same breed. The Phalene, similar to the Papillon, is a toy breed that originated in Europe. The breed can be traced back to the 16th century, where it was commonly seen in artwork, often as a companion to noble ladies. This variant of the Papillon, with its ears down, was actually the original type, while the erect-eared Papillon evolved later. Over time, the popularity of the erect-eared version rose, and the Phalene became less common. It's only in recent decades that breeders have been making efforts to revive the Phalene.

Main Info
Belgium, Spain, France
Alternate Names
Drop-eared Papillon, Continental Toy Spaniel (Phalene), Epagneul Nain Continental
Life Expectancy
14-16 years
Average Male Height
8-11 inch
Average Female Height
8-11 inch
Average Male Weight
5-10 lbs
Average Female Weight
5-10 lbs
Coat Length
Coat Type
Coat Colors
White & Black, White & Lemon, White & Red, White & Sable, White Black & Tan, Black Brown & White, Black Red & White, Brown & White, Fawn & White, Red, Red White & Sable, Sable, White, White & Liver, White & Silver
Coat Pattern
Black Mask, Black Markings, Red Markings, Tan Markings

Genetic Predispositions and Health

As a variant of the Papillon breed, Phalenes are susceptible to the same health conditions, including black hair follicular dysplasia, cleft palate, cryptorchidism, deafness, epilepsy, Factor VII deficiency, hydrocephalus, intervertebral disk disease, meningoencephalitis (necrotizing), heart conditions such as mitral valve disease, neuroaxonal dystrophy, patellar luxation, polydontia, polydontia (retained primary teeth), portosystemic shunts, syringomyelia, urolithiasis (calcium oxalate), von Willebrand disease (Type I). They may also be prone to eye disorders such as progressive retinal atrophy (crd4), progressive retinal atrophy (PAP1), cataracts, distichiasis, persistent pupillary membranes, and vitreous degeneration.

Personality and Behavior

Phalenes are known for their friendly, intelligent, and outgoing nature. They're good with children and other animals, making them excellent family pets. Phalenes are adaptable and can live comfortably in an apartment as long as they get regular exercise. Despite their small size, they are relatively active and enjoy playtime and walks. They also have a longer lifespan compared to many other breeds, often living into their mid-teens with proper care

Fun Facts

The name "Phalene" refers to the breed's dropped ears which resemble a moth's wings in the resting position.

This breed has been depicted in many paintings from the Renaissance period.

Phalenes are known for their agility and are often participants in dog agility competitions.